Don't sweat small holes in your walls . . .
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After several email exchanges, we came to the shared conclusion that hiring a worker for "a little government work" was probably OK provided the homeowner knew the worker and realized that he, the homeowner, was taking on the role of contractor, with all the responsibilities that entails.
That means that if the job wasn't done right, there is no recourse against the unlicensed worker and that the homeowner is responsible to provide workers' compensation insurance or suffer the legal consequences should the worker get hurt.
The Contractors State License Board provides this 10-point checklist for hiring a contractor.
•Hire only state-licensed contractors.
•Ask to see a copy of the contractor's license and insurance and check that the contractor's license is in good standing at www.cslb.ca.gov.
•Get at least three bids.
•Get references from each bidder and take the time to check out their work.
•Make sure the details of the project and the payment terms are in writing.
•Confirm the contractor's liability and workers' compensation policies are active and the coverage amounts are adequate by calling the insurance companies.
•Don't pay more than 10 percent of the contract price or $1,000; whichever is less, as a down payment.
•Progress payments should not get ahead of the work.
•Keep a job file containing all relevant paperwork, including the contract and record of payments.
•Do not make the final payment until you're satisfied with the job, including cleanup.
California recently has been cracking down on unlicensed and
So if you're hiring a contractor for a job costing more than $500 or he has employees, make sure he has the proper license and adequate insurance or realize you may have to pay the piper.
Read all of Some Things to Think About When Hiring a Contractor