featured image for a blog post about how to get the window coverings contractor license

What is a C-61 / D-52 Window Coverings Contractor?

Residential window blinds. Window contractors typically work in residential and commercial settings

"A window coverings contractor installs or applies decorative, architectural/ functional window/glass treatment or covering products, including but not limited to the following: all types of materials and fabrics that make up louvers, black out blinds, shutters, Venetian and mini-blinds; residential or commercial draperies and screens; expanded metal window and door guards; plastic film window treatment and/or any other window treatment applied for temperature control or as a screening device" - CSLB.GOV

The D-52 is the classification required in the state of California for all persons looking to contract for window coverings projects where the cost of labor and materials exceeds $500

C-61 Limited Specialty License

a contractor holding a tool belt preparing to engage in window treatment work

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.

Typical duties associated with Window Coverings 

Window coverings are type of material used for a variety of purposes including: weatherproofing, privacy, and managing sunlight.

They are commonly found in residential and commercial settings. 

Window contractors typically engage in duties including:

  • Measuring and Installation of shutters, draperies, and blinds
  • Designing blinds and shades made from various types of material
  • Repair and modification of various types of window coverings
  • Repairing and installing window glass treatments and metal guards
  • Installation of electronically and software operated window covering systems
  • Fabrication of venetian blinds using: wood, vinyl and aluminum
  • Bidding, accounting and estimating
  • Ensuring personal and job site safety

What is a subcontractor?

A contractor wearing blue overalls and blue hat measuring a window system preparing to install window blinds

Window Sub-Contractor

Contractors that specialize in window coverings are typically hired to work in a residential setting directly with homeowners or small businesses.

However, they may also function as a subcontractor to General Construction Company. A General Contractor may place a bid that includes customized window covering.

They would oversee that this phase of the project is completed correctly.

Check out this article for an in-depth look at the General Contractor License!

CSLB

Logo of the Contractors State License Board. Logo features an illustration of a paint brush, hand saw and cement truck with the letters CSLB above in white

Contractors State License Board

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-52 Window Coverings contractor license is issued to contractors by the CSLB. 

C61 / D52 License Requirements

To get a window contractor 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 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?

Journeyman level experience means that you have worked unsupervised full time for a window coverings company, or for a contractor that holds the C-61/D-52 License.

  • A journeyman can perform all of the duties associated with his or her trade.

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. 

Signature of a Qualifying Individual

The following people may be used as Qualifying Individuals to sign off on your experience when applying for the window contractor license:

  • Licensed General Contractor
  • C-61/D-52 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:

“Jorge is a nice guy and very experienced” is not descriptive enough.

 The CSLB will want to see:

"Jorge has installed shutters, blinds and shades made from: faux wood, vinyl, and metal. He has repaired and maintained cellular blinds, bathroom window curtains, horizontal blinds, curtain panels" etc.

The description written by your qualifying individual will need to include the core skills required for the window contractor 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:

Residential window blinds
  • 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 

Window Coverings Contractor License Fees

The Current CSLB fees are: 

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

Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting a C-61/D-52 Window coverings 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.

a pair of black handcuffs. window contractors looking to apply for the D-52 license should be honest about their criminal record when applying for the contractor license

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.

The Window 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
  • 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

See our Complete Guide to Contractor License LAW!

CSLB Test Locations

There are CSLB testing locations in the following cities:

  • Oxnard
  • Sacramento
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego
  • Berkeley
  • Fresno
  • Norwalk
  • 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 test 
  • You must wait three weeks before retaking the state exam ( $60 per retake )

Contractor License Study Guides and Practice Tests

A calculator and pencil laying on top of a piece of graph paper with writing on it
  • Getting the Window Coverings contractor 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

If you do not have the experience required to get the C-61/D-52 Window Coverings 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!

EPA Certification

When making alterations to or around structures built before 1978, window contractors must know how to contain lead paint if it is present. Rules for Lead paint are set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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

Window Contractors looking to build profitable businesses must position themselves as experts and the authority within their industry. 

Logo of the united states environmental protection agency. window contractors that are working around buildings that may have lead paint, should know how to contain it

Environmental Protection Agency

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!

Blueprint Reading Course

image of a ruler and several books laying on top of a table. window contractors looking to get the contractor license should know how to read construction blueprints

Window 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 ceiling contractors looking to get the C-61/D-52 Window coverings License.

Check out our Free Blueprint Reading Course!

Conclusion

Getting a Contractor license for window construction and repair can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to start your own company or become an RMO for an existing firm!

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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