California Contractor License Reciprocity and Special Class

While ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ might be the longest word you may know, thanks to Disney’s “Mary Poppins”, for contractors ‘reciprocity’ means much more. Did you know that you might get a license in one state, even if you’ve only been licensed for 24 hours in another?…

Q: Since, 2000, we have had licenses in Utah, California, Arizona, and Nevada. Our qualifying agent for Arizona left. I am inquiring about this statement on your website:

“If you’re an out-of-state contractor who has been licensed in California, Utah, Arizona or Nevada for five years, you may be eligible to secure a waiver of the trade exam.” Please let me know what this means for our company?

A: Thank you for your email. The States of Utah, California, Arizona, and Nevada, have a reciprocal agreement that allows for a waiver of the trade exam in one state if the qualifying individual has been licensed for the prior 5 years in another state. For instance, the person who has been the Responsible Managing Employee (RME) or Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) in CA for the past 5 years will likely be able to replace your AZ qualifier with a waiver of the trade test (the law exam would still be required).

Please keep in mind that the overall reciprocity rules are different from state to state. In some cases, like NV, a state will not allow for a waiver of certain license classifications (like plumbing or electrical). In other cases, — AZ being a prime example, I’ve found — the reciprocity waiver is subjective and open to a case-by-case interpretation by the Registrar. In Utah the new qualifier need only be licensed for one day — in one of the other three states — rather than 5 years.

Q: I have been doing a lot of work for homeowners that I have been told requires a license. I would like to get a contractor’s license to refinish bathtubs and one to install gutters. Is the “C-61” classification correct? What testing is required?

A: Yes, the “C-61” (Limited Specialty) classification is the correct classification to handle both of these trades. Within the “C-61” there are 30 categories including the “D-12” (synthetic products for bathtub refinishing) and “D-24” (metal products for installing metal gutters). You will need to show 4 or more years experience in each area and pass the business law exam. There is no longer any trade test for the “C-61”. As an aside, for contractors that already hold a contractor’s license, you may add these “C-61” categories simply by filing an application with the CSLB and showing the required experience qualifications.

Q: If I have a contractor from another state (non-reciprocating) that I want to use as an RMO, does he have to become a full-time employee of the company?

Your RMO should be an employee of your company; however, there is nothing in the contractor licensing statues that says he must be full-time. For instance, if your RMO were able to handle his responsibilities working 25 hours a week, this would be acceptable. On the other hand, if your qualifier is a RME, he or she is subject to more strict employment requirements. The fact that your RMO is from another state or lives in another state has no bearing on his ability to act as your Qualifier.