According to reports that have been sent directly to me, contractors in California are being penalized by the State of California. They’re being penalized for not displaying their license numbers on their Google My Business websites. Apparently the State of California considers a Business.Site website to be advertising (just like a website hosted on a unique domain name). Therefore, if a contractor does not display their California license number on the Google My Business site, as defined in the CSLB Rules and Regulations.
I took a look at the CSLB Rules and Regulations, which can be found in the California License Law and Regulations book. For example, on page 590, there is a rule number 861 License Number Required in Advertising. This is also referenced in a bulletin:
The California Contractors State License Board(CSLB) is reminding licensed contractors to include their license number on all commercial vehicles and advertisements. This includes online sales postings and websites, as well as newspaper, radio, and television advertisements. Advertising laws must be followed to avoid disciplinary action and fines (Business and Professions Code sections 7027, 7029.5, and 7030.5, and California Code of Regulations section 861).
This apparently does include websites, and based on the information I have received, the CSLB is penalizing contractors because their license numbers are not located on the contractor’s Business.Site “website”. Here is an example of a listing that appears to be a licensed contractor in the State of California that does not have their license on their Google My Business Business.Site “website”. I put the word “website” in quotes because I would personally not define the auto-generated Google My Business Site as a website. Granted it’s a web page, but it’s only one page, and contains the information from Google My Business. In the example below. it’s most likely generated from the information that’s already entered into Google My Business (where is no field for the license information that I know of).
As you can see, it appears to be mostly information that is directly from Google My Business. In the Google My Business dashboard, there is an option to build a website, and this is not automatically generated. Business owners must actually click on the link on the sidebar to create a Business.Site website, which is initially auto-generated by Google. Then, the business owner does have the option to edit the information, or even add information. In this case, the contractor should know that they need to display their license number on their website, even if it is just part of a Google My Business listing. Note that I have no information on whether or not the company or contractor listed above has been penalized by CSLB for not including their license number on their Business.Site, but I have provided it as an example of a business in California that is licensed by CSLB but does not include the license on their website. One option that these businesses have is to log into their Google My Business dashboard and remove the Business.Site listing. If they don’t have their own domain name and their own website, that’s what I recommend.
Currently, there is no requirement from Google for businesses in certain industry categories to enter their State license information. In my opinion, Google could prevent a lot of spam and “lead generation” listings on Google My Business by requiring businesses to include their license number(s) on their GMB listings if they are in certain categories in certain States. For example, if you are a contractor in California, then you must display your license number on your website–and this would include a Google My Business listing. So, Google could provide a field for this information, and even require it for GMB verification.
If you are a licensed contractor in the State of California and have been penalized for not having your license number on your Google My Business Business.Site website, please get in touch, I’d like to hear from you.