California Contractors License Qualifier

When you hire a Responsible Managing Employee to qualify your license, how much stock does he have to own? When you decide to use the RME, do the Board of Directors also submit fingerprints? If you apply for a Limited Specialty class is there an exam? But first, a contractor poses a question that shows just how complicated it becomes when determining what license is required to start moving dirt around . . .

Q: We’re looking at doing the trenching and install of electrical conduit next to gas conduit in the same trench. I know the plumbing classification covers the gas but I can’t seem to figure out where, besides maybe an actual electrical license, the trench and conduit falls. I have heard grading contractors do this work but this doesn’t seem right.

A: While the “C-12” can do earthwork (such as trenching) and paving, I do not believe it is proper for them to install the actual piping or conduit. You are correct the “C-36” can install plumbing pipe and a “C-10” can handle electrical conduit. Further, you can trench and lay any type of underground pipeline with an “A” (general engineering) or “C-34” (pipeline) classification.

Q: If my Corporation invites a qualified licensed contractor to be a RME, is there a minimum or maximum amount of ownership that the Corporation must give him? I ask this question because somewhere I read that if a contractor sets up a corporation he must own 51% in stock. I am confused.

A: If your Responsible Managing Employee (RME) accepts your invitation, there is no minimum ownership requirement (this is also the case for a RMO). Even if the RME were in fact to own some of the company, the CSLB would not recognize this. When reviewing a filed license application CSLB staff consider RME ownership as zero.

Who owns stock in a corporation is determined by the officer(s) and director(s). The “51%” figure is only an issue if a sole owner contractor decides to form a corporation and transfer his or her individual license number to the new company.

Q: If we hire a RME, must the corporate officers also qualify in one form or another? Must the corporation take a test? Must the officers and directors submit to fingerprints and criminal background checks? Must they be individually bonded?

A: The “corporation” is an entity and therefore cannot take the test. The company must have an individual as its qualifier. Only the qualifying individual (RME or RMO) would be required to take the proper exams. Fingerprinting is required for all personnel listed on the application. Live Scan forms are sent to the applicant after the Board accepts their application. Both the FBI and DOJ do background checks. In response to your final question, the corporation and RME (or RMO if owning less than 10%) must file a $12,500 Contractors Bond.

Q: I am hoping you can provide guidance. We are a new company that installs a specialty product. This is a Limited Specialty Classification “C61″/”D64”. We were told verbally by CSLB that we could apply for an Original Contractor’s License Examination Waiver (7065). We applied for the waiver but the Contractors Board rejected our application.

It is unclear what exam we need to take. When we review the Exam Study Guides for C61, it clearly states “Limited Specialty – No study guide available (No trade exam required).”

A: You’re correct that there is no TRADE exam for the “C-61”; however, there is a BUSINESS/LAW test required. This is likely the reason the application was rejected by the Contractors Board.