What Can I Do With a C-53 Contractor License?

Table of Contents

What Jobs Can You Bid with a C-53 License?

The C-53 license is for individuals or companies that specialize in swimming pool construction work.

There are a variety of jobs you can bid on if you have this license, including:

  • Pool & spa construction
  • Swimming pool servicing and repair
  • Pool plastering
  • Inspections
  • Excavation
  • Forming grids with steel grid
  • Equipment upgrades and resurfacing
  • Hardscapes and landscapes surrounding pool areas
  • Installing pool covers
  • Patio supply sales
  • Pool bars
  • Jacuzzis
  • Power washing
  • Acid washing
  • Pool sanding
  • Ongoing pool maintenance
  • Deco seal
  • Filter cleaning
  • Rock slide resurfacing
  • Custom cascades and waterfalls
  • Fire pits and BBQ’s
  • Storm clean-ups
  • Leak detections
  • Recommending pool products to clients
  • Chlorine wash
  • Chemical checks
  • Fountain maintenance
  • Tile cleaning and repair
  • Plaster & pebble finishes
  • Spa Spillovers
  • Decking
  • Heater installation and repair
  • Pump and filter installation and repair
  • Pool light installation and repair
  • Initial clean-ups
  • Foreclosure services
  • Estimates and quotes
  • Backyard construction
  • Outdoor kitchens and living areas
  • Fire and water features
  • Patio covers & pergolas

Pool Contractors and the CSLB

The C-53 license is one of 74 classifications available in California. Contractors in the state of California are governed by the CSLB(Contractors State License Board)

There are 4 major classification categories:

Common Pairings for the C-53 License

Contractors in California can hold multiple classifications.

The most common pairings for the C-53 license are typically

C-53 contractor requirements

To become licensed with the CSLB you must meet the following basic requirements:

  • 18 Years of Age
  • 4 Years of Journeyman Level Experience
  • Social Security or ITIN #
  • Not Currently on Probation or Parole
  • Signature from a licensed contractor, fellow employee, supervisor, or business associate 

What swimming pool concepts do I need to know for the exam?

You will definitely want to be prepared for any curveballs that could come up on the California C-53 license exam.

You may be presented with questions related to swimming pool construction that could be unfamiliar.

Take the time to review every possible question and concept.

Below is a breakdown of what you need to know:

Planning and Estimating (28%)

  • Review plans and specifications
  • Estimate equipment and material

Swimming Pool/Spa Shell Construction (31%)

  • Permitting
  • Rough plumbing and electrical
  • Site preparation and excavation
  • Steel placement and bonding
  • Gunite/shotcrete placement and curing

Pool/Spa Systems Installation (10%)

  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Equipment installation
  • Solar thermal/photovoltaic

Non-Concrete Pools/Spas and Extra Pool/Spa
Features (3%)

  • Fiberglass, vinyl, and metal
  • Pool covers
  • Water features
  • Pool/spa accessories

Pool/Spa Shell Finishing (8%)

  • Interior finish and startup
  • Tile and coping
  • Decking

Commercial Swimming Pools/Spas (3%)

  • Title 22 and other code requirements
  • Disabled access features

Pool/Spa Repair, Renovation, Removal, and
Maintenance (7%)

  • Water loss and discoloration
  • Structural modifications
  • Equipment and systems

Safety (10%)

  • Swimming pool/spa safety
  • Job site safety

What's the C-53 license exam process like?

The exam will be:

  • 115 Questions Law & Business
  • 115 Questions Swimming Pools
  • Multiple Choice
  • Closed Book
  • 3 Hours to Complete each section
  • Taken via Computer at a CSLB Testing Facility
  • Exam Centers in: Berkeley, Fresno, Norwalk, Oxnard, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, and San Jose

Math Skills 

There will be math on your CSLB law & business and trade exam.

On the law side, questions will be presented to you as if you are a General Contractor with multiple projects running simultaneously with several employees.

You can expect math questions related to:

  • Arithmetic
  • Cost Estimation 
  • Percentages and Decimals

The math you can expect on the C-53 license exam may vary. Be prepared for questions that may include:

  • Basic Geometry
  • Units of measurement

Blueprint Reading Skills

Blueprint reading is a fundamental skill for all contractors.

Knowing how to interpret plans and is a key part of the job if you are working within a construction crew.

Interpreting building plans is critical.

Some aspects of plan reading may also be your examination. 

For a deeper look at blueprint reading concepts, you will want to check out this free blueprint reading guide.

CSLB law & business exam

Our complete course gives you everything you need to pass the C-53 California swimming pool contractor license exam.

In addition to getting brushed up on the construction trade, those looking to get the C-53 license will be equipped with a crash course on how to run a profitable business. 

You will learn:

  • Company organization 
  • How to bid effectively
  • Understanding cost control
  • Various contract types
  • Cash management
  • Estimation fundamentals
  • Business Structures
  • Worker’s Compensation and Taxes
  • Insurance Types in Construction
  • Labor Laws and Employee Rights
  • Hiring and Firing Practices
  • Contractor Bonds
  • Mechanics Liens
  • State Laws and Statutes
  • Project Management 101
  • Prevailing Wages and Public Works
  • And Much More!