Weatherization contractors specialize in the installation and maintenance of household products designed for energy conservation.
As weather patterns around the country become more and more volatile, there will be an increased demand for energy efficiency and weatherization services for residential and commercial dwellings.
Weatherization contractors that are highly skilled, knowledgeable, and provide excellent customer service can build a lucrative business within this growing industry.
This article will cover everything you need to know about the C-61/D-65 contractor license, the state exam, exam study guides, and even how to fill out the application.
What is a C-61 / D-65 Weatherization and Energy Conservation Contractor?
“A weatherization and energy conservation contractor installs, removes, modifies or repairs or provides maintenance services for energy conservation products limited to the following: door and window weather stripping, caulking, water heater pipe wrap, water heater blankets, insulating gaskets for electrical outlet covers, shade screens, shutters, storm windows, tinted window film, residential water flow-restricting devices installed onto the existing fixture. (DOES NOT INCLUDE INSULATION, GLAZING OR HEATING VENTILATING AND AIR CONDITIONING WORK)” – CSLB.GOV
The C-61/D-65 is the classification required in the state of California for all persons looking to bid on weatherization and energy conservation projects where the cost of labor and materials exceeds $500.
Duties associated with Weatherization and Energy Efficiency
- Weather stripping for doors and windows
- Wrapping and insulating heater pipes
- Covering electrical outlets and water heaters
- Window replacement
- Caulking and Pipe Insulation
- Crawl space sealing
- Lighting retrofits, Water Damage repair, and resurfacing
- Home Energy Solutions
- Energy Conservation for Hospitals
- Window tinting and insulating gaskets
- Conducting energy audits
- Maintaining personal and job site safety
- Bidding, estimating and accounting
What is a subcontractor?
Weatherization contractors are typically hired by homeowners to prepare their homes for extreme weather events or to optimize energy efficiency.
However, they may also function as a subcontractor to a General B as part of a larger construction project.
General Contractors oversee that the subcontractor has executed their duties in adhering to environmental regulations and to the specific requests of a client.
For a more in-depth look at the General Contractor license check out this article.
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 unlicensed construction activity.
Getting caught contracting without a license in California is punishable with fines up to $15,000 and 6 months in the county jail. The CSLB issues the C-61/D-65 classification for weatherization contractors in the state of California.
When working in or around structures built before 1978, weatherization contractors may need to contain lead paint if it is present.
Knowing the correct procedures required by the Environmental Protection Agency is critical for tradesmen 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.
All tradesmen must be a source of information for their clients and community if they want referrals and repeat business. For more information on adhering to EPA Standards when dealing with Lead Paint check out my article on lead safety.
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 making alterations is critical.
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.
Contractor License Requirements
To get the weatherization contractors license in California, you must prove a minimum of 4 years 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?
Journey level experience is gained working unsupervised full time for either a union or directly under someone that holds the C-61/D-65 weatherization contractors license.
Some Journeyman-level tradesmen have also completed apprenticeship programs. A Journeyman level tradesman can perform all the duties associated with his or her trade.
The state will want to see 4 full-time years of 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 be used as Qualifying Individuals to sign off on your experience when applying for the weatherization contractors license:
- Licensed General Contractor
- C-61/D-65 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:
“Ben is a nice guy and very experienced” is not descriptive enough.
The people reviewing your application will want to see something more like:
“Sam installed, maintained, and repaired door and window weather stripping, gaskets, electrical outlet covers, and shade screens shutters. He has conducted energy efficiency audits” etc.
For a full list of the exact verbiage to increase the likelihood of your application being accepted. Check out my article on filling out the CSLB application.
The description written by your qualifying individual will need to include the core skills required for the weatherization contractor's license.
Proving your work experience
There is a possibility that the CSLB will ask you to submit documentation supporting your experience.
The CSLB gives you many ways to prove experience including Tax Returns, check stubs, receipts, invoices, and even contracts.
Anything you have that can prove you have either run or worked for a company that offers weatherization and energy efficiency services. The state board receives thousands of applications every month.
There is a good chance they won’t request further documentation of your experience. However, if your application is chosen for review, you must be ready to submit something.
Once your application has been accepted, you should receive your exam date within a matter of weeks.
Application Processing, Fees and Criminal History
The average application processing time is between 6-8 weeks.
Typically, you receive your exam date with another 3-4 weeks' notice before actually going to take the exam.
This time frame can fluctuate based on many factors including time of year (processing time slows down during the holidays), Criminal History, request to prove further documentation of experience.
Mistakes in your application can also cause delays. In total the entire process should take 90 days assuming none of the mentioned issues arise.
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.
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?
Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting the weatherization contractor license. Thousands of tradesmen get licenses each year despite their criminal records.
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 the CSLB sees everything when you do live scan fingerprinting.
The CSLB handles criminal records on a case-by-case basis. Remember, the state board's responsibility is to protect the public.
Fraud, Embezzlement and Forgery
In my experience, the CSLB is primarily concerned with criminal charges dealing with fraud, embezzlement, forgery, and financial-related crimes.
If your conviction does not fall under these categories most likely, you will have no issues when applying for the weatherization contractor license.
Be prepared to submit any court documents or prove rehabilitation at the state’s request. California requires you to divulge all criminal charges when applying for a state license even if they have been expunged.
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
- Financial reporting
3. Employment Requirements (12%)
- Employment regulations
- Evaluation and record-keeping
4. Bonds, Insurance, and Liens (10%)
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Liens and other remedies
- Other insurance
5. Contract Requirements and Execution (23%)
- Cost control
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
CSLB Test Locations
You will take the Contractor LAW exam on a computer at a state testing facility.
Currently, the CSLB testing locations are Berkeley, Fresno, Norwalk, Oxnard, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, and 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
Studying as little as 10 minutes a day for your contractor license exam will greatly increase your chances of success
Getting the C-61/D-65 weatherization contractors license is a smooth process for those with the right information. Understanding the difference between how it is every day on the job versus what the state expects of you is critical.
I have been told by many contractors with decades of experience that they were not expecting the questions they saw. It can be confusing to see unfamiliar 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.
Looking at some practice tests along with explanations for as little as 10 minutes a day is a small investment to make, but will increase your likelihood of success.
If you don’t have the 4 years required journeyman level experience to obtain the C-61/D-65 license for weatherization and energy efficiency, not to worry. Your journey begins here.
Construction is a billion-dollar industry with unlimited income opportunities.
Whether you are brand new or may have worked for a company offering weatherization services in the past, there are books, certification classes, and courses are available in most cities and online to get you up to speed. Usually, someone looking to get into the trade would find an apprenticeship.
Getting hired by a licensed contractor would be your next step. After gaining the necessary 4 years of journeyman level experience, you would then be able to apply for your C-61/D-65 license.
For information on courses in your area or books to get you on the right path click here.