Advertising is a part of every business. Some people would argue that it’s the most important part of any business. How else would the public know the services your company offers? But when it comes to the construction industry, advertising must be accomplished in a particular way.
There are specific rules to follow, or you could find yourself in a pickle. Most critical is the fact that your certification or registration number must appear on all forms of advertising:
• “The registration or certification number of each contractor shall appear in each offer of services, business proposal, bid, contract, or advertisement…”
• “If a vehicle bears the name of a contractor or business organization, or any text or artwork which would lead a reasonable person to believe that the vehicle is used for contracting, the registration or certification number of the contractor must be conspicuously and legibly displayed with the name, text, or artwork.”
• “Local governments may also require that locally licensed contractors must also display their certificate of competency or license numbers…”
As you can see, any item you use to offer your services as a contractor needs to have your certification or registration clearly listed. Any websites, vehicles and/or brochures that list your services must contain the required certification numbers.
For example, if your company has a website that offers construction services, you need to position your certification or registration numbers on each page. The best location for these numbers is either in the header portion or in the footer of each page. The numbers must be easy to find and read.
Are there exceptions?
The law does exclude some advertising items from having to comply. Giveaway items, stationery and uniforms are not included in these rules:
• “… The term “advertisement” does not include business stationery or any promotional novelties such as balloons, pencils, trinkets, or articles of clothing.”
What happens if rules are not followed?
You could find yourself—and your company—in some trouble with a state regulating body if you don’t comply:
• “The board shall issue a notice of noncompliance for the first offense, and may assess a fine or issue a citation for failure to correct the offense within 30 days or for any subsequent offense, to any contractor or business organization that fails to include the certification or registration number as required by this part…”
This is one of those rules that contractors don’t know much about or don’t care much about. But it would be a mistake to ignore these compliance requirements.
Contractors are starting to receive citations, and some of them are being fined. Don’t be one of those contractors, especially when observance is so easy.
Alexander Barthet is principal of The Barthet Firm, a 10-lawyer construction law practice that has been serving South Florida’s construction industry for more than 20 years. Learn more at www.thelienzone.com.
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