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…