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Lathing and Plastering contractor's services are commonly found in more expensive structures where there is an emphasis on maintaining historical accuracy.
Plastering Contractors have a very unique skill set which can be incredibly lucrative as they generally service the homes of higher-end clientele.
"A lathing and plastering contractor coats surfaces with a mixture of sand, gypsum plaster, quick-lime or hydrated lime and water, or sand and cement and water, or a combination of such other materials that create a permanent surface coating, including coatings for the purpose of soundproofing and fireproofing. These coatings are applied with a plasterer's trowel or sprayed over any surface which offers a mechanical means for the support of such coating and will adhere by suction. This contractor also installs lath (including metal studs) or any other material prepared or manufactured to provide a base or bond for such coating"-CSLB.GOV
Plastering Contractor duties may include:
To get the C-35 license, you have to be familiar with all aspects of this highly specialized trade.
The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is the governing body for all contractors in the state of California.
Their sole responsibility is to protect the consumer public and ensure that anyone charging over $500 for construction services is qualified and registered with the state of California.
The C-35 License is issued to plastering contractors by the CSLB.
The CSLB administers applications, exams, and maintains a database of all active and inactive contractor license numbers which are public domain.
Understanding how to safely contain lead-based paint when altering structures built before 1978 is required by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The most profitable plastering contractors are ones that position themselves as the experts and are the most knowledgable and helpful to their clients.
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Contractors that hold the C-35 license can work in a variety of settings. They could be hired by a homeowner to complete a specific task.
They may also be subcontracted by a General Contractor who has placed a bid on a project that includes specialized lathing and plastering.
Check out this article for an in-depth look at the General Contractor License
To get a C-35 license in California, you must meet the following requirements:
You must also have:
Journeyman level experience means that you have worked unsupervised full time for a plastering company, or for a contractor that holds the C-35 License.
The CSLB will want to see four full-time years over the last ten years. The years do not need to be consecutive, but they do need to be four years in total.
The following people may be used as Qualifying Individuals to sign off on your experience when applying for the C-35 license:
You must be prepared to submit documentation supporting the experience you claim to have. The Contractors State License Board gives you a few ways that you can prove your experience.
The CSLB receives thousands of applications per month so there is a good chance they won’t document your experience but if you are one of the applicants that get reviewed you will need to be ready to submit something.
The CSLB does not accept pictures of projects.
Your Qualifying Individual will also need to provide a brief but detailed description of your masonry knowledge and skillset.
The way this description is written will be critical to whether or not your application is accepted. For example:
Writing: “Jim has created plaster walls” will not be descriptive enough for the CSLB
They will be looking for something more like:
"Jim has done plaster/stucco installations and repairs, gypsum float coat finish, framed around door openings, maintained and repaired equipment, and done pre-lath inspections" etc.
The time it takes to get your application processed and assigned a test date fluctuates throughout the year.
Typically you can expect:
I have seen some situations where applicants got their test date sooner and some where they got their test date much later.
The most common reasons your application would get held up are:
The Current CSLB fees are:
Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting a C-35 License. Thousands of contractors get licensed each year in California despite having a criminal record.
The key is to be honest on the application, even if the felony or misdemeanor happened years ago and even if it was expunged.
BE 100% HONEST ON THE APPLICATION, because they will see everything anyway when you do fingerprinting. The CSLB handles criminal records on a case by case basis.
Remember, their responsibility is to protect the public. In my experience, they primarily concerned with criminal charges associated with: Fraud, Embezzlement and Forgery.
The exam will include:
The Lathing and Plastering (C-35 license) Examination is divided into four major sections:
1. Planning and Estimation (18%)
2. Preparation for Lath and Plaster Applications (20%)
3. Plaster/Stucco Installations and Repairs (42%)
4. Safety (20%)
Currently the CSLB has testing locations in the following cities:
You will be assigned a testing location based on the city you live in. Learn more about Contractor License LAW.
Some things to remember:
I have helped all types of tradesman from various backgrounds and experience levels get licenses. Most are startled by how different the subject matter on the state exam is from their years of first-hand experience.
Be as prepared as you possibly can. Studying just 10 mintues a day consistently can dramatically increase your chances of passing the test on your first try.
Focus on and study ONLY the information that you need to pass the C-35 License exam.
Construction is a trillion-dollar industry and highly skilled plastering contractors are always in demand.
Whether you are completely new or have some experience already, there are resources available to you.
Generally someone looking to become a plastering contractor would want to look into an apprenticeship or find a skilled tradesman to learn under.
For a detailed explanation on this process, check out my article: Apprentice vs Journeyman.
Knowing how to read blueprints is a valuable skill virtually all tradesman but especially for those looking to get the C-35 License.
Construction blueprints provide a visually representation of a project, which can be valuable for tradesman making aesthetic alterations to the interiors.
Blueprint Reading Skills are also critical to pass the General Contractor exam. Check out this Blue Print Reading Course for a basic introduction to the concepts you will want to know about.
Getting the C-35 License can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to start your own company, want to begin advertising your services, or become an RMO!
The key is to take action and follow these steps from beginning to end.
If you have found this article helpful feel free to drop a comment below and be sure to check back for updates!
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