Qualifying Experience,License Expiration & New Applications

As I have advocated for many years, ‘knowledge is power’, but as another old axiom also advises, ‘timing is everything’. A friend added to that common wisdom by reminding me that being in the ‘right place at the right time’ is important but taking action at the ‘right’ moment is critical, because ‘time waits for no one’ or as the case may be, no contractor. Today one contractor finds time is not on his side, while another seeking a license learns that ‘experience’ can change time…

Q: I had a contractor’s license but it was suspended several years ago. I would like to get it back now that I’m working on my own. My license number is 61XXXX. What will be required? Will I need to take the test again?

A: I wish you had called last week. I’m sorry to tell you that your license was not suspended; it expired. This was 5 years and three days ago. This license number can be reassigned; however, since a license is only renewable for 5 years, you will be required to retake both the law and trade exam.

Contractors whose license has been expired less than 5 years can simply file a renewal application and pay a delinquent renewal fee (presently $450.00 for an active license). In your case, a new Application for Original License must be completed. Since you have previously been licensed no additional Certification of work experience will be required; however, as indicated, passage of the law and appropriate trade tests will be necessary. CSLB fees presently total $400.

Contractors Note: the above referenced license was a Sole Proprietorship. If it had been a corporation or partnership, the process would likely be more complex. If you are in a similar situation or have any questions please contact me to discuss your specific requirements.

Q: I hope to apply for my new contractor’s license soon. I’ve never been licensed but understand most of the application process. My problem is I don’t have the required four years experience (I’m about 10 months short). Is there a way to apply now or will I need to wait until next year.

A: You’re not alone in wanting to become licensed NOW rather than waiting an extra year or more. Sometimes, those I talk with must wait until they have the full four years field experience while for others there is an alternative. The CSLB will allow education or a completed apprenticeship program to be used in lieu of some experience qualifications. As we discussed, since you have an engineering degree, the Board will grant up to 3 years “experience” depending on the classification you want to apply for. There are many other degrees where the Board may allow 2-3 years credit including business, public administration, building technology, architecture, and horticulture, to name a few.

You indicated that you hope to apply for this license “soon”. I might suggest doing so before July to save a little money. On average, most all fees associated with first-time applicants, renewals, certifications, etc. will increase 20% or more on July 1st (more on this in a future column).