Lowdown on Low License Numbers

I wouldn’t try to make a violin from scratch. That skill takes time, practice and hard work to learn, particularly those little ‘tricks of the trade’. It’s what we think of as ‘working’ knowledge. Working with contractors and the Board for more than 25 years has given me that same type of ‘skill’ when it comes to applying CSLB regulations. Like the first contractor notes, simple changes in how you apply for a license can require ‘sound’ advice to avoid long-term problems…

Q: In a recent column (North Coast Builders Exchange) I notice you direct the questioner to a different form and procedure to transfer a 21-year-old license. Would not the applicant be better off to “Qualify” a new license with the newly formed corporation, thus retaining the lower number in the event of un-incorporation at a later date? I understand the corporate license “dies” with the corporate demise. Some of us understand the value added of a low license number. Your thoughts? By the way, your column is the first thing I read every week. Keep up the good work.

A: Thank you for reading my column and responding with your comments. Nothing pleases me more than direct reader feedback. The issue of whether to transfer an older sole owner license to a new corporate license is a personal choice each applicant faces. On the one hand, having a license number that is 20 or 30 years old would show that the corporation has some history and experience rather than being issued a new number over 900,000. On the other hand, like you mention, “in the event of un-incorporation at a later date” this old number would be lost.

Applicants often ask me what is the best thing to do in this situation and my answer is always the same: This is your choice! I can point out the pro and cons, but ultimately it is up to the contractor to make a ‘sound’ decision.

Q: I currently have a “B” contractor’s license under my construction company. I just purchased another company and would like to get a “C-61” license. Does having a “B” qualify me to take the law exam to get the “C-61”? Or do I still need the 4 yrs? Have any ideas?

A: You can add the “C-61” class to your existing “B” license to handle this specialty work or you can apply for a new license if you want this separated from your general building work. There is no need to retake the law exam and the “C-61” (limited specialty) has no trade test; however, you will need to show 4 years experience in this field to qualify for the license. Unless you have been handling this type of work under your “B” or have — within the past 10 years — handled this work aside from your licensed contracting, I do not know how you will qualify. Maybe the person you purchased the company from will agree to become your qualifier until which time you have the requisite experience? That’s at least one option.