Unlicensed Contractors Feel the Sting of the Law

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Susan Shotts

Subject: Unlicensed Contractor Lawsuit

My husband hired someone who said they were licensed but were not. They used to be but have been doing some pretty bad work lately and ripping off us homeowners in the process. It is very sad because he is going to hurt someone physically and they won't be able to do anything about it. I filed a lawsuit, I put reviews on line and posted on my facebook page my personal opinion, have all the photos, have documentation, have eyewitness proof and when I filed the lawsuit he filed a counterclaim for defamation. His reputation is already in the mud and we are having the home finished by someone else, but the damage he left is so bad it looks like it is intentional and that is what all the inspections are showing.

jonathan wakefield

Subject: To license or not to license

One of the great philosphers said "be careful not to pass a multitude of laws or you will end up with a multitude of criminals." The state has no interest at all in protecting the people from contractors. The state's one and only motive is money. Money generated by the license fee and the money generated by the tax that they are not getting from the contractor. If it weren't for the money, you could completely forget about the State doing anything. The State only uses the "protect the people" slogan as a scape goat for the real reason they are going after the contractors and raping them. Patrons, you will be paying twice as much for your repairs now than you did before the State protected you. I HOPE YOU FEEL SAFER!


Subject: Contractors

This is really ultra stupid. Yes, I understand it it's something expensive, you should irk with a licenced one. But if it's something that'll cost $400 for a licensed one and $150 for an unlisencedl one, I'll take my chances. Chances are, it'll be just fine. Come on, gimme a break.

Steve Fisher


Hi, I am a California licensed general B1 contractor with an additional C6 cabinetry classification and I do cabinet refacing in San Diego.

The bottom line is, whenever you deal with an unlicensed contractor YOU HAVE NO LEGAL RECOURSE if anything goes wrong with your project.

I re-did a job for one poor fellow who had paid out over $5,000.00 to learn this lesson the hard way.



I agree that not all contractors are stand up guys, But in California we have to go through an FBI and DOJ background check, to make sure we are not on Megan's list, do not have any Violent crimes or construction related crimes, we have to pass a business law test and the tade test, to qualify for the test you have to pass the background check and have a signed form from a contractor or qualifying individual. You have to have a bond for at least $12,500 to even get your license issued to you. Now my feeling is why would you not hire a licensed contractor?



We all know every, single, licensed contractor is a stand up guy with no criminal record. Please. Follow the $$.



i agree, where i live you pay $50 and fill out a small form and boom! you could know nothing bout the trade and still get licensed!



Contractors in westchester are really expensive can cost you about $500 a day.. and they pay to they workers maximum of $120 a day.. the rest of the money is for the contractor.. in this area the consumers are looking for unlicensed contractor they take the risk and save up to $300 per day



better yet, it sounds like everyone should have to licensed to work at any job. This way we can all give up even more income to the government, which will ultimately take no responsibility even if they license and inspect.



We know that licensing cost consumers as well. First the license fee is passed on to the consumer. Second most consumers are under the impression that the state or locality really makes sure a contractor is qualified....this is NOT the case. Just like your driver's license, they are not there to keep you safe or make sure you do a good job, they are there to get their cut of the money, safety be damned. When was the last time you were asked to take a driving test? License regs are just another form of government extortion. "Pay us off or go to jail! and we will make you look bad to the public, even though we never really cared about anything but getting your money."



As a licensed contractor, what protection is given to us? MHIC licensing department does not care to represent us, if we are the ones asking for an arbitrator.



More police more government more regulations. More loss of freedom in the name of freedom

Lyle Standish


Hi Felix
I read the article about the unlicensed home inspector. The magazine article has a picture of his business card, which has the ASHI logo. I informed Jeff Arnold, CEO of ASHI. They are looking into this ethics violation.



This California Contractors Association is working hard to bring the unlicensed into compliance and strengthen the industry and legitimate Licensed businesses thru information, legislative and legal endeavors.


Felix Pena


I just read September article regarding poor Allison Stack, who had a terrible experience with her home inspector, (Michael McKinney) who claimed top be licensed and honest. It makes me sick that good people like Allison put her trust into someone who is suppose follow the Standards of Practices and Ethic rules.

Allison should look at this business card and see if belongs to one of the following creditable association.
ASHI American Society of Home Inspectors, National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) or National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (NAHI)

If he does, file a complaint with that association, and allow someone from that department follow up with him. Hopefully he will told, he can no longer be a member of that association.

As a home inspector, not only do I take pride and enjoy my work, but I educate my clients on all the condition which will affect their home and budget.

I hope Allison is enjoying her new place, in spite of all the issues.
Best of Luck, Felix pena

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.