Ten Steps: How Can Local Contractors Keep From Getting
“Burned” by the San Diego Wildfires?
For Immediate Release Contact: Bryan Weaver
October 24, 2007 Business Development
How Can Local Contractors Keep From Getting “Burned”
by the San Diego Wildfires?
San Diego, Calif., October 24, San Diego based construction
law firm, Scholefield Associates, P.C. has created a
list of 10 “do’s and don’t’s”
to help contractors survive the post-wildfire rebuilding
As the wildfires continue to rage on, there are many
victims who have returned home and are beginning to
assess their damage. It is predicted that the region
will be flooded with out-of-state or unlicensed people
posing as contractors. It is illegal and punishable
as a felony to perform contracting work in a declared
disaster area without a California contractor's license.
Punishment may include a fine of up to $10,000 or up
to 16 months in state prison. While the results of the
wildfires will stimulate a flurry of new construction
activity, it will also open the doors for con artists.
“Because of the problems we saw during the 2003
Cedar fires, we want to help keep licensed contractors
from getting into problems with homeowners and contracting
laws”, said Pamela Scholefield, the firm’s
lead attorney. “We also want to let the contractors
know that they can help educate the homeowners to stay
away from the fly-by-night scam artists.”
Scholefield Associates has provided a list of things
that contractors should do in order to put the homeowner’s
mind at ease. A licensed contractor should be upfront
with homeowners and offer as much information as possible.
“Don’t try to hide anything or appear to
be anything less than legitimate”, added Scholefield.
It is recommended that as a minimum, be sure to do the
1. Make sure your license is up to date before
performing any work and show a copy of your license
as evidence that you are a licensed contractor.
a. Bring along copies of the most recent Contractor
State License Board (CSLB) information page. Encourage
the homeowner to go online themselves to confirm this.
b. Show that all pertinent information is accurate,
such as the statutory bond and workers compensation
c. For Home Improvement Salespeople, encourage the homeowner
to call the company telephone number listed on the CSLB
page to confirm your employment with the contractor.
2. Provide names
and telephone numbers of qualified references such as
previous customers and encourage the homeowner to call
these people and speak with them.
3. Be sure your
contracts are in compliance Contractor State License
laws, for example:
a. Don’t take more than 10% down or $1000, whichever
b. Don’t take any more payments than the value
of the work done.
c. Do only work that you are licensed to do.
4. Do not let
anyone “borrow” your license to allow them
to get work. This is illegal, both for you and for the
person who is not authorized to use your license.
5. Provide a
WRITTEN quote detailing the exact work to be performed,
the exact cost for the work, the date the work will
begin, and the time it will take to complete the work
and the payment schedule expect.
make promises that you cannot keep, such as start and
gouge the homeowners. It is illegal to charge more that
10% of your usual rates when doing work caused by disasters.
8. Be sure to
tell the homeowners that the typical scam used by an
illegal contractor to use the license number of a licensed
contractor, collect a hefty cash deposit and then disappear.
to a homeowner that only licensed contractors are legally
allowed to perform work valued over $500, and that anyone
else offering to do any work is breaking the law.
10. Make sure the homeowner appropriate funding is in
place for your work
a. Recommend that a fund control be established to ensure
As a contractor, if you are unsure about any of the
above referenced suggestions, or are unsure of your
legal responsibilities; contact a qualified construction
lawyer before entering into any contract.
About Scholefield Associates, P.C.
A construction law litigation firm, that represents
developers, contractors and material suppliers in private
and public works and handles contract negotiations,
contract disputes, delay claims, scope of work, mechanics’
liens, prevailing wage requirements, and construction
specific licensing and business formations. Founded
in 1998, the firm's San Diego office has developed a
reputation as an extremely qualified, high performance
boutique law firm. More about the firm can be found
on its Web site: www.construction-laws.com
Contact: Bryan Weaver, Mgr. Business Development, Scholefield
Associates, P.C. 619-544-0086 xt105 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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