|Forum topic by wooderson||posted 04-02-2011 11:57 PM||1074 views||0 times favorited||5 replies|
04-02-2011 11:57 PM
Up until now, my woodworking experiences have consisted of building small furniture in my own garage for my own family. No money or business involved. No insurance, no licenses, no nothing but myself, power tools, a radio, some wood, and several beers. Everything I’ve built so far has come out looking pretty damn good.
Now, I have the opportunity to turn the hobby into some money. A neighbor of mine does home theater installations. He has a customer that needs a simple cabinet with a shelf on top. This cabinet/shelf would fit perfectly into a nook in his wall and be fixed to that wall. The project seems simple enough. I build it, paint it, and install it. In fact, the customer is actually willing to paint it themselves because I admitted to having little painting experience. It seems like a great first project. Plus, it could lead to more work both with the neighbor and with the customer. What concerns me is all the legal/business mumbo-jumbo.
Do I need a contractor’s license?
What’s scares me the most is being sued if something were to go wrong. Let’s say hypothetically that I damage a gas line (the installation is right next to a gas fireplace) and the house burns down at some point. Without liability insurance I could be sued for everything I own, correct? Could I possibly get the customer to sign a “release of liability” and therefore avoid the need for the insurance? Since this is my first job, I’d like to see how it goes before I go out and get all the insurance and licenses. Then, if I decide that this is something I’d like to continue doing, I’d go and do all the necessary insurance/license stuff.
As a sidenote, this is all taking place in Southern California in a pretty expensive neighborhood. Not sure if the laws are the same from state-to-state, but any info anybody could give me would be greatly appreciated. I am researching this stuff on my own but it’d be nice to hear it from someone who has actually been through it. Thanks.