Overview & Benefits
Obtaining a Contractor's License in California
California requires explicitly four years of experience before you can take the required contractor's license exam. These four years are mandatory, even if you have some experience.
There's a possibility of receiving credit for these four years if you have:
- Completed technical training
- Had education on contracting
- Been an apprentice
However, these count as credit only if they are equal to the four years of experience required. Additionally, this experience must be the supervisor level or above.
Formal education isn't mandatory to take the contractor's exam. However, it may help as credit toward the four years of experience required. Even with extensive education, at least one year of experience is obligatory. You can find further information on the www.cslb.ca.gov site.
If you've had a license in another state OR if the Board decides to take your 4+ years of experience for trade, you still have to:
- Apply for the license
- Pass the law section of the exam
- Pass the business section of the exam
- Pay the fees
(If you're looking for specific information on Reciprocity with other states, you'll find it later on this page.)
The law in the state of California requires any individual or business to have a license if they alter a structure, such as highways, roads, parking facilities, etc.. The California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) must issue this license. Also, the license is mandatory if the entire job amounts to $500 or more, including materials, tools, and labor.
Failure to have a contractor's license while doing work in California can result in severe penalties. Misdemeanors can range from a $500 penalty to jail time. Other administrative fees may range from $200 to $15,000. Penalties vary depending on the infraction.
As you can see, no matter what, you'll have to take the exam. So, do you still have the desire to be a contractor in California? Be sure to answer this question for yourself before you start stacking up the truck with tools. It's a big commitment that requires studying, follow-through, and completion.
The Benefits of Having a Contractor's License in California
One benefit to note is that once you become a licensed contractor in California, you don't have to live in the state. But, if you'll be bidding for jobs in California, you must have your contractor's license before you bid.
Gives You Flexibility
This benefit gives you the flexibility to work and live in other states, especially if the work slows down in California. It also means that you can do seasonal work. Just remember that even only to bid, you must have your license. Severe penalties can occur otherwise.
Builds Trust with Your Clients
Another notable benefit is the trust you build with your clients. Your license shows you took the time and invested in a requirement of the state. It also demonstrates you're not "working under the table." You've made an effort, and you're giving your clients peace of mind by being certified. It's essential to show your clients that they're working with a professional.
Additionally, a license opens the doors to bigger jobs. Clients with big jobs tend to select contractors with licenses because of the liability of the size of the job.
What Other Applications Are There?
If you're not looking for the "Application for Original Contractor License," the following are some of the other options you have:
- Application for Original Contractor License Examination Waiver (if eligible)
- Application for Joint Venture License
- Application for Additional Classification
- Application for Replacing the Qualifying Individual
- Application for Asbestos Certification
- Application for Hazardous Substance Removal and Remedial Actions Certification
And there's more. If you're thinking of applying for any of the above or the application you're seeking isn't here, contact Contractor Training Center. Because the application process can be cumbersome and confusing, Contractor Training Center offers a service called Contractor License Application Fulfillment Service. This service:
- Includes a consulting service even before you apply
- Assists you in filling out the correct forms
- Assists you in submitting your forms to the state licensing agency
- Reviews the application before submitting to ensure you've filled out all information properly
- Helps with appeal and re-application in case of rejection of the application
If you prefer to speak to someone on the phone first, call us at (888) 585-7350. One of our representatives will be happy to give you more information about our application fulfillment service.