Hiring Contractors


Are contractors required to be licensed, bonded, and carry worker’s compensation insurance?
Anyone who contracts for or bids on a construction project valued at $500.00 or more (total labor and materials) must be licensed by the State of California Contractors State License Board. Contactors are required by law to be bonded by the State of California and to have a business license from the city or county in which they are performing work. They are also required by law to provide workers’ compensation if they employ or otherwise engage any person to work.

How do I check if a contractor has an active and valid license through the State of California?
The California State Licensed Board (CSLB) provides information about a contractor’s license, bond and workers’ compensation insurance status, as well as pending and prior legal actions. Free consumer publications and complaint forms are also available from the CSLB. Go to the SCLB website at www.CSLB.ca.gov, call 1 (800) 321-CSLB (2752), or write to CSLB, P.O. Box 2600, Sacramento, CA 95826 for information.

Are there any guides or pamphlets for consumers regarding hiring contractors and home improvement projects?
Please visit the Contractor State License Board for guides and pamphlets regarding numerous topics, including but not limited to:

“Ten Tips for Making Sure Your Contractor Measures Up”
“What You should Know Before You Hire a Contractor”,
“Information For New Homeowners”, and
“Home Improvement Contracts”, and
“Preventing Mechanic’s Liens”.

If a building permit is required for my project, is it required that a licensed contractor obtain the permit?
A permit may be obtained by either a licensed contractor or the property owner, also known as an owner-builder permit. If the property owner is not performing any of their own work personally, the contractor typically obtains the permit. A frequent practice of unlicensed persons professing to be contractors is to have the property owner secure an “owner--builder” permit, erroneously implying that the property owner is providing his or her own labor and materials personally. If the property owner will be performing all or a portion of the work and wishes to be their own general contractor, an owner-builder permit typically is obtained. Please visit our Owner-builder Information page for additional details.

Where do I file a construction complaint?
All construction complaints should be filed through the State of California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) regardless whether the contractor is licensed or unlicensed.

Do’s & Don’ts For California Consumers

Other Agency Resources
Contractors State License Board (CSLB)
CA Dept of Consumer Affairs
Better Business Bureau

Tips on Hiring Contractors

  • Hire only licensed contractors.
  • Check contractor’s license numbers at 1(800) 321-2752 or at www.cslb.ca.gov
  • Get three references, review past work.
  • Get a written contract and don’t sign anything until you completely understand the terms.
  • Pay 10% down, or $1000, whichever is less
  • Don’t let payments get ahead of work. Keep records of payments.
  • Don’t make final payment until you’re satisfied with the job.
  • Don’t pay cash.
  • Keep a job file of all papers relating to your project

Contact the Building Division at
(530) 661-5820