Contractor’s Experience Opens

Experience is often the key to unlocking new opportunity. That’s always the case when contractors seek to add a new classification, secure an exam waiver or apply for a new license. A caution for contractors in our final plea, that comes from a workman who is learning the hard way about unlicensed contracting…

Q: I’m a licensed general contractor (“B”). I am seeking to obtain a “C-33″ painting license to start a new, separate, company. I am unclear as to which forms I am required to fill out. I do not want to add the additional classification to my existing license. Should I complete the Application for Original License, Application for Original License – Examination Waiver, or the Application for Additional Classification?

A: If you want to start a second business using a new business name, then file the “Application for Original License”. This is required since you’ll need to show 4 years experience in the “C-33″ trade and pass the trade exam. The “Add Class” application would only be filed if you wanted to continue operating under one license with two classifications. The Original App with Exam Waiver could be filed if you already held this class or were hiring someone as the qualifying individual who is a licensed painting contractor.

Q: Does the Board still give waivers to add a “C-9″ to a “C-35″ license with a qualifying letter? I have over 10 years without a complaint.

A: Yes, Section 7065.3 allows the CSLB to consider a waiver request for a classification (such as the “C-9″ drywall) for someone who has an existing classification (such as “C-35″ plastering) that is closely related. However, to secure this waiver, takes much more than a qualifying letter. The Board also requires a comprehensive project list detailing your experience with the drywall trade. This must show that you have been actively licensed in good standing for 5 of the prior 7 years. Even so, there is no assurance the Board will approve the waiver request.

Q: I have a situation my friend asked me for help on. He does work for a licensed contractor and he is sometimes referred out to the contractor’s friends who also have licenses. However in one case he accepted to do a job for a contractor who he thought had a license and went in and placed the bid with the homeowner and completed the job.

After the job was paid ($5,300), the homeowners decided they were not happy with the work. The job was done to code and looked good but my friend still fixed the problem. Nevertheless, the homeowners said they still wanted to be reimbursed for the entire job so my friend gave them a check back for half the amount (they cashed the check the next day).

Now, two weeks later the homeowners are suing because he did not reimburse the entire amount stating that since he did not have a license he will have to pay them back. Is there anything he can do since neither he nor the contractor who hired him has a contractor’s license?

A: It does not appear your friend is working for these licensed contractors as an employee; and therefore, is working without the proper contractor’s license. As you describe it, your friend is acting in the capacity of a contractor since his jobs are more than $500.

In this case, the homeowners have the law on their side. The law allows them to sue unlicensed contractors for the entire money paid — regardless of the circumstances. An unlicensed contractor can even be sued if the job is perfect and still would likely lose in court. The law is that strict. I suggest that your ‘friend’ get his own contractor’s license before this type of problem strikes again.

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