How to get licensed as a contractor in Spokane.

You’ve decided you want to take your future into your own hands. You have the skills, you have the drive, now you just need to start your business. Easy…right?

For many new contractors, getting into business for themselves, figuring out what steps are necessary in-order to get licensed, and ultimately start working on homes and businesses in and around Spokane can be stressful.

From our perspective, here are some basic steps to get your business off the ground, and become a licensed contractor in Spokane and Washington state.

These steps are largely the same in Idaho, Oregon, and Montana. If you have any questions, be sure to consult with your attorney, accountant, or even the SBA.

  1. Decide on a name for your business.
    • Be sure to research the name of your business THOROUGHLY to ensure you haven’t decided on a name thats already taken. You can conduct a basic search online, or there are services that will do this work for you.
  2. Decide on a Busines structure, and file the paperwork to form your business with the Washington Secretary of States office.
    • You can do this online, or on paper, there typically is a filing fee. Many services such as Legal Zoom, or a local attorney can also help you with this process, however you don’t have to involve an attorney simply to register your business and get things off the ground.
    • Once your application for your business is approved, you’ll typically receive your completed articles of formation shortly thereafter from the state. Hang onto this, you’ll need it often.
    • You will also need a registered agent, see registered agent for details.
  3. Once you have your business formed, apply for a federal EIN.
    • This is essentially the social security number for your business, and is required in-order to file taxes, and complete many basic taxation requirements of running your business.
    • This is FREE, but please be sure to apply from the website
      • Many new business owners mistakenly click on the first Google link they find when completing this step. This is unnecessarily paying 3rd party companies to do this step on yourr behalf. It eats up time, and is expensive to do it this way.
    • This is also a good time to decide on the tax structure for your businesses. S-Corp, single-member LLC, each business is different. We’re not accountants, so consult an accountant for more information!
  4. Apply for a business license through the Washington Department Of Revenue
  5. Start shopping for general liability insurance, and the appropriate bond. Coverage is required prior to applying for your license, and You’ll need both to finish your licensing.
    • THIS IS WHERE WE COME IN! Call us, text us from our website, or submit a quote request online.
    • Specialty contractors typically need a $6,000 surety bond, and are recommended to carry at least $300,000 in general liability coverage.
      • Our agency recommends at least a $1,000,000 liability policy. The cost difference is minimal, it covers you better, and eventually customers and businesses you begin to work with will require a policy providing $1,000,000 in coverage.
      • Some specialty trades such as contractors working with plumbingelectricalelevatorsmobile home installationboilers, and asbestos have additional licensing and education requirements, see the Washington L&I website for details about your trade.
    • General Contractors in Washington state, generally have the same insurance requirement, however a $12,000 bond is required
  6. If you plan to hire employees, you’ll need to setup the appropriate workers compensation account with L&I.
  7. Finally, take all of your official documents and visit the local L&I office to complete your contractor registration.

After everything is all said and done, this is a good time to have a beer, and focus on growing your business!

We hope this helps, again we’re humble insurance agents so we’ve covered the main points. If you have specific questions, the SBA is a great resource, as well as your accountant, or attorney.

2022, Lilac Insurance Group, LLC

Who Needs Recreational Vehicle Insurance in Spokane, WA?

If you are a resident of Spokane, WA, and own a recreational vehicle (RV), it’s vital to have RV insurance. Although your regular auto insurance policy may provide some coverage for your RV, you will likely need additional insurance to protect you and your vehicle in the event of an accident or other incident.

What is a Recreational Vehicle?

A recreational vehicle is any motorized vehicle designed for camping or recreational use. This category can include trailers, campers, motorhomes, and pop-up-style campers. These aren’t intended for full-time use but for weekend camping trips or other short-term getaways.

Why Do I Need RV Insurance?

RV insurance protects you and your vehicle in the event of an accident or other incident. If you are involved in a collision while driving your RV, your regular auto insurance policy may not provide adequate coverage. This is because RV insurance may include specialized coverage for personal belongings, emergency expenses, towing and roadside assistance, and collision and comprehensive damage.

An insurance agent for Lilac Insurance Group LLC can help you find the right recreational insurance policy for your needs.

How Much Does RV Insurance Cost?

RV insurance costs in Spokane, WA vary depending on several factors, including the type of vehicle, its age and value, where you live, and your driving history. Your insurance agent can provide you with a quote for your specific RV and coverage needs.

Don’t jeopardize your financial health by driving without recreational vehicle insurance. Get enough coverage to protect you and your vehicle while enjoying the beautiful State of Washington and beyond. Contact Lilac Insurance Group LLC today to find the right policy for you.

What if your contractor doesn’t finish the job?

9 Steps to Take if Your Contractor Quits in the Middle of a Job

April 28, 2022 by Julia Weaver

If you’re shelling out money on a home project, nothing is more frustrating than your contractor quitting in the middle of the job or delaying work for weeks. Some delays are justified, such as injury, weather, or inventory holds. But if your contractor doesn’t have a solid explanation for the delays, or you can’t reach them at all, there are still avenues you can consider.

So what steps should you take if your contractor quits in the middle of a job? We asked experts from SanJose, CA, to Washington, DC, to share their best piece of advice.

Always ask if they’re bonded and insured before hiring

Before hiring a home improvement or remodeling contractor, ask if they’re bonded and insured (with general liability and workers’ compensation.) This simple step can save you a lot of money and heartache if something goes wrong during your project. Suppose a bonded contractor leaves a project unfinished, violating your contract. In that case, you may file a claim against their surety bond for any financial loss you may incur, including the additional cost of materials and/or hiring a new contractor. If an insured contractor damages your home or if someone is injured in an accident on your property due to their negligence, the contractor’s insurance will likely cover any resulting claims. – ZipBonds, a platform that provides access to bond options from leading national and regional surety carriers

Always ask for references

Sometimes a contractor will quit in the middle of a job because they begin running out of money. Or, they might back out because they’re overbooked. Remember, a low quote might mean you’ll pay more in the long run.  Be sure your contract specifies how many contractors, including the owner, will be on the job site. Otherwise, they may jump from job to job, eventually abandoning your project altogether. Most importantly, never pay a contractor before they’re finished. Progress payments are acceptable, but only pay 10% or $1,000, whichever is less. Always ask for references, websites, and reviews, and follow your instincts. Lastly, always get more than one estimate, three at the very least. – John Melendez Paint Co., painting contractor in San Jose, CA

Visit their profile on the Contractors State License Board website

If a paid contractor quits in the middle of a job, I suggest making a claim against the contractor’s bond, because the contractor might not be collectible. You can find information about the bond on their profile on the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). However, the contractor likely hasn’t finished other jobs and isn’t paying subs, so you might not be the only party pursuing the bond. – Thomas E. Ladegaard, Owner of Law Office Of Thomas E. Ladegaard in Carlsbad, CA

Making a claim on a contractor’s license bond can be as easy as contacting the surety company that issued the bond and opening a claim. The surety has 15 days to respond to a claim and 40 days to accept or deny a claim. You can find the contractor’s license status and bond information on the Contractors State License Board website. You can also file a complaint with the Contractors State License Board and/or file a small claims case (or civil suit if the disputed amount is large enough). – Matt Coats, Producer at Coats Surety Insurance Services in Laguna Hills, CA

Notify the contractor of the work they failed to finish

If a contractor quits in the middle of a job, the first thing you want to do is notify the contractor in writing of the scope of work they failed to finish. Ask for a completion date and give a deadline for the contractor to respond to you. Under no circumstances should you give the contractor additional funds under the promise they will finish. Contact an attorney to begin legal proceedings if the contractor fails to respond to your written communication or still doesn’t complete the work by the new deadline. Usually, homeowners can file for breach of contract and violations of the consumer protection acts, leading to treble damages, potential fraud, and other causes of action. – Lucrecia P. Johnson, Managing Attorney at LPJ Legal PLLC in Washington, DC

This is a little more complicated than it seems because if there are any deficiencies in the work, a homeowner must give written notice and an opportunity for the contractor to cure the deficiencies before filing an action against a contractor. Often when there is non-performance, there is also deficient performance. – Kurt Karpenter, Lawyer, at the Law Office of Kurt W. Carpenter in The Woodlands, TX

Verify the status of their bond and the company their bond is secured through

A consumer’s best avenue for pursuing compensation from a contractor who quits in the middle of a job is to file a suit against their bond. If a contractor never shows up or leaves a half-completed job, consumers can contact their bond company and make a claim. Most states allow the public to verify the status of a contractor’s bond and the company their bond is secured through. Some states list this information on their L&I (labor and industries) website for anyone to check. This 30 seconds of diligence can protect you in a dispute against a contractor.

If a contractor’s work results in property damage or bodily injury, consumers can pursue financial compensation for damages through the contractor’s General Liability Insurance. Many states also allow consumers to verify this as well online. However, if you can’t verify this info online, ask your contractor to provide you with a copy of their bond and a certificate of insurance before the commencement of a job.

Spend a few minutes confirming the contractor you choose to work with is reputable, properly bonded and insured. Don’t just take their word for it or rely on their business card for this information. It can save you thousands in the event of a dispute. – Conrad G Milsap API, AINS, Owner at Lilac Insurance Group in Spokane, WA

Don’t let the contractor get “ahead of you”

The first thing to do is prepare for a contractor to quit in the middle of a job and never let a contractor get “ahead of you.” While many contractors are honest and hardworking, some  will request a large amount upfront and then disappear without doing much or any work. In your agreement, set forth a schedule for progress payments according to the percentage completion of the job. Something like paying every 10% or every 25% completed. And from this amount, you withhold 5% or 10% as “retainage” that you will hold until full job completion. As a result, if the contractor ever disappears, you are not harmed, and you can hire someone else to complete the job. The contractor has a financial incentive to complete the job on time for the full payment. 

As for the cost of materials, you should either require receipts with the exact amount spent on the materials or have materials delivered directly to the site.

If you paid the contractor upfront and/or let them get ahead of you on the job, you may have to resort to legal remedies such as a lawsuit. Always have a good solid contract drafted by a qualified real estate attorney and ensure that you get a personal guarantee from as many people as possible – the contractor and anyone else you can. If a corporation or LLC signed, you can sue that entity, but the entity can be emptied, and the assets moved around, resulting in a much harder time for you. – Ryan Reiffert, Attorney at the Law Offices of Ryan Reiffert in San Antonio, TX

Verify the contractor has a solid track record

In these situations, the homeowner must ensure that the contractor has been in business for over five years and has a solid track record with references. You have to make sure the contractor has Workers Compensation insurance for their workers. When they don’t have worker’s compensation, their employees could sue the homeowner for work-related injuries or unpaid wages. In the contract, the homeowner must specify everything that needs to be done. More importantly, there should be a deterrent provision that says any delay in fulfilling the project would result in a penalty, such as $1500 per day against the contractor. Lastly, it is best to pay the contractor installments to match the services rendered. That way, if the contractor is not performing per schedule, the homeowner can stop payment. You don’t want to pay and then have to chase the contractor for owed services. Ultimately, if the contractor fails to perform, they can be reported. But to lose a license, the terms of the contract and the schedule of payment against services must be well articulated to remove doubt for the tribunal to take action. Sometimes, contractors will allege the homeowner made changes or modifications to the contract, and that’s why there were delays. So, the contract must state that all changes to the contract must be in writing, and no verbal modification will be accepted. – Al Mohajerian, Attorney at Mohajerian Law Corp in Los Angeles, CA

Work with a general contractor or project manager

My best piece of advice is to hire a general contractor or project manager to help you navigate a somewhat tricky experience and avoid a poorly executed or incomplete project. The general contractor will introduce you to other industry professionals (electricians, plumbers, tilers, etc.) that are talented and trustworthy. We will oversee the executed projects and offer accountability for a job well down. Your general contractor will make sure everything is up to code, eliminating any speed bumps if you decide to sell your home in the future. Do everything the right way so your investment holds value year after year. – Jeff Lipshires, President at J2Construct, Inc. In Middleton, RI

Don’t work with a contractor who is willing to cut corners

If a contractor tells you it will be quicker and cheaper if we skip the permits and inspections, my advice is to avoid this contractor. A contractor who begins your relationship with an offer to violate the law is much more likely to cut corners, ruin your project, and cause you to have to hire an attorney to bring them to justice. 

Spending a few hundred dollars to have an attorney review your construction contract on the front end of a project can save you tens of thousands of dollars in litigation costs. Consulting an attorney after an issue comes up tends to prove the axiom, “there is nothing more expensive than trying to save money.” 

Legitimate contractors provide detailed, easy-to-understand contracts, lien waivers with each payment, proof of insurance, and they pull permits. – Phil Winegar, Managing Partner at Winegar Law in Colorado Springs, CO

RV Insurance Overview

Lilac Insurance Group LLC serves The Spokane, WA community, as well as the surrounding areas. We are an independent agency. We work closely with different carriers throughout the Pacific, allowing us to offer flexible policy options. We strive to establish long-lasting partnerships with our clients.

RV Insurance Overview

Spokane WA is home to several attractive camping destinations. Perhaps you and your loved ones are planning to explore different areas in your RV. Before planning your next destination, take a look at your RV insurance policy. While operating an RV provides freedom, it’s also a high risk asset. RV insurance covers you if the vehicle accidentally damages someone’s property or if causes an injury. You are also covered if your vehicle suffers damage. Any acts of theft or vandalism against your RV are also covered. Comprehensive coverage protects your RV if it suffers damage due to severe weather. If you’re traveling through rural areas, you also have to look out for local animals. Comprehensive coverage protects you if your RV is damaged in a collision with a deer.

If you have installed a camper or trailer in your RV, you can add extra coverage. This ensures that you are fully protected if something happens to your accessory. Emergency assistance is another common policy add on. If you are traveling and your RV breaks down on the road, you can receive immediate towing service, a battery boost, or help with a flat tire. During times when you aren’t using your RV, storage coverage can protect it. Storage coverage gives you safety if your RV suffers damage while it’s parked at a facility.

Lilac Insurance Group LLC Will Help You Protect Your Assets

Visit our website to learn more information about RV insurance.  

7 Driving Habits That Are Bad for Your Car

Jamie Street via Unsplash

No matter how safe you are behind the wheel, you’ve probably done things like:

  • Shift into drive while the car is still rolling backward.
  • Ride the brakes on steep hills.
  • Roll into the gas station on empty.

Guilty? If so, you may not have even realized you were doing everything wrong. After all, almost everybody has a bad driving habit or two. But most everybody doesn’t have to pay for your auto repairs. You do.

So, look at these seven driving habits that are bad for your car and learn why you should avoid them. It may be time to change the way you drive!

  1. Running on empty. You might enjoy living on the edge, but driving around without much gas can put your car’s fuel pump on edge, too. That won’t necessarily ruin your car, but replacing your fuel pump will probably hurt your checkbook. Keep your tank at least a quarter full.
  2. Shifting too soon. If you have an automatic transmission, it’s easy to pop the car into drive while it’s still rolling in reverse. Don’t! Unless you want to put additional stress on your transmission, that is. Come to a stop, then shift.
  3. Braking too much. Following other cars too closely can wear your brakes and rotors out more quickly because you’ll probably have to use them more than other drivers. (Of course, you should maintain an adequate following distance for safety reasons, too.) But, even in situations where braking seems unavoidable, such as going down a steep hill, you have another option: Shifting into a lower gear will slow you down without riding the brakes.
  4. Gunning it. Maybe you drive a fast car. Or perhaps you want to feel like you drive a fast car. Whatever kind of car you have, punching the gas from a stop can be hard on it, even more so if the vehicle is cold and the oil hasn’t fully dispersed throughout the engine. Those fast starts mean faster wear on your tires, too.
  5. Forgetting the parking brake. Do you know what holds your car in park? One small piece of metal in the transmission. Not using the parking brake puts more stress on that bit of metal. So, use it.
  6. Packing on the pounds. Just like with your body, extra weight puts stress on several different areas of your car. So, clean out that trunk and remove unnecessary items from the interior. Your suspension, brakes, and transmission will thank you. Thanks to better gas mileage, your bank account will, too.
  7. Holding down the clutch. Have a manual transmission? Keep the car neutral at intersections, so you don’t need to press the clutch until you’re ready to roll. Riding the clutch is a great way to burn it out eventually.

Even if you don’t do anything on this list, you’re still not out of the woods. (But you’re probably closer than most of us.) Keep your ears and eyes open for strange noises, warning lights, or anything out of the ordinary — and don’t ignore them. Inspect the issue, or get your car to a mechanic before it becomes a bigger problem.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

5 Common (and Potentially Costly) Homeowners Mistakes

Jen Theodore via Unsplash

Owning a home is usually a great experience. But it can also be a hassle, especially when unexpected issues pop up—whether you have a minor breakdown or a major catastrophe, it’s almost certainly going to require time and money to fix.

In many instances, however, those “unexpected” issues shouldn’t be a surprise at all because they’re often due to a lack of maintenance or other oversights by homeowners. And not just new homeowners, either: It’s common for people who have been in a home for years to neglect even some of the most basic tasks that can prevent problems down the road.

Here are five mistakes we often see homeowners make—and tips from experts to help you avoid them.

  1. Forgetting about (or ignoring) the small stuff. The toilet that runs constantly? That faucet with a slow drip? The little crack in that one board on the deck? They might not seem like big problems, but they can become more significant issues over time. For example, a leaky faucet or running toilet might mean your water bill is higher than it should be. And that small crack can lead to rot, which could lead to replacing the board—or the entire deck. When you see “small” things around the house, take steps to address them as soon as possible because it likely will be a lot easier (and cheaper) today or tomorrow than a year from now.
  2. Not doing regular checks around the house. Speaking of seeing things around the house, how often do you look around the house? You’d be surprised how many homeowners haven’t been in their attic or crawlspace for years. It’s a good idea to do a walk-through periodically to look for leaks, areas of wear, or other problems. And don’t forget to go outside! How is your roof looking? Do you see any cracks in your siding? Are the seals around your doors and windows solid? It’s important to catch those things before the rainy season begins in fall and winter.
  3. Skipping maintenance on your appliances. Not only will keeping your appliances in good shape ensure they work effectively and prolong their lifespan, but maintenance also can prevent serious risks. For example, when was the last time you cleaned out your dryer exhaust vent? No, not the screen you pull out when you’re doing laundry, but the one on the back or side. Too much lint buildup can cause a fire—so clean it out at least once a year. You also should check the hoses connected to your washing machine and dishwasher. Are they worn? Do they need to be replaced? Please do it now, before one fails when you’re not at home and causes significant water damage. Other tips:
    • Clean your refrigerator coils at least once a year.
    • Clear out your dishwasher’s food filter regularly.
    • Vacuum up dust and other debris in window air conditioners before you start using them each year.
    • Remember to test your smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors twice a year, installing fresh batteries each time.
  4. Neglecting other systems. Your HVAC system needs attention, so it won’t fail when you need it most. Having your furnace, heat pump, and/or central AC unit serviced each year before you start using them heavily will alert you to any potential problems. You don’t want to find out that your furnace is out of whack when it’s 30 degrees outside or that your AC is on the fritz when it’s 95. Change filters at the appropriate intervals, and if it’s been a while since you’ve had your ducts cleaned, consider that as well.
  5. Not having a home warranty. Despite your best maintenance efforts, that air conditioner might break down, leaving you sweltering in the summer. The water heater could stop working, meaning cold showers every morning. Or the refrigerator suddenly won’t get very cold anymore. These things sometimes happen, and if your appliance is out of warranty, you’re on the hook.

Your home is one of the most significant investments you’ll ever make, so it pays to be diligent about caring for it. Keep your eyes open around the house. Don’t hesitate to get out the tools, or call a professional if needed. Remember, prevention is the best medicine—and that old saying holds just as much for your home’s health as it does for yours.

Umbrella Insurance FAQ

You’ve worked hard to build your life and your investments. In order to protect those investments, you need the right insurance products.  At Lilac Insurance Group LLC, we aim to provide clients with the best insurance information so that they can make confident choices for their families and business in Spokane, WA, and the surrounding areas. Keep reading to learn more about umbrella insurance. 

What Is Umbrella Insurance?

Umbrella insurance is a unique insurance product that can protect you and your assets in the event that your insurance policies are exhausted. Insurance policies provide a certain amount of insurance coverage for a claim. If the expenses of the claim exceed this amount, the policy will be exhausted and you may be left with expenses that you are liable for. 

An umbrella policy can kick in to cover these additional expenses and protect your assets. 

What Does An Umbrella Policy Cover?

An umbrella policy can be created to cover any type of expenses; health, auto, home, commercial or other types of coverage. You will need to sit down with an insurance representative to discuss your particular needs. 

Who Needs An Umbrella Policy?

An umbrella policy can be used to protect anyone, but it is most beneficial for those who have many assets or investments which they wish to protect. It is also highly recommended for those who are at a greater risk of liability because of their career or other factors. 

If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact us at Lilac Insurance Group LLC serving Spokane, WA, and the surrounding areas. We will be happy to assist you with all of your insurance needs. 

Is your credit helping your car insurance rates?

Sarah Brown @sweetpagesco

According to a new rule issued by the Washington state insurance commissioner, auto and homeowners/renters insurance carriers are prohibited from using credit-based insurance scores. New rule effective March, 4th 2022.

Customers may notice an increase in premiums because of this change. The premium savings currently enjoyed because of a favorable credit rating, may no longer weigh as heavily when calculating rates.

Check with your independent agent about how this change may affect you. Your independent insurance agent is your best defense against rising insurance costs.

Lilac Insurance Group, 509-747-2531

Life Insurance FAQs

At Lilac Insurance Group LLC in Spokane, WA, we believe our customers desire to have their insurance handled and not have to worry about it. We offer them that service and much more. As independent agents, we work for our customers and can provide them with the benefit of not only our experience but some of the best carriers in the industry. You can expect to get the best coverage at a fair price. 

When should I start buying life insurance?

Life insurance is at its lowest price when you are young and healthy. It is the time when you are likely to think you are invulnerable and don’t need life insurance. As soon as you can afford it, it makes sense to purchase some whole life insurance. It provides protection while earning dividends and never goes away as long as you pay the premiums. 

How much life insurance do I need? 

The amount you need depends on several factors. You have to take into account your yearly salary and the number of people who depend on you. The age of your dependents comes into play as well. You need to make sure if your income is no longer coming in, your family will be able to maintain their current lifestyle for as long as the children are at home. Multiply how many years by how much you earn and that is a figure to start with. 

What is term life insurance?

Term life insurance is a policy that has a term. It provides a death benefit for a designated number of years and, in the end, it may be renewable but at a different rate. It is the most affordable way to have the amount of life insurance you may need. 

Contact Lilac Insurance Group LLC in Spokane, WA when you are ready to discuss your life insurance needs. 

Review your Business Insurance Annually

Scott Graham Via Unsplash

As a business owner, you strive to make decisions that are right for your business, your employees and yourself. This includes decisions about business insurance. You know you need excellent coverage. You don’t, however, have time to become an expert in business insurance. That’s where Lilac Insurance group can help. 

From our office in Spokane Washington, we service commercial clients in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Western Montana. As an independent insurance agency, we’re able to shop your policies with multiple carriers. This provides your the best value for your dollar, and ensures you get the coverage your business needs.

Business Owners Policy (BOP) combines property, liability and business interruption coverage for small to medium-sized businesses. This packaged coverage is generally less expensive than when purchasing coverage separately. With a BOP you have the ability to customize the policy to meet your individual business needs.  

Perhaps you need general liability coverage that includes operations. Or, you need to add business auto coverage or commercial property insurance. Whether you are a home-based business, small service provider or contractor, Lilac Insurance will work with you to find the right combination of business insurance coverage to meet your specific needs. Contact us today at

Reviewing your coverage regularly not only makes business sense, it’s critical to protect your revenue and coverages needs of your business.

Supplemental Coverage Available 

  • Extended liability for additional insureds.
  • Debris removal, personal property.
  • Tools and equipment.
  • Valuable records protection and accounts receivable.

In addition to advising you on the right coverage, we provide additional services, such as:

  • Loss Prevention Programs—with our insurance company partners, we can evaluate your business’s current conditions and recommend ways to lower property, auto, workers compensation or liability losses. Lower losses will not only lower your insurance costs, but also increase your productivity by avoiding downtime.
  • Quick Claim Response—when you do have a claim and need fast and fair service, we work with you to make that happen. That’s why we only represent companies with excellent records for settling claims fairly and promptly.  
  • Competitive Rates—many of the insurance companies we represent specialize in insuring specific types of businesses or industries, offering special coverage and pricing. 

To see if your business qualifies for one of these special programs, contact Lilac Insurance Group for more information. Give us a call at 509-747-2531.