How Do I Know if My Contractor is Licensed?By law, anyone who contracts for or bids on a construction project valued at $500 or more (total labor and materials)must be licensed by the CSLB. To qualify for a license,a contractor must pass a criminal background check, verify four years of journey-level experience in the trade, pass both a trade and license law examination, and post a license bond. Contractors are required by law to put their CSLB license number in all advertisements.Unlicensed operators are required to say they are not licensed in their advertisements.• Ask to see the contractor’s plastic pocket license and a photo identification.• Verify the license and its status via the CSLBWeb site: www.cslb.ca.gov or toll-free automated line: 800.321.CSLB (2752).
Report Unlicensed Activity
Unlicensed contracting is part of California's estimated annual $60 to $140 billion dollar underground economy. These individuals do not pay taxes, have insurance or bonds. It is not unusual for them to be involved in other illegal activities as well.
ALERT If you have a contract with an unlicensed individual and wish to file a complaint, please refer to the section on Filing a Construction Complaint. If you know of unlicensed activity and just want to report it, then you are in the proper section.The following sections define illegal contracting and how to report unlicensed activity with the Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT).
What is illegal contractor activity?
This section describes illegal contracting and the programs CSLB has in place to combat the activity.
Who is considered an illegal contractor?It is illegal for an unlicensed person to perform contracting work on any project valued at $500 or more in labor and materials. Besides being illegal, unlicensed contractors lack accountability and have a high rate of involvement in construction scams. They also are unfair competition for licensed contractors who operate with bonds, insurance and other responsible business practices.What is the CSLB doing to stop illegal activity? The Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) is set up to monitor and combat illegal activity. SWIFT has teams around the state that conduct stings on a regular basis and sweep construction sites.SWIFT also conducts joint operations and sweeps with other state agencies dedicated to combating underground activity. The partnerships with other agencies raise the penalties and fines for violators by increasing the scope of violations to include taxes, illegal payrolls, workers compensation and worker safety.
How can I report unlicensed activity?
This section explains how consumers, building officials and legitimate licensed contractors can report unlicensed activity.
SWIFTThe Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) receives complaints against unlicensed individuals actively working on a construction project where the cost for labor and materials is $500 or more.Reporting unlicensed activityYou may obtain the Board's SWIFT Lead Referral form on this website, or by calling either the Southern or Northern SWIFT offices. When completed please mail or fax the lead form to one of the offices listed below, based on the county where the unlicensed activity is being performed.For unlicensed activity performed in the counties of Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura, send the lead referral form to:
Norwalk SWIFT Unit
12501 East Imperial Highway, Suite 620
Norwalk, CA 90650
Office numbers (562) 345-7600 / FAX (562) 466-6065.
For unlicensed activity performed in all other counties in California, send the lead referral form to:
Sacramento SWIFT Unit
P. O. Box 269117
Sacramento, CA 95826-9117
Office numbers (916) 255-2924 / FAX (916) 369-7265.
Please provide complete and detailed information about the unlicensed activity and indicate if there are employees on the project. The more information and evidence the better.Complaints are processed according to the date of receipt, priority, and staff availability if the job site is located in a remote area. The complaint will be assigned to an Enforcement Representative who will follow-up on the information provided.