CSLB self-employed project list

NOTICE… CSLB self-employed project list forms now required!CSLB self-employed project list target

That’s what I just heard from within the CSLB.

The CSLB is asking applicants who apply for the B-General Building license classification using self-employed experience to also complete project list forms to prove their experience.

Self-employed experience has been accepted by the CSLB for many many years, but they’ve never really liked it. If they had their way, the only acceptable experience would be that of an employee of a contractor. But that’s not realistic.

So, what do they do? In recent years, they created their profiling list and targeted specific classifications. Now they’re asking applicants to complete who knows how many project list forms, the CSLB won’t say, to cover the minimum four years of experience.

These CSLB self-employed project list forms can be labor intensive because the applicant must go back years to find the information required. How big was the project, how long was the project, how many contractors, sub-contractors, and laborers were used? If the applicant kept poor or no records of the work they’ve done, the task becomes even more daunting. Which then only leaves the applicant with the option of withdrawing their application, or “creating” the experience on the form. Here’s a secret… (which makes this process a complete joke) the cslb has no way to verify that the experience on the form is true and accurate, so someone could create project list forms that would make them sound like the world’s best contractor.

We all know the CSLB is a consumer protection agency, and they’ve always taken the side of the consumer by placing restrictions on those who wish to obtain a license. But to ask B-general building license applicants to jump through this hoop is a bit extreme. I don’t believe they ask C-10 electrical applicants, or C-20 HVAC applicants to complete and provide this form. So, it begs the question, is the CSLB truly looking to protect the consumer? Or just target specific applicants… again?!

Click here to view the CSLB self-employed project list form.

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Bad Contractors Licensing Information

Beware of bad contractors licensing information!

Isn’t everything on the internet true??   But seriously, you have to beware of bad contractors licensing information on the www.

I came across this webpage: https://generalcontractorlicenseguide.com/california-contractors-license/ and as I read through it, I kept finding bad, incorrect, erroneous information.  I started to make a list but when I got to about half of the article I gave up.  Just too many mistakes/errors, etc.

Bad Contractors Licensing InformationHere is some of the misinformation I found:

1) (CLSB) should be CSLB
2) “Applicants may be exempted from the exam if they have been actively working in the construction trades continuously for at least the past five years.” This is basically incorrect, but appears it might be referring to a specific exemption with specific conditions. Doing more research or talking to a licensing professional will let you know if you qualify for any type of waiver.
3) Experience must be “…certified by an individual who can speak to the quality of the applicant’s work.” Incorrect. The law only states that the certifier must have first hand knowledge of the experience being provided.  The certifier has nothing to do with the quality of the applicants work.
4) “The applicant’s experience must also be able to be verified via an official document, such as payroll slips, contracts, or something similar.” This is only true if the application is randomly pulled for a secondary review.
5) “Fee payments may be made by mailing a check or money order. In-person payments may also be made at the licensing headquarters by cash (exact amount only), check, money order, and credit card.”  The CSLB will not accept a credit card for application fees. The CSLB will accept credit/debit payments for license renewals, but not license apps.  And this can only take place at specific CSLB offices.

So, when researching information on how to obtain your contractors license, no matter what state you’re in, be careful of sites that were only created to make someone money by ad clicks placed throughout the page.  Their goal is not to provide you with accurate information, in fact, that goal may not even be on their list.  They just want you to click on ads and make them $$.

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Contractors Business Name Style

Contractors Business Name Style

Contractors Business Name StyleMany people get caught in the contractors business name style law, or B&P Code 7059.1, and end up with a rejected contractor’s license application.

The contractors business name style code section states: “7059.1. Misleading or incompatible use of name styles (a) A licensee shall not use any business name that indicates the licensee is qualified to perform work in classifications other than those issued for that license, or any business name that is incompatible with the type of business entity licensed.
(b) A licensee shall not conduct business under more than one name for each license. Nothing in this section shall prevent a licensee from obtaining a business name change as otherwise provided by this chapter.”

The Contractors State License Board’s (CSLB) interpretation of this law is that your business name must be compatible with the classification you are applying for. If you are applying for a B-General Building license, your business name must have the words construction, building, or contractor in it (unless you are using your personal name as the business name). So… if your corporate name, partnership name, or sole owner DBA is “My Business Rocks, Inc.” or “My Business Rocks & Sons” or “My Business Rocks”, the CSLB will require you to add a DBA that matches the classification you are applying for.

My Business Rocks Construction (B-Gen)
My Business Rocks Electrician (C-10)
My Business Rocks Plumbing (C-36)
My Business Rocks Drywall (C-9)

To give you my straight up opinion… this law is government overreach at it’s finest. If I want to name my business “My Business Rocks” I should be able to do that… without having to add a DBA (a DBA that then must be included on all contracts, advertising, etc.).

A client sent me the correction letter he received from the CSLB where the tech told him “Business name must be strictly compatible with the classification in which you are applying for, not allude to any other classification and not be too vague.” Too Vague!!?? Does someone at the CSLB have the title of “Too Vague Police”? Who determines what is too vague and what is not?!? For people like me who help applicants wade through the red tape, it makes it very difficult when CSLB techs jump ship and begin changing the laws as they wish.

You’ll notice in the law section mentioned above there is nothing that states that the business name “must be strictly compatible with the classification” being applied for. It states, “or any business name that is incompatible with the type of business entity licensed” (emphasis added) My Business Rocks, Inc. does not indicate that I’m performing work in a classification that I’m not applying for.  It also doesn’t suggest that my intent is to operate as a sole owner with a corporate name.

Wouldn’t it be nice if government agencies actually followed the law as written? And wouldn’t it be nice if the CSLB techs didn’t alter or amend the contractors business name style law, or any other law, whenever they feel like it?

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General Building Experience

General Building Experience

General Building ExperienceAre you having trouble with your general building experience outline (or any trade outline)? Has the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) rejected your B general building application because your outline was not formatted properly?

An improperly formatted general building experience outline is a very common issue, and probably the number one reason why applications get rejected. The application requirements state that you must show experience in framing and at least two unrelated trades, i.e. HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing, Concrete, Painting, Drywall, etc. when applying for the B-General Building license.

What the CSLB does not want to see are administrative duties such as, pulling permits, signing contracts, hiring subs, reading blue prints, etc. They also don’t want to see specific projects. The experience outline should be a broad overview of what you do (either install or supervise) on the job site on a daily basis.

I was contacted by an applicant whose application was rejected because their experience was not properly formatted. I reviewed the outline, and although it did contain the necessary framing and two unrelated trades, the outline began with a detailed description of solar installations. While solar can be one of the two unrelated trades, beginning the outline with that suggests to the tech reviewing the app that that is the main focus of the experience. It also suggests that the CSLB tech is incapable of thinking out of the box. Either way, a properly formatted experience outline would include framing in the beginning.

I help a lot of people every week with their general building experience outlines. If you are having trouble with yours, or the CSLB has rejected your app, I do offer an application review service that will save you time, frustration, and cut through some red tape. Click here if you would like to have me review your application and/or experience outline, then email your application, work experience page, and/or the CSLB rejection letter to me and I’ll look it over.

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New Email Address

I’ve changed my email address

to be more inline with my marketing.

New address is ContractorsLicenseGuru@gmail.com

Please whitelist this email address

New Email Address

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CSLB Gives Fair Warning about Workers Compensation

CSLB Workers CompensationIn the Spring Newsletter, the CSLB gives fair warning about workers compensation.

Begin article…

CSLB Gives Fair Warning to Licensees Misusing Workers’ Comp Exemption

CSLB is contacting licensees who may be improperly claiming that they are exempt from purchasing workers’ compensation (WC) insurance because they have no employees. Contractors who are evading their responsibility to purchase WC coverage be forewarned – there are more moves coming to force compliance with the law.

For now, the educational letters are the first steps in a WC compliance strategy approved by the Board last December. The letter was drafted by CSLB in partnership with the state Employment Development Department (EDD) and Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) after a sampling of agency records and consumer complaints showed a high number of contractors are suspected of doing work that typically requires employees, yet are claiming the WC exemption.

Specifically, three sets of records shed light on what has been a persistent problem with WC fraud:

  • First, CSLB obtained a list of 25,000 contractors who had registered with DIR to perform public works projects. From a sampling of 200 of those licensees, 35 had a WC exemption on file – despite working on jobs that typically require employees.
  • Investigators examined building permits valued at $20,000 or more that were taken out in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties during a period last March. Of the 91 licensees who pulled permits on these large-scale projects, 34 had claimed the WC exemption.
  • Finally, CSLB looked at consumer complaints received in February, and identified that more than one-third involved WC-exempt contractors who may have been using employees.

Overall, more than 50 percent of all licensees have filed WC exemptions with CSLB, a rate suspected to be too high considering the nature of the contracting work done.

Contractors who falsely claim WC exemptions are taking a great risk to save a little money. WC violators not only face CSLB disciplinary action, but they expose themselves and their clients to liability if uninsured workers get hurt on the job.

Business and Professions Code section 7125 requires contractors to purchase a WC policy and submit proof to CSLB when an active license is issued, an inactive one reactivated, or at the time of renewal, unless the licensee does not employ anyone requited to have a WC policy or files a certification of self-insurance with CSLB. (All C-39 Roofing contractors, however, must carry WC insurance even if they work on their own.)

The letter reminds contractors with questionable WC exemptions about the need to follow the law if they have employees, and informs them about the stepped-up efforts to identify violators.

At its April 2016 meeting, the Board approved the following additional measures as part of an overall WC enforcement strategy:

  • Partner with investigators from district attorney offices and the state Division of Labor Standards to inspect active construction sites through a popular website used by contractors to find job leads and file permits.
  • Work with counties that receive DIR funding to battle WC fraud, and submit the names of serious violators to prosecutors that could result in the filing of criminal charges, rather than administrative action.
  • Expand CSLB’s stings and construction site sweeps to public works projects, partnering with EDD and DIR.

…end article

Don’t get caught without workers compensation. The fines can be very expensive. Having workers compensation now will save you $$ in the long run.

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CSLB Employees of the Month

Today we are highlighting the outstanding efforts put forward by two CSLB employees who go above and beyond the call of stupidity.CSLB Employee of the Month

Employee #1 rejected an application because some of the experience provided went past the ten year limit. IF, the experience provided needed to include the time that went past the ten year limit, I could clearly see the need for the rejection.

But NO… the part of the experience submitted that did fall within the last ten years was sufficient to meet the CSLB’s 4 in 10 yr requirement. So why did this CSLB employee reject this application? Either this person is just flat out stupid, they are so completely anal that they can’t seem to get out of their own way, or they just prefer making more work for themselves. The jury is still out on that one.

Any way you slice it, total the amount of time the applicant provide that does fall within the ten year requirement and complete the processing of the application. Why put the applicant, who has been waiting many weeks for the CSLB to get through their ridiculous backlog only to have to wait more because the person reviewing his application is an imbecile.

Employee #2 rejected an LLC application because the LLC name (as filed with the Sect. of State) has the word “Construction” in it. Shocker, I know. A contractor wanting to use the word “Construction” in their business name! Call the cops… this person should be locked up! How dare they want to use the “C” word in their business name!

Here’s the catch… this company is applying for an A-Gen Engineering license. So the CSLB wants them to add Engineering to their business name. i.e. ABC Smith “Engineering” Construction LLC, instead of ABC Smith Construction LLC.

Am I the only one that finds this completely absurd?!?! Is the CSLB suggesting that A-Eng contractors (uh oh… another form of the “C” word) do not CONSTRUCT anything?!?!

And do they really think that any consumer with half a brain (which is more than some CSLB techs have) would be confused by this? They are making a lot of assumptions that are just not based in fact or reality.

Some things have changed for the good at the CSLB, but hiring/retaining stupid technicians is something that they’ll probably, most assuredly, never change.

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Email from a Client

Contractors License Customer SatisfactionI received an email from a client who I have been helping since August of last year.

As with many applications there are twists and turns, and special circumstances. All of which need to be dealt with in a certain way and handled in a particular timeline. This client had been registered on a license as a Salesperson. I gave him advice on how he needed to explain his salesperson registration so that his license experience would be accepted.

He also had questions regarding workers comp, when he needed it, when he should buy it, etc. I am a licensed insurance broker and I answered his questions but suggested he contact my broker, Shilo, for more detail. She is an expert in workers comp for contractors and felt he would be best served by speaking with her.

Here is his email….

“I had spoke to Shilo right before I got your email, she answered every question I had and then some. Man you guys got this system down, I really wish more people could be so easy to work with. I’m a very honest person and I always expect people to treat me the same way but that rarely happens.

If someone told me how easy the test would be if I used your materials I wouldn’t believe them but it was easy and you’ve been spot on since the first time we spoke in August.

The technician at CSLB was very impressed with my application and he told me it saved him a lot of time because I disclosed the info about my HIS Lic and also sending in proof of employment with a B Lic for 4 years (sent in w-2’s/ last pay sub) and I used my brothers to sign for my experience. (Also send print out of criminal background even if it’s only traffic related, it cost $1)

I think the best thing was to be completely honest with them and send in as much info as I could without going overboard with it. The CSLB phone operator told me “do not send in your proof of employment or we will return your application” LOL !  I trusted you and sent it in anyway.

The only thing that happened to me was that owed $300 for a citation that I had inherited from my parents company and by the time the CSLB found the records (because it was from 2005) my technician went on vacation for 3 weeks so my Lic just sat there in his desk waiting for him to return!

I sent in my app on Sept 10th and they approved it over the phone and set up my test date on December 30th.

So basically without your advice I would have still been in application phase.

This has seriously made a huge impact on my family’s life & this is why I’ve been thankful for everything that you’ve done.

Next time you hear from me is when I hit my million$ mark lol. I do the best work on this side of the Mississippi so I’m sure you’ll hear about me again.

THANKS FROM THE SCOTT FAMILY 2016″

I shared this email with Shilo and this was her response….

“Phil,

Thank you for sharing that! It made my day.

I really appreciate working with you too. I have many guys call & tell me that you were amazing & if you recommended me that I had to be pretty awesome too. So the Kudos really go to you!”

Talk about making someone’s day! They both did!!

If you would like to discuss your specific license application circumstances, please feel free to contact me anytime.


(c) Can Stock Photo

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Owner Builder Experience

owner builder experienceIn October of 2010 I wrote an article discussing owner builder experience.

In that article I stated that owner builder experience was a red flag, so to speak.

Well that was then, this is now. With the current processing systems in place at the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), ALL experience, including owner builder experience is good experience.

If you have building experience on property that you own, and you need that experience to build your portfolio that will be submitted with your application, by all means, submit that owner builder experience.

The CSLB will ask you for documentation to back it up, so be prepared to show cancelled checks, copies of receipts for materials purchased, copies of all permits, etc.

You will also need to complete the project sheet that is contained within the CSLB application. Things to be aware of on that project sheet? Do not list that most or all of the work was done by contractors or sub-contractors. The CSLB will only give you credit for the experience that you did yourself. If the project sheet makes it appear that you did some, or little-to-none of the work, they will credit you with very much experience time.

Do they accept supervisory experience? Yes they do, most owner builders are non-journeyman level people and therefore don’t have the skills to have the title of supervisor. So stating that you supervised the owner builder project will most likely not be credited in your favor.

The amount of experience time the CSLB will grant for owner builder experience hasn’t changed. If you submit a project that took you one year, they will most likely grant you 4-6 months credit. That’s because they calculate what it would take a licensed contractor to complete the same project.

If you have experience to submit that was obtained as an employee, and you want to also submit your owner builder experience, you will need to submit a work experience form for each time period and for each separate owner building project.

So owner builder experience isn’t the red flag that it used to be. Now it’s an additional way of proving your experience to the CSLB. Good luck.

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C-01 Contractors License Proposed Language

C-01 Contractors License Proposed LanguageThere was a stakeholder meeting at the Contractors State License Board headquarters office today that discussed the C-01 Contractors License Proposed Language.

At this meeting they outlined the proposed language for the new classification. It states:

“Adopt Section 832.01

Non-Structural Remodel and Repair Contractor

(a) A non-structural remodel and repair contractor remodels and repairs existing structures built for the support, shelter, and enclosure of persons, animals, chattels, or movable property of any kind, requiring the use of at least two unrelated building trades or crafts, except as excluded in this section.

(b) This section does not apply to any work or operation on one undertaking or project by one or more contracts, the aggregate contract price which for labor, materials, and all other items is more than $15,000.

(c) This classification shall not include the following:

  (1) altering, adding, or moving any load-bearing portions of the existing structure, including footings, foundations, and weight-bearing member;

  (2) Work requiring specialized engineering knowledge and skill as set forth in Business and Professions Code Section 7056; and

  (3) Work performed pursuant to a C-11 Elevator (Section 832.11), C-16 Fire Protection (Section 832.16), C-21 Building Moving/Demolition (Section 832.21), C-22 Asbestos Abatement (Section 832.22), C-31 Construction Zone Traffic Control (Section 832.31), C-32 Parking and Highway Improvement, C-34 Pipeline (Section 832.34), C-42 Sanitation System (Section 832.42), C-51 Structural Steel (Section 832.51), and C-57 Well Drilling (Section 832.57) classifications.

(d) An examination waiver for this classification as a closely related classification pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 7065.3 shall be considered only for licensees who hold the B-General Building classification pursuant to Section 7057 of the code.

(e) The C-1 Non-Structural Remodel and Repair classification shall be available upon development of a trade examination.”

There was talk at the meeting that the maximum contract limit of $15,000 should be raised. Potentially to match the Utah license classification that the C-1 emulates. I believe the current limit was set to match the upcoming license bond increase which will be $15,000 at the first of the year. And it seems they’ve dropped the 3-story limit that was in place in previous wording of the legislation.

Bottom line, this should have a huge beneficial impact on the construction industry. Stay tuned for more information.

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