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 (, 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.