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Contractor Tips for Advertizing

Posted on 05/29/2017

 Advertising - What Is It?
You already know about advertising in newspapers, magazines and on radio and TV, but for licensed contractors advertising is more than that.
It is also:

Your business card; Any contract proposal;  Lettering on your trucks and other vehicles; Any sign or billboard identifying you or your company as a contractor; any electronic transmission including your company's website; Any soliciting brochure, pamphlet, circular or Internet ad you or anyone posts or distributes; Any clothing or give away items that include your company name or logo; and Any directory that states or implies that you are a contractor requesting or looking for the kind of work that requires a Contractor License under the California Contractors License Law.

Identifying Business Vehicles 
C-36 Plumbing, C-45 Sign, and C-57 Well-Drilling contractors must display the following information on each side of every business vehicle with commercial registration in letters at least 1½ inches high:

Business name; Permanent business address; and Contractor license number.

All other licensed contractors must display their business names and contractor license numbers on every one of their commercially-registered vehicles. The name and number must be in a clearly visible location in letters at least ¾ inch high and wide. 

False Advertising 
It is a misdemeanor to use false, misleading, or deceptive advertising to induce clients to enter into home improvement or other improvement contracts. It is also illegal to include in an ad for home or other improvements any false, deceptive, or misleading assertions or representations you don’t intend to honor.

Advertising Beyond the Scope of Your License 
You are prohibited by law from advertising for construction work outside of areas for which you are licensed. For example, a C-29 Masonry contractor who advertises to do electrical work can be charged with a misdemeanor—unless he or she also has a C-10 Electrical contractor license. (An exception to this provision permits licensed “A” General Engineering and “B” General Building contractors to advertise as general contractors.) The civil penalty for the advertising violations is between $700 and $1,000, plus any other punishment established by the Registrar or a court. 

Don’t Advertise About Bonding 
You are forbidden by law from putting in your “advertising, soliciting, or other presentments to the public,” the fact that you are bonded. Such a statement could lead the public to believe there is a higher level of protection provided to them by the bonding procedure than might be the case.

Asbestos Removal Contractors 
In addition to complying with all other relevant advertising guidelines, ads soliciting to remove asbestos from buildings or structures must include the name you are registered under and two special numbers: 

 The asbestos certification number issued by CSLB ; and  The registration number required under Labor Code Section 6501.5 for anyone doing asbestos work.

Failure to include these numbers will result in a notice to comply with this requirement from the Registrar. Failure to comply with this notice, or advertising to remove asbestos without being properly certified and registered, will result in a citation and potential civil penalty between $100 and $1,500. 

Unlicensed Operators 
Like legitimate contractors, unlicensed operators sometimes use advertising to find new clients. Ads without license numbers or with numbers that are not issued by CSLB are frequently used as CSLB sting targets. CSLB and other enforcement agencies use two sections of the law—B&P Sections 7027.1 and 7099.10—to take legal action against unlicensed contractors and, on occasion, against licensed contractors who advertise illegally. If an unlicensed operator advertises as a contractor in a telephone directory, and if an investigation determines the entity doing the advertising is unlicensed, under B&P Section 7099.10 (a), the Registrar can issue a citation for a fine or other civil penalty assessment. The citation may include an order of correction that requires the violator to:

Cease the unlawful advertising; and  Notify the phone company to disconnect any phone number in the unlawful ad without the ability to refer subsequent calls to any new number obtained by that person.

If the violator fails to comply with the order of correction, the Registrar can have the Public Utilities Commission disconnect the phone service.  

This information has been re-printed in part from the California Contractors State License Board website.
Freedom Business School has been helping contractors get licensed since 1991. We specialize in Home Study and Online courses and offer courses in Law and Trade in all CA Contractors Classifications. Please visit our website at www.FreedomBusinessSchool.com or contact us toll free at 1-800-559-1983 for any additional info or questions. We are looking forward to helping you obtain your Contractors License. 

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