Please note that due to the age of this newsletter many items may be out of date
--------------- The Contractors Group .com Newsletter ---------------
--------------- June 01, 2000 Issue #2 ---------------
(December 2009 - please note that these older issues of our newsletter will have outdated information)
Hello! and welcome to The Contractors Group .com - We are very excited, our readership has grown by over 100 since our first issue on May 15, 2000. I have created this newsletter in two different formats - plain text which follows this message and an attachment created in portable document format (.pdf) to be read with the freely available Acrobat Reader (click here http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html if you want Acrobat Reader 4.0 and don't have it yet). Now, I know that many people are concerned about viruses in attachments and probably will not open my attachment but, if you do choose to open it you will see a newsletter created in AppleWorks with a really cool layout, and some neat graphics (and no viruses!). Thanks for your time and happy reading! Diane
01. Info about the website www.thecontractorsgroup.com
02. Knowing your forms makes a difference.....
03. Unlicensed contractors nabbed.....
04. Speaking of the Contractors State License Board.....
05. Meet our advertisers.....
06. Special thanks to Bob Hall.....
07. Bits and Pieces.....
08. General Contractors that have joined The Contractors Group .com.....
09. Free webpages for General Contractors, Architects and even Subcontractors.....
New website brings the power of the Internet to Contractors.
There's a new website in town, and from all indications it just might revolutionize the ways of the construction industry. This website has something for every contractor, newly licensed, already established and even for those who are considering obtaining their license. There are step by step guidelines as to how to obtain a State of California contractors license, how to set up a contracting business to be within the confines of the legal system, pros and cons of the different ways your business can be set up, just about any form a contractor needs (such as releases #1, 2, 3, and 4; preliminary notices; proposal and invoice templates; etc.) as well as advertisements from suppliers to the construction industry (see page 3 of this newsletter for a highlight of the advertisers). Page three of the website has a search engine, so if you have a question about something you can type in a pertinent keyword and up pops a window with a list of the items at the site that pertain to your keyword. The goals behind this website are 1) to provide on-going day and night support for the contractor and 2) to encourage, support and even highlight fair practice in the industry. The creators of this website have been involved in the construction industry for approximately 20 years and the amount of information at their website shows it. What makes this website unique from so many others out there? Contractors are able to obtain all the information and forms they want from this site, as often as they need to, completely free of charge. The address for the website is http://www.thecontractorsgroup.com . Click on the link to check it out, but don't forget to read the rest of this newsletter. Should you have comments about this newsletter, or about happenings in the construction industry, by all means submit those comments to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org to the creators of this site, as they wish to make this newsletter and the website as helpful to contractors as possible.
Knowing Your Forms Makes a Difference
For those of you who have been in business for a while, and have your own forms in your computer (as well as those of you who are new to the contracting business), are you aware of the fact that the preliminary form has changed? Do you know that if you do not use the new form, your rights might not be protected? Follow this link to obtain an updated version of the preliminary form. http://www.thecontractorsgroup.com/list_of_forms_to_print.htm
Unlicensed Contractors Nabbed
APPLE VALLEY, CA - As reported by staff writer Kim Prendergast in the high desert Daily Press newspaper, a sting conducted by the California Contractors State License Board, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and Apple Valley code enforcement officers succeeded in catching 10 unlicensed 'contractors' (yours truly doesn't even like to refer to them as contractors) bidding for work in excess of $500 (in most if not all cases, licensing is not required for bids and/or work under that amount).
One man, reported as being 76 years old, said that he knew he was breaking the law but that he had no regrets because he was doing what he had to do to earn a living. Another man, reported as being 25, asked for leniency stating that he has traffic warrants and did not want to go to jail. This guy stated that he has a kid at home to support, and that while he was embarrassed, he was not repentant because, as in the case of the 76 year old man, he has to make a living. He stated that he was attempting to be as legal as possible and that he only asked for enough money to get the job done.
Members of the agencies involved read through newspaper ads and the yellow pages of the phone book looking for those advertisements that did not list contractor state license numbers (a requirement of your contractor license is that you put your license number in all advertisements). The investigators contacted those without license numbers listed and invited them to bid on various projects at a home in the 1000 block of Moki Road in Apple Valley.
The investigators scheduled 11 appointments and 10 showed up to bid on the various projects. Each time an unsuspecting 'contractor' arrived, he would be invited to bid by officers posing as homeowners. Once the worker provided the proposal, he was handcuffed and cited.
According to the article, Cruz Reyna, chief of the fraud investigators unit for the contractors board stated that there are about 3,500 complaints against unlicensed contractors each year. When unlicensed 'contractors' go in and do shoddy work, the homeowner's only recourse is in civil court. As we licensed contractors know, if a complaint is placed against one of us, and that complaint is judged to be valid, we can be fined and even stripped of our contractor license (as well as be hit by criminal and civil penalties).
Along with the citations issued in regards to unlicensed contracting activity, were six notices to appear in court, eight citations for conducting business in the town of Apple Valley without an Apple Valley business license, three administrative citations, and one warning letter.
Now, just to protect myself from being accused of stealing someone's article, I want to mention one last time that the information in this article (excluding the writings in italic) is credited to Kim Prendergast, staff writer for the high desert Daily Press newspaper. Click http://www.highdesert.com go to their website.
Maybe these guys who were busted will find out about our website, and use it to become legally licensed contractors! In the meantime, way to go Cruz (and company), it is cut-throat enough out there for us licensed guys, without the unlicensed ones under-bidding us.
Speaking of the Contractor's State License Board.....
We recently contacted the Board and requested that a brief press release about our new website be included in the newsletter they mail out somewhat regularly. We have yet to receive a response from them, but we are still hoping that they will honor our request. We explained to them that we are on a limited budget (we only charge $350 per year to our advertisers, with any and all perks included at no extra charge), and therefore cannot afford the $10,000 per month that we have been quoted to advertise our website at other websites. If you like what you see at our site and in the newsletter, please, do us a favor and pass the information along to another contractor (and/or to anyone you know who is considering obtaining his/her license). If you want to help us out even further, e-mail the Board and tell them about this cool new website that is really, really helpful to contractors.... We've even provided the link for you, click on it and you will be able to instantly send an e-mail to mailto:Licensing@dca.cslb.ca.gov and, thank you for your support!
Meet our advertisers....
Our goal is to sign up advertisers that are suppliers to the construction industry, so that you, the contractor, can have one place to go to for all of your needs. Think about it, you can visit our site, create one e-mail requesting quotes on whatever it might be that you need, and e-mail it to all of the applicable advertisers at once (then sit back and let the suppliers compete for your business!). To this end we are pleased to welcome to The Contractors Group .com the following firms:
Southern California Insurance Brokerage, Inc. has been with us for about two months now and they have the fine distinguishment of being our first advertiser. We would like to thank Gary Oltmanns and Gabriel Hill for being so quick to sign on with us. Welcome to the site! Please visit their website by clicking http://www.thecontractorsgroup.com/southerncaliforniainsurance, and give them a chance to quote your insurance policies.
Pacific Oaks Insurance Services, LLC is our newest advertiser. Thank you to Steve Barrett and Hank Clark for joining us, and welcome aboard to you both. Visit these guys by clicking http://www.thecontractorsgroup.com/pacificoaksinsurance, and check out their various insurance offerings.
Who will be our next advertiser? For $350 per year our advertisers receive the following benefits: an unique address that you can use freely in all advertising, etc.; a webpage that we design, create, post and maintain (of course you are more than welcome to design the page yourself and/or supply artwork, wording, etc. that you would like posted.); a link in your webpage to any and all e-mail addresses you provide; any and all forms that you require in business will be posted at your site for clients to fill out on-line and submit on-line to your e-mail address; inclusion in every newsletter we send out during your year of advertisement; inclusion on cd-roms that we plan on creating and distributing to new licensees. In addition to all of this, every new perk that is added to the package, after you purchase your advertisement, will automatically become part of your package, at no extra charge. Plus... at any time, should you need modification to your webpage for any reason, we will be happy to make those changes for you, again at no extra charge! Please click http://www.thecontractorsgroup.com to go to the website. If you like what you see, click here mailto:email@example.com to send us an e-mail and we will be happy to add you to our group!
Special thanks goes out to Bob Hall, a concrete sawing subcontractor........
Bob tried to use the 3.0 pdf forms but could not edit them. He e-mailed me to let me know, so I fixed them and now they are working just fine. Thanks Bob!!
Bits and Pieces
American Express has a place at their website titled 'Voices from Main Street' where small business owners can go to voice their opinions about what would help to make it easier to run our businesses (ie: less red tape, less governmental regulation, etc). The address to the page I am referring to is http://home3.americanexpress.com/smallbusiness/voices/ . When and if you have the time, click on the link and let your voice be heard (or would that be 'let your words be seen'). While you are there, check out their article on 'Website Cramming'. Apparently, small business owners are being billed exorbitant amounts of money for website construction services that were never ordered and/or created. It is a very short article, probably take you less than 5 minutes to read it, but it could save you a bundle in fraudulent charges to your company.
Wet Signature vs. Digital Signature
Isn't it astounding how much we contractors spend on postage, for each and every job, because everybody wants 'wet' signatures (another way of saying original instead of copy)? Well... we purchased the full-version Adobe Acrobat to create forms in PDF, meaning you can read the forms with your free Acrobat Reader, and we discovered that those who own the full version can digitally sign their documents. We also discovered that those who have only the Acrobat Reader (rather than the full version) can not digitally sign their forms. A digital signature consists of your name along with a password that you create. When you have completed a form, you can apply your digital signature and then e-mail the form to your customer. A digital signature is more secure than a 'wet' signature for one very important reason... You can't hold a digital signature up to a window to trace it (how many of you have lost money due to a forged supplier signature?)! We have put in a request to Adobe (creator of Acrobat and Acrobat Reader) that they add the digital signature capability to Acrobat Reader. Can you imagine how much postage we could all save?, as well as paper?? I wonder how many trees the construction industry goes through just due to the paperwork involved in each project. If you think that digital signature capabilities in Acrobat Reader is a good idea, then http://www.adobe.com to go to the Adobe website, then submit a suggestion that digital signature capability be added to Reader.
Following is a list of general contractors who have joined with The Contractors Group .com
Welcome aboard and thanks for joining us!
(click on the company titles to go to the respective webpages.)
This section is outdated...
Come on the rest of you general contractors! Read the next section and then let us build a page for you for free!!
For those of you who have not heard the news yet, we are building webpages for general contractors for free. We will design (unless you have a design you would rather us use), create, post and maintain your webpage, free of charge. The only thing we ask of you is 1) let us post the information for jobs you are soliciting bids on (information such as job title, job description, job location, bid date, addendas, etc.) and 2) send your subcontractors to the website to obtain that job information as well as forms needed (such as: releases 1 - 4, preliminary notices, prevailing wage reports, etc.). If you have special forms, we would like to post those also. Why do we want to create webpages for general contractors free of charge? Because, every time you send a subcontractor to the site, you are generating traffic for us, traffic that entices suppliers to the construction industry to advertise with us. If you want a free webpage, click here mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org to send us an e-mail and we will contact you.
Guess what?? We are also building webpages for architects, for free! We will design (unless you have a design you would rather us use), create, post and maintain your webpage, free of charge. The only thing we ask of you is 1) let us post the information for projects you have designed as well as any addendas that are issued on the project and 2) notify your customers about the website so that they too can 'surf' on by to gather anything from the website that might be of help to them. If you have special forms, we would like to post those also. The more traffic at our site, the more advertisers we can sign up. If you want a free webpage, click here mailto:email@example.com to send us an e-mail and we will contact you.
Bring us two (2) paying advertisers and we will place a free ad for you in one of our newsletters. Bring us five (5) paying advertisers and we will place a free ad for you in three of our newsletters. Bring us ten (10) paying advertisers and not only will we place a free ad for you in six of our newsletters, we will also build a free webpage for you. Advertisements are $350 per year which includes any and all perks that come with the webpage. http://www.thecontractorsgroup.com/advertisement_information.htm to go to the area at our site that describes the advertising program. Talk to your suppliers (ie: insurance agents, accountants, attorneys, material suppliers, etc., etc., etc.) and tell them about the site (you can even forward this newsletter to their e-mail addresses). When they contact us to purchase advertising, have them mention your personal and company name, and we will make sure that you get the credit for it!
For those of you who missed our first issue, click here http://www.thecontractorsgroup.com/newsletters.htm, and your browser will take you to see it. If this newsletter (or the first issue) were forwarded to you, and you wish to receive future issues then please, click here mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org, type subscribe in the subject line, send it to us and we will add you to our growing list of recipients. Likewise, if you are receiving this newsletter directly from us, but would rather not, then please, click here mailto:email@example.com, type unsubscribe in the subject line, send it to us and we will remove you from our list.
Well, good-bye for now. Have fun, be safe, and don't forget to send us 'stuff' that you would like to see in the newsletter!! Diane Dennis