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General Advice
Don’t get nailed by an unscrupulous or unlicensed contractor. Before you hire a contractor or sign a contract for home repair, call the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) At 1 (800) 321-CSLB (2752). The CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips when dealing with a building contractor: 
  • By law, all contractors who perform work that totals $500 or more (labor and materials) must be licensed by the CSLB
  • Contact the CSLB if you have a complaint against a contractor
  • Do request What You Should Know Before You Hire A Contractor, a publication to help you make informed decisions when dealing with contractors, by calling 1 (800) 321-CSLB (2752) or download an order form at CSLB's website
  • Do require a written contract and don’t sign it until you fully understand the terms
  • Don't pay cash and don't let the payments get ahead of the work
  • Don't pay more than 10% down or $1,000, whichever is less
    • Unless the contractor provides a bond, approved bond equivalent, or approved joint control ensuring completion of your contract 
  • Don't rush into decisions and don't hire the first contractor who comes along
  • Get three bids, check references, and get a written contract 
  • Hire only licensed contractors and ask to see the license
  • Verify the contractor's license by checking online at CSLB's website or by calling 1 (800) 321-CSLB (2752) with the contractor's name, license number, and business address before you sign a contract or pay for repairs
Legal Action History
If you want information about a contractor’s license history and pending or prior legal actions, please call the appropriate region's Legal Action Disclosure phone number: 
  • Northern Region: (916) 255-4041
  • Southern Region: (562) 466-6021

Complaint Forms
If you have a complaint against a contractor, call the CSLB at 1 (800) 321-CSLB (2752) and ask for a copy of “A Consumer Guide to Filing Construction Complaints” and the complaint form. CSLB can tell if your contractor is licensed, in good standing, and if the proper classification to fit your needs. You can do more to protect yourself before hiring a contractor than the CSLB can do to help after you've been harmed.