What You Need to Know About Obtaining a Contractor’s License in California

Contractor

To perform work on most construction projects in California you need to be licensed by the California Contractors State License Board (“CSLB”).

The CSLB publishes a helpful guide on becoming a licensed contractor – Blueprint for Becoming a California Licensed Contractor – as well as a reference book which discusses contractor licensing – California Contractors License Law & Reference Book. The Guide is a bit outdated through having been published in 2006 although the Reference Book is updated annually.

They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and I’ve borrow liberally from both the Guide and Reference Book for this post, although I’ve added a few additional comments from my experience with licensing issues.

Who must be licensed as a contractor?

All businesses and individuals who construct or alter, or offer to construct or alter, any building, highway, road, parking facility, railroad, excavation, or other structure in California (other than federal projects located in California) must be licensed by the CSLB if the total cost of labor and materials under one or more contracts on the project is $500 or more.

Note: Contractors who work with asbestos or other hazardous substances are regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, as well as by the CSLB.

Are there any exemptions to the license requirement?

Yes. The most common exemptions are:

  • Minor Work Exemption: If the total cost of labor and materials under one or more contracts on a project is less than $500, a contractor’s license is not required. Work which is part of a larger project, whether undertaken by the same or different contractors, may not be divided into contracts of less than $500 in an attempt to meet this exemption.
  • Employee Exemption: Employees who are paid wages, who do not work in an independently established business, and who do not have direction or control over the performance of the work or who do not determine the final results of the work or project are not required to have a contractor’s license.
  • Public Employee Exemption: Public employees working on public projects are not required to have a contractor’s license.
  • Owner-Builder Exemption: Owner-builders who build or improve structures on their own property are not required to have a contractor’s license if they either do the work themselves or use their own employees. This exception only applies if the structure is not intended to be offered for sale within one year of completion.
  • Owner-Builder Contracting Exemption: Owner-builders who build or improve structures on their own property are not required to have a contractor’s license if they contract with a licensed contractor to perform the work. This exemption is only applicable to the construction of single-family residences if no more than four such structures are offered for sale in any one calendar year.
  • Owner-Builder Primary Residence Exemption: Owner-builders who improve their main place of residence, who have actually resided there for one year prior to completion of the work, and who complete the work prior to sale are not required to have a contractor’s license. This exemption is limited to two structures within a three-year period.
  • Manufacturer Exemption: Manufacturers who sell or install finished products that do not become a fixed part of a structure are not required to have a contractor’s license.

Who can become a licensed contractor?

To qualify for a contractor’s license, an individual must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older;
  • Have a valid social security number; and
  • Show that they have the experience and skills necessary to manage the daily activities of a construction business, including field supervision, or be represented by another individual with the necessary experience and skills who serves as the qualifying individual.

Can business entities be licensed?

Yes, the CSLB issues contractor’s licenses to corporations, partnerships, joint venturers and limited liability companies (“LLCs”). However, in order for a business entity to be issued a contractor’s license they must associate a qualifying individual who holds an contractor’s license. Whether licensed as an individual or as a business entity, a licensed contractor may only contract in the classification(s) in which it is licensed.

What experience is required for a contractor’s license?

A qualifying individual must have at least four years of journey-level experience in the past 10 years immediately preceding application for a contractor’s license. Credit for experience is only given for experience as a journeyman, foreman, supervising employee, contractor, or owner-builder. All experience must be verified by a qualified and responsible person who has firsthand knowledge of the individual’s experience during the time period covered.

A qualifying individual may also receive credit of up to three years of the required four years of journey-level experience:

  • A maximum of 1 ½ years of credit: Upon submission of transcripts for an Associate of Arts degree from an accredited school or college in building or construction management.
  • A maximum of 2 years of credit: Upon submission of transcripts for: (1) a four-year degree from an accredited college or university in the fields of accounting, business, economics, mathematics, physics, or areas related to the specific trade or craft for which an application is being made; (2) a professional degree in law; or (3) substantial college or university course work in accounting, architecture, business, construction technology, drafting, economics, engineering, mathematics or physics.
  • A maximum of 3 years credit: Upon submission of: (1) a Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship from an accredited apprenticeship program or a certified statement of completion of apprenticeship training from a union in the classification being applied for; (2) transcripts for a four-year degree from an accredited college or university in architecture, construction technology, or any field of engineering that is directly related to the classification being applied for; or (3) transcripts for a four-year degree from an accredited college or university in the field of horticulture or landscape horticulture if applying for a C-27 Landscaping classification.

What classifications may a contractor be licensed in?

California has three different license classifications:

  • Class “A” – General Engineering Contractor: A Class “A” – General Engineering Contractor’s principal business is in connection with fixed works requiring specialized engineering knowledge and skill.
  • Class “B” – General Building Contractor: A Class “B” – General Building Contractor’s principal business is in connection with any structure built, being built, or to be built, requiring in its construction the use of at least two unrelated building trades or crafts. However, framing and carpentry projects may be performed without limitation. A Class “B” licensed contractor may enter into a direct contract for projects involving only one trade, if the contractor holds the appropriate specialty license or subcontracts with an appropriately licensed specialty contractor to perform the work.
  • Class “C” – Specialty Contractor: There are 41 separate Class “C” licenses for contractors whose principal business involves the use of specialized building trades or crafts. Manufacturers are considered to be contractors requiring a license if engaged in on-site construction, alteration, or repair. In addition, there is a C-61 Limited Specialty classification which is subcategorized into 30 separate “D” subclassifications.

How do I apply for a contractor’s license?

To apply for a contractor’s license you must complete and submit:

If you are required to take an examination, you must complete and submit the Application for Original Contractor’s License or Application for LLC Original Contractor License together with a processing fee (currently $300) to the CSLB. If you are not required to take the examination, you must complete and submit the Application for Original Contractor’s License (Exam Waived) or Application for LLC Original Contractor License (Exam Waived) together with a processing fee (currently $300), initial licensing fee (currently $180), and an additional classification fee (currently $75) for any additional classifications being applied for.

Note: Applications may be submitted in person or by mail to the CSLB. Although the CSLB has a few different offices, only the CSLB’s Sacramento office accepts application. The address of the CSLB’s Sacramento office is Contractors State License Board, P.O. Box 26000, Sacramento, CA 95826.

What if I am required to take an examination?

If you are required to take an examination you must pass a written law and business examination and a specific trade examination. Each examination is 3 1/2 hours and is multiple choice. Examination center are located in Fresno, Norwalk, Oakland, Oxnard, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego and San Jose. Your examination center and a study guide will be included in a Notice to Appear for Examination sent by the CSLB.

The CSLB may waive the examination requirement if the qualifying individual either:

  • Is currently licensed and in good standing in the same classification in which a license is being applied for;
  • Has been licensed and in good standing within the past five years in the same classification in which a license is being applied for;
  • Has passed both the law and business examination and trade examination within the last five years in the same classification in which a license is being applied for; or
  • Is a member of the immediate family of a licensee whose individual license was active and in good standing for five of the past seven years preceding the application, the qualifying individual was actively engaged in the licensee’s business for five of the past seven years and is applying for the same classification, and the license is necessary to continue the operation of an existing family business due to the absence or death of the licensee.

Note: Even if you think you are eligible for an examination waiver you must complete the “Experience” section of the application, unless you are currently a qualifier on a license in good standing in the same classification as the license being applied for, or you have served as a qualifier on a license in good standing within the past five years in the same classification in which a license is being applied for.

Can a qualifying individual serve as the qualifier for more than one license?

Yes, but only if one of the following conditions exist:

  • Twenty Percent Common Ownership: There is common ownership of at least 20% of the equity of each firm for which the qualifying individual serves as qualifier;
  • Subsidiary or Joint Venture: The additional firm is a subsidiary or joint venture with the first firm; or
  • Majority of Partners or Officers the Same: The majority of partners or officers of the two firms are the same.

Note: Even if a qualifying individual meets these conditions, he or she may not serve as the qualifying individual for more than three firms in any one-year period. Moreover, if a qualifying individual disassociates from the third firm, he or she must wait one year before associating with a new third firm. Responsible Managing Employees (“RMEs”) may not be the qualifier on more than one active license.

What other information or other documentation do I need to submit?

Either together with your application, or later when notified by the CSLB, you must also submit:

  • Contractor Bond or Alternative: A contractor bond (currently $12,500), or alternative in lieu of a bond, in the business name of the applicant;
  • Qualifying Individual Bond or Alternative: A qualifying individual bond (currently $12,500), or alternative in lieu of a bond, or exemption statement for each Responsible Managing Officer (“RMO”), Responsible Managing Member, or Responsible Managing Manager. The bond of the qualifying individual must be in the name of the qualifying individual and the business name of the applicant; and
  • Proof of Workers Compensation Insurance or Exemption Certificate: Proof of workers’ compensation insurance or exemption certificate certifying that no workers are employed.

In addition, LLC’s are required to submit:

  • Surety Bond: A surety bond (currently $100,000) for the benefit of employees or workers damaged by an LLC’s failure to pay wages, interest on wages, or fringe benefits, as well as other contributions; and
  • Liability Insurance: Proof of liability insurance with the cumulative limit of $1 million for licensees with five or fewer persons, and an additional 100,000 for each additional member over five, not to exceed $5 million total.

Note: A RMO, Responsible Managing Member or Responsible Managing Manager does not need to provide a qualifying individual bond if they own 10% or more of the voting stock or equity of the corporation or LLC and submits a Qualifier Statement of Ownership. A RME may not be exempted from having a qualifying individual bond. RMEs must be bona fide employees involved in the business at least 32 hours a week or 80% of the total business operating hours per week, whichever is less.

How will I know if my application has been approved?

When the CSLB receives your application it will send a Letter of Acknowledgement including a nine-digit Application Fee Number and a four-digit Personal Identification Number which you can use to check the status of your application on the CSLB website. Application status information is updated weekly. You should expect the CSLB to take several months (currently 3 to 4 months) to process your application.

150 Responses to “What You Need to Know About Obtaining a Contractor’s License in California”

  1. Josh Cohen

    Spot on. But I’d add that consequence of performing contractor work without a license is business suicide. Under California law, a builder that performs work without a license cannot sue to get paid for work and can be forced to disgorge all payments it recieved for work even if builder fully disclosed that it was unlicensed and even if the work was performed perfectly and owner has zero complaints. And none of the usual wiggle defenses like waiver, estoppel, or quantum meriut (worker should at least get value of work performed even if not contract price) apply. Basically if builder works without license there is very good chance they will end up having worked for free.

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Thanks Josh. That’s exactly right. The penalties under Business and Professions Code section 7031 are severe: you’re not going to get paid for the work you performed no matter how good it was, and the clincher, you’re also going to have to cough up any money that was paid to you. Some courts have even called Section 7031 “draconian,” but nonetheless, enforceable. Forewarned is to be forearmed!

      Reply
  2. Dave Ross

    Another great overview post, Garret. Thanks for preparing these. Piling on to Josh’s comment, I would like to add that one of the most common “unlicensed” mistakes made by contractors is to execute contracts or otherwise do business with a name or entity that differs from the one shown on the license.

    A recent example in my experience is an individual who was properly licensed for many years as a sole proprietor. He incorporated his business, retaining the same company name and address but failed to change his license status with the CSLB. Every contract he executed on his new business letterhead was “out of license.” In a relatively small dispute over payment on a residential contract the Owner raised the specter of 7031, and the contractor settled by paying back much of the payment he had received instead of collecting the amount he felt he was still owed.

    The moral is that contracts (and other business documents) must be made by precisely the entity named on the CSLB license. These documents should also bear the matching contractor’s license number.

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Thanks Dave. You’re absolutely right. In California, licenses can be issued to individuals doing business as sole proprietorships, as well as to corporations, partnerships and LLCs, and if you’re doing business as a corporation, partnership, or LLC, both the business entity and the individual qualifier for the business entity must have their own licenses. For an example of how one unfortunate contractor got dingled (and, really, it was a just a ding compared to how bad it could have been) see What’s in a Name.

      Reply
  3. J. L. Smith

    I am interested in getting a California general contractor’s license. In addition to a four-year degree in Construction Management, I have significant experience as an owner-builder. How can I be sure that my particular experience as an owner-builder will be acceptable to the CSLB? I do not want to waste the application fee.

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Thanks for your question J. L. Smith. When applying for a contractor’s license with the California Contractors State License Board (“CSLB”) an applicant must submit a Certification of Work Experience form setting forth the years and months of journeyman level experience and above and a description of the duties performed by the applicant, which must be verified by qualified and responsible person with first-hand knowledge of your experience such as a homeowner, an employer, fellow employee, other journeymen, contractor, union representative, building inspector, architect, or engineer. The amount of experience the CSLB will recognize as satisfying the four-year journeyman level experience and above requirement is determined on a case-by-case basis, and according to the CSLB can be more difficult when that experience is as an owner-builder. According to the CSLB, “Owner-builder qualifications are difficult to assess. CSLB may consider the work if there is verifiable evidence that it was completed to code. CSLB also considers how long it would have taken a licensed contractor to complete the same project. A new home and remodel could take less than a year to complete. As such, only one (1) year of experience would be credited. However, you would have still needed to complete two (2) to four (4) years of apprentice training prior to your owner-builder experience.”

      Reply
  4. Licenced Contractor

    As there are many scam artists in town, you must check for the reliability of the contractor. You must also do a criminal background check if necessary as it will help you get a clear idea about the company you are dealing with. Check for the insurance of the contractor as reliable and trustworthy contractors will definitely have a license and insurance.

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Thanks. For most consumers, I don’t think it’s necessary to do a criminal background check. However, I do think it’s prudent to ask if the contractor carries general commercial liability insurance. In fact, for residential home improvement work, a contractor is required to disclose in its home improvement contract whether or not it carries insurance.

      Reply
  5. comfortableefficiency

    I have been a B general in California operating as a sole proprietor since 2006. I am considering becoming an LLC. Does anyone have any thought, experience, pros/cons on this issue? I am not doing huge projects but do specialize in Home Performance so routinely install assemblies that are not conventional and have the possibility to not perform in the field as they do on paper.

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Shawn. Forming a corporation or limited liabilty company (“LLC”) is an excellent way to limit the risk of personal liability faced by a sole proprietorship. Up until 2012, the California Contractors State License Board (“CSLB”) did not license LLCs. Although LLCs have been around for some time, because they are a relatively new type of business entity for the CSLB, there are stricter license requirements for LLCs than there are for corporations.

      Unlike corporations, which are only required to provide a $12,500 license bond (or alternative in lieu of bond), $12,500 qualifier bond (or alternative in lieu of bond) if the qualifier owns less than 10% of the voting stock of the corporation, and are not required to carry insurance, LLCs are required to provide in addition to a $12,500 license bond (or alternative in lieu of bond) and $12,500 qualifier bond (or alternative in lieu of bond) if the qualifer owns less than 10% of the equity of the LLC: (1) a $100,000 surety bond for the benefit of employees or workers damaged by the LLC’s failure to pay wages, interest on wages, or fringe benefits; and (2) liability insurance with a a cumulative limit of $1 million if the LLC has five or fewer persons listed as members of the LLC, and an additional $100,000 for each additional member of the LLC over five, not to exceed $5 million total. So, at present, it is more expensive for a LLC to obtain a contractor’s license. However, one of the administrative benefits of forming an LLC is that, unlike a corporation, LLCs are not required to hold regular annual shareholder and board of directors meetings.

      Reply
    • Garret Murai

      I understand that a big part of the problem is that the names of the members, managers and officers on the CSLB’s LLC application don’t match the names on file with the California Secretary of State. One problem may be that the place to put this information on the CSLB’s LLC application is entitled “Personnel,” which might cause applicant to believe that they need to list all employees rather than just members, managers and officers of the LLC. The CSLB only began licensing LLC’s in 2012, so hopefully these issues will be ironed out over time, as well as the understanding of the applicants as to what information is required.

      Reply
  6. comfortableefficiency

    Thank you both for the quick response. I can attest from my experience so far with the application process that it is complicated AND expensive. The fact that being an LLC as a California contractor is a fairly new possibility at all makes me wonder if there have been many real cases where all this trouble and expense is worth it. Could a strong “professional liability/errors and omissions” policy be just as good?

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Without an architects or engineers license I don’t think you could get errors and omissions (“E&O”) insurance which is limited to licensed individuals. Also, the premiums for E&O insurance are also usually higher than for comprehensive general liability insurance.

      Reply
  7. JJ

    Great article Garret! My father is looking to get a contractor license. He would fall under the “owner builder” category. What do you think would be some ways for us to find someone to approve his work?

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Thanks JJ. If your father is trying to satisfy the experience requirements through work he performed as an owner-builder he will need to submit a Project List form which describes the work he performed. Note: He will still need to submit a Certification of Work Experience form but would just not fill out the section entitled Work Experience and Certification Statement.

      Reply
  8. Dave Sanfilippo

    Garret, do you have any info on the legality of a company purchasing a another company and acquiring all of their assets and liabilities and still using the purchased companies contractors license? If the owner of the prior company is now an employee and still working at the new company?

    Is the use of the old owners license temporarily legal until a new license is required? need some info on that?

    Thank you,

    Dave in San Jose (Insurance Broker)

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Dave. Sorry for the late reply. If the owner of the prior company was a responsible managing officer (RMO) and he/she will now become an employee, they will need to change their status from a RMO to a responsible managing employee (RME). So long as they are associated with the newly purchased company as a RME their license will continue to be associated with the company. However, if he/she leaves you will need to replace them with another qualifying individual, either a RMO or RME, within 90 days.

      Reply
      • The License Guru

        Hey Garet, can I add to this?

        Dave, you will need to notify the Sect of State’s office of the change in officers first. Once that has been done, you can submit the change of officer form and the Replacing the Qualifying Individual app to the CSLB. You will use the Replacer app even though the qualifier is going from RMO to RME. The license number belongs to the corporation, so officers/qualifiers can come and go. As long as the corporation is in good standing, and the CSLB license renewal fees are paid, the license can continue with the same number.

        If the corp is in it’s current Statement of Information (SOI) period, the officer change can be done online with a $25 fee. If the corp has already filed it’s SOI, you can mail an SOI form at no cost. The time to make the change is about 1-2 weeks.

        There is no fee for the CSLB change of officer form, and the Replacer app fee is $75.

  9. Yunnan Allen

    Garret and others, would my experience below qualify me to apply for the General Contractor B license?

    – I have a masters degree in architecture.
    – I have 6 months experience working for General Contractors (during school summers) with scheduling, estimating, on site supervision, etc.
    – I have been working in architecture firm for the past 6 years. Several of my project has been build and I’ve done construction administration work (as an architect) on these projects.
    – I have been a licensed architect in CA since 2011

    I don’t know if my particular experience applies as “Journey man” level… What is your take? Thank you very much!

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Yunnan. I can’t give you a definitive answer since the exam waiver for education/experience credit is specific to each applicant. However, since you are architect, you can obtain 3 years of educational credit (for the 4 years of journey-level or above experience requirement), if you can provide transcripts of a four-year degree from an accredited college or university in architecture that is directly related to the classification being applied for. As to experience credit, you will need to show proof of that experience. Late this past year, the Contractor’s State License Board videotaped a seminar on experience verification that you might find helpful. The video is on YouTube (it runs long at 2 hours, 22 minutes) and can found here. Good luck to you.

      Reply
      • The License Guru

        His degree should give him 3yrs credit, but he’d have to show documented proof of field experience in framing and at least two unrelated trades. “scheduling, estimating, on site supervision” would not be sufficient.

  10. bryan

    Hi Garret,

    We are likely doing work in the State of California and our LLC is located in Illinois. We build large aquarium systems including the filtration systems. The filtration systems are never connected directly to a municipal water line. I can’t seem to find a Specialty Contractor Class that fits us. any ideas? Thanks you!

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Bryan. It sounds like you have already seen the list of specialty Class C licenses issued by the Contractors State License Board. If not, here is a link. Depending on the work your company does when building aquarium systems you may need to get a Class B general contractors license since, as you’ve discovered, there is no specific Class C specialty license for aquariums. If your company builds aquarium systems from the ground up, which, I’m guessing here, may require framing, plumbing, electrical, etc., you will likely need to get a Class B general contractors license.

      Reply
  11. Vinson Wong

    Hi Garret,

    I’m interested in getting into general contracting but i don’t have experience or education in the field. I’ve been looking into getting a A.S. in carpentry or doing an apprenticeship. I’m not sure which is the better option. Do you have any advice for the best way in obtaining the required experience to get a license to someone that wants to get into this industry?

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Vinson, your question is a little out of my area. I suggest contacting the Contractors License Guru. He comments occasionally on my blog, and as his name suggests, he seems to know what he’s talking about when it comes to contractor licensing.

      Reply
      • The License Guru

        Thanks Garret.

        On Thu, Jun 5, 2014 at 2:55 PM, California Construction Law Blog wrote:

        > Garret Murai commented: “Vinson, your question is a little out of my > area. I suggest contacting the Contractors License Guru. He comments > occasionally on my blog, and as his name suggests, he seems to know what > he’s talking about when it comes to contractor licensing.” >

    • Phil Cocciante

      Hi Vinson,

      There are many ways you can go, but here are the basics.

      You will need at least 4 yrs of experience at the journeyman level. Apprenticeships can take 2-3 yrs. The 4 yr clock would start after you’ve finished the apprenticeship program.

      College credits can be used to augment some of that 4 yr requirement. A 2 yr degree in carpentry would count for 1-2 yrs credit. Most likely 1 yr if you applied for the B license, and 2 yrs if you applied for the C5 Carpentry license.

      The rest of the experience must be gained in the field and in the trade you wish to eventually apply for.

      Current CSLB requirements insist that you provide written documentation of your experience. So whatever you do, keep detailed documentation via pay stubs, w-2’s, contracts, invoices, permits, tax returns.

      If you have more questions, feel free to contact me directly or reply to Garett’s thread. http://www.ContractorsLicenseGuru.com

      Reply
      • Vinson Wong

        Hi Phil,

        Thanks for providing me some more insight on how to approach this. I plan on getting the general contracting B license. Whats the difference in what you can do between the B license and the C5 carpentry license? i’m planning on doing mostly residential work.

      • Phil Cocciante

        With the B license, all contracts must include at least two unrelated trades. i.e. electrical & plumbing or drywall and painting. With the C5 license, you can only contract for C5 work.

        Granted, there may be some aspects of the C5 project that are ancillary to the scope of work, and that’s ok. But you couldn’t contract to do framing and landscaping.

      • Ace

        Phil –

        I don’t see how the 4-year clock would start AFTER the apprenticeship program, because you are credited 3 years for completing it. If you do a 4-year apprenticeship program (which provides you 3 years of credit), then you would really only need to do 1 more year of work at journeyman level after completion of the program. Yes?

      • The License Guru

        Ace, I apologize for any confusion. Most applicants work in the trades before applying for a license. The cslb would accept 4 yrs of experience as an employee of a licensed contractor. That period would be considered apprenticeship time. After reaching the journeyman level, the applicant is required to have 4 yrs of experience at that level before applying for a license.

        Education in lieu of experience is different. Especially if that education is directly related to the classification being applied for. In that case, the applicant could be granted up to 3 yrs credit toward the 4 yr journeyman level requirement.

      • ACE

        Hi Phil,

        I guess my confusion is that I am not merely referring to 4 years of work at apprentice level, so much as an official state-approved apprenticeship program (which includes classroom hours), and to my knowledge, counts for 3 years of journeyman level work. That is, a formal apprenticeship program in a trade gives you more credit than a traditional college degree.

  12. anun

    hi, i have a question about the work experience for General B contractor. I have once submitted a work experience form where my employer certified of my journeyman experience. Some of my performed trade duties that he listed were: inspect, repair, replace, constract, design and maintain structural demends as assigned within buildings including floors, roofs, walls, ceilings, cabinets, doors, gutters, etc, however, my work experience form got rejected and CSLB said that the reason they didnt accept the form is because the certification must describe in detail the trade duties performed or supervised.
    If it is possible please let me know exactly how it should be written and what they are looking for because my employer has never done this before and doesnt know how it needs to be written in order for the form to be acceptable.
    I appreciate your attention in advance and hope you can help me. thank you.

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Anun. When it comes to acceptable verification of work experience there are certainly varying degrees of subjectivity among CSLB representatives. I suggest putting together a binder with separate tabs for each project which you are submitting as proof of your work experience and behind each tab include a description of the project, the work you performed, and supporting documentation. You may also want to contact the CSLB representative to ask what more specific information you need to include.

      Reply
      • Phil Cocciante (@License_Guru)

        HI Anun & Garett. The cslb wants to see the experience outlined like this example:

        Residential remodel and repair including; Framing; wood & metal stud, finish carpentry. Concrete; piles & caissons, foundation work, slabs & driveways, stamped concrete, reinforced block/masonry walls, earthwork and grading. Flooring; tile, carpet, hardwood. Electrical; rough-in, finish fixtures, low voltage systems. HVAC installation and repair. Plumbing; underground irrigation systems, rough-in & finish. Drywall; tape & texture. Demolition, construction clean up and abatement.

      • Phil Cocciante (@License_Guru)

        HI Anun & Garret. The cslb wants to see the experience outlined like this example:

        Residential remodel and repair including; Framing; wood & metal stud, finish carpentry. Concrete; piles & caissons, foundation work, slabs & driveways, stamped concrete, reinforced block/masonry walls, earthwork and grading. Flooring; tile, carpet, hardwood. Electrical; rough-in, finish fixtures, low voltage systems. HVAC installation and repair. Plumbing; underground irrigation systems, rough-in & finish. Drywall; tape & texture. Demolition, construction clean up and abatement.

      • The License Guru

        Thanks for the email. I posted on their question. Sorry, I misspelled your first name the first time. :-)

        On Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 8:41 AM, California Construction Law Blog wrote:

        > Garret Murai commented: “Hi Anun. When it comes to acceptable > verification of work experience there are certainly varying degrees of > subjectivity among CSLB representatives. I suggest putting together a > binder with separate tabs for each project which you are submitting as > proof ” >

  13. Tyler Brown

    I went through the apprenticeship for the ibc carpenters have my journeyman card and have 4 additional years working as a pipe fitter/plumber I have 55 college credits 20 of them in carpentry and building classes. would I qualify for a contractor licence?

    Reply
    • Phil Cocciante (@License_Guru)

      Possibly. I say possibly because it’s difficult to know what the CSLB is going to ask for. You can prove your apprenticeship… that’s good. The college credits will give you some time toward the experience requirement.

      But if you apply for the B-Gen, the pipe fitting/plumbing experience won’t necessarily count towards the B experience.

      The current rule of needing to have experience in framing and at least two unrelated trades is still in place (although there are people working currently to eliminate this underground reg) so you’ll need to show framing experience at the journeyman level as well.

      Reply
  14. Lindsay

    Hi there,

    I have been doing research for hours and can’t seem to find any clarity, so I’m hoping you can help. We are soon going to take on an RMO who will own 21% of our company. My questions are:

    1. How long after establishing an RMO relationship do we have to apply for our own license? In other words, how long are we able to operate under the RMO license?

    2. What is the duration of the RMO relationship? When does it end?

    3. We do not have the required 4 years prior experience, so does that mean we need to operate under the RMO until we have the 4 years, or can we apply before that?

    Any help will be MUCH appreciated. I can’t find anything published on this issue. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Lindsay.

      1. Having a qualifier associate his/her contractor’s license with your company as an RMO alone is not going to allow your company to perform work which requires a license. You need to submit an Application for Original Contractor License (Exam Waived) to the CSLB to obtain a contractor’s license for your company and list the RMO as your qualifying individual.

      2. An RMO will continue to serve as the qualifier for your company until he disassociates his license from your company.

      3. The four years of journey-level experience or above requirement applies to the qualifier not the company. Thus, your company does not need to satisfy the experience requirement, but rather, the individual who is serving as the qualifier for your company.

      Reply
      • Lindsay

        Garret,

        Thank you so much for your prompt response. The information you provided is exactly what I was looking for. One more thing — just to be sure, we will be able to legally operate under the RMO’s license while our application is pending, correct?

      • Garret Murai

        You’re very welcome Lindsay. Unfortunately, your company cannot perform work requiring a contractor’s license until the CSLB issues your company a contractor’s license. This is the distinction between company licenses and individual licenses. Your RMO likely has an individual contractor’s license which allows him/her (but not your company) to perform work requiring a contractor’s license. It isn’t until after your company applies for, and the CSLB assigns your company, a company contractor’s license that your company can perform work requiring a license.

  15. Khoa Truong

    Hi Garret,

    Thank you for writing such an informative blog. I truly appreciate every word.

    I would like to know more about this section: “For individuals, partnerships, and corporations with a qualifying individual: An Application for Original Contractor License (Exam Waived)” and how it is different from: “For individuals, partnerships, and corporations: An Application for Original Contractor License”? Does it mean that someone in a certain organization already has a Contractor License prior to forming a partnerships or corporations?

    I would also like to know if I am applying as an individual and obtain the CSLB license as an individual (for the General Building Contractor (B), and later on I form a corporation, will the license number be the same but just transferred from “individual” to “corporation”? This is especially important to me because the license # is general chronological. I could form a corporation years later after getting an individual license, and do not want my potential clients to think that the latter corporation license # is too new/recent.

    The reason I am asking the above questions is to satisfy my inquiries on the following scenarios:

    – Obtain an “individual” license and still work as a construction project manager for the construction company I am currently with, but with an enhanced professional title/certification.

    – Obtain a “corporation” license straight-up and still work as a construction project manager for the same company.

    Will a “corporation” license require me to have more bond, insurance, … than an “individual” one, even though I would be the only one in the corporation to start out?

    Thank you so very much for your time, diligence, and consideration in helping me with the above. Much appreciated.

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Khoa. You’re understanding is correct. An Application for Original Contractor License (Exam Waived) means that you already have someone with a contractor’s license who will serve as your qualifier. However, regarding contractors license numbers, if you apply for an individual contractor’s license and later form a corporation, your individual license will become associated with your company, but the company will receive a new contractor’s license number from the Contractors State License Board. And, finally, whether you operate under an individual contractor’s license or a corporate contractor’s license shouldn’t affect your bonding and insurance capacities. However, I have always recommended to my client that they form a corporation or a limited liability company to protect themselves from potential personal liability.

      Reply
      • Phil Cocciante (@License_Guru)

        Hi Garret and Khoa,

        Just to clarify, if you have a sole owner license and you form a corporation, you’ll have the option of keeping the sole owner license and receiving a new license number for the corporation… or you can transfer the sole owner license number to the corporation.

        Regarding bonding and insurance…. license bonds are not transferable. If you go sole to corp you’ll need to purchase a new bond in the corporate name.

      • Garret Murai

        Thanks Phil. I was unaware that. I always thought you kept your personal contractor’s license and that a new license number was issued to the company. How do you make that election?

  16. asiskumar

    Hi Garret and Khoa,
    Regarding bonding and insurance…. license bonds are not transferable. If you go sole to corp you’ll need to purchase a new bond in the corporate name.

    Reply
  17. Mike Brown

    Can anyone advise or point me in the right direction to attain a copy of a comparable criminal background check the CSLB uses? The reason being I am thinking about applying for a Contractors license but have no idea what would pop up on their check as I am not young and can not remember dates and details that they claim they require you to list. In the video on their website they indicate you need to list traffic violations? Again I have been driving for over 30 years, it would be impossible for me to remember every ticket I received over that span of time. Please note I am not a criminal, never been in prison, on parole or probation. I have passed background checks to get on military bases, concealed carry background checks as well as some for large private companies for access to their properties (Boeing, Intel, Power generating facilities…). I would just rather know what might be out there before I drop $300 on an application and have it denied. If anything did show up it would be much easier to explain seeing it in writing before filling out the section in the application. FYI…I am an out of state contractor, my company is an LLC in two other states.
    Thanks for any advise.

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Mijobro. I don’t know the details of the CSLB’s criminal background check other than they will run your LiveScan fingerprints through the California Department of Justice and FBI databases. I wouldn’t worry about traffic tickets though. A traffic ticket, other than for a DUI, is not misdemeanor or felony conviction.

      Reply
      • Phil Cocciante

        Hi Garret and Mijobro,

        You can go to any livescan location in California to have your prints run. Click here for locations: http://ag.ca.gov/fingerprints/publications/contact.php

        As Garret said, you do not need to disclose traffic tickets. You do need to disclose any instance that resulted in being booked and/or fingerprinted. Even if you have a sealed or exsponged record, those events would need to be disclosed.

        Regarding the disclosure form, you do not need to know exact dates of arrest or case numbers. You can give round-about dates. The main point is just that you’ve submitted a form for each arrest.

        Filing as an out of state contractor and meeting the LLC requirements is going to be it’s own can of worms.

      • brett

        Garret,,i have a c61 license for many years now and want to upgrade to genaral B,,,i have worked in another trade ffor 3 years before doing this duct cleaning field/c61,,,,i also have worked alot on our own house in the past years.

        what would i need to do to get a b license upgrade?

      • Garret Murai

        Hi Brett. I can’t tell you what will guarantee you to get a Class B General Contractor’s License. However, you will need to satisfy the CSLB’s experience requirements – 4 years of journey-level experience in the past 10 years immediately preceding your application – and successfully passing the CSLB’s written examination for the license classification you are seeking.

      • airfreshcleaning

        Thank you for the response! question ,,can experience on these jobs we’ve performed doing duct cleaning unde my license count,,, such as hvac repair ,duct installions,,and installing new belts,installing new insulation on a/c units and sheet metal.? thank you garret

  18. Garrett Murray

    Garret:
    I currently live in NY. I have a 4 year civil engineering degree and have worked as a construction manager for 12 years. I am thinking on moving to California to partner with someone and set up a home remodel / window replacement company. We would be hiring licensed subcontractors to perform the actual work. Does the company require to be licenced if all of the actual work is subcontracted out. Will I qualify for a contractors licence as I do not have experience in California. What would be the best company to set up for this scenario. LLC or Inc. Thanks

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Garrett. Your first and last name kind of makes me feel like we know each other from an alternate universe. In an answer to your questions, yes you will need to hold a California contractor’s license even if you subcontract everything out. Also, you can use your experience even though it was experience outside of California. And, as to the best type of business entity to form, you should talk to a corporate lawyer, although you should be aware that there are additional bonding requirements in California if you are obtaining a contractors license for a LLC.

      Reply
  19. lqhigh2001@gmail.com

    Hi Garret. Thank you so much for the info! For my situation, I have no experience whatsoever in the business and I do not have a four degree. However, my brother and I are very interested in getting the license and open up our own business. How hard is it for us to obtain one? Do you think that we will be qualified through the board? I absolute do not want to spend any money or time until I have a better understanding of the requirements? Would you recommend me to work for a company to get experience before applying for the license?

    Again, thank you very much for creating the blog.

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      At a minimum you’ll need to satisfy the experience requirements – at least 4 years of journey-level experience or higher within the preceding 10 years of your application – and can receive an education credit under certain circumstances including an AA degree from a community college in building or construction management. Working for a construction company is a great way to satisfy the experience requirements.

      Reply
  20. ellis

    I’ve spent the last 5 years as a supervisor of a construction management company over seeing multiple projects pertaining to roofing water proofing and pavement.

    I did not perform the work but I managed the jobs from start to completion.

    Surveyed buildings to identify problem and damaged areas help write specifications to correct the these areas and helped clients choose contractors and inspected their work throughout the process.

    Would this experience qualify me for a class b license?

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Elllis. The experience requirement is for journeyman level experience or higher so your experience will likely qualify. The CSLB representatives who review contractor’s license applications, however, can be uneven in the experience they approve. Just make sure you have supporting documentation and that it is organized.

      Reply
  21. Nick H

    Can an RME later change their license to an RMO? I read it is possible as long as you do it within 5 years of leaving a company to become an RMO.

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Nick. I’m not aware of anybrestrictions on an RME becoming an RMO, for the same or a different company, at any time. The only restriction is that you can’t be an RME for more than one company and that there are restrictions on being a RMO for multiple companies (i.e., you must hold 20% or more of stock and majority of officers must be the same).

      Reply
  22. Thomas I

    Hey Garrett,

    I am currently working with a business partner who is a general contractor, who is likely going to retire soon. I also have an employee who has worked in the field for 5+ years who wants to get his license. Would my company be able to transfer the license from one to another to keep work going? (I do not have a license, and mostly handle the business end of our company’s work

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Thomas. If you’re employee gets his/her own license they can serve as the company’s responsible managing employee (“RME”). You would just need to file an Application for Replacing the Qualifying Individual. Just make sure the RME satisfies the 32 hour a week or 80% of the operating hours the company requirement, whichever is less, and has actual responsibility for overseeing the construction activities of the company.

      Reply
  23. Fred A

    Garrett,

    I am currently applying for a sole ownership license, with my employee serving as an RME. However, we have recently decided recently that we actually want to move forward as a corporation, splitting the ownership stock 70-25, with a third person owning the additional 5%. Do I have to cancel my process of getting a license? Or do I wait, apply for incorporation, and then ask for the license to transfer to the corporation?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Fred. You can do either, namely: (1) Form a corporation and then apply for a corporate contractor’s license using the Application for Original Contractor’s License ; or (2) Apply for an sole owner contractor’s license using the Application for Original Contractor’s License, and after you have formed a corporation, submit a Licensed Sole Owner Applying for Corporate License.

      Reply
      • Phil Cocciante

        Fred… if your application hasn’t been posted yet by the CSLB, you can change it from a sole owner license to a corporate license. Contact the tech working your application for more details.

  24. Ryan B

    Can an individual apply for a license before starting a company? I am planning on starting a company with a man in a few months, but I was wondering if there was any way he could apply for a license now, and then apply that license to our corporation in a few months when we start it?

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Ryan. This must be a popular question today. Yes, you can apply for a sole owner contractor’s license, and then after forming a corporation, have the sole owner contractor’s license transferred to a corporate contractor’s license. to do so, you would apply for an sole owner contractor’s license using the Application for Original Contractor’s License, and after you have formed a corporation, submit a Licensed Sole Owner Applying for Corporate License.

      Reply
      • The License Guru

        In essence… paying the cslb twice. It’s more cost effective to wait until you have your corporation formed before submitting for a corporate license.

      • Garret Murai

        True, you would need to pay the application fee twice, but if the goal is to get licensed so that you can begin working on jobs as soon as possible you may need to bite the bullet and pay the additional $300 to transfer the license to the corporation.

  25. Paul

    Hi Garret. Thanks for the info. Very informative. I have a master degree in International Relations. Do you think I can get any credit with the degree?

    Reply
    • Daniel I.

      I have a bachelors degree in Computer Science. Not only that, but I got it in a different country too. Do you think I can get any credit for that degree?
      I have been working on different projects on my house for a while: from completely remodeling my bathrooms (plumbing, faucets, sinks, tubs), to kitchen remodeling (cabinets, counter top), to replacing all windows and doors, upgraded the electrical panel, painting, drywalls, patio stairs, pillars for the patio cover, and 2 x 100ft block walls. I only have city permits for the electric panel upgrade and for the 2 block walls. I am NOT a construction guy by any means, but I enjoy outdoor physical work for a change and work on these type of projects.
      Anyways, I want to associate with a friend who has lots of experience in the constructions field (masonry), but he cannot take his license. He tried once, but failed and he won’t try again. On the other hand, I am not afraid of the exam and I am sure I can pass the exam if I am accepted, but I do not have any formal experience that I can prove other than the 3 permits (2 for the block walls and 1 electric) I’ve got from the city. My friend will do pretty much all the hard work, and I will do the project management, paperwork, customer service, and the site supervision. Can I use my 4-year degree from a different field, and my personal experience to apply for the C29 Masonry Contractor License? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

      Reply
      • Garret Murai

        Hi Daniel. Unfortunately, credit will not be given for your degree in computer science. To get credit, you need an AA degree or higher in the areas of accounting, architecture, business, construction technology, drafting, economics, engineering, mathematics or physics. You must also have at least four years of journey-level experience or higher in the past 10 years immediately preceding application for a contractor’s license.

  26. Steve Ksi

    Question on the skill history. I have been in the building industry all my life. Having worked in licensed HVACR, Plumbing, Home Construction and Commercial construction. So have learned all aspects of construction and maintenance at J level. Over the last 10 years I have lived in CA. Having worked on many projects, some permitted some not. Some maintenance project that was a hourly charge, where the home owner purchased the materials. So no job quoted. Having built additions for family members, turnkey. And major structural repair work. Have built temporary display systems for Art Festivals, that are in excess of $500, but are NOT fixed to the main structure. Have installed display cases and lighting to display cases. Biggest project in CA was a Jewelry Store refit. Which was owner permitted, where I was as a friend helping them out. (doing basically all of the work as well as dealing with the permit office). If I list all of this work, with the owner verifying the work, am I risking an investigation to possibly doing work without a license. (All my clients know I am working under the guises as a Handyman, Family Member or Friend and not Licensed, Insured or Bonded with no paperwork quote.)

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Steve. The CSLB’s licensing division is separate from their enforcement division so it’s unlikely they would look into the work you performed previously to determine whether it was work which required a license.

      Reply
  27. Lily

    I am interested in getting my license, but I don’t have any experience. On your post it says you can be represented by someone who has the experience to get your license. In my case it would be my husband. How would I go about applying?

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Lily. Your husband would need to serve as your “qualifier,” generally, either as a Responsible Managing Officer (“RMO”) or as a Responsible Managing Employee (“RME”). He can serve as a RMO if you form a corporation or LLC and can serve as an RME for any type of business entity including a sole proprietorship. The most important thing is that he has to have direct supervison and control over the day to day construction activities.

      Reply
  28. TJ

    Is it possible to become the RME for a company, but live outside of CA? What annual requirements are there (if any) in order to do this? I thouight I read somewhere that one must make (2) documented trips to the state annually to oversee operations, as well as being 80% involved in daily operations for the company.

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi TJ. I am unaware of any requirement that an RME reside in California. Having said that, an RME must be a bona fide employee involved in the business at least 32 hours a week or 80% of the total business operating hours per week, whichever is less, and if it’s a small construction company these requirements may be difficult to satisfy.

      Reply
  29. Ryan B

    Thanks for the input Garrett! 2 more questions:

    1) Does a guy who owns 2% in my corporation who is NOT a corporate officer need to have his name on our corporate license? If I understand the form correctly, only corporate officers need to be on the license for a corporation, unlike a sole owner/joint venture where all owners do?
    2) Will a currently suspended drivers license of one of the names on the license effect our process at all (since license numbers are requested on the form)?

    Reply
    • Ryan B

      Also, this might be a dumb question, but am I required to have fax number because its requested by the CSLB?

      Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Ryan. For a corporate contractor’s license only corporate officers need to be identified. Regarding a suspended driver’s license, I haven’t encountered this before, but it shouldn’t affect your ability to get a contractor’s license.

      Reply
  30. Ace

    When is it appropriate to apply for an original contractors license vs. an LLC Original Contractor License? If I am not yet licensed (about to be eligible in about a month), but want to start a construction company and I know I want it to be an LLC, should/can I just send in the LLC application? Why would I want to submit one form as opposed to the other?

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Ace. The Application for LLC Original Contractor License is for LLCs only whereas the Application for Original Contractor License is for sole proprietorships, corporations and partnerships. So, if you will be forming an LLC you’ll need to submit the Application for LLC Original Contractor License. Just make sure you form your LLC first before submitting your application. And, congrats on your near to be eligibility.

      Reply
    • The License Guru

      The LLC license can be difficult to obtain for a start up business because they don’t have the financials required to obtain the 100k surety bond. You might want to talk to your broker/cpa before going down the LLC path.

      Reply
  31. Mechanic

    We are a licensed (In Oregon and Washington) LLC. wondering what the procedure is to get a California contractors license.

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      You’ll need to file an application for contractors license which can be found on the California Contractors State License Board website. Unfortunately, California has contractor’s license reciprocity agreements with Arizona, Nevada and Utah but not with Oregon or Washington.

      Reply
  32. Petrof

    I can’t find anywhere on these posts what the qualifications are for applying as a general contractor. My last job gave me seven years of experience as a welder/electrician/plumber. Will that suffice to the CSL B as experience towards general contracting?

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Petrof. In general you need to be 18 years of age or older;
      have a valid social security number; and show that you have the experience and skills necessary to manage the daily activities of a construction business, including field supervision, or be represented by another individual with the necessary experience and skills who serves as the qualifying individual. As to experience you need to show at least four years of journey-level experience or higher in the past 10 years immediately preceding application for a contractor’s license. Credit for experience is only given for experience as a journeyman, foreman, supervising employee, contractor, or owner-builder. All experience must be verified by a qualified and responsible person who has firsthand knowledge of the individual’s experience during the time period covered. You can also get credit for certain education.

      Reply
      • Petrof

        What kind of journeyman level experience? Any trade? Multiple trades?

      • Garret Murai

        The CSLB regulations require that an applicant have had, within the last 10 years immediately preceding the filing of the application, not less than four years experience as a journeyman, foreman, supervising employee, or comtractor “in the particular class within which the applicant intends to engage as a contractor.”

      • Petrof

        General B license requires what trade experience? Welding, framing, plumbing, electrical?

      • Petrof

        Thank you. I cant seem to find that written anywhere. Some schools have told me that i need to have been an employee of a framer to get b licence.

  33. Jeremy

    I’m looking into getting a license myself. However, it will be a C53 for pool work. My experience is definitely more limited than the 4 years required and I have no current relevant school experience.
    My question really is, if I am working as a pool cleaner for my own LLC how do I go about getting experience that is acceptable according to the accreditation board.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Jeremy. You have a few options. You can go back to school to get education credits, work for someone else to get the requisite experience, or bring someone on board with the requisite experience to serve as your qualifier. That’s about it.

      Reply
  34. Steve

    Hi Garret. Thank you for providing such a knowledge-filled forum. Here is my question: Our company will be applying for a “C-61″ specialty classification. Specifically, our specialty classification is D-21 – Machinery and Pumps. There is no trade exam for this, only business and law. I’ll be the RME. Our business is not typically considered to be part of the construction industry, and I’m wondering how to complete the Certification of Work Experience form. Our company provides mainly software engineering and automation controls design/installation. We don’t have Journeymen or anything of that nature. Moreover, while I’ve had 10 years of project management experience, it was in a different industry and for a different company. I’m a full time employee here now, and have been since September. Any advice?

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Steve. I am unaware of any requirement that your “experience” be in the same area in which you are seeking a license, particularly a C-61 specialty license. As such, I would include your project management experience.

      Reply
  35. Theo

    Garrett,

    Thank you for including all of this information in your blog!

    I was wondering: can an individual serving as an RMO for their own construction company be hired to serve as an RME of a new company? Or does qualifying on multiple license require that they serve as an RMO?

    Reply
    • The License Guru

      Theo, You can be an RMO on up to 3 corporate licenses if you own at least 20% in those licenses. But if you are an RME, then you can only be a qualifier on that one license and no others.

      Reply
  36. Theo

    And also related question: as we look to apply for our license, we are thinking of applying for a separate classification with another employee, who does not yet have a license. Should we submit both simultaneously? Or wait for our first (presumably quicker) application to go through, then apply for the 2nd classification?

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      If you are applying for a new contractor’s license without the exam waived you are limited to applying for one license classification.

      Reply
    • The License Guru

      Theo, you’ll need to wait until the license is issued. Then apply for the second classification using the Application for Additional Classification.

      Reply
  37. michael h

    Hello Garret and guru.
    I currently live in the state of Tennessee and I run my own handyman/remodling business. I hold Tennessee home improvement license. In addition I have a bachelors degree in business finance. Prior to switching to business school, I was going for electrical engineering major and I have taken extensive courses in engineering and mathematics. My plan is tomove to California and start my remodeling company. Do you think I have a good chance in getting the b-general building licence. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Michael. Unfortunately, Tennessee is not one of the states in which California has a reciprocity agreement, so to get a contractor’s license in California you will need to satisfy the work experience requirements and take and pass the written exam. The degree you received and courses you took may provide you with a work experience credit, but given your work experience, you may not need the credit.

      Reply
  38. Johan

    Hi Garret,

    My question is regarding the responsibilities of an RMO. How many hours is he required to be on the site? Is an RMO also under the same guidelines as a bona fide employee or RME (32 hour / 80%)? If he’s not, how would I show compliance to supervised work?

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Johan. Thanks for reading. There are no minimum hourly working requirements for a RMO like there are for an RME. However, an RMO, like an RME, must exercise direct supervision and control over the work of the licensed contractor. There are no hard and fast rules as to what constitutes adequate supervision and control but one factor that will be considered is the size of the licensed contractor’s operations. For example, the RMO of a larger general contractor will, due to the size of the company, be unable to exercise the same degree of supervision and control as the RMO of a smaller licensed contractor.

      Reply
  39. The License Guru

    Hello Michael.
    The restrictions on applicants for the B classification have made it very difficult for many people to qualify. You’ll get up to two years credit for your four year degree, but the remaining 24-28 months will have to be proved with documentation. If you’d like to send me an email, I can provide you with the list of documents the CSLB will accept as experience verification. ContractorLicenseService@gmail.com

    Reply
  40. yoselinm

    Hello I was reading through the blog and this section really caught my eye:
    license applicant can be represented by another individual with the necessary experience and skills who serves as the qualifying individual.

    So If I am a 20 year Old and have no experience whatsoever and Im trying to get a D-49 Tree service license to start a company with my father who has over 20 years of experience it is possible?

    PLEASE RESPOND
    THANKYOU

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi. The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that in order to be a qualifier your father will need to take and pass the trade examination and have enough applicable experience and/or educational credits to satisfy the experience requirements. He will also need to actually serve as a qualifier which generally means that he needs to have actual involvement in the day to day business of the company.

      Reply
  41. Mani Takami

    Hey Garett Murai I’m interested in getting my c27 license for landscaping. The only problem that I have is that I do not have the verified experience. I’ve been a foreman for two years now. Is there any way I can go around this? I also heard that they are now accepting expierence if you worked unliscenesed but I’m not sure how that can be verified. Have you heard of this?

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Mani. You can reduce the experience required if you have educational credit, but even with educational credit, you still need to have verified experience. On your other question, I have not heard of the CSLB accepting experience for unlicensed work, but I don’t know that they check whether your verified experience was related to licensed work or not, either.

      Reply
  42. writeoncb

    Hi,
    I am planning to get into a window covering franchise. Obviously I don’t have four years’ of experience–is that necessary? Any insight would be helpful. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Carol. If you are going to install window coverings you will need a D-52 Window Coverings contractor’s license. As mentioned in the post, you can receive credit of up to three years of the required four years of journey-level experience by satisfying certain educational requirements.

      Reply
  43. chelra1234

    Informative write up! I am interested in getting a General engineering contractor license (Class A). Whether a state license is required to do construction work for the federal government? I had received an acknowledgement from CSLB, Now I am preparing for AZ contractors exam with great dedication. But I am confused about the License bonds. What are my bond limits? How long is my bond is valid? Can you please explain about the rules and regulations of this license bond?

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Cherla. Thanks for reading. In California, a California contractor’s license is not required to perform work on a federal project located in California. As to license bonds, I can’t speak to what is required in Arizona, but in California you are required to maintain a license bond in the amount of $12,500. As to how long a bond is valid, it depends on your agreement with the surety, but typically that are for a year or more.

      Reply
  44. Gus

    Hello Garret,

    Thank you for the detailed article. I am helping out a family member that has reached out to me with questions regarding requirements to start his new business. He is focusing on roof removals/tear-offs and the loading of the new roof material. He has recently purchased the needed equipment and is ready to embark on his new business. Is a license required in his scenario? I was thinking of a C39 – ROOFING license but after reading the classification it doesn’t fit the type of service that he is providing. Thank you for your time.

    Best Regards,
    Gus

    Reply
    • Garret Murai

      Hi Gus. Thanks for reading. I believe that roof removal/tear-offs can be performed by a C39 Roofing Contractor or a B General Contractor. There’s also a C21Demolition Contractor license but I don’t know that a C21 license is needed for roof removal. The best thing I can suggest is to contact the CSLB and see if they can point you in the right direction. I’m not sure what you mean by “loading of the new roof material.” If you’re talking about just delivery of roofing material you wouldn’t need a contractor’s license to do so. But, if you’re talking about bringing that roofing material to the top of a roof I think you might need a C21 or B license. Again, I would contact the CSLB to be sure.

      Reply

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