Getting a  Contractors License in California

In excess of three hundred and ten thousand licensed California state contractors exist today, spanning forty-three differing classifications of licenses. They are all regulated by the CSLB, known as the Contractors State License Board, which sees more than twenty-five thousand new applications for licensing membership presented every year. For any person who is interested in joining the profitable construction industry's ranks, a California contractor's license will need to be obtained first. There are several requirements that must first be completed in order to qualify for this important and mandatory license.

To obtain all of the necessary forms and information needed to apply for this state contractor's license, an individual will need to go online and navigate his or her web browser over to the California Contractors State License Board website. There are a number of different pre-requisites for obtaining this construction contractor's license. In order to obtain such a license, the individual will be required to pass a trade and law examination, although there are special cases where exam waivers can be issued. Before the exam can be taken, an application first is required to be filed with the California Contractors State License Board. They make the final decision regarding whether or not an applicant measures up to their criteria before the exam is taken.

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A number of different requirements besides taking and passing this exam are mandated in order for a person to qualify for a state contractor's license in the golden state. The first and easiest one is that a potential applicant has to be either eighteen years old or older. Next, the applicant must demonstrate all of the necessary skills and experience in order to oversee the day to day activities performed by a construction business. This includes the skills necessary for supervising construction personnel while in the field. Alternatively, an individual could be instead represented by a person who possesses the required skills and experience and is willing to serve as the applicant's qualifying person.

Either the contractor or his qualifying individual is required to have had, within the past ten years before the application is actually filed, minimally four full years of experience at the journeyman level. A journeyman is defined as an individual who has successfully finished an apprenticeship training program, or who is instead an experienced employee that is able to and qualified to do the trade tasks without having to be supervised in the process. Alternatively, this required experience could be as a supervisor, foreman, or contractor in the classification for which the person is making application. Supervisors, or foremen, are individuals who possess both the skills and knowledge of a journeyman and literally supervise actual construction on a day to day basis. Contractors are defined as those individuals who actually manage the day to day activities, including field supervision, in a given construction business.

Such experience listed on the application will have to be verifiable. Persons who possess intimate knowledge of this experience in question will be required to certify as to the accuracy of the information on experience that the applicant provides. Those who are permitted to verify the experience of an applicant for the contractors' license are responsible and qualified individuals. The state law spells out that among these are employers, homeowners, other journeymen, employee colleagues, union representatives, contractors, architects, building inspectors, or engineers. This person who verifies and certifies the experience claim is required to have first hand knowledge of such real world working experience. This means that she or he will have observed the actual work as it was being performed. They will then complete the certification of experience part of the application for the contractor's license. Applicants are advised to do more than only offer the certification of experience. They should be ready to provide additional documentation of such experience that is claimed on the actual application, in case this additional documentation is required. Anyone who is unable to offer such documentation upon request will receive a license denial or application rejection as a result.

Regarding necessary education requirements for a contractor's license, none are required at the present time. For those applicants who have technical training, education, or official apprenticeship training, they are able to use this to be credited for a part of the mandatory four years of real world experience. While three full years of credit may be given in lieu of such education, a minimum of one year still has to be made up of real world, practical work experience. For those who are planning to substitute the up to three years of actual experience with education, written documentation of this education or training will have to be provided as supporting materials along with the application. Documentation that is allowable comprises college transcripts or certificates of apprenticeship copies.

Besides the requisite four years or equivalent real world experience and passing of the written trade and law and business examinations, there is still another requirement expected of the California state contractor's license. Every such applicant is required to demonstrate greater than $2,500 in operating capital. This operating capital means that the person's present assets less his or her present liabilities has to be in excess of $2,500. Besides this, the applicant is required to obtain and then file a cash deposit or contractor's bond at the office of the Registrar for $12,500. In addition to this, the individual has to submit another bond, distinct from the first one, for $7,500 on behalf of the RME, or Responsible Managing Employee, or alternatively for the RME, or Responsible Managing Officer. Still, there is a way around this second bond. The CSLB is allowed to offer an exemption to this requirement of filing a Bond of Qualifying Individual. This requires that the RMO is able to certify that he or she is an owner of at least ten percent or greater of the equity, or alternatively ten percent of the qualifying, voting stock, in the company of which he or she is said to serve as the qualifying person.

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