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featured image for a blog post about how to get a service station equipment contractor license

What is a C-61/D-40 Service Station Equipment and Maintenance Contractor?

  • Installs and removes underground fuel storage tanks
  • Up to 20,000 gallons 
  • Installation or removal of all incidental tank related piping
  • Electrical and calibration work
  • Testing and adjustment of leak detection 
Four gas station nozels, two yellow and two green. service station equipment contractor license covers various duties associated with service station
  • Vapor recovery equipment 
  • Tank gauges leak line detectors
  • Vapor recovery lines
  • In-station diagnostics

The D-40 is the classification required in the state of California for all persons looking to contract for service station equipment maintenance where the cost of labor and materials exceeds $500.

C-61 Limited Specialty Classification

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.

Often 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.

Typical duties associated with Service Station Equipment

A gas station lit up at night time

Service Station Equipment Contractors specialize in installation and repair of service station equipment.

They provide a critical service to companies that depend on their equipment being environmentally compliant.

Their duties include:

  • Conducting fuel system upgrades
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    Installation and maintenance of pumps and nozels
  • Repairing tank valves, fittings and submersible pumps
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    Installation and removal of underground storage tanks
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    Installing vapor probes, tank gauges and leak line detectors
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    Monitering meter calibrations
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    Some electrical work
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    Cost calculation and bidding
  • Spill containment, diesel fuel polishing and stabilization
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    Adhering to environmental safety regulations

Maintaining public health as well as state and federal compliance are all critical aspects of a successful service station contractor business.

Subcontractor

Generally, service station contractors work with gas stations or companies utilizing underground fuel tanks.

However, they may also function as a subcontractor to a General A.

For example, a General Engineering Contractor may subcontract someone holding the D-40 service station equipment license to install underground fuel tanks. 

As a result, a prime contractor ensures that the subcontractor's duties are executed adhering to environmental standards.

For a deeper look at the General Engineering Contractor license, check out this article.

CSLB

logo of the contractors state license board. illustration features a paint brush, cement truck and hand saw

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 maintains a statewide task force that engages in sting operations to stop un-licensed 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.

The CSLB issues the service station equipment license in the state of California.

C-61/D-40 License Requirements

To get the service station equipment license you 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:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a valid Driver's License or USA Issued Identification
  • Have a Social Security or ITIN #
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    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 journey level experience?

Large white fuel tank outside

Journey level experience is gained working un-supervised full time for either a general engineering contractor, union, or someone that holds the service station equipment license. 

Certainly, some tradesman have also completed apprenticeship programs but not all.

A Journey level tradesman can perform all the duties associated with his or her trade. 

The state will want to see 4 full-time years experience within the last 10 years.

The years do not need to be consecutive, but they do need to be 4 years in total.

Signature of a Qualifying Individual

The following people may act as a Qualifying Individual when applying for the service station equipment license:

  • Licensed General Engineering Contractor
  • C-61 / D-40 License Holder
  • Former Supervisor (within the last 10 years)
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    Fellow Employee (within the last 10 years)
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    Business Associate
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    Fellow Journeyman
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    Union Representative

How to fill out the Contractor License application

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:

“Jose has a lot of experience” is not descriptive enough.

 The CSLB will want to see: "Sarah has experience maintaining major manufacturers equipment, she has done meter calibrations and tank removals, as well as monitored installs, upgrades and service" etc.

Most importantly, the description written by your qualifying individual has to include the core skills required for the service station equipment license.

Proving your work 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 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.

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 some where 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 

image of a building in the distance. blog post explains construction bonds and what you need to know to get your california contractor license

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. 

For a deeper look at bonding and fees, check out this article.

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

a wooden gavel laying on a table. the sign contractor license requires that you complete fingerprinting

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 primarily concerned with certain criminal charges.

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
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    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

For more information about what is on the California Contractor LAW Exam, be sure to check out our blog post covering everything you need to know.

Recommended Resources

CSLB Test Locations

Currently there are CSLB testing locations in the following cities:

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

California Contractors License Exam Prep

Several papers and books laying on a desk surround by pencils and a calculator
  • Getting your service station contractors 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.

Construction Apprenticeships

Generally someone looking to become a California contractor license 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!

logo of the united states environmental protection agency

When working in or around structures built before 1978, service station equipment contractors must know how to contain lead paint if it is obstructed.

Knowing the correct procedures required by the Environmental Protection Agency is critical for tradesman working in a residential or commercial setting.

Lead paint can travel miles through air, rest on soil, and enter air ducts causing potentially fatal respiratory damage.

Furthermore, contractors holding the C-61/D-40 license must position themselves as experts and the authority within their industry. 

Being a source of information for your clients and community is the best way to earn referrals and repeat business. 

Learn more about getting an EPA Certification!

Contractors offering fuel installation services should be able to read basic designs and symbols on construction blueprints.

If the services offered are part of a larger project, being able to execute their duties within the larger scope of the job is essential. 

Construction blueprints communicate important information about how a structure has been built. They also communicate what materials were used for its construction.

Reading blueprints is an invaluable skill for all tradesman but can be especially important for someone looking to get a service station equipment license.

Learn how to read Construction Blueprints!

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