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

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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.

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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

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CSLB Application Seminar

Yesterday, 12/4/13, I attended a CSLB application seminar where they discussed application procedures.

Many license schools and services were invited to attend, or participate online, a seminar that covered application procedures for all classifications including the eight on the critical classifications list.

Some of the information was basic, and since the room was mostly full of people who prepare license applications for a living, some of it was redundant. But that’s ok, they had to start somewhere.

CSLB Application Seminar

There was one common thread to the conversation; the CSLB would “prefer” to receive applications from people who have experience obtained as an employee of a licensed contractor. In a perfect world, that would spectacular! Everyone’s job would be easier, including the applicant. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and therefore, there are plenty of applicants who have gained their experience as “self-employed.” Another tidbit of info that was given was that a handyman is not a journeyman. While that may be true by definition, the CSLB does accept self-employed experience. And if that self-employed experience was obtained by following the law and only doing work that was under the $500 limit for labor and materials, then how could a handyman obtain the necessary experience to allow him/her to obtain a license? So, it seems, that even though they will accept self-employed experience, as allowed by law, they’d “prefer” not to. [Read more…]

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CSLB News Release

A CSLB News Release was issued today.

It’s good to see the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) getting out and doing these stings. There were several of them that were bidding as B-General Building Contractors. I wonder if any of them have looked into, or attempted to get their license but couldn’t because of the new application processing procedures. And this could be a sign that the underground economy is expanding.CSLB News Release

It Was Raining Illegal Contractors at Hayward CSLB Sting OperationNine suspects cited, given court dates for contracting without license, illegal advertising.

SACRAMENTO

– A stormy day didn’t deter unlicensed contractors from converging on a Hayward home to bid for construction work during a Contractors State License Board CSLB undercover sting operation on November 20, 2013, carried out with the assistance of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. Nine suspects were issued Notices to Appear NTAs in Superior Court on charges of contracting without a license and false advertising.

Investigators from CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team SWIFT posed as homeowners at the single-family home and fielded a multitude of offers to do work that included electrical, plumbing, fencing and flooring projects. It wasn’t difficult for CSLB investigators to identify those who might be illegally contracting in the area simply by checking online bulletin boards such as craigslist, business cards or flyers posted at hardware stores, and local publications, including Penny Saver.

Nine of the 10 people who showed up to give a bidwere cited. All nine face misdemeanor charges for both contracting without a license Business and Professions Code section 7028, which carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000 if convicted, and illegal advertising Business and Professions Code section 7027.1. State law requires contractors to place their license number in all print, broadcast, and online advertisements. Those without a license can advertise to perform jobs valued at less than $500, but the ad must state that they are not a licensed contractor. The penalty is a fine of $700 to $1,000.

The lone person who did not bid had a good reason – he had been cited for illegal contracting during a CSLB sting in July and avoided getting caught again.

“It doesn’t matter what the conditions – rain, cold, or even after a natural disaster – unlicensed contractors always seem to come out of the woodwork,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “And they come to take advantage of a situation, no matter if they’re qualified or not to do the job.

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Experience Verification of a Young Journeyman-Contractor Talk

Below is a question from a young journeyman who has to provide experience verification.

Hey License Guru I have a a few questions. My story been working with my dad since I was 15 doing gen contractor stuff like framing etc part time until I graduated HS then i did it full time. I am 23 now. I did work for his friend a while back who is also a licensed contractor. Thing is I dont have much in the way of paperwork showing i did. My dad just started paying me with pay checks a few months ago. Before that he has been giving me personal checks for the last few years. I checked my app status and it says now SPEC PROJ – EXPERIENCE VERIFICATION

Are they asking for my general experience so far or what I did for my dads friend. He was the one who did my experience verification/qualification form. For whatever reason he did not list his license number instead opting to put himself as an client Saying because I listed as self employed? He guided me through the application process but I had some reservations about it. It didnt feel right but I didnt know enough to really know.

So I ask 1. What does SPEC PROJ – EXPERIENCE VERIFICATION mean?

2. If it is what I think it is what happens if my dads friend the certifer does not have any reciepts/paystubs for me working for him? I think it said letters saying I did will not suffice? What if he puts down he is a licensed contractor and includes his license if he did not included it before. Would they accept that?

3. If I get rejected what happens. How long is the waiting period for me to apply again? will they have records of all the stuff I had previously? Would they catch any contradictions between applications if on the next go round I get put as working with my dad?

4. Any other tips on what to do since Im young I’m assuming they are going to scrutinize me more than they normally would.

experience verification young journeyman

My reply:

[Read more…]

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CSLB Qualifying Experience Part 2

To continue in this series of posts, I will be discussing the CSLB Qualifying Experience outline and process. Part 2

Below are a set of powerpoint slides that were shown at the recent Contractors State License Board Licensing Committee Meeting held at the CSLB office in Sacramento on October 21, 2013.

Along the way, I’ll add my advice and opinion where necessary. Click on the images to enlarge.

CSLB Qualifying Experience Part 2 Slides #9-10

#9 is the basic app review process. Nothing has really changed here.

#10 states they will determine if critical class or any other experience issue exists. There are 8 classifcations that are currently on the critical class list. If you are applying for one of these classifications, it should/could/would trigger the verifiable experience documentation letter.

The critical classes are: A-Gen Engineering, B-Gen Building, C-10 Electrical, C-16 Fire Supression, C-20 HVAC, C-36 Plumbing, C-38 Refrigeration, and C-57 Water Well Drilling.

 CSLB Qualifying Experience Part 2 Slides #11-12

#11 The 90-day rule is unchanged. You’ll have three months to prepare and submit your qualifying experience. But, if you’ve read my blog ahead of time, you should have already prepared your qualifying experience documents.

#12 If the newly submitted documentation (I think they are assuming that no one will submit their documentation when they first submit their license application? This may be because they aren’t telling anyone in the industry that they’ve been changing the rules) it is reviewed to determine if it is sufficient. As before, what is the CSLB’s definition of “sufficient”?

CSLB Qualifying Experience Part 2  Slides #13-14

#13 is suggesting that certifiers of applicants for critical classes are being treated differently. The law only requires that the certifier have first hand knowledge of the experience. The application allows for certifiers to be journeyman, fellow employee, and supervisor. So why does a critical class change that? This confuses me as the law is clear and the choices on the application are simple.

#14 is a big one for me, and should be for you too if you have an employer who doesn’t want you to get your own license. This happens quite often, and the CSLB is putting many applicants employment status at risk. As I stated with #13, the law is clear and the choices on the app are simple. You should be able to use your experience as an employee of a licensee, have your sup/foreman/co worker certify your experience, without putting your job at risk. I think this could border on employee rights violations or civil rights violations.

 CSLB Qualifying Experience Part 2  Slides #15-16

#15 so if the employer does not confirm your experience, and has subesquently fired you for applying for your own license (it happens!), they’ll allow you to submit additional documentation. I have talked to many who have sent them everything they had when first asked for it, so I’m confused as to why the CSLB thinks the applicant will all of a sudden come up with more.

#16 is pretty straight forward, but I do know that they have been accepting, or have accepted in the past, “testimonials” from people who know the applicants experience.

So there is part 2 of the CSLB Qualifying Experience Series. There will be at least one more, if not two, in the series. Stay tuned.Click on the following link to download a PDF of the acceptable CSLB Qualifying Experience list.Acceptable CSLB Qualifying Experience

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Veterans Application Assistance Program

Veterans Application Assistance Program

I don’t think too many people are aware of this CSLB program for US Military Veterans. It hasn’t been publicized very much, but it is nice to see that they are giving those of us who are veterans a break. If you’re a vet applying for a license, I would highly recommend that you tell the CSLB you are a veteran and take advantage of this program.

 veterans application assistance program

CSLB offers a Veterans Application Assistance Program for those who are transitioning from military service to civilian employment. In many cases, veterans possess transferable skills to help meet minimum experience and training requirements for state contractor licensure. This program offers priority services to veteran applicants by evaluating transferable military experience and training, as well as education.CSLB assists veterans by providing:Program technicians specially trained to evaluate transferable military training and experience from all branches of the military that meet minimum licensure requirements;Automatic priority application processing;Evaluation of college transcripts to help verify acceptable educational credit in addition to military experience and training;Direct telephone and email contact with CSLB staff

via Veterans Application Program.

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Young Journeyman

Q. What’s a young journeyman?

A. An applicant who is usually less than 25 yrs of age. Being tagged as a young journeyman can be a huge hurdle to overcome. The Contractors State License Board will make the applicant jump thru many hoops to prove their experience.The problem in proving your experience lies in the requirements for licensure. You must have at least 4 yrs of experience at the Journeyman Level. So if you’re applying at the age of 23… that would imply that you’ve been a journeyman since the age of 19. That’s hard to do since most of us graduate from high school when we’re 18, and most apprenticeship training programs can take 2 yrs or more.

The Proof.

If you do get tagged as a young journeyman, you’ll need to show, or attempt to show, w-2’s, pay stubs, tax returns, etc. For most of my clients in this position… that can be very hard to do.

Long term.

Let’s say you do apply, get the young journeyman label and are denied. When you go to apply again in the future, you’ll have to jump thru all of those hoops again.

My advice.

Wait. Wait until you’re 25, 26… You will be less likely to be labeled a young journeyman and will most likely have more documented experience to back up your application.

young journeyman

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