Searching for a responsible contractor.

Amongst all the reasons a contractor is selected, pricing can be a deciding factor. Even our natural sense/intuition of making the right selection, having a contractor that is right in front of you with a great reputation, can still come in second place. When it comes to making the right choice, I can’t touch basis on anything more important.

Often a lower estimate is appealing when finding someone to do the work. Like most consumers, we may get more than one estimate of which have different price ranges. In some cases, there may be a larger than normal price range from one to the other. You may not understand why, so a comparison of “apples to apples” should be taken. Often estimates are based on your contractor’s overhead expenses. In order to operate in a legitimate, productive, efficient, responsible business manner, it entails reasonable and proper operational expenses. These operational expenses are important to service clients with our best ability, and function in a manner that is safe. Insurances, proper income for our employees, and other current California laws are huge variables. I’d like to touch on one of the most common and extremely necessary insurances that protect you as a consumer, and protect our employees.

First, what is a work place injury?

Work-related injuries happen every day. From broken bones to back pain, workers in all occupations and industries are exposed to a broad range of injury risks; and, these risks can leave workers unable to do their jobs on a short-term or long-term basis. These workplace injury statistics from the National Safety Council (NSC) demonstrate just how common it is for all types of employees to miss time from work due to injuries on the job.

How Common are Work-Related Injuries?

Workplace injuries are alarmingly common. According to the National Safety Council, in the United States, a worker is injured on the job every seven seconds. This equates to 7 million people a year.

Workers compensation, the unnoticed loop hole, and how to protect yourself

Besides the other most important insurance (Liability), workers comp is the most costly, and vulnerable type needed for operating a business. Training employees, frequent safety meetings, safe reliable tools, and protective gear is imperative to avoiding injuries on the job site. Workers that work in back yards and around pools can experience more than a few accidents. To name just a few; shards of tile or cement in the eye, twisted ankles, falls, sharp objects, injuries from equipment, strained backs, and even rusted nails. When this has occurred on the job, it is important an employee is medically compensated with time off, if needed. This is where the workers comp insurance goes into effect.

Without your contractor having workers comp, the contractor should at least be sub contracting the work to someone whom does (a separate company). If there is none, and there is an injury/accident, the contractor is reprimanded through the state of California (ordered to stop working). If the contractor cannot compensate the injured workers finance, the home owner will wind up footing the bill. This can be very costly nevertheless, there are medical bills, pay with time off, which likely the injured will want addressed.

Checking is your responsibility as a homeowner, and is easy to do.

Just because a person at your house is a contractor, with a license number, a business card, a truck, and a smile, does not mean they are following this very important requirement. There is a loophole that some contractors take that will put you at risk! This loop hole is in effort to submit that low appealing estimate, and get around paying this required insurance.

During the processing for acquiring a license, a non exempt form can be filed. This means that the contractor does not have employees, and can file this as long as he/she does all the work alone.

Unfortunately, CSLB does not look into, or realize that our industry entails many employees to get our job done. A contractor working with workers at your home, whom is exempt from workers comp, are likely using someone else’s employees, and paying them under the table. This is what is unfair to you, and those whom do pay. This is what puts you at risk!

Important questions to ask:

  • How many employees does any one phase of your project take?
  • Does every employee have workers comp?
  • If not, are they subcontracting any of the work performed?
  • If so, does the sub carry workers comp?

Below are steps to follow. Check before you’re at risk. Do not take our word for it.

  1. Click on Business name button or license number button of the person you have enquired your estimate.
  2. Hit search
  3. Click on the License number
  4. Next page scroll to “Workers comp”, does it says exempt or none?
  5. If so, ask if they are using sub contractors to do your job. If so, ask to see their Comp certificate.