Over the past 3 months I have been reading the Angie's list monthly magazine and was amazed at all the contractor advertisements that were in violation of the Mass Home Improvement Law. The Mass Home Improvement Law explicitly states that contractors must publish their registration number in all advertising. One would expect that Angie's list would not allow contractors who violate the law to advertise in their publication. I was thinking that it was time to expose this matter due to the dangers posed to homeowners who hire what they think is a good company based on the Angie's List.
Well I suppose their ears were ringing because this months magazine is devoted to the massive problems associated with contractor licensing throughout the country. The articles are eye opening and all contractors should take notice that the tide is turning in USA. The public is learning that hiring a contractor without the proper credentials, is not a risk worth taking. If you are not sure of the rules go to the state web site and learn what is needed to be in complete compliance. The only logical choice is to be a completely legal business. In our contractor coaching seminars we teach clients to obtain the proper licensing. The List has a huge following and should be applauded for bringing this long overdue issue to the forefront. Angie states in her article that all contractors will have 60 days to comply with the law or they will lose their eligibility to advertise with the List.
The articles cover a gamut of topics regarding the inconsistency of licensing and enforcement. In California they have strong enforcement, where in Massachusetts and Ohio enforcement is sparse, due to lack of funding. One article covers a contractor who says licensing is a joke and a ruse to take his money! Do you think an educated homeowner will hire him?
In Florida, Jay Carlson, President of the Florida Home Builders Association, is quoted as saying "unlicensed contractors put homeowners at personal and financial risk. Consumers often become victims and the livelihood of the law abiding, licensed contractors is threatened."
The tide is turning in favor of prosecuting contractors who chose to be illegal. With the recession culling out the fly by night contractors and increased consumer awareness of contractor credentials, the good guys will prevail to serve the marketplace. Educated legal contractors and remodelers are using this down to focus on learning how to make their businesses better. Many are taking courses, working with a contractor business coach and implementing systems.
Next licensing issue coming in 2010; the new EPA RRP lead paint law requiring all contractors who work on pre-1978 homes to be certified by the EPA. Historically no one likes increased regulation. However these new focuses may be just what our industry needs to reach a level of professionalism so lacking in the current remodeling and home improvement industry.