National Contractor Licensing, Reciprocity, General & JV Licenses

While your California Driver’s license is good almost anywhere in the U.S. the contractor’s license has definite limits. Do you know which states will recognize your credentials without further testing? As contractors seek out opportunity across State borders, others are coming into California searching for business and looking for ways to unite for mutual profit…

Q: I was wondering if New Mexico (NM) has updated their Reciprocity agreement with any states in regards to Contractors Licensing? Can you help our company with determining which states reciprocate with Nevada (NV)? Is there a good place to find out more general information on which states require our company to be licensed (we’re looking to expand)?

A: NM only has a reciprocal agreement as it relates to journeyman electricians but none for contractors licensing. NV has reciprocity agreements with CA, UT and AZ. Check out for how best to find information on contractors licensing nationwide.

Q: I should know this but wanted to confirm just what a “B” contractor can do. There is an upcoming project, which involves building a structure plus all related site work. For the structure, I plan on either performing or subbing the concrete, painting, drywall, flooring, roofing, etc. I also plan on hiring an “A” to do all the site work and utilities. Do you see any problems with that?

A: As a General “B”, you can certainly take on this project and self-perform or subcontract the various trades mentioned as well as virtually any other trade or craft (except fire sprinklers and well drilling). There is no problem as long as the project includes two or more unrelated trades (other than framing or carpentry). There is also no problem hiring a General “A” to perform all site work, utilities, streets, curbs, etc.

Q: We would like to form a Joint Venture with another corporation. They’re licensed in CA but our company is not (we’re from outside the State). I see on the Contractor’s Board web site that there is a Joint Venture application. Is this the one we should use? Since their company already has a Responsible Managing Employee, can we use the same person for the Joint Venture? Also, I read about a fingerprint requirement. Who has to go through this?

A: You can only use a Joint Venture (JV) application if all entities are licensed and in good standing in CA. Since one of the two entities is presently unlicensed, your first step would be to file an Application for Original Contractors License with the Contractors Board (CSLB). Once you have completed all testing, filed the appropriate Bond and Worker’s Compensation Certificate, and all listed personnel have cleared fingerprinting; a license number would be issued. Only then can a JV application be filed. As for the qualifying individual, the Board does not require that you designate a RME or RMO on a Joint Venture (although you must list one on the original application).

Because this overall process will likely take a few months, if you’re looking to bid on an upcoming project before then, it may be advisable to apply for a Partnership license. While not the most common avenue, the CSLB will accept an application for a partnership of entities (in your case two corporations). The CSLB may allow the RME on the existing license to be the Qualifier on a second license; however, this is determined on a case-by-case basis.