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Hourly rates vs charging by the job for unlicensed handyman in California.

1mayven's picture

If a carpenter handyman doesn''t enter into a written contract with the homeowner and charges by the hour instead of by the job for the work (e.g. building kitchen cabinets, installing new flooring, dry wall work and painting), could he work without a license even if he is paid much more than $500 over a period of time?  I am in California.  thanks.

In most jurisdictions he (post #215148, reply #1 of 7)

In most jurisdictions he can't do work that requires a license, such as major plumbing and most electrical.

As to whether the individual needs to be licensed to do business in general, that depends muchly on your state laws, etc.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

IMO you are probably in a (post #215148, reply #2 of 7)

IMO you are probably in a gray area.  If somebody rats you out or you get caught in a sting (according to the CA CSLB web site they run stings) you could have a problem if the CSLB decides that you have done this to avoid getting a license.  You could also have a problem if the work requires a permit or a specific license e.g. plumbing or electrical.  I'm in MA and different towns have different rules for which types of jobs require permits and which don't......permits are a sizeable source on revenue.  I called a real 'tight' town and the inspector said it would be easier to tell me what I could do without a permit as the list would be verrrry short....changing a water faucet washer could only be done by a licensed plumber.  Your 'intent' might be the determining factor.

Another thing to consider is liability insurance.  Will CA insurance companies issue it if you don't have a contractor's license?


How important is it to you to (post #215148, reply #3 of 7)

How important is it to you to not be deported?

ICE is watching permit and CL listings and comparing and big box denizens 

That Will Depend (post #215148, reply #4 of 7)

In my opinion, license or no license will be between the client and the Carpenter, but workers compensation injuries might complicate things. If the unlicensed carpenter brings other workers into the home and injuries occur, the homeowner might be just as well liable for workers compensation claims. As a homeowner, it is far better to get a definite job quote than an hourly rate. On the other hand, hourly rate should be preferred by the carpenter.

You can find out about spam link removed and the scuzbag blocked.

Well no, totally not true. (post #215148, reply #5 of 7)

Well no, totally not true. Ask the state and see if it agrees. Any unliscensed worker in your house makes you lible for workers comp claims, You also have no idea what you're talking about in how to charge. I suppose your Spam link has the same value as your worthless opinions.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

Caution! (post #215148, reply #6 of 7)

It would be foolish not to enter into a written agreement for time-materials work. This document should clearly spell out what the rate is and when a charge is incurred. Is it only for on-site work or does it include material deliveries?  While I can't always predict the exact cost of my work, I ALWAYS give my client a basic estimate of labor and materials. If I need to charge more, I explain the reason and give a thorough accounting. Handymen are a dime a dozen. Trustworthy handymen with skill to match are harder to come by. Be vigilant!

At every stage of the job there needs to be a good level of trust and confidence twixt client and handyman...and a thorough accounting at the end of the job. Here in IL most handyman work can be done without license, however liability insurance is something YOU, as client, want documented no matter what!! If the handyperson does not carry even minimal insurance, forget matter what others are saying about that person's level of skill/competence. Licenses in this state are required for certain remodeling work (EPA lead-in-paint removal/remodeling), for roofing, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and so forth.

The amount you pay your handyman has no relationship to basic requirements for liability insurance and state or federal-mandated licenses. And just because a small job may not require a buiilding permit does not mean that essential requirements can be ignored. An ounce of prevention....

Mel Fros

That would be against the law (post #215148, reply #7 of 7)

That would be against the law in CA and most other states that require contractor licenses. If you ACT like a contractor the state considers that are are presenting yourself as a contractor. In that case you had better have a license or a very good lawyer.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.