Advertising is always a great way to catch the attention of new customers - especially during the slow summer season. There are many ways top publicize your business - traditional newspaper advertising, radio or television, business cards, lettering on your truck, directories like the Yellow Pages, and other print and online directories. No matter which advertising method you choose, it's important that you follow California contractor advertising laws.
- Always Include License Number
Your contractor license number must be on anything concidered to be advertising. Licensed contractors
are required to include their CSLB License numbers on everything from contracts, business cards and yard signs to placards on commercially registered vehicles and promotional give-aways.
- Advertise Within Classification
Licensed contractors are not allowed to advertise for construction work outside of the trade(s) for which they are licensed.
- Don't Advertise About Bonding
Contractors are forbidden by law to advertise the fact that they are bonded. It could lead the public to believe that there is a higher lever of protection that might actually be the case.
- False Advertising Violations
It is a misdemeanor to use false, deceptive or misleading advetisements to sell clients home improvements and other services. It is also illegal to make misleading claims or advertise prices that you do not intend to honor. And remember, you can not advertise using a company name different than what's on your official CSLB license.
- Owner-Builder Requirements
If owner-builders use any signs, cards or directories, that imply that they can be hired by public for construction or home improvement, they become subject to the same laws as other contractors. Business and Professions Code section 7027 also prevents owner-builders from advertising illegally.
The civil penalty for contractor licensees who violate the laws can range from $100 to $500 with multiple penalties for multiple violations.
Unlicensed operators can legally advertise for construction work or improvements if the cost of the work (combined labor and materials) is under $500. However, they must state in the ad that they are "unlicensed". Unlicensed operators who advertise as a contractor in a directory, such as Yellow Pages, or any other advertising forum, face fines.
This article has been re-printed from the "California Licensed Contractor", the CSLB newsletter. This newsletter is a great resource for information on current news, changes and updates for CA Contractors.
Since 1991, Freedom Business School has been helping contractors become licensed in California. We also offer contractor's licensing courses
for Arizona, Virginia and Texas.