The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is the governing agency for HVAC contractors in the state of California.
See the types of projects you can do with a C-20 License in California
The CSLB has offices throughout various cities and processes applications on a daily basis for those looking to get the C-20 contractor's license.
All of the following entities must be licensed in California:
- Contractor Businesses
Sections of the CSLB License Application
Section 1 – Business Name and Address
In this section, you will identify the name and address of your business along will other basic information which you want to be associated with your license.
Basically what you need to understand about this section is that whatever you put here is what people will see when they search your license number.
It is also what appears through CSLB's new public data portal. Key points to remember for this section are:
Key points to remember
- Don't use the word “and” or “&” unless you are applying as a partnership. So for example.
- “John & Bill construction” would get rejected if you are applying as a sole owner because that name sounds like multiple people.
- If you are using a DBA make sure that your business name isn't different from the trade you are applying for. ‘
- If you trying to use the name “Hector's Painting Services” and you are applying for the HVAC license… that will probably be sent back for corrections
Section 2 – Business Entity
Here you simply will choose a business entity.
This section is pretty straight forward but one point to remember is that, if you decide to change your business entity down the line… you will have to submit a new application fee.
If you are not sure which business entity you should start with, check out this guide to Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, and Corporations.
Section 3 – Qualifying Individual
In section 3, you will identify your Qualifying Individual.
This is the person that will be taking the examination. As the qualifying individual, you will be responsible for having the necessary experience and overseeing project duties.
A qualifying individual can be a partner in a company or a Responsible Managing Officer. Whichever applies to your specific situation is what you will put in this section
Section 4 – Personnel Full Legal Name and Address
In section 4 we will add the information of anyone who will be listed on the license. Other than the Qualifying Individual.
This applies to partnerships, corporations, or LLCs. Basically, any business structure where there would be multiple people associated with the license.
Section 5 – Required Application Questions
In section 5 you will be asked to answer a series of questions about yourself and anyone associated with your Contractor License.
To see the full list you can click here
Certification of Work Experience
This portion of the application is by far the most important. As you can see above you will enter again the information of the Qualifying Individual.
Remember this is the person that will take the contractor license exam.
Make sure the information entered in section 2 matches the portion above. Once you have completed this section, we will move on to part 2.
Work Experience and Certification Statement for HVAC Contractors
This section must be filled out by your Certifier.
Your certifier is the person that will be verifying your experience.
They can either be a:
- Fellow Employee
- Licensed Contractor
- Foreman or Supervisor
- Union Representative
- Business Associate
Below the section where the certifier enters their information, is the statement portion.
How your certifier fills out this section is extremely critical. When describing your experience they must focus specifically on your job-related duties and knowledge.
If you are applying for the C-20 License and they write:
“Tim is a good guy and is always on time…”
That will 100% be rejected
“Tim has used installed and maintained A/C units, thermostats, compressors, and heating units. He has extensive experience changing freon as well as setting up plumbing hook-ups. Tim has overseen projects involving ductwork and electrical hook-ups. “
Now obviously you are not going to use that verbatim.
However, this is just to give you an idea of how specific you should be. Think about what you actually know how to do when it comes to your trade and have your qualifier write a detailed description.
Make sure you talk about all of the things you do on a daily basis as an HVAC installation contractor. Other key points to remember are:
- It must be written in blue or black ink (no pencil)
- The CSLB offers a form and fill feature which you can see on the application.
- Forms containing strikeouts or modifications will not be accepted
- Original signatures only – no faxed, photocopied, or stamped signatures
- Corrections must be initialed by the certifier
If you are having issues proving your experience. Check out this video that covers the 18 CSLB-approved alternatives for proving work experience.
Checking your CSLB License Application Status
The state contractors board in California allows you to check the status of your application at any time.
You will need to be issued an application fee number, which typically arrives up to a month after you have submitted your application.
This basically means your application is received and you can now check the status here
CSLB C-20 License Lookup
At any point, you can look up a current California contractor license number.
This feature was designed for the consumer public to perform a search of the current status of a contractor's license number.
This will allow you to see all of the information which you provide in section 1 of the application. To look up a CSLB license number, click here
C-20 License Application Costs
The costs associated with getting a California contractor license are always changing,
Check out the video below to see the most up-to-date costs.