A Contractor License is a form of license for tradesman who offer specialized construction related services. In California there are over 73 different classifications of license.
There are several reasons why a tradesman needs a contractor license:
The Contractors State License Board has a classification for almost every trade imaginable; however you can obtain the D-64 Non-specialized if you have not found your specific trade listed here.
This article will cover everything you need to know about how to get a D-64 license, the state exam, study guides, and even how to fill out the application.
"A nonspecialized contractor installs, modifies, maintains and repairs new products and/or new installations which are not defined in any section herein or defined in any license classification authorized by the Board under Chapter 9, Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code (Contractors License Law)" - CSLB.GOV
The D-64 is the classification required in the state of California for all persons looking to contract for installation, modification or repair of products that are not listed by the CSLB where the cost of labor and materials exceeds $500
The term "Non-specialized" may refer to tradesman that engage in a variety of different activities including:
A subcontractor could be hired in a number of different settings. Generally they are hired to perform a trade specific task that they specialize in.
In some cases state law will require that electrical or roofing duties are performed by a contractor holding that specific license.
General Contractors oversee that the subcontractor has executed their duties to code and to the specific requests of a client.
Learn more about the General Contractor License.
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.
Getting caught contracting without a license in California is punishable with fines up to $15,000 and 6 months in the the county jail.
The CSLB issues the C-61/D-64 license in the state of California.
To get the C-61/D-64 license for non specialized contractors you must meet the following requirements:
You must also have:
Journeyman level experience means that you have worked unsupervised full time for a company, or for a contractor that holds a Contractor 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 D-64 license:
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:
“Ben is a nice guy and very experienced” is not descriptive enough.
The CSLB will want to see a detailed description of your daily duties and the skill sets associated with your area of expertise.
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.
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-61/D-64 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, Forgery and Embezzlement.
Contractor licenses are broken down into four categories:
1) A-General Engineering
2) B-General Building
3) C-Specialty classes
4) C-61 / D-Limited Specialty classes
Each category of license apart from the D-Limited Specialty license class requires that you pass a TRADE exam in addition to the California LAW examination which is the same for all licenses.
The exam will consist of:
The Law Examination is divided into eight major sections:
1. Business Organization (10%)
2. Business Finances (15%)
3. Employment Requirements (12%)
4. Bonds, Insurance, and Liens (10%)
5. Contract Requirements and Execution (23%)
6. Licensing Requirements (8%)
7. Safety (15%)
8. Public Works (7%)
Learn more about Contractor License LAW
Currently the CSLB has testing locations in the following cities:
Some things to remember:
I have helped structural steel companies from all over the country get licensed in California. Many are startled by how strict the laws are here.
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 LAW & Business Test.
If you don’t have the 4 years required journeyman level experience to obtain the C-61/D-64 license or any other construction classification, not to worry. Your journey begins here.
Construction is a billion dollar industry with unlimited income opportunity. Usually someone looking to get into the trades would find an apprenticeship.
For a detailed explanation on this process, check out my article: Apprentice vs Journeyman.
Anyone working in a construction setting or offering services to the residential consumer public, should know how to read blueprints.
Being comfortable with construction blueprints is an invaluable skill for all tradesman but is especially important for those looking to get a D-64 License. See our Free Blueprint Reading Course.
Understanding how to safely contain lead-based paint when altering structures built before 1978 is required by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The most profitable glazing contractors are ones that position themselves as the experts and are the most knowledgable and helpful to their clients.
Becoming EPA Certified can help you expand your business and can be completed in a one day 8 hour course.
Staying EPA compliant is not only important to the survival of your business but also the safety of your customers. For a complete guide on how to get the EPA Certification, check out this article.
Getting a Contractor License can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to open your company or take on larger clients!
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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