Unlicensed Contractors in California
When it is time to update your landscape or install new features, it’s important to look for a qualified and reputable contractor. Unfortunately, there are far too many people working in the landscape business that claim to be licensed when they actually are not – or they are licensed contractors but operate outside of their license classification.
Recently, more than 100 unlicensed contractors across California were caught in a sting operation by the California State License Board’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team. One hundred and thirteen people were found in violation of state home-improvement project restrictions when investigators posed as homeowners with projects, including landscaping, tree trimming, painting, tiling and cabinetry. Many of the workers were cited for making bids over $500 without a license, false advertising and using cards that indicated they were contractors when they weren’t.
To ensure that you are hiring a professional licensed landscape contractor – here are a few things to look and ask for:
1. Ask to see proof of certification and credentials from organizations such as the California Landscape Contractors Association, PLANET and Irrigation Association. Also, ask about their employee safety program and training.
2. Ask to see a portfolio that includes pictures of completed projects and a list of references that you can call and talk to. In fact, ask to tour a completed project similar to yours or visit a project in progress.
3. Verify that your contractor has a license. Contact the California State License Board at (800) 321- 2752.
4. Check to make sure your contractor has Workers’ Compensation and General Liability insurance so that you are protected if any of the workers are injured on your property.
5. Ask if your contractor is a member of California Landscape Contractors Association. CLCA member contractors are screened to meet a level of skill, competency and financial responsibility. To verify membership, you can visit the CLCA website and search the database of licensed member professionals.
Benchmark Landscape is a fully-licensed commercial landscape maintenance and installation company. Benchmark is a member of PLANET and CLCA, among several other industry organizations. We staff a number of employees degreed in ornamental/environmental science and many certified landscape technicians that specialize in landscape maintenance, landscape installation/construction and irrigation. Benchmark prides itself on implementing water conservation for each property they service, and has dedicated a website, that helps consumers learn about efficient water management.