Contractors License Schools

I thought I’d take a moment to discuss Contractors license schools.

Any internet search of the phrase “contractors license schools” will bring up dozens of businesses that offer to help you pass your State contractors license exams. What you’ll find at some of the so-called schools is that they offer a “2-day crash course.” At this 2 day crash course you will review the materials they shipped to you when you signed up. This means you will have been studying at home for a period of time, then you’ll take two days off of work (unpaid most likely) and review the same materials you’ve been studying at home.

Now, maybe it’s just me, but I just don’t see the advantage of spending two days, off the job unpaid, in a “classroom” reviewing what I’ve been studying at home?

A few years back, a friend of mine interviewed for a job at one of the bigger “contractors license schools” and was offered a position. He had a teaching credential and was a substitute teacher here locally. What’s interesting is that he had ZERO construction experience. He ended up not taking the job. But it makes me wonder, who do they have “teaching” these 2-day crash courses? If, by chance, the instructor does have construction experience, does he have experience in all of the 43 trade classifications? Highly unlikely. So, that means that the instructor may not have any experience in your trade. So what benefit is it to you to sit in this room for 2 days? I can’t see a single scenario that makes it beneficial to anyone.

Another thing about the contractors license schools that most aren’t aware of is that they only offer books and classes on the Law & Business exam. This has always bewildered me. Why only offer assistance for one part of the process?

Yesterday I was at the Contractors State License Board dropping off some documents for a licensee where I noticed a 3-ring binder on the seat of the car next to me. It was from one of these contractors license schools. Showing from under the binder was a scratch paper with numbers and next to the numbers were the letters A, B, C, D… as if this applicant had memorized the answers to his practice tests. Now I have always said… Do not memorize the answers to your practice tests, but looking at this piece of paper I couldn’t help wonder… is that what this “school” is telling their customers? I hope not, because if they are they are doing their customers a great dis-service.

I recently received an email solicitation from one of the schools. See the image below. They offered the 2-day class, Law/Bus and trade prep materials with DVD’s, an offer to “process” your paperwork (I don’t know what that means), Individual help and attention, and a 100% money back guaranty. Not to mention the “with this price of $345 you will get” heading.

All of that sounds wonderful, but is it the best value for your money? Let’s break it down.

  • 2-day class – we discussed this above
  • prep materials with DVD’s – I offer a complete kit with law/bus & trade with dvd’s and cd’s and online practice exams for less money
  • “process” your paperwork – does this mean they’ll complete your app or review it or submit it to the CSLB? Can’t tell. If you purchased my kit, I’d review your application and submit it to the CSLB at no additional charge, and for less money
  • Individual help and attention – that should be their everyday business practice, not something special. I treat all of my clients like they are the only client I have. And, if you’re sitting in their classroom with a bunch of other guys, what kind or individual help and attention are you getting?
  • 100% money back guaranty – I looked all over their site and could not find the details of the guaranty. If it’s anything like guarantee’s from other schools, you’ll have to jump thru about 12 hoops before you see your money again.
  • What you get for $345 – you get tax and shipping too! So the total price for the offer is actually 367.28!

My complete kit, with dvd’s and cd’s, and free app review, and individual attention cost less than that! Plus, they don’t have a former CSLB application technician on staff! My experience and background alone is priceless… and that is included in everything I provide.

Bottom line… don’t believe the fancy email, phone call, or post card solicitation you receive. There are better choices to make.

Contractors Licence Schools ad

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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.

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