Disabled Veterans

From ‘junk’ mail to e-mail spam, if someone believes they can sell you something in a message, they will find a way. Are you a disabled veteran? A major business expo for contractors with military service is just around the corner. New developments in how the Board handles fingerprinting may be one way for contractors to measure whether change is an ‘improvement’ in serving the industry…

Q: We just registered our company in CA. I recently received a document entitled: “Annual Minutes Disclosure Statement” that must be remitted by next week. It asks for the street address of principal place of business in CA. Do I put your office as my rep in the state? I also received a number of items regarding my license application. It’s hard to tell if these mailings are from the State or a private company.

A: When any corporation registers to do business in CA, or for that matter when anyone files an application with the CSLB, your business name and address become available to the public. Unfortunately, this generates an onslaught of ‘junk’ mail. If you read the fine print, I believe you’ll see this is a solicitation and not related to any state agency. Since you are registered as a foreign corporation in CA, anything to do with “annual minutes” would involve your home state. As for your license application, I am always warning my clients to be careful when responding to correspondence appearing to be from the Contractors Board. I repeat: Read the fine print.

Q: We just applied for a contractor’s license to transfer my sole owner license into our new corporation. I know we must get fingerprinted and was told the Board would be sending out the fingerprint information soon. We are in a big hurry to get his new license and plan on getting our fingerprinting done next week. Do you think the timing will work?

A: The timing will work for you unfortunately it may not for anyone applying after June 1, 2007. According to a memo I just received from the Contractors Board, they have changed their fingerprinting procedure. To cut down on ‘rejects’ due to applicant changes in personnel, transposed Social Security numbers, incorrect dates of birth, etc. when printing the Live Scan forms, the application must now be ‘posted’ (acceptable) BEFORE the CSLB sends out the fingerprint information.

Previously these forms were sent 7-10 days after the application was RECEIVED by the CSLB. This enabled applicants like you — who do not need to take an exam — to get fingerprinted while your application was waiting to be reviewed. As we discussed, (assuming there are no issues with your application or fingerprints) this new procedure will likely add 2-3 weeks to the licensing process. According to the Board, they expect this new process will cut down on the delays experienced due to Criminal Background Unit (CBU) review for the majority of applicants.

Special Note: According to a press release, the non-profit DVBE Alliance holds “Keeping the Promise 2007” in Anaheim this June 13th and 14th. Visit www.cadvbe.org. Over 1000 face-to-face, seller-to-buyer ‘matchmaking’ sessions are expected with regulated utilities, State and Federal agencies and scores of private industry companies seeking DVBE contractors for a wide range of goods and services.

Extending Your License to Other States

Did you know that, like a U.S. Passport, the contractor’s license allows you to cross some borders? There may be new business to be found if you can ‘extend’ your license to other states. Another contractor is playing a ‘name’ game with his question, but the lesson in the final answer proves that reading and following the instructions, exactly, is crucially important when applying for a license…

Q: I currently have a corporation that holds a CA contractor’s license; unfortunately, the business name doesn’t reflect the services we provide. So I set up another corporation. How can I legally use or attach this new name to my existing license without applying for another one?

A: To conduct business under this new corporation (I’ll call it XYZ Building Inc.), you must apply for a new contractor’s license. If your only goal is to use the new name, there are a few other options. You could file a name change with the Contractors Board adding XYZ Building as a dba to your existing license (you could not however use the corporate ending “Inc.”). You can also amend your existing company name with the Secretary of State to reflect a name closer to the work your company performs. Once this is completed, a name change form would need to be filed with the CSLB.

Q: We are interested in getting our commercial electrical contractor’s license in Nevada and California. Our Qualifying Party holds all the electrical licenses here in Arizona and has held them for more than 10 years. Is there any reciprocity?

A: Arizona does have reciprocal licensing with California and Nevada (as well as Utah), which allows for a waiver of the trade exam; however, Nevada has excluded the electrical trade from the agreement. In your case, the qualifying individual exceeds the requirement of being licensed for 5 or the prior 7 years and would appear to be eligible for an exam waiver in CA. Note, unlike Arizona, which separately licenses residential and commercial contractors an electrical license in CA and NV would have no such limitation.

Q: I applied for a contractor’s license several months ago. The CSLB web site shows nothing has happened on my application since February. What’s the problem? Can you help me find out?

A: As requested, I visited the CSLB and was told that your application was referred in March to the Criminal Background Unit (CBU) for review. The reason why is confidential and I was given no other information.

This being said, based on our discussion, it was very likely due to the fact that you answered “NO” to question #11 on the application, when you should have responded, “YES”. This question asks “has anyone listed on the application ever pleaded guilty or no contest to or been convicted by a court of any misdemeanor or felony in this state or elsewhere?” Since you had a DUI 17 years ago, this almost certainly showed up when the Department Of Justice and FBI reviewed your fingerprints.

I am constantly telling people who call my office that when the CSLB says, “any misdemeanor or felony” they mean just that. In the vast majority of these cases, this type of conviction will not prevent you from getting a license, whereas (as further indicated in question #11), “Failure to report a plea/conviction is considered falsification…and is grounds for denial of your application.” Truth will out, and government computers never forget…

Business Names on Vehicles

Knowing when your license renewal is due depends on how completely you’ve ‘addressed’ a change in your life. As a contractor, can you ‘live large’ when you put your name on a company vehicle? As contractors from across the country look into working in California, they often discover my website. This contractor’s second question is one I’m usually asked first…

Q: How do I go about renewing my contractor’s license? I can’t seem to find the correct site to get this done. I read something about renewals in your column and hope you can direct me.

A: This is a good follow-up question to a recent column. The CSLB typically sends out renewals 60-75 days before the expiration date. If you have not received yours it may be that you have moved your office since your prior renewal 2 years ago or it could be lost in the mail. Rarely do I hear about a company that does not receive their renewal if they’re located at the same address.

The CSLB recommends ordering a new renewal ONLY if you have not received the first one within 4 weeks before the expiration date. In other words, since renewal dates are always the last day of the month, if you do not have the application on the first of that month, contact the Board. You can visit the CSLB web site to order a replacement (www.cslb.ca.gov), or, if you must have it quicker, visit CSLB headquarters in Sacramento.

Q: I just obtained my general building contractor’s license and have purchased a vehicle for the business. I’ve been told that I need to put my business name and license number on this truck. Is this required?

A: For years, only specific trades such as plumbers and well drillers were required to put their names on vehicles used for their business. This changed in 2004 with the addition of B&P Code Section 7029.6. Every contractor is now required to display their business name and contractors license number in a clearly visible location on each motor vehicle used in their construction business. The law even specifies that the type must be at least three-quarters of an inch in height and width or printed in a 72-point font or larger.

Q: I recently moved to California and plan on buying a business. I’m interested in obtaining the “C-9” and “C-35” licenses. What is the quickest procedure to acquire these? I have the related experience but this was out of state. Can I use this in CA? Any suggestions?

A: Thank you for your email. You’ll need to decide which classification you want to apply for first. The CA Contractors Board will not allow an applicant to apply for two classifications at the same time if testing is required. You will need to document 4 or more years as a journeyman or supervisor (within the past 10) in either the drywall “C-9” or plastering “C-35” trade. This can be out-of-state experience but must be certified by someone who has direct knowledge of your background. Once you secure the license for the first trade you can file an application to add the second classification. The quickest procedure involves making sure the application you file is completed properly; that all documentation is in order; that you’re prepared to take the exam when they notify you; and that you get fingerprinted soon after receiving the paperwork request from the State Board.