Contractor On The Job Training

While most people become contractors after ‘on the job’ training, there are some who would like to approach it as a ‘second’ career. While becoming a licensed contractor is possible for most everyone, it’s rarely easy or immediate for anyone. When you buy a contracting corporation how you acquire the license depends on what you ‘bought’ in the deal…

Q: I have a question concerning license change requirements. I have recently purchased an existing corporation with a license of the same classification as my sole proprietor license. I am trying to figure out what applications/forms I need to complete to transfer the corporation license with me as the RMO. The CSLB website is confusing. Could you assist me in making sure I do this correctly?

A: Thank you for your email. “Transferring the corporation license” depends on whether this new business was a stock or asset purchase. If this was a stock purchase you should be able to take over the license number by completing an Application to Replace the Qualifying Individual. If you bought the assets only, you’ll need to file an (7065 Waiver) Application for Original Contractor’s License.

It may be a bit confusing since the CSLB has a second Original License Application – for those taking the exam – that looks nearly identical to the “waiver” forms. If applying for a new license, you will need to file a new bond and Worker’s Compensation certificate (or exemption).

Q: I would like to get a contractor’s license but do not have a construction background. I recently retired from a profession that is unrelated to construction and would like to try my hand at building. Is there any way to get a license in my name without having the experience?

A: Interesting, I received three separate calls in one week with the same question. The “Profession” referenced above was one that typically requires 7-8 years of college and advanced study – which in no way qualifies someone to be a contractor. Being a contractor, as is the case with many professions, is not something you “try your hand at”. Being a contractor takes years of on the job training and even more years of honing a chosen craft or trade. At minimum, the state requires 4 or more years experience at a journeyman level or above to qualify for the specific trade exam. While education can be used in lieu of (up to) two years experience, you cannot simply wake up one morning and become a contractor.

Decide which type of license you’re interested in and contact an established contractor to see if they have a training program. Many trades have an established apprenticeship program that would be very valuable. You always have the option of starting a company; hiring someone as your Responsible Managing Officer or Employee (RMO/RME) and gaining your “on-the-job” experience in this manner. It’s possible, but it’s not easy or immediate.

I would like to publicly thank Healdsburg Lumber Company for hosting the Redwood Empire Remodeler’s Association meeting in mid-July and for including me in their dinner program. I met a number of contractors and suppliers and fielded many interesting questions on how best to deal with California’s government bureaucracy.