Advertising Guidelines for Contractors Licensed in Hawaii

April 6, 2016
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Learn What Advertising Guidelines There Are For a Contractors Licensed in Hawaii

There are several laws in the state of Hawaii regarding advertising content and delivery. For contractors, there are additional laws that must be followed. Be sure you are aware of all relevant laws and regulations before putting any money into an advertisement. This article aims to outline these relevant regulations and give some advice on effective advertising for a contractors license in Hawaii.

General Advertisement Laws

The most important law for advertisements is that they cannot be inaccurate, dishonest, or misleading. This is called deceptive advertising. Lies and empty promises are liable to legal action. Deceptive advertising includes advertising that does any of the following:

  • Is misleading regarding the geographical origin of goods or services.
  • Misrepresents the physical conditions of materials, such as claiming them as new when they are damaged, altered, reclaimed, or reused.
  • Misrepresents the standard of the advertised goods or services when they are in fact of a lower standard, quality, or grade.
  • Misrepresents the style or model of the goods.
  • Advertises for goods or services with no intention of selling them as advertised.
  • Advertises goods or services with no intention of supplying a reasonable amount to meet expected public demand, except if advertised as of limited quantity.
  • Passes off goods or services as those of another source,
  • Suggests goods or services have certain approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, or quantities that they do not have,
  • Includes false negative information about the quality of the goods, services, or business of competitors,
  • Misrepresents the reason for, existence of, or amounts relating to price reductions,
  • Includes false information regarding a person’s sponsorship, status, approval, affiliation, or connections,
  • Includes information that is likely to cause confusion or misunderstanding regarding any of the above information,

Contractor Advertisement Laws

The most important rule for a contractors license in Hawaii is that no business may provide or advertise to provide contract services without holding the appropriate Hawaii contractors license.

  • Contractors may not advertise services that are outside the scope of their license. For example, a contractor with a general building license cannot advertise or provide services that require a specialty contractor license.
  • Working or advertising services that are outside the scope of the contractor’s license are considered to be engaging in unlicensed activity.

Any advertising that is done through the media, which includes the following formats:

  • Radio
  • Television
  • Online
  • Magazine
  • Newspapers
  • Yellow pages

Must include the following information:

  • The name under which the licensee is licensed (or his or her trade name so long as that trade name is filed with the Contractors License Board)
  • The license number associated with the entity placing the advertisement

What Constitutes a Contractor?

Besides doing contractor work, there are some additional groups that are considered contractors:

  • Any individual who advertises, negotiates, or offers to undertake work on behalf of more than one contractor is themself considered a contractor and must hold a contractors license in Hawaii.
  • Projects that amount to more than $1,000 (and are not done privately) require a contractor’s license in Hawaii. A project’s value is estimated by including the following expenses: labor, materials and taxes.
  • Projects that involve any of the following require a license, even if the total value is less than $1,000: building permits, electrical work, plumbing work, elevator mechanic work, as part of a larger project that is valued at over $1,000.

Advertise Through Exposure

While computers and the internet can be an overwhelming and confusing platform, it’s important to address this medium and try to utilize it for its massive exposure potential. A large portion of the population turns to the internet to solve almost any problem, especially when it comes to deciding where to get goods or services. There are numerous websites that cater to these individuals with a rating system, reviews, and information regarding the company. Keeping this information up to date and encouraging customers to leave reviews can go a long way regarding your exposure and ability to attract new customers.

Since a quick search of a specific service in a specific geographical region can turn up thousands of results, it’s important to know how to be one of the first links, or at least on the first page, of results. Though companies can pay to be the first or second link, this comes with a small indicator that your link is an advertisement, which is a strong psychological turn-off for consumers.

Engaging in something called “search engine optimization” (SEO) can help get your website into the top results. SEO is the conscious catering to search engine algorithms. How does Google decide which websites are the first results? It’s a matter of how much relevant content the website has to the search entered. By increasing the number of pages on your site and using key phrases related to your goods and services, you’re likely to increase the chances of someone clicking on your link from a Google search.

Be sure to advertise according to all regulations for a contractors license in Hawaii and put some effort into your website to increase exposure – a very cheap way to advertise!