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How To Get Your California Contractor License In 5 Steps

A person in California needs to have a license from the “California State Licensing Board” (CSLB) to work on a project with labor and materials totaling at or above $500 for a contract(s). Projects include altering or construction or offering to do so for one of these:

  • Excavation
  • Railroad
  • Road
  • Building
  • Parking structure
  • Highway
  • Any other structures

In order to be eligible for a contractor license, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Age of 18+
  • Have or obtain an authentic Social Security number
  • Have experience and prove such plus the necessary skills for managing the tasks for a construction business or have representation by an individual that qualifies.

An individual outside the state of California can apply if they meet the other necessary qualifications. Many states developed “reciprocity agreements” with the state of California, which makes an out-of-state licensure much more straightforward.

(5) Steps for Getting a California Contractor License

If you’re a potential contractor eager to perform work in California, it’s mandatory to obtain a license from the “California State Licensing Board” to proceed.

There are a few simple qualifications that need to be met, basically proving sufficient age and citizenship. Still, the most important is having adequate experience and skills or falling under the guidance of someone who does.

Anyone planning a move to California but hoping to apply prior for security purposes can as long as you satisfy the qualifications. Steps to follow in applying:

1)    Learn the Class You Fall Under For Your License. Classes are:

A) General Engineering

B) General Building

C) Specialty with over 41 varied licenses

Research these before applying to have a complete understanding of each. It’s essential to select a suitable class so that your license is valid.

2)    Sign-up For The Contractor’s Exam Using These Steps:

A) Apply for the “Original Contractor’s License”

B) Fill in a “Certification of Work Experience Form.” The number for the document is 13A-11. It will prove your expertise.

C) If it applies, fill in a “Project List” document # 13A-6A, with which you need to attach a (nonrefundable) $330 processing charge addressed to:

“(CSLB) Headquarters

Contractors State

License Board

Post Office Box 26000

Sacramento, CA 95826-0026”

All the forms need to be up-to-date, or the CSLB will not accept them. Nothing else should come with the requested information and the charge. You might be able to waive the exam if you satisfy the basic guidelines.

From this point, you will need to wait until you receive your acknowledgment letter from the CSLB, which will give you two vital pieces of information, including a PIN consisting of 4 digits and a number associated with your application fee. These will provide you with access to your licensing application status.

  • Denials: If due to missing information, you can complete the data and resubmit.
  • Approvals: You will receive a packet for “Live Scan Fingerprinting” plus an examination notice.

3)    Take the Exam and Finish the Packet for Fingerprint Scanning

You will find with the exam-specific elements like specific trade, business, and written law. The test takes approximately 4 hours with multiple-choice questions.

4)    For those who achieve approved status, there will be a request for submission of final documents including:

A) Workers Comp Confirmation

B) Charge For California Contractor Bond in the amount of $15,000 C) A fee for licensing in the amount of $200

5) Purchase the Bond for Your Contractor License for California

The bond needs securing from a licensed bond provider for $15,000. The amount you pay typically falls at approximately 1 to 15% of that total or between $150 to $2250.

Final Thought

When you complete all the steps in the licensing process successfully, you will be issued a license followed by a certificate to put on the wall of your business and a card to carry with you.

A California contractor’s license is valid for two years, after which you will need to renew, which might prove to be a little less expensive than applying for an original for the bond. Click here for tips on California Contractor License Bonding.

You’re now ready to market yourself as an authentic licensed contractor to perform projects of altering or constructing structures as outlined in the CSLB guidelines.

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