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Plumbing Contractors provide one of the most in-demand services in the construction industry.
Plumbing is a basic requirement within virtually all residential and commercial construction projects.
With every boom in the construction industry an increase in the demand of highly skilled plumbing services inevitably follows.
Plumbing Contractors who are professional, highly skilled and deliver excellent customer service can build a highly profitable business that services a basic human need.
This article will give you everything you need to know about the plumbing license, requirements, the California plumbing license test, study guides, and even how to fill out the C-36 License application.
The C-36 license is the classification required in the state of California for all persons looking to bid over $500 on projects that involve:
"A plumbing contractor provides a means for a supply of safe water, ample in volume and of suitable temperature for the purpose intended and the proper disposal of fluid waste from the premises in all structures and fixed works. This classification includes but is not limited to:
(b)Piping, storage tanks and venting for a safe and adequate supply of gases and liquids for any purpose, including vacuum, compressed air and gases for medical, dental, commercial and industrial uses;
(e) Installation of any type of equipment to heat water, or fluids, to a temperature suitable for the purposes listed in this section, including the installation of solar equipment for this purpose; and
(f)The maintenance and replacement of all items described above and all health and safety devices such as, but not limited to, gas earthquake valves, gas control valves, back flow preventers, water conditioning equipment and regulating valves." - CSLB.GOV
Plumbing Contractors generally engage in wide variety of duties including:
Plumbing Contractors that hold the C-36 license can work in a variety of settings. They could be hired by a homeowner to do a simple repair.
They may also be subcontracted by a General Contractor who has placed a bid on a project that includes a full plumbing installation.
Check out this article for an in-depth look at the General Contractor License.
The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is the governing body for all contractors in the state of California.
Their responsibility is to protect the consumer public and ensure that anyone charging over $500 for plumbing services is qualified and registered with the state of California.
The C-36 License is issued to plumbing contractors by the CSLB.
The State Board:
To get a C-36 license in California, you have to meet the following requirements:
You must also have:
A Journeyman plumber is someone who has gained experience working unsupervised full time for:
The following people may be used as Qualifying Individuals to sign off on your experience when applying for the C-36 plumbing license:
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:
Writing: “Bob is a great guy, he fixed our toilet” will not be enough.
The CSLB will want to see something like: "Bob has repaired plumbing problems, installed gas lines, sewer lines, installed bathroom fixtures, water lines, and re-piped buildings"
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.
The CSLB receives thousands of applications per month so there is a good chance they won’t document your experience but 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.
The time it takes to get your application processed and assigned a test date fluctuates throughout the year.
Typically you can expect:
I have seen some situations where applicants got their test date sooner and some where they got their test date much later.
The most common reasons your application would get held up are:
The Current CSLB fees are:
Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting a C-36 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 primarily concerned with criminal charges associated with: Fraud, Embezzlement or Forgery
The exam will be:
For more information on what will be on the Contractor LAW exam click here.
The Plumbing License (C-36 ) Examination is divided into five key sections:
1. Planning and Estimation (21%)
2. Rough-in and Top-out Plumbing Systems (27%)
3. Finish Plumbing Installations (14%)
4. Service, Repair, and Remodel Plumbing Systems (20%)
5. Safety (18%)
Currently, there are CSLB testing locations in the following cities:
Learn more about Contractor License LAW
Some things to remember:
I have helped plumbers from all over the country get licensed in California. Many are startled by how strange the questions on the exam are.
Be as prepared as you possibly can.
Studying just 10 mintues a day consistently can dramatically increase your chances of passing the test on your first try.
Focus on and study ONLY the information that you need to pass the C-36 License.
An apprenticeship is an excellent way to learn your trade and set yourself for a lucrative career as a plumber
If you don’t have the 4 years required journeyman level plumbing experience to get a C-36 license, your journey begins here.
Generally, someone looking to get into this trade would begin by finding a union or plumbing apprenticeship program.
For a detailed explanation on this process, check out my article: Apprentice vs Journeyman.
It is critical for plumbing contractors to be able to read blueprints or at least be able to recognize lines and symbols.
Understanding how to safely contain lead-based paint when altering structures built before 1978 is required by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The most profitable plumbing contractors are ones that position themselves as the experts and are the most knowledgable and helpful to their clients.
Getting the C-36 License can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to start your own plumbing company or become an RMO!
The key is to take action and follow these steps from beginning to end.
If you have found this article helpful feel free to drop a comment below and be sure to check back for updates!
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