Cost of License

What’s it cost to get your license now? Those fees and associated costs have risen with some new requirements. Is there a ‘handywoman’ license? Every contractor with employees should take note of the important news regarding a recent court decision…

Q: I’m going to need a CA contractor’s license. I’ve been working as a cabinetmaker outside the State for a dozen years and would like to get a general contractor’s license or a license to only do cabinets and trim if there is such a thing. Could you please give me some information including how much it will cost and how long it will take?

A: You can install cabinets and trim with either a “B” (General Building) or “C-6” (Cabinet and Millwork) license. If you’re only going to do cabinets, and this is where your background is strong, I would recommend the specialty “C-6” classification. The Contractors Board fee is $400 (plus the cost of fingerprinting); figure on spending up to $200 on a 2-year contractors bond; and if you hire employees, factor in the cost of Worker’s Compensation. It is presently taking 12-14 weeks to secure a license from the date your application is submitted to the CSLB until your license is in hand. This assumes you pass your exams and clear fingerprinting without any “issues”.

Q: My individual license is inactive since I am the RMO on another license. My insurance company just sent me a bill to renew the bond. Does my inactive sole owner license still need this?

A: NO! An Inactive License does not need a $12,500 contractors bond. I suggest you bring this to the attention of your insurance company since it appears they do not realize your license is inactive.

Q: How do I obtain a handyman’s license for California? I would like to know how much money it would take, and where I would go for information about the license. Any info would help.

A: The State of CA does not have a ‘handyman’ or ‘handywoman’ license. Any work you perform over $499.00 requires a contractor license. Depending on the type of handyman work you perform, you may be able to get by with a general building (“B”) or you may need several specialty classes (such as plumbing, fencing, electrical, etc.) You will need to show at least 4 years experience (within the past 10 yrs) in the trade’s or craft you want to work in.

The CSLB requires that every new business applying for a contractor’s license “must have more than $2500 operating capital” (current assets minus current liabilities). Please call our office if you would like any further information.

Word just in from the law firm of Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman regarding a recent decision by the State Court of Appeals. Here’s the scenario:

A contractor sues a homeowner for breach of contract. The homeowners file a cross complaint arguing among other things that the contractor was unlicensed. The contractor appeared to be licensed upon reviewing CSLB records; HOWEVER, the contractor greatly UNDER REPORTED payroll to his Worker’s Compensation insurance carrier. The Court determined that failure to “maintain worker’s compensation insurance” INCLUDES under-reporting payroll.

Accordingly, the contractor was judged to be “unlicensed” for a period of time and therefore could not collect his original claim of $11,000. In addition, the contractor was ordered to repay the owners $27,000; was hit with punitive damages of $10,000 and had to pay almost $100,000 in attorney’s fees.

The moral of the story: If you maintain worker’s compensation insurance, you must be truthful in reporting your payroll. This also goes for contractors who file an exemption from Worker’s Comp but, in fact, have employees.