Advantages Of Contractor's License

 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-23-2006, 12:16 PM   #1
Registered User
 
skyhigh's Avatar
 
Trade: Redevelop/Investment
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 10

Advantages Of Contractor's License


I was wondering if you guys can help me understand if there are any advantages in having a contractor's license for an owner-builder/developer like me. Here is the deal.

I've recently completed building a house from the ground up (as owner builder) and have sold it for very good profit. I, my father, and my brother, have all worked many various jobs in construction before, so we did a lot of work ourselves, but we also obviously hired various contractors for all kinds of jobs we didn't see the point in doing ourselves. I am now considering buying a fourplex in less than prime condition, fixing it, leasing it, and selling it. I would later like to move to fixing up run down office buildings. I wish to go the "investment real estate" route this time instead of building a house, because I am a commercial real estate broker and often come across great redevelopment opportunities.

I've got the experience to get the license, so here is my question. Considering that I never plan to hire workers to work for me, and aside from the awesome ability to be able to post on here with other contractors, are there advantages of having a contractor's license for someone like me? Do you often get some kind of discount (particularly for the materials after rough inspection) that I wouldn't get? Is there some kind of "insider's information" that is available to contractors that I am overlooking? Most importantly: Are the city/county planning and building officials more willing to work with you guys in getting you the permits/information on development in the city?
skyhigh is offline  

Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. ContractorTalk.com DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any construction or remodeling task!

   
 

Old 11-23-2006, 01:05 PM   #2
Custom Builder
 
Glasshousebltr's Avatar
 
Trade: From dirt to ridge vent
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: South Central Illinois
Posts: 4,406
Rewards Points: 2,000
Send a message via AIM to Glasshousebltr Send a message via Yahoo to Glasshousebltr

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


I think it depends on where your at Sky.

Better give us a Location?

Bob

__________________
Bob
Glasshousebltr is offline  
Old 11-23-2006, 01:44 PM   #3
Pro
 
RobertCDF's Avatar
 
Trade: Custom deck builder
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 7,868
Rewards Points: 3,487

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


In my city you HAVE to occupy the building if you are owner GC. Although I dont know how they check up on that... or if they even bother. But its just the rules... So you might want to check with your area.
RobertCDF is online now  
Old 11-23-2006, 01:49 PM   #4
Pro
 
marc's Avatar
 
Trade: Siding, Windows, Roofing, Weatherization
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: NH
Posts: 481
Rewards Points: 250

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


Quote:
Originally Posted by skyhigh View Post
I was wondering if you guys can help me understand if there are any advantages in having a contractor's license for an owner-builder/developer like me. Here is the deal.

I've recently completed building a house from the ground up (as owner builder) and have sold it for very good profit. I, my father, and my brother, have all worked many various jobs in construction before, so we did a lot of work ourselves, but we also obviously hired various contractors for all kinds of jobs we didn't see the point in doing ourselves. I am now considering buying a fourplex in less than prime condition, fixing it, leasing it, and selling it. I would later like to move to fixing up run down office buildings. I wish to go the "investment real estate" route this time instead of building a house, because I am a commercial real estate broker and often come across great redevelopment opportunities.

I've got the experience to get the license, so here is my question. Considering that I never plan to hire workers to work for me, and aside from the awesome ability to be able to post on here with other contractors, are there advantages of having a contractor's license for someone like me? Do you often get some kind of discount (particularly for the materials after rough inspection) that I wouldn't get? Is there some kind of "insider's information" that is available to contractors that I am overlooking? Most importantly: Are the city/county planning and building officials more willing to work with you guys in getting you the permits/information on development in the city?

Just to put a bit of a spin on your question............What would be the disadvantage of getting your contractors license? In my area you can't get a permit without it.
marc is offline  
Old 11-23-2006, 03:31 PM   #5
Registered User
 
skyhigh's Avatar
 
Trade: Redevelop/Investment
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 10

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


Thank you for your replies.

I apologize for forgetting to include the location where I reside. I live in California (Sacramento area). There is a blueprint online for those who must have a license in the state and those that are exempted. As far as I gather from one of the exceptions to the rule about those who do not need a general contractor's license, I can make improvements to four structures within a year's period without a contractor's license if I use contractors to do some work (see link below).

Quote:
Just to put a bit of a spin on your question............What would be the disadvantage of getting your contractors license?
Fair question. I guess time would be one reason, as I would need to spend a couple of hours going over some basic codes to make sure I pass and then have to interrupt my schedule to take the test. There is also a $400 fee that I'd rather spend on golfing if I don't need the license.

Link to blueprint: htt-p://ww-w.cslb.ca.go-v/applicants/blueprint.asp
skyhigh is offline  
Old 11-23-2006, 07:57 PM   #6
Pro
 
tkle's Avatar
 
Trade: general building and masonry
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,084
Rewards Points: 500

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


Owner-builders who build or improve existing structures on their own property if they contract for the construction with a licensed contractor or contractors.
Quote:
contract for the construction with a licensed contractor or contractors
Tells me a licensed contractor needs to do the work.
tkle is offline  
Old 11-23-2006, 10:18 PM   #7
Pro
 
Dustball's Avatar
 
Trade: Project Manager/Licensed Remodeler
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 756
Rewards Points: 500

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


In my city, you're only able to rehab one house every two years without a license.
Dustball is offline  
Old 11-23-2006, 10:41 PM   #8
contractor
 
cmwacasey's Avatar
 
Trade: carpentry plumbing electric
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: central texas
Posts: 215
Rewards Points: 150

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


with my long time good reputation,I am too busy to worry about a liscense.As I have said before,I beleive a good reputation is worth more than a liscense.With over 30 years of in the feild experience,and being booked for a solid 19 years,I feel as though I can stand behind my statements.
cmwacasey is offline  
Old 11-23-2006, 11:05 PM   #9
Pro
 
Mike Finley's Avatar
 
Trade: Bathroom Remodeling
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Littleton, Colorado
Posts: 14,078
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


I'm very surprised you can pull homeowner permits on properties you don't occupy as a residence. If you can pull them then a license isn't a big deal in that regard. I'm still not sure you are really clear on your understanding of the laws in this regard so make sure.

Yes there are discounts for professional contractors at some suppliers. For every supplier that won't provide a discount to a non-contractor there seems to be 5 that will no matter who you are. But like I said there are some that do and depending upon what they supply it's up to you to decide if the savings are worth it. It isn't uncommon to receive discounts from a low of 5% to a high of 40% off of retail. It also isn't uncommon for suppliers to treat everyone as a retail customer or everyone as a wholesale customer.

As far as working with the building dept, I don't think it is out of line to consider that they cut homeowners a little slack in patience and dealing with them. However, it's all relative. Being a homeowner, you might get some slack on the first few times dealing with them, but after your 10th time still not knowing what you are doing their patience will wear thin. There is also the consideration that some inspectors hate homeowners because they are dangerous, don't know what they are doing and make their job harder. Inspectors who feel that way aren't going to let you into the 'club' for a long time. Most inspectors were contractors so some of them will go out of their way to help you with scheduling inspections since they know what you are going through, others just don't give a crap and love the security of thier governement job.

Last edited by Mike Finley; 11-23-2006 at 11:08 PM.
Mike Finley is offline  
Old 11-23-2006, 11:14 PM   #10
Pro
 
K2's Avatar
 
Trade: Colorado master electrician, EC, B-1 GC
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Colorado Front Range
Posts: 2,604
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


In my county Owner Builders are allowed to do one single family a year, three in a lifetime. Need a "C" residential to build
a duplex/4plex but need a B commercial to remodel the same. Owner permits for elect, plumbing, etc. are only allowed in single family dwellings that are occupied by the owner.

The only disadvantage I ever saw in a license is that you might
get a " you should know better" from a judge but working without a license in an area that requires a license or stretching the grey area isn't going to buy any points with anyone. Like Bob said. The whole thing depends on where you're working and what might be required.

Last edited by K2; 11-23-2006 at 11:19 PM.
K2 is offline  
Old 11-23-2006, 11:36 PM   #11
contractor
 
cmwacasey's Avatar
 
Trade: carpentry plumbing electric
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: central texas
Posts: 215
Rewards Points: 150

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


A savvy contractor can dance around permits that can waste his time and add unnecessary cost for a HO.I am not against liscence and permits for contractors that have not already proven themselves.I care more about MY customers than the government and their inspectors,that only care about their job.(generally speaking)
cmwacasey is offline  
Old 11-23-2006, 11:46 PM   #12
Pro
 
K2's Avatar
 
Trade: Colorado master electrician, EC, B-1 GC
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Colorado Front Range
Posts: 2,604
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


Quote:
A savvy contractor can dance around permits
I probably hate bureaucracy more than anyone but I can't dance.

I think even the best dancers would have a problem at our joint.
K2 is offline  
Old 11-24-2006, 12:23 AM   #13
contractor
 
cmwacasey's Avatar
 
Trade: carpentry plumbing electric
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: central texas
Posts: 215
Rewards Points: 150

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


In texas everyone knows how to two step,except me.I disco.
cmwacasey is offline  
Old 11-24-2006, 02:07 AM   #14
Thom
 
thom's Avatar
 
Trade: General Contractor/Homebuilder
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Albuquerque NM
Posts: 4,019
Rewards Points: 2,616

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


SkyHigh, our rules in NM wouldn't allow you to do what you are doing. You could probably do it and not have any real difficulties with the law until something bad happens, then the **** hits the fan.

The "bad" thing could be an injury, an unhappy client, a pissed off inspector, or one of the many things we don't think about until it happens to us.

In NM

Owner builder = residential only, must own the house as a residence, not a business (rental).

As an owner-builder your are a GC and must follow all the laws other GC's do.

Every one who works on the site must be covered by Workmens Compensation Insurance. This is more restrictive than federal law. Your family must be covered by WC as well if they are working on the job.

Taxes is a big issue. Clearly you pay your family. Are you withholding taxes? This one comes back to bite you years later and is cumulative.

Liability is forever. Well almost anyway. The statute of limitations starts running when the code defficiency is discovered, not when it was made. Could be 30 years after the fact. You can cover your ass a little bit (certainly not entirely) by incorporating, but then you are now an owner-builder by definition.

When you have someone out there doing clean up who gets injured, he will sue. His lawyer will use your lack of a license as evidence that you were negligent in your business practices.

Why take the risk? Get the license. Get the insurance. Do it like a professional.
thom is offline  
Old 11-24-2006, 02:29 AM   #15
Registered User
 
skyhigh's Avatar
 
Trade: Redevelop/Investment
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 10

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


I hear what you guys are saying and the response seems to be overwhelming in that I should just go and get the license. Many people involved exclusively in the commercial development trade seem to echo your guys' comments as well. Thank you all for your responses.
skyhigh is offline  
Old 11-24-2006, 04:49 AM   #16
Pro
 
wackman's Avatar
 
Trade: Builder, Additions, large remodels...Lately also small remodels.......
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Portland Oregon
Posts: 889
Rewards Points: 500

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


Quote:
Originally Posted by K2eoj View Post
I probably hate bureaucracy more than anyone but I can't dance.

I think even the best dancers would have a problem at our joint.
I just had an issue with the city. They told me I couldn't do something I wanted to do. I fought with them a little bit but then appeared to give up and do what they wanted.

I waited 4 weeks and it cost me a little bit of money to sit on it but then I came back armed to the teeth with code and legalities but hopeing to fool them and get my way without the fight.

This group never even questioned it. I got the permit I wanted in about 2 hours. It just goes to show if you can boogie and have some political savvy you can usually get your way, at least here.

It's like dealing with the cops (from a different lifetime), don't tell them $h!t, make them figure everything out on their own and you'll probably get set free. Make the inspectors and plans examiners figure everything out and they'll miss something. If they like you to begin with that'll only help.

Sorry, I'm a little intoximicated...

Wack
wackman is offline  
Old 11-24-2006, 06:29 AM   #17
Pro
 
RobertCDF's Avatar
 
Trade: Custom deck builder
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 7,868
Rewards Points: 3,487

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


Quote:
Originally Posted by cmwacasey View Post
A savvy contractor can dance around permits that can waste his time and add unnecessary cost for a HO.I am not against liscence and permits for contractors that have not already proven themselves.I care more about MY customers than the government and their inspectors,that only care about their job.(generally speaking)
I have NO respect for a "contractor" who does not have a license in state that requires one. I think it is just a stupid plan. $75 a year is a waste? Come on get real.
RobertCDF is online now  
Old 11-24-2006, 08:56 AM   #18
Pro
 
Mike Finley's Avatar
 
Trade: Bathroom Remodeling
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Littleton, Colorado
Posts: 14,078
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


Quote:
Originally Posted by cmwacasey View Post
A savvy contractor can dance around permits that can waste his time and add unnecessary cost for a HO.I am not against liscence and permits for contractors that have not already proven themselves.I care more about MY customers than the government and their inspectors,that only care about their job.(generally speaking)
Could you elaborate on which permits you are talking about that add unnecessary costs and waste a contractors time?
Mike Finley is offline  
Old 11-24-2006, 09:22 AM   #19
Pro
 
tkle's Avatar
 
Trade: general building and masonry
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,084
Rewards Points: 500

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Finley View Post
Could you elaborate on which permits you are talking about that add unnecessary costs and waste a contractors time?
Licenses,codes,and permits are there for the public's protection.They also help me establish price by putting forth the same standards for all to meet.To bypass these steps saying it's for the good of the customer is just plain wrong.It's only good for the hacks.
tkle is offline  
Old 11-24-2006, 09:55 AM   #20
Pro
 
K2's Avatar
 
Trade: Colorado master electrician, EC, B-1 GC
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Colorado Front Range
Posts: 2,604
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Advantages Of Contractor's License


Quote:
I am too busy to worry about a liscense.
How much time can it take to get a license??

A licensed guy can do everything an unlicensed guy can do.

K2 is offline  


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Bond requirement for contractors license in CA jgjrei Contractor Licensing 7 01-06-2014 12:59 PM
Indiana general contractors license Michaeljp86 General Discussion 10 07-24-2007 06:41 AM
California Contractors License Schools MC Excavating Contractor Licensing 6 02-16-2007 12:17 AM
CA Contractors License for Labor Only work? El Dorado Wood General Discussion 78 12-12-2006 01:39 AM
Contractors License keithguts Business 1 01-28-2006 06:35 PM

Join Now... It's Fast and FREE!

I am a professional contractor
I am a DIY Homeowner
Drywall Talk is for
PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTORS ONLY!

At DrywallTalk.com we cater exlusivly to professional contractors who make their living as a contractor. Knowing that many homeowners and DIYers are looking for a community to call home, we've created www.DIYChatroom.com DIY Chatroom is full of helpful advices and perfect for DIY homeowners.

Redirecing in 10 seconds
No Thanks
terms of service

Already Have an Account?