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Everyone is going to have to think this one through so as not to intimidate new startups or someone who had delivery or labor problems.
How can we clean up our industry and regain consumer confidence? Wrong answers include lynching and drive-bys of known offenders.
I'm serious now. We know that we have an image problem to overcome and I know that we have a lot of imaginative minds out there, let's put them to work. If someone doesn't come up with something soon the gov't will make more decisions for us.
A few irreputable contractors are defaming the rest of us.
Think it over, take your time. I'm going to ride drag here and if you can stay serious AND provide some insights, I will forward the best ideas to a large group that includes the Prez, many members of Congress, NAHB and a few others.
Caps on everybody!
We build America!
 

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As much as I hate to say it I only see government intervention working for the long term.

Licensing agencies, state regulations, building depts, judicial systems.

Licensing requirements eliminate the fast bucks a con man can make. A system that homeowners can use to quickly eliminate fake licenses or non-licensed contractors. A system that follows the person not the business so that you can't just form another company.

State regulations - such as the 3 day right of recission on contracts, the California limit of $1000 down payments.

Building departments - code enforcement and especially permit enforcement. Inspectors who actually inspect.

The judicial system to not only allow a judgement but most importantly provide a way to collect on the judgement.
 

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Professional Organizations are an effective way. It's much easier to toss someone out of a professional organization than to take legal action against them.

Tim
 

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Congress regulates itself...that seems to work pretty well :cheesygri

In my industry public contracts require the posting of performance and payment bonds. This requirement really keeps start-ups at bay (from the work that the well established companies are doing) and imposes prerequisite capital requirements on companies that keep them from getting in over their heads or skipping out on a contract. I think it's something that generally works to the benefit of all in the industry.
West Virginia requires contractors to post certain bonds with the state before they even do business in the state. The bonds protect workers from payroll and workers compensation disputes and protect the state against evasion of corporate tax liabilities.
How 'bout if all contractors got a bar code tatooed on their neck, then...
 

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I've wondered if something similar to what the insurance industry associations do could work. The association forms model regulation with input from all the industry players and the states often implement these models. This works fairly well for new frontiers (such as a particular new product). It keeps the states from having to recreate the wheel and it allows the insurance agencies and companies input-- and some level of standardization.

I agree that some type of SRO (self regulartory organiztions) is desperately needed by the industry. My concern though, is that these organizations (NASD for example) start feeding on their own power. But they are effective in at least maintaining some amount of control. Another big problem with ever implementing something is going to be the disparate levels of regulation already in place in different states/municipalities. (I have a keen grasp of the obvious!)

I think also, that the regulation should not necessarily be a large barrier to entry. Some trades (plumbing) require 5 or more years of full time experience as a helper. This seems like more of a way of to guarantee cheap labor for licensed plumbers than to protect the public. I think that with intense study, this trade could be picked up a little quicker. Medical school and a 1 yr residency vs journeymen plumber?

Does any of this apply to the topic????
 

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"How 'bout if all contractors got a bar code tatooed on their neck, then..."

No joke. Just had a guy in our office with one.

Tim
 

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trekr,
One problem is that there aren't that many insurance agencies. Many independent sellers - but they are all selling insurance from the same firms (Hartford, Mutual of Omaha, All State, State Farm, etc) Compare the marketable insurance companies with the number of contractors.. staggering difference really.
Statistic - 3200 approximate insurance providers in 2000 worldwide.
 

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Dharma Building
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There are a couple of specific ways that a local builder's association could be of benefit. One idea is standardization of contracts. We are, after all, contractors. We enter into contracts with both customers and subs. At this point, there doesn't appear to be much, if any, uniformity in contract terms. Perhaps some of the "boilerplate" language in our contracts could be standardized without sacrificing the flexibility needed to contend with scope of work and terms of payment. A contract bearing the imprimatur of the local builders' association would at least assure a consumer that the contract contains no terms designed to take advantage of an unwary homeowner. Second, an association could offer a mediation and/or arbitration program that is both affordable and easily available to both homeowner and contractor. Perhaps easy and early mediation of disputes would prevent a lot of problems down the road, and permit early identification of contractors who are dishonest or in over their heads.
 
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