California Contractors License Schools

California Contractors License Schools – The Myth!

Contractors License Schools Myth Busted

Somewhere in time, it became accepted knowledge that going to a California contractors license school was the way to learn how to pass the CSLB State exam. I think it’s time to end that myth!

Why do people think that going to a school for two days is going to help them pass their CSLB exams? Why would anyone want to take time off work to sit in a classroom to listen to someone (who most likely has zero construction experience) go over a book or binder that the school sent you weeks prior?

Here’s the scenario… you pay the school $500-$700. They send you some 3-ring binders. Usually just the trade, but sometimes the law too. You study those binders for a couple three weeks. Then you take two days off work, or waste a Saturday (away from the family or something else you’d rather be doing) sitting in a room with who knows how many other people who are most likely not taking the same trade test as you. You read the binders some more. Maybe you have questions? Maybe the instructor has a clue about your specific trade, and maybe your questions get answered, and maybe not.

  • Why pay more money than you have to?
  • Why lose money not being on the jobsite?
  • Why spend time away from the home and family?
  • Why not end the myth that is the California Contractors License School!

Save your time and money and use an at-home contractors license exam study material program or kit. They are better prepared, more in-line with the actual CSLB exams, include paper and online practice exams (that you can use on your laptop any time), and include lectures by actual contractors familiar with your specific trade on CDs and DVDs.

I’d rather listen to a contractor who knows my trade on a DVD instead of sitting in some “classroom” listening to a guy who knows nothing about my trade.

I offer the most comprehensive, most complete, most informative contractors license exam study material kit available. Period!

Not only is this kit the most comprehensive, the most complete, and the most informative… it will also have the least impact on your wallet! How can I offer these license exam kits at such a low price? I don’t have the overhead the schools have. I don’t have to pay the salary of some guy who knows nothing about construction to stand in front of you for eight hours. I don’t have to pay for a building. I don’t have to pay staff. My only goal is to give you the opportunity to pass your State exams and keep as much money in your pocket as possible.

For the last 9+ years my mission has only been to help you, not line my pockets. My goal has always been to be a resource, an alternative to the overpriced California contractors license schools who “claim” to be the best, but in-fact are just wanting to make as much money as possible.

So don’t buy into the California contractors license schools myth! Use a better, smarter, more affordable system. Let the License Guru help YOU!

C-57 Licensees Must Abide by Air Rules for Central Valley Work

Certain portable engines to power well drilling equipment require registration

SACRAMENTO — C-57 Well Drilling licensees who work in the Central Valley are reminded that they must register portable internal combustion engines of 50 horsepower or greater used to power drilling equipment with either the state or San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (District).

Well drilling contractors can choose a registration method depending on their work location. Those who drill within District boundaries must register their fuel-powered engines of a certain horsepower under Rule 2280 (Portable Equipment Registration).

The portable registration allows operation of the equipment throughout the District without having to obtain individual stationary source construction and operating permits. The District is made up of eight counties: San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and part of Kern.

C-57 contractors whose work takes them beyond the Central Valley are required to register their portable engines of a certain power with the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Those who sign up for the Statewide Portable Equipment Registration Program (PERP) can operate their equipment using the engines throughout the state without stationary source construction and operating permits from local air districts.

Visit this website for information and applications regarding the state PERP. To speak to a PERP information contact at CARB, call (916) 324-5869 or email portable@arb.ca.gov.

Go to this website for information and applications regarding the District Rule 2280 portable registration.

The District also regulates the use of internal combustion engines used on a temporary basis to power agricultural wells while they are being connected to electric power. Use of this type of engine requires a permit from the District depending on the size of the farm.

Visit the District’s website at http://www.valleyair.org/Home.htm for more information. For more information from the District on electrification of new irrigation wells in the Central Valley: http://www.valleyair.org/busind/comply/AssistanceDocuments/Electrification_Wells_2014-03.pdf.

via CSLB Industry Bulletin: C-57 Licensees Must Abide by Air Rules for Central Valley Work.

Contractors State License Board Exams Part 2

Don't Tread On Me Flag

Continuing the conversation with Betsy Figueira regarding Contractors State License Board Exams Part 2.

Phil,

I have submitted an IT request to correct the website statement regarding exam waivers –

  • Within the last five years, you have passed both the Law and Business Examination and the trade examination in the same classification for which you are applying, and the license for which you took the examinations was not denied due to lack of work experience.

Regarding your other concerns about applicants taking examinations and then ultimately not getting licensed, that can happen under multiple scenarios – an applicant can fail to provide the required bond or workers’ compensation documentation, an applicant can fail to be cleared by the Criminal Background Unit, an applicant can fail to provide requested experience documentation, etc.  As a governmental agency that processed tens of thousands of applications annually, we have procedures that address the vast majority of our applications – allowing them to test as soon as possible to avoid delays in licensure… which I believe most of them are appreciative of.

If you know of an applicant who does not want to take the examination until all of his/her other licensure requirements have been met, please have them submit a written request to me to have the examination process set aside while the entire rest of the licensure process is complete.  I will consider the request.  Of course, even if such a request is granted, we would still need to confirm that all of the licensure requirements are still valid after the applicant has passed the examinations and is at the point of licensure issuance.

Also, be please be aware that pursuant to CCR Section 816 (c), “nothing in this Rule shall be interpreted to limit the Registrar’s authority to require an applicant to provide any other information necessary to determine the applicant’s qualifications.”

Betsy Figueira CSLB, Licensing Division Manager 916-255-3369

My opinion (which I didn’t share with Ms. Figueira):

Contractors State License Board Exams Part 1

Website update:

It’s a banner day when the CSLB actually admits (almost) to making a mistake. Requesting to have the website updated to remove the “license denied due to lack of work experience” is a victory. This non-admittance to a mistake basically proves that cslb staff makes decisions on a whim without regards to the law. Somebody at a high level had to request that text be added to their website.

My “other” concerns:

Her list of why licenses are denied is correct, but she was side-stepping my comments/concerns that certain classifications are being unfairly targeted. Again, there is no specific rule, regulation, or law that gives the cslb the authority to do this.

Her comment about “procedures” for the thousands of applications they process a year is, well, ridiculous. Again, she side-stepped my comments that there are many instances, rules, regulations, laws that state that the applicant will be sent to the exams AFTER they have determined that the applicant meets the minimum requirements. Obviously they follow the procedures they want, and ignore the rules, regulations, and laws they don’t want.

She believes most of the applicants are appreciative. Granted, I do not speak with every applicant who has been sent to the exams and their app to investigation. I can only speak to the number of people who have called me with questions about what they should do. And listen to how they are unhappy with how they’ve been treated by the cslb. So unless Ms. Figueira has taken it upon herself to speak with every applicant, or even some of them, about how they feel regarding the run-around these applicants are receiving, her “belief” is, at best, a guess on her part.

CCR Section 816 (c):

This is my all time favorite regulation! “nothing shall be interpreted to limit the Registrar’s authority.” If you are a cslb employee or manager in licensing, this means you have carte blanche to do whatever you want. How much better can it get if you are a State agency? They actually wrote a regulation that says they can make up the rules on a daily basis. Today ~ they have 8 critical classifications that they will scrutinize beyond belief. Tomorrow ~ you might have take a lie detector test, or make a personal appearance in front of an experience review committee. If the Registrar’s authority is limitless, where does it end?

We live in a democracy! A democracy I volunteered to protect. How can we allow any governmental agency the power of limitless authority?

If you would like to comment on Contractors State License Board Exams Part 2, please feel free to use the comment link below, or send me an email. If you’d prefer to remain anonymous, just let me know.

Navy history…. The flag above is the first Navy Jack.

CSLB Spring Newsletter

cslb newsletterThe CSLB Spring Newsletter just went out today. Here are some highlights.

Streamlined Application Process

The CSLB Chair, Joan Hancock, stated “CSLB has initiated a new program to help streamline a contractor’s journey-level experience verification through a new Experience Verification Unit with dedicated staff.”

Streamline? Really? It’s obvious that she’s either in the dark or putting lipstick on a pig. This new program has done nothing to streamline the process. Quite the opposite.

And the dedicated staff? Who have zero construction experience? I’m sure that’s helping in this streamlined process.

Joan Hancock – CSLB Chair

A quick comment on the Chair… her license, #462840, lists the company name as Her Land Enterprises, but she’s all over the web as Her Land & Co Construction. Does she not know that she’s in violation of CSLB advertising laws? And I wonder what type of B General Building she does. She has no employee’s. So I would have to assume that she only acts as a Prime contractor and subs out all of the work. I wonder if she could get a license today with the new “streamlined” application process?!?!

Water Well Drilling

The water well industry, in conjunction with CGA, actively encourages continuing education for drillers, and standardizing a sometimes-confusing patchwork of local regulations.

 Strengthening Advertising Laws

CSLB’s Board is supporting new legislation that would provide more tools to help regulate unlicensed contracting.

  • CSLB would be able to pursue administrative sanctions against operators who advertise services in excess of the $500 legal limit, and target those individuals in undercover sting operations.
  • The proposal to amend BPC §7110.5 would provide CSLB flexibility in pursing disciplinary action against a licensed contractor as a result of a referral from the Labor Commissioner for a Labor Code violation.

License Applicants, Schools Can Still View Experience Verification Webcast

“Anyone who plans to become a licensed contractor can benefit from a recent CSLB webcast that clarifies the experience verification process that all applicants must undergo to qualify for a license.”

I was at that seminar and it was mainly about the “critical classifications” they made up. The above quote from the newsletter suggests that ALL applicants must go through the experience verification nightmare.

Proposed New C-22 Asbestos Classification in the Works

Is this a classification you’d like to pursue? You can bet it will be included in the list of “critical classifications.” Remember, you have to show at least 4 yrs of documented, verifiable asbestos removal experience.

One Million Licenses: CSLB Nears Milestone Mark

“Will you be CSLB’s one millionth license holder? Sorry, no grand prize, but great bragging rights. Within the next year, CSLB will have issued one million licenses since its creation in 1929. That means someone who is obtaining, renewing or changing a license status with CSLB during this time will be license recipient No. 1000000.”

“Unlike a game show, the one millionth license recipient won’t know of their special status immediately. But they’ll see the “1000000” number when they get their pocket and wall license in the mail.” They left out the part where the BBB or some insurance company cold calls you the second your newly issued license hits the web. They want you to join or buy something. That’s how the vast majority, if not all, newly licensed contractors find out when their license is issued.

If you’d like to view the entire CSLB Spring Newsletter, click here: http://cslb.ca.gov/Newsletter/2014-Spring/index.asp

CSLB Applications must be notarized

I was told today that CSLB applications must be notarized if you are applying from out-of-state.

notary publicOr at least the work experience form must be notarized. The reason given: it’s the only way they can verify signatures of out-of-state applicants and/or certifiers.

This would suggest that they verify ALL signatures, wouldn’t it? And how would they do that? Call, send a letter, or an email? Perhaps they use smoke signals, or two cups and a string?

One thing we know for a fact… they certainly don’t verify all signatures in person of in-state applicants! Does the CSLB think that out-of-state applicants don’t have phones, mailing addresses, or email accounts?

This is a new low for the Contractors State License Board. And another example of they make up the rules as they go along. Seriously, the only way to verify signatures of out-of-state applicants?

What this really looks like is another off the cuff decision by a CSLB employee in some bizarre attempt to profile, harass, classify, sectionalize, and deter out-of-state applicants.

So not only have they trivialized the State mandated exams by making you prove your experience on paper, but now you have to get your certifier to notarize his signature.

Good luck finding this requirement in the application instructions or in any California law or regulation!

Contractors State License Board Exams

Email exchange I had with Betsy Figueira on 3/28/2014 regarding the Contractors State License Board exams.

Basically, I wanted to know how and why the CSLB is allowing applicants to take the CSLB exams when they are sending the applications to the investigation unit. The conversation went as follows:

Update at the bottom. 4/4/14

License Guru: Can you provide me with the rule, regulation, or law that gives the CSLB the authority to allow an applicant to take the exams, but still send their application to enforcement for investigation?

Ms. Figueira: Hello Phil,

California Code of Regulations (CCR) Section 825 (a) requires the qualifier to have 4 years of journey-level work experience within the last 10 years in the relevant classification.

Business and Professions Code (BPC) Section 7065, CCR Section 825 (e), and CCR Section 840 require the qualifier is to take the examination.

CCR Section 824 requires a comprehensive field audit of a minimum of 3% of the applications.

There is nothing in the law that specifically dictates the order in which the exam must be taken and the experience must be verified.  As a service to the applicant, CSLB allows the consecutive processing of the examination and the experience investigation in order to save time, as opposed to making the applicant wait until his/her experience has been verified before taking the examination, which can take months.

Passed examinations remain valid for 5 years after the exam date, as provided in BPC Section 7065 (d).  Therefore, even if an applicant’s experience is not verified under a particular application, the applicant may be able to make use of that passed exam to qualify for licensure on a subsequent application when he/she is able to sufficiently document his/her work experience.

Thanks,

Betsy Figueira
CSLB, Licensing Division Manager
916-255-3369

License Guru: Thank you for the reply.

So I understand this correctly… since the law does not “specifically” dictate the order in which the exam must be taken, a CSLB staff member has decided to allow applicants to take the exams, even though their application hasn’t been accepted and/or approved. I know the CSLB has different definitions for “accepted” and “approved” and uses either word when it best fits the situation.

The CSLB website states the following:
http://www.cslb.ca.gov/applicants/ContractorsLicense/ExamApplication/ApplicationAccepted.asp

What can I expect when my exam application has been accepted?

This step will outline some of the procedures you can expect when your exam application is accepted.

  • You will receive a Fingerprinting Live Scan packet (see step 6 for further information.)
  • You will receive a Notice to Appear for Examination. You should receive your examination notice at least three weeks prior to the examination date.

The above statement on the website is misleading and does not fall in line with your statement.

I’ve talked to many applicants who are confused as to why they’re being allowed to take the exams when their application is being sent to investigation. At the very least, the CSLB is sending mixed messages.

From what I have been told, most applicants find it more stressful to take the exams not knowing if their application is going to be processed/accepted/approved etc., or not. So from my experience, you are not doing them any favors.

Then there is this page on the website. Note the last line of the third bullet point.

http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Applicants/ContractorsLicense/NoExamApplication/ApplyingForLicense.asp

Under what circumstances am I not required to take the examination?

You are not required to take the examination if the qualifying individual meets one of the following requirements:

  • You are currently a qualifier on a license in good standing in the same classification(s) for which you are applying;
  • You have been a qualifier within the past five years in the same classification(s) for which you are applying;
  • Within the last five years, you have passed both the Law and Business Examination and the trade examination in the same classification for which you are applying, and the license for which you took the examinations was not denied due to lack of work experience.

I have research the B&P Code and the CCR and can not find any rule, regulation, or law that gives the CSLB the authority to have an applicant re-take exams that he/she has passed within the prior five years because of a prior denied application. This statement on the website also differs from your statement regarding 7065.

Applicants are being put through the wringer when it comes to providing paper documentation when the law clearly states that the “registrar shall investigate, classify, and qualify applicants for contractors’ licenses by written examination.” 7065 (a)

Regarding Section 824. It does not specifically dictate the creation of a list of “critical classifications.” Therefore, those applying for one of the “critical classifications” should not be considered part of the 3% minimum. Those applicants are being required to provide additional documentation based solely on the classification they are applying for. Therefore, Section 824 does not apply.

At the very least, the CSLB should be putting out a consistent message that follows the law as written, not as interpreted by CSLB staff.

Thank you again.

End

I haven’t received a response to my reply, but it was yesterday (Friday) so I may or may not hear back from her until next week… if at all. It seems that whenever I ask for information regarding their licensing processes, they always give me Section 824, 825, 840 and 7065. None of which actually give them the authority to do what their doing if they followed the letter of the law.

The bottom line is… the Contractors State License Board Exam unit does whatever they want and they always seem to manipulate the law to fit their needs or to justify their whims.

Update: 4/4/14

Below is a portion of a reject letter that was sent in March. You will notice the last paragraph states the following:

Inline image 1

If this is true, then why are these applicants being sent to investigation? The fact that they are being sent to the exams suggests that licensing has verified the minimum experience required.

Continue reading the discussion at Contractors State License Board Exams Part 2.

Apply for a Contractors License CSLB Waiver

Are you required to take the contractors license examination? Or can you apply for a contractors license CSLB waiver?

cslb examination waiverBelow are the guidelines regarding the contractors license examination waiver process.

If you do not currently or have not previously served as a qualifying individual for the same classification being applied for, or within the past five years have not passed the law and/or trade examinations, you will be required to take and pass the Examination for licensure.

If you currently serve, or within the past five years have served, as a qualifying individual for the same classification being applied for on a license in good standing, or within the past five years have passed the law and trade examinations for licensure, as outlined in Business and Professions Code section 7065, No Examination will be required.

Waiver provisions for the examination are outlined in Business and Professions B&P Code section 7065.1 and 7065.2. You must meet all of the conditions of the appropriate section for the Waiver Provision to apply. In some cases, only the trade exam may be waived.

Currently, waiver provisions defined in B&P Code section 7065.1 may be granted under subsections 7065.1b and 7065.1c. While 7065.1a also provides for waiver of the exam, the Registrar exercised his authority to suspend waivers under this section.

There are many intricacies when it comes to a contractors license examination waiver. Let me help you sift through the red tape to find out if you qualify for an examination waiver.

Website Redesign

I just completed a website redesign!

Our new Home Page is more streamlined and includes direct links to our Complete Study Kits for the most popular contractors license classifications.

I also created a “Classifications” button on the main nav bar so that you can find the license classification you are looking for more easily.

Don’t forget… we offer the LOWEST price for study materials! Hands down! You will not find a lower price anywhere on the study material kits we sell! All of our study kits are under $300!

Spread the word! The License Guru offers the best study materials at the LOWEST prices!

Contractors License Service Banner

Contractors Exam Prep Kits Slashing Prices

The Contractors License Guru is slashing prices on our California Contractors exam prep materials to all time lows.

At these prices, I’m practically selling them at cost. All of my kits are now less than $300… and that’s including tax and UPS ground shipping!

We will also offer a FREE contractors license application review with the purchase of our Complete Study Kit. A $75 value.

Contractors Trade Manual with Discs

Contractors Law & Business Kit with Discs

Contractors Law & Business Kit with Discs

Order your kit today from the Contractors License Guru!

Our kits are sold by many schools and services around the State, but you won’t find these prices anywhere else.

A complete kit for the Law & Business Exam and your specific Trade exam WITH audio lectures, WITH video lectures, WITH discs covering Math and Health & Safety, WITH online practice exams for 6 months?!?! I dare you to find a lower price for this all inclusive contractors license exam prep kit.

Let’s compare!

Contractors Intelligence ~ Their DVD only kit starts at $295. That doesn’t include tax or shipping. And they only offer 3 months of online practice exam access.

Contractors State License Service ~ Here is a transcript of an online chat I had with one of their counselors:

The program will include: Home-Study Law and Trade: $495 Study Materials Two Day Crash Course One day Sat. Live Instruction on Law One day weekday self-paced on Trade Construction Math Review DVD Health and Safety DVD 30 Day Online Law and Trade Practice Question Subscription Application Preparation Guaranteed Pass

First thing that you pay is your tuition then within 90 days your application fee then 4-6 weeks your fingerprint then when pass exam within 30 days your bond and 2yr license fee.

He was very giving of this information. Too bad it isn’t all true. Giving timelines as if they were fact is very misleading. They also state their “successful Mizener Method is our exclusive home-study material” but what they don’t say is that they are re-selling the same materials I offer. Only at a much higher cost. And they only offer 30 day online practice exam access.

ContractorExam.com ~ $249 for the “Comprehensive Tutorial” for either the Law/Business exam OR the trade exam, and that doesn’t include CD’s, DVD’s, or online practice exams.

Contractors Licensing Consultants ~ Their kit costs over $450 with tax and shipping but it doesn’t include any online practice exams. My kit for the Law/Bus and Trade with online practice exams costs less than $300… Total! Out the door!

UPDATE: ContractorsLicense.com ~ Their complete kit is $399, and that doesn’t include tax!

There you have it! Now that you can compare kits and prices, it’s clear who offers the best value for your money!

Order your kit today from the Contractors License Guru!

Get it in Writing

Get it in Writing

get it in writing

How many of you have been called by the CSLB or were able to speak to a “classification deputy” or application technician and were told (over the phone) that you needed to provide certain information or documentation?

Get it in Writing

If you were told to provide information or documentation (over the phone), I suggest you require them to put it in a letter and mail the request to you.

Get it in Writing

I was told by an applicant today that he was asked to provide his web address. That’s right, his web address. What could they possibly want that for? They won’t accept pictures or your work, or affidavit’s from clients, customers, or co-workers. So why would they want to look at your website. If anything can be fabricated… it’s a website!

Get it in Writing

Why does the CSLB prefer to make these ridiculous requests over the phone? Deniability! “Oh, we never said that!” If you get it in writing, they can’t deny it. If they refuse to send their requests in writing, they don’t have the right to ask in the first place.

Get it in Writing

The CSLB is so bent on documentation they should play the same game their forcing everyone else to play. You want my web address? Send me a written request. Don’t let them make the rules. You paid your application fee, and there is nothing in the rule book that says you can’t ask for what you want, and nothing in the rule book that says they can’t put their requests in writing.