blog post about how to get a C47 license for manufactured housing in california

Manufactured Housing Contractors engage in:

  • Design and Installations
  • Alteration and Renovation
  • Repair
  • Transportation and Demolition of modular housing
A white mobile home with a light blue strip through the middle sitting on a greet patch of grass outside on a blue sky day. the door is open and there is a small table in front with two chairs. In the state of california you need to have the C-47 license to build, design, repair or install any type of manufactured housing
  • In the United States, nearly 20 million people live in some type of modular home.
  • Contractors that specialize in this specific type of housing have the opportunity to create a highly profitable business that services a large population. ​
  • In this article you will learn everything you need to know to get the C-47 license!

What is a General Manufactured Housing Contractor?

Duties associated with the C-47 License

Contractors that hold the C-47 license are sometimes referred to as:

  • Mobile Home Contractors 
  • Modular Home Contractors 
  • Manufactured Housing Contractors

Mobile home contractors engage in activities very similar to General Contractors.

The only difference is that they specialize in modular homes. Their job site duties generally include:

  • Framing, carpentry, drywall, flooring, electrical, plumbing, roofing and painting of modular homes
  • Modular home installation and repair
  • Providing utility services
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    Moving and transporting modular homes
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    Lot development
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    Maneuvering and joining sections
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    Estimation, bidding, accounting and book-keeping
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    Maintaining a safe job-site 
A long red modular with wheels at the bottom, sitting on a plot of land. there are seven windows and a white door.

To obtain the C-47  license, you will be tested on all aspects of:

  • Design, Construction and Repair of Modular Homes
  • To be successful on the exam you have to be familiar with all aspects of your trade, even if you do not do them on a daily basis.

Subcontractors

two run down trailers sitting on a green patch of grass. The mobile homes look every old possibly from the 1970's and are appear to be abandoned

Manufactured housing contractors that hold the C-47 license can work in a variety of settings. 

They be subcontracted by a General Contractor who has placed a bid on a project that includes a the construction of several mobile homes.

Check out this article for an in-depth look at the General Contractor License!

The CSLB

logo of the contractors state license board. a blue illustration features a paint brush, saw and cement truck with the words CSLB above in white

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is the governing body for all contractors in the state of California.

Their responsibility is to protect the consumer public and ensure that anyone charging over $500 for plumbing services is qualified and registered with the state of California. 

The C-47 license is issued to manufactured housing contractors.


The Contractors State License Board also:

  • Administers Exams
  • Processes Applications
  • Maintains a database of all active and inactive contractor license numbers 
  • Sets up Sting Operations targeting unlicensed contractors

How to get the C-47 License

To get a C-47 license in California, you must meet the following basic requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a valid Driver's License or USA Issued Identification
  • Have a Social Security or ITIN #
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    Not Currently be on probation or parole

You must also have:

  • 4 Years Journey Level Experience
  • A Qualifying Individual to sign off on your experience
  • A way to prove your experience if the state asks for documentation

What is a Journey level experience?

a man kneeled down wearing blue jeans and a black watch using a hammer and a piece of wood to straighten a floor board. In the process of doing a floor installation

Journeyman level experience means that you have worked unsupervised full time for an construction company or someone that holds the C-47 License.

  • A journeyman can perform all of the duties associated with his or her trade.

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. 

Signature of a Qualifying Individual

The following people may be used as Qualifying Individuals to sign off on your experience when applying for the C-47 license:

  • Licensed General Contractor
  • C-47 License Holder
  • Former Supervisor (within the last 10 years)
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    Fellow Employee (within the last 10 years
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    Business Associate
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    Fellow Journeyman
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    Union Representative

Filling out the C-47 License Application

Your Qualifying Individual will also need to provide a brief but detailed description of your knowledge and skillset.

The way this description is written will be critical to whether or not your application is accepted. For example: 

“Ed built our mobile home” is not descriptive enough

 The CSLB will want to see something like: 

"Ed has installed and repaired manufactured housing, built foundations, prepared for transport, done drywall, flooring, carpentry and electrical hook ups" etc.

Work experience for the Contractor License

several tools laying on top of a wooden table. The CSLB may request to see documentation of you experience working in mobile home construction

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.

  • Tax Returns
  • Check Stubs
  • Contracts
  • Material Order Invoices or Receipts

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.

Application Processing, Fees and Criminal History

The time it takes to get your application processed and assigned a test date fluctuates throughout the year.

Typically you can expect:

  • 6-8 Week Application Processing Time
  • 3-4 Week wait for an Exam date

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:

  1. Time of year (processing time slows down during the holidays) 
  2. Criminal History 
  3. Proving Experience
  4. Mistakes on your application 

Application Costs for the C-47 License 

The Current CSLB fees are: 

Can you get a Contractors License with a Felony in California?

a white hand holding a pen filling out a criminal background check form

Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting a C-47 License. I have personally helped guys with all types of criminal records obtain multiple licenses.

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 be:

  • 115 Questions on Contractor LAW
  • 115 Questions on modular and manufactured housing 
  • You will have 3 hours to complete each portion
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    The exam is multiple choice and is taken on a computer
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    Closed Book

The General manufactured Housing (C-47 License) Examination is divided into six major sections:

1. Planning and Estimation (22%)

  • Evaluating project scope
  • Estimating project costs

2. Site Preparation (13%)

  • Tear-down and transport
  • Pre-construction planning
  • Site construction

3. Manufactured Home Installation (24%)

  • Setting up
  • Support and foundations
  • Completing the installation

4. Accessory Installation (11%)

  • Installing accessories
  • Building structures

5. Repairs (15%)

  • Demolition
  • Repairs

6. Safety (15%)

  • Employee training
  • Safe working procedure

Recommended Resources

CSLB Test Locations

There are currently CSLB test locations in the following cities:

  • Berkeley
  • Fresno
  • Norwalk
  • San Jose
  • Oxnard
  • Sacramento
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego
  • The CSLB will assign you a testing center based on your location 
  • The test is not available online 
  • The CSLB allows you to bring a pre-approved translator with you 
  • The CSLB will grant you 18 months after your application is accepted to pass the examination 
  • You must wait three weeks before retaking the state exam ( $60 per retake )

C-47 License Practice tests and Exam Prep

Some things to remember:

  • The questions you will see on the exam may use outdated terms
  • Processes may be completely different from how things are done on the job site
  • You will see questions about things you may have never done before
  • Questions will be presented to you as if you are running a large scale construction business with several employees and jobs happening all at once. 
  • Know all aspects of your trade

Construction Apprenticeships

A blue modular home with one door and two windows and an Air conditioning unit connected to the back

If you don’t have the 4 years required journeyman level construction experience required to get a C-47 license, your journey begins here.

Generally, someone looking to get into the trades would begin by finding a union or apprenticeship program.

For a detailed explanation on this process, check out my article: Apprentice vs Journeyman

Blueprint Reading Course

featured image for a blueprint reading course. modular home contractors looking to get the C-47 license should know how to read construction blueprints
  • Construction blueprints communicate important information about how a structure must be built as well as what materials are necessary for its construction.
  • It is critical for manufactured housing contractors to be able to read blueprints or at least be able to recognize lines and symbols.

See our Free Blueprint Reading Course!

EPA Certification

logo of the united states environmental protection agency

Understanding how to safely contain lead-based paint when altering structures built before 1978 is required by the Environmental Protection Agency

The most profitable plumbing contractors are ones that position themselves as the experts and are the most knowledgable and helpful to their clients. 

Staying EPA compliant is not only important to the survival of your business but also the safety of your customers.  

Learn how to get an EPA Certification, in 8 hours!

Conclusion

Getting the C-47 License can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to start your own modular home construction company 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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