How to get a California Contractors License Part 3

In this series of posts, I’ll tell you how to get a California Contractors License. On to part 3.

How do I get a california contractors license12) What happens if I fail the exams?

The Law and Trade exams are scored separately, and you can take either exam as many times as necessary for 18 months (at $50 per retake). If you don’t pass within 18 months, you have to reapply. If you passed one of the exams it still counts for up to 5 years.

13) Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance Required?

Yes. Unless the entity has no employees, then a certificate of exemption can be filed with the Board. *The law now requires that roofing contractors must have W/C whether or not you have employees.

14) What is the cost to apply for a license?

The application filing fee is $250, the Initial License Fee is $150. Both of these fees can be paid when the application is submitted. If the applicant chooses to remove his or her application after submittal, only the Initial License Fee will be refunded.

15) Can I apply for more than one classification at a time?

No. You need a license number before you can apply for an additional classification. So, for example, first you might get a B license as a general builder, and then later add an classification such as a C-10/Electrician.

16) Does the CSLB recognize licenses from other States?

Yes. The CSLB has reciprocity agreements with Utah, Nevada and Arizona. It is possible to get a CA license if you hold a license in one of these states by only having to take the CA Law & Business exam. The key is, you must have been licensed in the other State for a minimum of 5 out of the last 7 years.

Coming up… How to get a California Contractors License Part 4.

CSLB Application Processing Part 2

Here we are again, CSLB application processing part 2, where I received a screen shot of an application timeline.

This poor guy is being bounced around like a golf ball in a blender. You can see in the image below that the application was submitted on 4/30/13. After being sent to the case management unit for a flag that was cleared on 7/17, almost three months later, the app was then sent to a licensing supervisor on 8/1. I’m assuming this was either a classification clarification or experience related. On 8/5 the supervisor returned the application to the technician with instructions to reject the app to the applicant for a correction. Then on 9/18, the application was sent back to the licensing supervisor for review again. I’m assuming to review the classification clarification or experience outline. The application was also sent to a “License Deputy” for review. Again, I’m assuming it’s for experience. On 10/1 the app is returned to the application technician with instructions to post the app and schedule him for the exams.

You would think that should be the end of it. It’s been to a supervisor twice and to a “licensing deputy.” But no… the app is referred to the Application Investigation Unit or AIU on the same day they schedule the exams. This is the part that really fries my shorts. Why do they insist on scheduling applicants for the exams AND send them to the AIU to verify their experience? If they are not qualified for the exams, and they require the applicant to prove his experience with the AIU, why send them to exams in the first place?

Moving on, the application is “out for investigation” on 10/7, but an “investigator” in the AIU will take at least a month before he/she contacts the applicant. On 10/22 the applicant passes both the law and business and trade exams.

Here we are, it’s January 15th, and the application is still “out for investigation.” Full disclosure… the applicant hasn’t told me yet what communication he’s had with the investigator, if any. So it could be that he’s submitted documents to be reviewed and is waiting for a determination to be made. Or, he may still be waiting to hear from the investigator.

Bottom line… anybody could look at the process this application has gone through and wonder if the Contractors State License Board is truly inept or just dysfunctional. Why did a “licensing deputy” review and apparently approve the application and then sent it to enforcement? Does the “licensing deputy” have the necessary training and experience to adequately review an application? The timeline below suggests, No.

If you find yourself in this situation, contact your State Assembly Member’s office and file a complaint with them. You can also file a complaint directly with the CSLB. Click on this link to download the pdf. CSLBClientServicesComplaintAndSuggestionForm I know that is kind of like asking the fox to look over the hen house, but at least the Registrar’s office is aware of what’s going on under his nose.

CSLB Application Processing Part 2

How to get a California Contractors License Part 2

In this series of posts, I’ll tell you how to get a California Contractors License. This is part 2.

contractors licensing faqs_2

6) HOW DO I PROVE MY WORK EXPERIENCE?

You ask someone in the building trades who has direct knowledge of your work to sign a “work cert” (Certification of Work Experience). You do not need a work cert for each and every job. One person may sign for all four years of required experience. The best way, according to the Contractors State License Board, is to use employed experience and to provide pay stubs proving that experience.

7) CAN I QUALIFY WITH “SELF-EMPLOYED” EXPERIENCE?

Yes! But be prepared to show proof of your experience. The CSLB is reviewing/investigating more and more applications, especially the 8 “critical classifications.”

8) CAN I USE OWNER/BUILDER EXPERIENCE?

Yes, but I recommend that you don’t.  O/B experience is reviewed separately to evaluate the amount of experience time you will be granted. On average, the time you are granted is at least ¾ of what you submitted.

9) WHAT HAPPENS IF MY APPLICATION IS NOT APPROVED?

The application will be returned with a letter asking you to supply additional information or make corrections. You will have 90 days to comply with the letter.

10) IS THERE AN EXAMINATION REQUIREMENT?

Yes. The qualifying person must pass the Law & Business and Trade exams, unless he or she meets the requirements for a waiver of either one or both exams. If you’ve taken and passed an exam within the last five years, you do not need to re-test. If you are applying for reciprocity, you’ll only have to take the law and business exam.

Stay tuned for How to get a California Contractors License Part 3.

How to get a California Contractors License Part 1

In this series of posts, I’ll tell you how to get a California contractors license.

Let’s begin with the Licensing Process:

1) Who must be licensed:

All businesses or individuals who construct or alter any building, highway, road, parking facility or other structure in CA must be licensed by the CSLB if the total cost including labor and materials is $500 or more.

2) What are the advantages to having a contractor’s license?

There are many reasons to get a contractor’s license:

A. You can do jobs that are over $500.
B. You can take the customer to court if you are not paid. (Without a license, a contract over $500 is considered illegal.)
C. You can legally advertise your construction business.
D. You can pull building permits.
E. You are eligible for special discounts from many material suppliers.
F. You can join builders’ associations that offer job boards, plan rooms, and group insurance.

3) What are the licensing classifications?

The classifications are broken down into 4 categories.

1) A-General Engineering
2) B-General Building
3) C-Specialty classes
4) D-Limited Specialty classes

4) What experience is required?

At least four years of journey level experience is required to qualify for the exam. Credit is given for experience as a journeyman, foreman, supervising employee or contractor or a combination of experience and education.

5) What if I do not have four years work experience?

You may still qualify by substituting apprenticeship or technical training or other education for work experience. For example, you could receive a credit of up to two years for a college degree in business. You don’t necessarily need a college degree. Transcripts showing course work in construction technology, drafting, accounting, etc., can also be substituted for a portion of the four-year requirement.

contractors licensing faqs_1

Part 2 of how to get a California contractors license. coming soon…

 

CSLB Application Processing

Has the CSLB Application Processing system completely run afoul?

I apologize if I spend too much time discussing this topic, but it really fries my shorts when State agencies abuse their power.

I received an email from an applicant who applied to add a classification to his existing license. You will see in the image below that the CSLB Licensing Unit requested additional documentation. The applicant submitted the documentation, it was accepted, the application was posted and he passed the trade exam. Six days after passing the exam, his application was sent to the infamous Application Investigation Unit, or AIU. Why??

The AIU is going to ask for the same documentation. Doesn’t this suggest that the Licensing Unit is incompetent? They chose to take on the role of experience verification experts. Are they incompetent? Do they not feel that they can perform these duties sufficiently and accurately? They did send the application to the investigation unit after they approved his experience documents, so that suggests the answer is No.

Being a Navy vet, I’m used to following set rules and guidelines. The CSLB needs to create a set of (reasonable) rules and guidelines and follow them. Making up the rules as they go along is wrong for any business, but for a State agency to do it is just flat unacceptable!

CSLB Application Processing

 

 

CSLB Work Experience Seminar Part 2

CSLB work experience seminar part 2 includes pictures from the meeting and the video taken by the CSLB. I’m in the front row wearing the blue shirt.

I asked at one point if every critical classification applicant would be required to provide additional verification documents. Rick Villucci didn’t exactly answer the question. But I got the feeling that the answer is yes. If you are applying for a critical classification, you WILL be asked to provide that additional experience.

CSLB experience seminar

CSLB Work Experience Seminar Part 1

Contractors State License Board Beefs Up Public Works Unit

Contractors State License Board Beefs Up Public Works Unit

By Garret Murai, December 30, 2013

The California Contractors State License Board (“CSLB”) has announced that it’s beefing up its Public Works Unit to help ensure that contractors bidding and performing work on public works projects are complying with wage and worker’s compensation laws.

The CSLB’s worker-focused expansion follows the California Labor Commissioner’s record-breaking prevailing wage enforcement actions this year.

And if recently enacted legislation is any indication, labor law will continue to be a hot topic this coming year.

[Read more…]

Year End Sale

I just lowered the price for my Application Services and Complete Study Kits by $25.00. Take advantage of this year end sale today.

Complete Application Services were: $250 ~ now $225

Application Review Services were: $125 ~ now $100

License Consultation was: $75 per hour ~ now $50 per hour

Complete License Exam Study Kits were: $325 ~ now $300 (with online practice exams)

Complete License Exam Study Kits were: $315 ~ now $290 (without online practice exams)

year end sale

New Contractors License Law

A new contractors license law goes into effect for 2014.

With the new application experience verification process in full swing, many people who contact me are asking about using someone else to qualify their license.new contractors license law

As I’ve stated in other posts, the law does allow this. But, with the new law listed below, you better be fully involved in the other licenses activities or the CSLB can and will come after you.

Agencies like The RMO Agency have been connecting companies and qualifiers for years. The problem is, they have no oversight to ensure that the people they are connecting are actually following the current rules/laws/regulations that pertain to qualifiers of licenses. I’m not suggesting they should have oversight. It is the qualifiers responsibility to ensure they are involved in the projects done by that other license, after all. But companies like this will put together a qualifier from northern cal with a company in southern cal. This puts the qualifier and the company in a perilous position. And now, with this new law coming into effect, the CSLB will have the power to take action against both parties.

Below is the section outlining the new law in the CSLB newsletter.

Qualifiers – CSLB is now able to discipline a qualifier and the licensed entity they are qualifying when the qualifier is not actively involved in the construction activities of the license they are representing. In addition to administrative penalties, the individual falsely serving as a qualifier on the license can be charged with a misdemeanor, and be sentenced to serve up to six months in jail, and pay a fine from $3,000-$5,000, or both, if convicted. SB 262 amended §7068.1 of the B&P Code.

My advice to anyone who may be thinking about qualifying another license… the new contractors license law can and will have a big impact on you, the license you qualify, and your own personal or corporate license. So I suggest you do what you can to be involved as much as possible.

via CLC Newsletter Winter 2013.

CSLB Contradicts Itself

How are we suppose to follow the rules when the CSLB contradicts itself?

I received the Contractors State License Board Winter newsletter today, and within 2 minutes I found a statement where the CSLB contradicts its own laws. If the people who are responsible for implementing the laws can’t provide accurate information to the public, how are we suppose to trust them?

cslb contradicts itself

I mean, they are the ones that expect perfection from every applicant. All those t’s must be crossed, and all those i’s must be dotted, or you can forget getting a license. Apparently they don’t hold themselves to the same standards!

Click here to view the cslb newsletter.

What I’m referring to specifically is the page titled “Angry about Unlicensed Competition? There’s a Form for That.” Within this article they state that “Those without a license can advertise as along as the ad states that they are not a state-licensed contractor, and the combined total of a project’s labor and materials costs is $500 and under.

Now here’s a section from the CSLB website: “It is illegal for an unlicensed person to perform contracting work on any project valued at $500 or more in labor and materials.” This can be found here: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/consumers/reportunlicensedactivity/WhatIsIllegalContractorActivity.asp

Can you see the discrepancy? Is it less than 500? Or is it 500 or more?

This reminds me about a CSLB app tech who told me a client needed an Individual Bond because he held 10% ownership. I had to “teach” the cslb tech that the law requires an Individual Bond when the qualifier owned LESS than 10%.

What have we learned today? Don’t believe everything the CSLB tells you because the CSLB contradicts itself!