Post by Glenn Geller
I plan to start installing VoIP phones systems on hosted
PBX platforms (that is, with no central PBX unit on
premises). Some of the jobs will be over $500 and thus
might be contracting as defined in California. I didn't get
a straight answer from http://cslb.ca.gov about whether
a contractor's license is required.
"Contracting" as defined at the above-cited URL seems to be
work performed on homes and related properties, and you have
to past tests before you can get a contracting license.
FWIW, I've installed many phone systems operating as a sole
proprietorship (i.e., "consultant") for one-person companies
to medium-sized businesses and never needed any license to do
such work as reported on tax forms over the decades. I never
even needed a business license as I discovered discussing the
matter with my town -- I have a home office where I develop and
test things for later deployment at client sites and I would
occasionally VPN to client sites to fix problems remotely:Loading Image...
196kB, circa 2010
but I've never had clients visiting me. A business license would
have been required if I had been a walk-in operation regarding
parking/safety compliance (ADA) issues in my home neighborhood.
I've installed and maintained PBX and also asterisk VoIP systems
for many clients which appear simply as a line-item on invoices.
Do everything correctly the first time and you'll get continued
business and referrals without having to advertise. The last
resume I filled out was in 1965 for the GTE/Sylvania Electronic
Defense Labs (in Mountain View) and that was a mere formality
after I was already hired and working there (after moving from
White Sands Missile Range).
With that written, you should operate as if you were a business
with proposals, contracts, and proper billing/invoicing procedures
regardless if you're doing it for a neighbor or small/medium-sized
businesses -- that's just good (NOT common) sense and will also
avoid problems with the IRS and FTB. Worse thing you could do is
not have EVERYTHING in writing and signed-off -- make sure all
parties agree and understand to what you're proposing to do for them.
I always would submit a very lengthy report of time/tasks with all
my invoices so that everything I did was documented and understood/
accepted/paid-for by the clients.
FWIW, I've been retired since 2008 when Levanta (formally Linuxcare)
went belly-up on March 31, 2008.
Post by Glenn Geller
So in California, does installing a VoIP system (where the
job exceeds $500 in total) require a contractor's license?
I am NOT a lawyer and I've only had 1 traffic ticket since I began
driving in 1960 (in 1974 driving 63MPH on I-280 during the phony oil
shortage), but to ease your mind you might want to contact a lawyer
for a freebie consultation about the matter -- seems many/most will
do that per ads I've seen.
Post by Glenn Geller
What about if it's just desk phones being attached to the
existing ethernet network: would that make a difference?
"just desk phones attached to the existing ethernet network"
doesn't make sense. Expensive and pricey VoIP phones (e.g.,
a Cisco 7960) can be connected to existing Ethernet and it's
better if that Ethernet has PoE otherwise you'll be using wall
warts that get kicked/unplugged and/or catch fire.
What kind of VoIP system are you contemplating for installs?
As much as I like asterisk, I now have Ooma for my "landline"
augmenting my cell phone. The Ooma system uses plain standard
"just desk phones" and existing telephony wiring. The present
phones in my Ooma setup are:
Plantronics SP-4 headset phone with a CIDCO (NOT Cisco)
SA-99A-22 Callid ID unit with 99 number nemory at my desk
PacBell wall mount in my kitchen
2500 set with backlight in one bedroom
I'll be adding 1 or 2 more phones to cover the rest of the
house. Fortunately the Ooma Telo supplies a 5.0 REN (Ringer
Equivalence Number) and the present load with those 3 phones
s only about 2 REN so I have plenty of leeway for additions.
FWIW, the Ooma Telo box is on my LAN and it connected with the
OOMA home site automatically and all I had to do was select a
phone number, enter E911 data, and supply auto-billing info --
easiest phone installation I ever did after I disconnected the
old PacBell wiring at the demarc to re-use the existing house
wiring solely for Ooma use.
Note also the Ooma Telo and all my LAN infrastructure (switches,
router, etc.) are connected to UPS systems