Qualifying California Contractors Corporate Licensing

Contractor’s law is one of the most complex systems of rules and regulations in government. Qualifying a contractor’s license for someone else is one of the most difficult parts of that law to understand, so it’s no surprise I get lots of calls from people who have run into trouble. Getting and keeping a ‘qualifier’ is often where problems begin . . .

Q: We have lost our Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) due to some questionable acts on his part. We are now in a lawsuit because of this. Our attorney has stated that a RMO must have an individual license in addition to his corporate one. I think this is wrong but can’t seem to find it in the B&P code. Is this true and if not where is it in the B&P Code?

Also we have someone who is licensed, but is a Responsible Managing Employee (RME) for another company. He wishes to join us as RMO, but wants to remain where he is until we have enough income to support him. Is this possible?

A: There is a common misconception that a RMO must also hold a sole owner license. There is no such requirement; and there is nothing in the regulations that I’m aware of that specifically addresses this. I suggest that your attorney refer to B&P Section 7068 and 7068.1 which describe the qualifications and duties of a RME or RMO and addresses your second question: i.e. someone working as a RME may not become your RMO and still remain active on his current license.

Q: I had a general builder contractor’s license issued with my father as the RME. The license has long expired (and my father passed away 10 years ago). Is there any way that I get licensed again quickly because of previously being licensed? Can this license be renewed?

A: First, a license that has been expired for more than 5 years is no longer valid and cannot be renewed. Second, even if this had occurred within the last 5 years, your father’s signature would be required to renew the license. Other than requesting that your prior license number be reissued (since it was yours as a sole owner), you’ll need to reapply, show the requisite 4 or more years building trades experience (within the past 10) and pass both parts of the license exam.

Q: My husband & I own a contracting company that we bought 4 years ago. It is a corporation & my husband is listed as the only officer. It is qualified by a RME. I have been working & supervising this company from the beginning and we now are looking to replace the current RME. However, being married, our accountant recommended that only my husband receive a paycheck.

My question is: “can I qualify as the RME of the company with no pay stubs to prove I have been working here?” What would I need to do to prove my employment?

A: When applying for a new contractor’s license or to replace the qualifying individual on an existing license, you need to show four or more years experience. The CSLB requires – under penalty of perjury — that someone certify your experience qualifications. Most applications are taken at face value; however, a small percentage is pulled for further investigation. While all applications are looked at carefully to determine if the applicant has the experience they claim, the Board would want to see further proof of your employment in the form of pay stubs, a W-2 or 1099, tax returns, etc. If you cannot produce this documentation, your application will very likely be rejected.