Guest Author: Originally published August 12, 2016 by Javier Payan
In the State of California, a contractor's license, which is issued by the California State Licensing Board or CSLB, a contractor's license is not required to clean pools. The reason for this is that, in California, a contractors license is required if a job or project costs $500.00 or more. So as long as your pool guy is not charging you $500.00 or more to clean your pool, a license is not required. Now, if that same pool guy installs new equipment or does repairs that exceed $500.00, then a license is required by the CSLB In my experience most pool guys do equipment repairs and or equipment installation, therefore they should be licensed.
The CSLB is under the Department of Consumer Affairs, the consumer agency which regulates business in California. This is the part of the state government that is looking out for the consumer.
Do you know who is in your back yard? If they have a contractor's license, they have been background checked.
What is required to obtain a pool contractor's license?
So should your pool guy have a contractor's license? I would always say yes, even if he/she does not do jobs over $500.00. My reasoning is this: in order for a contractor or business to obtain a license from the CSLB,
1) an application needs to be submitted and approved,
2) a test that covers basic business law and another test that covers the contractor's related trade must be passed,
3) a fee has to be paid to the CSLB,
4) each contractor has to submit fingerprints to be kept on file with the CSLB,
5) a background check needs to be passed,
6) no outstanding debts such as child support or spousal support must come up,
7) a criminal background check must be passed, etc.
Benefits of a background check
Sounds like a lot of hoops to have to jump through. However, when you deal with a licensed contractor, all these items must have had to be met.
Remember, all this is the efforts of the Department of Consumer Affairs trying to help the public screen people who will enter your home or property to do business with you.
Lets ask the question again. Does my pool guy need to have a contractor's license? No, but he really should. Without one, you really do not know who you are allowing onto your property. You can look up the licensing status of each contractor on the CLSB website, www.cslb.ca.gov
About the Author: Javier Payan owns Payan Pool Service in San Diego, CA. He and his team manage hundreds of residential pools and insist upon doing things the right way. Javier knows that with his contractor's license, he is doing everything legally and ethically, paying taxes and keeping records. Unlicensed workers may not be.