how to get your C-61 license in California and pass your cslb law and business exam for construction clean up

Construction Clean Up: C-61/D-63 License

Table of Contents

Construction cleaning services are normally contracted out to third-party companies that specialize in construction zone clean-up and safe disposal of excess debris. A clean site once the job is done is a critical phase of the construction process.

Construction clean-up Contractors that have professional-grade equipment and adhere to public health and safety regulations can create a highly lucrative business within a multi-billion, dollar industry.

This article will cover everything you need to know about how to legally offer construction cleaning services!

What is a C-61 / D-63 Construction Clean-up Contractor?

Tw dump trucks on a job site cleaning up construction debris. The C-61/D-63 license for construction clean up is a requirements for those charging over $500 for post construction clean up services

A construction cleanup contractor cleans up and/or removes from building grounds or structures any debris resultant from any construction project including but not limited to: concrete, dirt, scrap lumber, plaster, drywall, any paint or adhesive products from windows, floors, ceramic tile and bathroom fixturesCSLB.GOV

Duties associated with Construction Clean up

  • Vacuuming and removal of construction debris
  • Residential and commercial post construction/remodel clean up
  • Removing construction dust from: Flooring, cabinets, furniture, walls, and doors
  • Removal of dust from vents and light fixtures
  • Pressure washing 
  • Safe disposal of toxic construction debris
  • Safe operation of scaffolds. shop vacuums, and dump trucks
  • Containment of hazardous chemicals and lead paint
  • Pre and post job site evaluation
  • Bidding, estimating and accounting

What is a subcontractor?

Construction clean-up contractors are typically hired by General Contractors to complete the final stages of construction or remodel project that.

General Contractors oversee that the subcontractor has executed their duties in adhering to environmental regulations and to the specific requests of a client.

Learn more about the General Contractor License!

Online Practice Exams and Study Guides


Logo of the contractors state license board. Logo features an illustration of a paint brush, hand saw and cement truck with the letters cslb above in white

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

Their sole responsibility is to protect the consumer public. They ensure that anyone charging over $500 for construction services is qualified and registered with the state. 

  • The CSLB issues the construction clean up contractor license in the state of California.
  • The CSLB has a state wide task force that conducts sting operations targeting unlicensed construction activity.
  • Getting caught contracting without a license in California is punishable with fines up to $15,000 and 6 months in the the county jail

Blue Print Reading Course

construction clean up contractors should know how to read construction blueprints

Being able to read and understand blueprints is a core skill for anyone working in or around a construction site.

Identifying the structural details and dimensions of a building before beginning the clean-up process can be very valuable.

Construction blueprints communicate an array of information to builders.

Being comfortable with construction blueprints is an invaluable skill for all tradesmen, but can be especially important for a construction clean-up contractor who may be a part of a larger construction project.  

Learn how to read Construction Blueprints!

C-61/D-63 Construction Clean up License Requirements

To get the construction clean-up contractor license in California, you must prove a minimum of 4 years of journeyman level experience and pass a two-part state exam with the Contractor State License Board.

To qualify for an exam date you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a valid Driver's License or USA Issued Identification
  • Have a Social Security or ITIN #
  • 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 contractor weraing a tool belt holding a red hard hat. to get the C-61/D-63 license. You must hold 4 years journeyman level experience

Journeyman level experience means that you have worked unsupervised full time for a construction clean-up company, or for a contractor that holds the C-61/D-63 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 construction clean up contractor license:

  • Licensed General Contractor
  • C-61/D-63 License Holder
  • Fellow Employee (within the last 10 years)
  • Former Supervisor (within the last 10 years)
  • Business Associate
  • Fellow Journeyman
  • Union Representative

Filling out the Contractor 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:

“Sam is a nice guy and very experienced” is not descriptive enough for the CSLB.

The people reviewing your application will want to see something like:

“Sam has cleaned up residential and commercial job sites and has safely disposed of various construction debris. Sam knows how to operate a dump truck as well as using a variety of cleaning products in adherence to EPA standards” etc.

  • The description written by your qualifying individual will need to include the core skills required for the construction clean up contractor license.

Proving your work experience

A dump truck and claw cleaning up construction debris. The Contractors state license board may request to see documentation of your construction clean up experience

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 which include:

  • 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.

However, 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 somewhere 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 

State Fees

The current state fees are:

1. $330 State Application Fee (one-time fee per application sent to the state board )

2. $200 License Activation Fee ( paid every two years )

You will also need to pay for live scan fingerprinting.

Construction Bonds 

everything you need to understand about Construction bonds and california contractor licenses

Upon passing the exam, the state board requires you to have a Contractor Bond number. A construction bond is a security deposit issued by a surety company.

  • Bonds are designed to protect the consumer public against contractor default. They act as protection mechanisms for clients from unethical or illegal actions performed by contractors. 
  • Bonds also ensure that subcontractors get paid for their work.
  • Furthermore, they ensure or that a contractor performs his duties as stated in a contract.

Construction bonds protect employees, suppliers, sub-contractors, or clients against a contractor's failure to abide by an agreement.

Learn more about Construction Bonds!

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

when applying for the construction clean up contractor license, you will have to do fingerprinting. you should be 100% honest about your criminal record

Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting a sandblasting contractor 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 are primarily concerned with criminal charges associated with Fraud, Embezzlement, and Forgery.

The Contractor License Exam

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 except the D-Limited Specialty license class requires that you pass a TRADE exam. C-61 Classification licenses do not have trade portions.

You must only pass a LAW exam.

The exam is:

  • 115 Questions on Contractor LAW
  • 3 Hours to complete
  • Multiple choice, taken on a computer
  • Closed Book

The Law Examination is divided into eight major sections:

1. Business Organization (10%)

  •  Company organization
  •  Project organization

2. Business Finances (15%)

  • Cash management
  • Budget and planning
  • Taxes
  • Financial reporting

3. Employment Requirements (12%)

  • Employment regulations
  • Evaluation and record-keeping
  • Payroll

4. Bonds, Insurance, and Liens (10%)

  • Bonds
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Liens and other remedies
  • Other insurance

5. Contract Requirements and Execution (23%)

  • Bidding
  • Cost control
  • Contracts
  • Payments

6. Licensing Requirements (8%)

  • Business license
  • Contractor’s license
  • Activity regulation

7. Safety (15%)

  • Training and reporting requirements
  • General safety
  • Hazardous/unknown materials

8. Public Works (7%)

  • Prevailing wage requirements
  • Bonding requirements
  • Insurance requirements

Learn more about Contractor License LAW!

Recommended Resources

CSLB Test Locations

a hand holding a pencil above a piece of paper that appears to be an exam. studying as little as 10 mintues a day for your contractor license exam can greatly increase your chances of passing on your first try

Testing Centers are all over the state

  • Oxnard
  • Sacramento
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego
  • Berkeley
  • Fresno
  • Norwalk
  • San Jose
  • 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 ).

Contractor License Study Guides and Practice Tests

  • Getting your construction clean up license is a smooth process if you have the right information. 

  • It can be confusing to see un-familiar terms used to describe tools or job site practices. The Contractor LAW exam covers a number of different topics.

  • Questions are presented to you as if you are running a large scale remodeling business with multiple employees.

  • Being prepared and knowing what to study is the most important thing you can do in ensuring your success on the contractor license exam.


image for a blog post about the difference between an apprentice and a journeyman

Generally someone looking to become a construction clean-up contractor would want to look into an apprenticeship to find an experienced person to work with. 

Getting the C-61/D-63 license is a smooth process.

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

EPA Certification

Logo of the united states environmental protection agency

During the construction clean-up process, contractors may encounter lead paint on the job.

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

Getting a certification 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 to the safety of your customers. 

Learn how to get an EPA certification in 8 hours!