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The D-16 Contractor License is the classification required in the state of California for anyone looking to charge for projects involving manually activated door or window locks where the cost of labor and materials exceeds $500.
The C-61 Limited Specialty License is an umbrella term for all licenses that may fall under a more obscure category of construction work.
They cover specific areas of construction and construction-related tasks.
If your skill set or business is limited to one particular portion of trade work, you could obtain a C-61 limited specialty license to contract over $500 for your services legally.
The D-16 contractor license covers all of the typical services offered by a locksmith business.
While services may vary based on expertise and state, typically duties include:
If you currently have a locksmith business and are looking to scale and grow a contractors license is what you need.
Due to the nature of the trade, locksmith businesses that hold the D-16 license, typically work directly with homeowners or business.
In a construction setting, a General Contractor may hire a D-16 Contractor specifically for their expertise in locks.
A contractor holding the D-16 license may also be hired for their equipment.
As a result, a general contractor ensures that this phase of the project is executed correctly.
Learn more about the General Contractor License!
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 C-61 / D-16 Hardware, locks and safes contractor license is issued to contractors by the CSLB.
For a locksmith business to become licensed, individuals must prove a minimum of 4 years journeyman level experience and pass a law exam.
To qualify for an exam date you must meet the the following requirements:
You must also have:
Journeyman level experience means that you have worked unsupervised full time for a locks and safes company, or for a contractor that holds the D-16 License.
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.
The following people may act as a Qualifying Individual when applying for the D-16 license
In addition, your Qualifying Individual will need to provide a brief but detailed description of your knowledge and skillset.
The way this description is written is critical to whether or not your application gets accepted. For example:
“Rick has changed locks” is not descriptive enoughThe CSLB will want to see:
"Rick has run a locksmith business for several years. He has changed locks for safes as well as manually activated doors, window locks, and vaults. He has also created and duplicated keys" etc.
Most importantly, the description written by your qualifying individual has to include the core skills required for the hardware, locks and safes contractors license.
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:
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.
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-61/D-16 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.
Typically the CSLB is most concerned with Fraud, Embezzlement and Forgery.
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.
You must only pass a LAW exam. The exam is:
The Law Examination is divided into eight major sections:
1. Business Organization (10%)
2. Business Finances (15%)
3. Employment Requirements (12%)
4. Bonds, Insurance, and Liens (10%)
5. Contract Requirements and Execution (23%)
6. Licensing Requirements (8%)
7. Safety (15%)
8. Public Works (7%)
Learn more about Contractor License LAW!
There are currently CSLB test locations in the following cities:
If you do not have the experience required to get the C-61/D-16 Hardware, locks and safes Contractor license, not to worry!
Your journey begins here. Generally someone looking to become a contractor would want to look into an apprenticeship for find an experienced person to work with.
For a detailed explanation on this process, check out my article: Apprentice vs Journeyman!
Hardware, locks and safes contractors should be able to read designs and symbols on construction blueprints.
If installation or repair is part of a larger project, being able to execute their duties within the larger scope of the job is essential.
Reading blueprints is an invaluable skill for all tradesman but can be especially important for elevated flooring contractors.
Check out our Free Blueprint Reading Course!
When making alterations to or around structures built before 1978, contractors must know how to contain lead paint if it is present.
Lead paint can travel miles through air, rest on soil, and enter air ducts causing potentially fatal respiratory damage.
Hardware, locks and safes contractors looking to build profitable businesses must position themselves as experts and the authority within their industry.
Contractors must be a source of information for their clients and community if they want referrals and repeat business.
Learn how to get an EPA Certification in 8 hours!
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