Secretary of State Contractors Filing

In assisting contractors with licensing for more than 25 years, I occasionally run into those ‘peculiar’ situations that only crop up now and then as law is translated into actual practice. However, don’t think you’re safe because, as I share with you here, you could be that ‘one-in-a-million’. A son will need to show some extra ‘class’ if he wants to begin working with his licensed contractor Dad…

Q: We sent a Statement and Designation to the California Secretary of State. Once we learned it would take a month or more to process, we filed a second Statement in person at the front counter and paid an expedite fee. It was our understanding that the Secretary of State would not approve both applications and that they would send back the original and keep the application filed in person. Well we now have two corporations with the exact same name filed a couple weeks apart. I need to know how to go about receiving a refund for the second application. We of course only need one company to conduct business.

A: I am at a loss to tell you why the Secretary of State (SOS) did not catch this obvious duplication. In my years handling thousands of document filings, this is the first time I have seen them accept two corporations with the same exact name. In fact, they are very careful to avoid accepting similar (let alone exact) names so there will be no confusion to the public.

I discussed your situation in person with the Sacramento SOS Office and they admitted their error; however, they said they are powerless to reverse this situation (or issue a refund of your $100.00). To fix the problem I was told you’d need to file a Certificate of Surrender, which will allow the Secretary of State to eliminate one of your two “corporations”.

In the case described above, the two companies were the same corporation and after one of the entities has surrendered, there will be no lasting problem. On the other hand, had the two corporations been unrelated, I was told they would “need to go to court” to resolve what would obviously be a dispute. If in fact the Secretary of State’s Office is powerless to correct this type of administrative error, legislation should be introduced to fix what could have become a very sticky – and costly — situation.

Q: A father has his Class “B” – General Contractor’s License under his own name as a sole proprietor. He is not incorporated. How does the son go about adding his name to that license? Would he be working with his father in some sort of Responsible Managing Employee (RME) capacity? Thanks in advance.

A: The Board will NOT allow more than one qualifier for each classification on a given license. If this is a sole owner license, the only way anyone can be added to the father’s general license, including a son, is to qualify a second classification as RME. For instance, if the son has 4 years experience in electrical, plumbing, painting or another trade, he could file an Application for Additional Classification. The qualifier would need to pass both the law and trade exams; post a $12,500 Bond of Qualifying Individual and be fingerprinted.