California Contractor Licenses
With a few exceptions, all businesses or individuals who work on any building, highway, road, parking facility, railroad, excavation, or other structure in California must be licensed by the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) if the total cost of one or more contracts on the project is $500 or more.
Contractor License Lookup in California
Where do you go when you want to lookup the license of a contractor in California? To find out if a contractor is licensed, click https://www2.cslb.ca.gov/OnlineServices/CheckLicense/LicenseRequest.asp.
To apply for a license, contact:
|Contractors State License Board
9821 Business Park Drive
Sacramento, CA 95826
CSLB has an automated, toll-free number (1-800-321-2752) you can use to order an application or get other information.
Forms and applications are also available online at: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/GeneralInformation/Library/FormsAndApplications.asp.
Blueprint for Getting Licensed: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Resources/GuidesAndPamphlets/BlueprintForGettingLicensed.pdf
Description of Classifications: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Resources/GuidesAndPamphlets/DescriptionOfClassifications.pdf
The exam is closed book and has two parts which each take about two and one-half hours to finish. One part has about 100 multiple choice questions on law and business. The other part of the exam will be on whatever specific trade you apply for. The CSLB will send you a study guide for the trade. It’ll tell you the topics on the exam, the weight of each topic, and other materials you should study before taking the exam. The study guides are available online athttp://www.cslb.ca.gov/GeneralInformation/Library/GuidesAndPamphlets.asp.
When you pass the examination, you will be given a bond & fee notification form at the testing site. This form will notify you of what you need to submit to meet your issuance requirements. The requirements may include the following:
– Initial Licensing Fee – $150
– Contractors Bond or Cash Deposit in the amount of $12,500.
– Bond of Qualifying Individual or Cash Deposit in the amount of $12,500.
– Completed Asbestos open book examination.
– Exemption from Worker’s Compensation, if no employees.
– Certificate of Workers Compensation Insurance or Certification of Self-Insurance of Workers Compensation from the Director of Industrial Relations.
– Fingerprinting requirements.
Contractor’s license fee: It will cost you $250 nonrefundable to apply for a license and $50 for each trade you apply for after the first. The initial license costs $150. However you can’t add a trade that requires an exam until you get your first license. A license is good for two years.
The Board may accept your trade experience and/or license in another state. However you’ll still have to apply for a license, pass the law and business part of the Board exam, and pay the appropriate fees.
|Recommended reading for the business and law exam:
Other publications CSLB recommends are:
California Employer’s Tax Guide, California Franchise Tax Board
Circular E, Employer’s Tax Guide, Internal Revenue Service
Employment Taxes and Information Returns, Internal Revenue Service
How to Succeed with Your Own Construction Business, Diller, S. & Diller, J., Craftsman Book Company, 6058 Corte del Cedro, P.O. Box 6500, Carlsbad, CA 92018
Other recommended publications on safety are available from:
Department of Industrial Relations
Department of Transportation (DOT)
You don’t need to be prequalified to bid on Department of Transportation (Caltrans) projects in California. However you do need to be licensed through the Contractors State License Board in the classes of work required to perform the work specified in any contract you bid on. The Department puts out a weekly listing of construction projects called “Advertisement for Bids.” To get your name included on the mailing list for this publication, send a request to:
|Department of Transportation
Office Engineer/Engineering Service Center
1727 30th Street, MS #43
Sacramento, CA 95816
Out-of-state contractors must register with the California Secretary of State. For information, contact:
|Corporate Filing Support
Secretary of State
1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
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