What's Involved With Getting a CSLB License?

Getting a CSLB license is a long process that involves many steps. In fact, most contractors will need at least eight to 12 weeks to submit an application, take an examination, and receive their license. The steps involved in getting your contractor's license from the state of California include:

Meet Basic Requirements

The general qualifications to get a contractor's license include being over the age of 18 and having the necessary skills to manage job requirements in the construction business. However, if you are not 18 years of age or you do not have the necessary experience, you must be represented by a person who serves as a qualifying individual for your license.

For example, someone can represent you on your application to vouch for your skills and abilities if this individual has had at least four full years of work experience as a contractor. It's common for apprentices to obtain their first license in this way.

Choose Your License Classification

You will need to choose your license classification. The different classifications for contractors will influence the type of exam you are given. Because contractors in California are divided by classifications, this influences the type of work they can complete. For example, there is a huge difference between general engineering contractors (Class A), general building contractors (Class B), and specialty contractors (Class C).

If you choose to become a specialty contractor, then you must obtain a specific license in one or more of the specialty contracting fields. This can include insulation, framing, low voltage systems, drywall, electrical, fencing, fire protection, HVAC, lock and security, masonry, roofing, solar, or other specialties.

Apply for Examination

Next, you will have to submit an application to take the examination. You may only apply to take an examination for one license classification at a time. You must submit several certificates along with your application to take the examination, such as the certification of work experience and a project list form. You also need to submit a $450 application processing fee with your application.

Have Qualified Experience and Education

When you submit your application to take the examination, you must provide evidence of qualifying experience to take the exam. In general, qualifying experience means having at least four years of work experience or apprenticeship in the classification that you are applying for. Your education may be used as a credit for your qualified experience.

For example, you may have a credit of up to three years if you have verified technical training, apprenticeship training, or education toward the classification that you are seeking a license for. If education is your only qualified experience, you must have at least one year of practical experience documented before you can apply for a license. Your education will need to be reviewed for credit, so you will need to submit an official sealed transcript along with your application.

Receive Notice to Appear for Examination

Once the state of California receives your application to take the examination, you'll need to wait one to two weeks to receive an approval letter. When you receive the notice to appear for an examination, you will be confirmed to take the examination on the specified date. When you go to take your examination, be sure to bring picture identification.

Complete Fingerprint Scan

Before your examination, you are required to submit a set of fingerprints to the Contractors State License Board. Your fingerprints will be used to conduct a criminal background check and will be compared to any fingerprints on file with the California Department of Justice and the FBI.

Study for Examination

To obtain your contracting license, you need to pass a law and business examination, along with the second test that covers the certification for the specific contracting trade you're seeking a license in. The law and business examination studying materials that are listed on the Contractors State License Board website.

Apply for License

After you receive the notice that you have passed your exam, you will be able to apply for your license. After passing your exam, you need to obtain a bond and fee notification form. You are required to have a $15,000 bond to cover business expenses under California state law.

To apply for your license, you must submit an initial license fee of $200, along with other certifications and fingerprinting requirements. For example, you must also have a certificate of workers' compensation insurance.

Receive Certificate

After your licensing fee and other certificates have been processed and verified, you will usually receive a certificate in the mail for your contractor's state license. This certificate is a wall-mounted document that will prove your license for your specific classification. The state will also record your verified active license in a database.

When Will You Need to Renew Your License?

Your license will need to be renewed every two years. Without renewing your license, you cannot legally complete contracting work in the state of California. This is true for all contracting licenses you may have.

Who Needs a CSLB License?

Most contractors who plan to work in California will need to be licensed. Businesses and individuals who are working construction on highways, roads, parking facilities, railroads, residential, and commercial buildings all require licenses.

The only people who are exempt from obtaining a license are those who work on projects that are valued at less than $500, including the cost of materials. Employees who are paid in wages may also not need to have a license, depending on their specific work situation.

If you want to work legally as a contractor, you must obtain a license from the Contractors State License Board. You need to complete an examination and obtain several certificates before you can receive your license. To learn more about working as a general contractor, visit ServiceBox today.

No Surprises & Priced According To Your Needs

Our customers love the affordability and flexibility of our software. ServiceBox is priced to ensure you see a return on your investment. We have pricing options that align with your needs whether you’re a one person service business or manage a large team in the field.