The Chinese character for crisis is the same as that for opportunity. With the recession requiring contractors to find new ways and new avenues to profit, the idea of qualifying a new license is one frequent topic of conversation. I am also discovering that some contractors are looking farther away to find work now…

Q: We are regrouping to start a new company in California. What options exist if we want to use a qualifier on the license for this new venture?

A: While you didn’t specify, when starting a new business you have the option of getting the license as a partnership, corporation or sole owner. If applying as a partnership, the qualifier can be a partner or RME (Responsible Managing Employee). If going for a corporate license, this individual could be a RME or RMO (Responsible Managing Officer). If he is a RMO or qualifying partner owning 20% or more of your business entity he can “still run his own business” and keep his license active. A RME would be required to inactivate his license, as would someone who owns less than 20% of your company.

Q: I have a “B” license and want to find out how to qualify for some of the Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) ‘goals’ offered in state and federal contracts. I served in the military and have since become disabled. I understand that I may qualify for some jobs where contractors are seeking to hire companies owned by veterans?

A. Your injury occurred after leaving the military and unfortunately this would make you ineligible. The Department of Veterans Affairs certifies service-disabled veterans when they leave the military while the California Department of General Services is the State’s certifying agency that administers the DVBE program. Anyone interested in learning more about DVBE certification could contact either of these Departments or consider visiting the statewide DVBE Alliance online at www.cadvbe.org. This non-profit organization can provide valuable information you need to know regarding DVBE opportunities. The site also features more than a thousand companies owned by California disabled-vets ready to work with contractors.

Q: I know that Utah has a reciprocating agreement with California wherein one can get a license by endorsement. Does Arizona offer a similar arrangement?

A: California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona all have ‘reciprocity’ agreements with each other. These agreements however, do NOT allow one to get a license in another state “by endorsement”. The reciprocity you’re referring to only applies to the trade exam and generally only if the qualifier has been licensed in good standing for 5 of the prior 7 years. In Arizona, licensing must have been for the prior five years, while in Utah licensure in one of these States need only be for one-day. Note, not all trade classifications are subject to reciprocity. Additional tax and corporate registration is required. The applicant will also need to pass the Business Management and trade exams and document 4 years of experience in the specialty trade.