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The Roofing Industry is regulated heavily in the state of California. This means that the process to get a California Roofing License can be especially tricky if you do not have the right information.

There are some prerequisite requirements you will want to have in place before you get started. The CSLB offers 73 different licenses to construction tradesman. All Contractor Licenses require you to:

  • Be at least 18 Years of Age
  • Have a Drivers License or USA Issues Identification
  • Have 4 years Journeyman level experience
  • Not currently be on probation or parole
  • Have a Social Security or ITIN #
  • Signature from a Qualifying Individual (Licensed Contractor, Fellow Employee or Journeyman, Employer, Union Representative, foreman/supervisor, or Business Associate) 
  • Pass an Exam




The Roofing License is known as the C-39 and has some specific requirements that make it slightly different from other license classifications:

1. It is a Prime Contractor License

  • In California, the Roofing license is considered a prime contractor license.
  • The experience and background of the person applying is scrutinized more than others. 
  • Roofing, HVAC, General Building, Fire Protection, and General Engineering are all considered prime contractor licenses because they are trades that directly affect the safety of the public. 
Several roofing contractors on top of a residential home working. The CSLB may request to see proof of work experience for anyone applying for the california roofing contractor license

The roofing industry is heavily regulated in California

Applicants applying for these licenses can often expect to have their applications reviewed, meaning they may have to submit documentation proving four years (or 40 months) worth of experience if the state requests.

2. Proof of Workers Compensation Insurance

  • Those applying for the Roofing license in California, have to have proof of workers compensation experience or self-insurance before the state issues their number.
  • After you apply and pass the exam, you will need to have some documentation from an insurance company proving that you have workers comp or an acceptable policy in place. Even if you are are the only one listed under the license and have no workers.
  • These laws are in place to ensure that anyone charging over $500 for roofing services has not only a license but also workers comp in place to protect themselves or their workers.

What is workers compensation?

Workers compensation is a type of insurance that protects workers or employees that get sick due to job-related activities. Business owners purchase workers compensation to shield themselves against lawsuits from employees who get injured on the job.

Employees receive medical and wage benefits during the time they are recovering from a job-related injury. The length of these benefits depends on state law as well as the type of policy the employer has. Some of these benefits include:

  • Medical Care
  • Temporary and Permanent Disability Benefits
  • Supplemental Job Displacement
  • Return to work and Death Benefits

Workers comp is continuous for the Roofing License meaning it must be active at all times or your license will be suspended.

According to the CSLB, any work performed on a suspended license is considered unlicensed activity and can result in penalties and disciplinary actions.

3. Study for the Roofing License Test

a construction blueprint with a ruler and pencil laying on top of it. knowing california law will be key in whether or not you pass the california roofing license exam

Taking the time to familiarize yourself with construction law will help you out a lot in passing the roofing license exam

Having a deep understanding of California contractor law will make life much easier for you on Roofing License test. Many people who take the exam are surprised at the types of questions they see and how they are worded.

I've heard guys tell me "we never refer to it like that" or "we have never had that situation on our job site".

The majority of contractors rarely run their business 100% by the books, but you will need to answer the questions as though you are. 

Check out these free resources for a more in-depth look at the C-39 Roofing License and the LAW portion of the Contractor exam

The roofing industry is highly lucrative. California takes this trade very seriously. If you are looking to get licensed as a roofer, use this resource as a reference and have everything prepared before you submit your application.

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