Just like any other entrepreneur in California, contractors are well aware of the need for effective advertising. However, as we've established in prior posts, unlike many other classes of entrepreneurs, contractors are subject to strict advertising requirements.
This means everything from satisfying lettering requirements for business vehicles to prohibiting promotions about bonding. We'll conclude our discussion of this important topic in today's post.
Can I get in trouble for advertising too many services?
The California Business and Professions Code provides that contractors can only advertise for those services that they are licensed to perform. To illustrate, a plumbing contractor would not be able to advertise that he or she performs masonry work unless in possession of the necessary licensure.
Indeed, advertising beyond the scope of a contractor license is a misdemeanor and punishable by a civil fine of $700 to $1,000, meaning the affected individual might need to cut a large check if any additional fines are handed down by the court or Registrar.
What about the highly regulated area of asbestos removal?
The B&P Code indicates that contractors advertising asbestos abatement services must not only comply with the requirements previously outlined, but also ensure that advertisements outline their registered name and the following two numbers:
- The Contractors State License Board-issued asbestos certification number; and
- The registration number required to perform asbestos abatement work as documented by Section 6501.5 of the Labor Code
Any failure to post these numbers will result in the issuance of a notice to comply by the Registrar. Should a contractor fail to take the necessary remedial measures or advertise for asbestos abatement services despite not having the necessary certification/registration, a citation will be issued calling for a fine of $100 to $1,500.
What then are the key points that contractors should keep in mind when it comes to advertising?
Contractors looking to attract business on billboards, on business cards, online or any other applicable forum should always keep the following key points in mind:
- Anything that resembles advertising or could be construed as such should include a license number
- Avoid misleading advertisements or price quotes that will not be honored
- Don't advertise about bonding or services beyond the scope of a license
If you are contractor with questions about advertising or starting your own outfit, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can guide you through the process and handle all legal issues going forward.