The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is the governing agency for construction contractors in the state of California.
The CSLB has offices throughout various cities and processes applications on a daily basis for those looking to get the California state contractors 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.
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 apply for Hector's Electrical Services and you are applying for the General B… 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 critical. 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
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-10 license and they write:
“John is a good guy. He is experienced and always on time…”
That will 100% be rejected
“John has used and read: ohmmeters, voltmeters and ammeters. He has installed fixtures, switches and is experienced with A/C and D/C wiring. John has done underground wiring and has done troubleshooting and repair for various electrical systems including…”
Make sure you get as specific as possible in this section. Other key points to remember are:
- It must be written in blue or black ink (no pencil)
- 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
For alternatives to proving your experience to the CSLB check out this post
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 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
CSLB Application Costs
The costs associated with getting a California contractor license are always changing, so it is important to stay up to date.
We have a video that breaks down all of the current costs associated with the licensing process
CSLB License Renewal
The CSLB currently allows you to renew your license online. Renewal fees paid online will include a 2.99% processing fee.
Active Renewal – $450
Active Renewal (Late) – $675
Inactive Renewal – $225
Inactive Renewal (Late) – $337.50
*C-10 Electricians pay an additional $20 to fund electrician certification enforcement
It is important to remember that, to avoid a late fee and a potential break in licensure, renewals must be paid before midnight on the expiration date. Using an expired license will result in disciplinary action.
Acceptable forms of payment: Visa or MasterCard
You will have 60 minutes to complete this transaction. To ensure you are seeing the most updated renewal fees you can also check out the CSLB website