An undercover sting operation resulted in citations issued to 15 unlicensed contractors at a Kern County house where they'd been invited to place bids for exterior and interior projects, according to the Contractors State License Board.

Ten of those cited also didn't have state-required insurance for their workers and face additional charges, a news release from the board said. The citations were issued Feb. 21-22 at a house near Fruitvale Norris Park. 

In California, all home improvement work totaling $500 or more in combined labor and material costs must be performed by a licensed contractor, the release said. Penalties for a first-time conviction for contracting without a license include up to six months in jail and up to $5,000 in fines, with subsequent convictions resulting in harsher penalties. 

"Homeowners take a huge risk when they hire unlicensed contractors," said CSLB Registrar Dave Fogt. "They are potentially liable if an unlicensed individual gets hurt on their property. Plus, recourse for homeowners is limited if the person's work is substandard or never completed."

The following were cited during the operation: David Michael Wiggins, Loren E. Stabile, Eddie Gene Fowler, Ronald Dean Reece, Jose Juan Rios Villegas Jr., Dimas Bibian Hernandez-Lopez, Jose D. Villapando Rodriguez, James Eugene Cody, Donnie Ray Hughes, Jared Chandler Parks, Joel Arnoldo Hernandez Jimenez and Gary Lee Ford, of Bakersfield; Randy Britton Jr. Hynson, of Taft; Joseph Dominus Stebbins, of Ridgecrest; and Paul Gonzalez, of Tulare. 

(2) comments

Peter Roth

Confucius say, bring a copy of the California Contractors License Law & Reference Book and show the judge where it says a Handyman has to carry Workman's Comp


An unlicensed handyman in CA can perform a wide range of services as long as the total cost of the project is less than $500. That includes labor and materials.

However, they cannot break a project up into smaller components to meet the $500 limit or work even work on part of a project that is more than $500.

For example, let’s say a customer is remodeling their kitchen and has several subcontractor’s helping on the project. You would not be able to perform any parts of that project even if your total bill to the customer is under $500. Let’s say they were going to pay you to install the sink. You couldn’t legally perform that service if it was part of a larger project.

There is also some language in the Law book that states that the work performed must be of “causal, minor, or inconsequential nature.” This leaves a big gray area, with no clear lines on what that actually means.

This all might seem like a deal breaker if you are thinking of starting a business, but California is actually a relatively handyman friendly state. There isn't anything that limits your ability to perform minor plumbing or electrical tasks. That leaves a LOT of services you can provide, For example you could fix fences, doors, drywall, hang TVs, repair appliances, install ceiling fans, repair toilets, among a lot of other services.

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