Service Disabled CA Veterans, Experience Credit &License Expiration

As an expert I often find myself correcting mistaken impressions, outdated ideas or erroneous ‘knowledge’ because the complex rules of contracting are not ‘concrete’ but change over time. It’s practically a full time job to keep up! In this session, we will revisit some of the problems that arise from ‘knowing’ too much and understanding too little…


Q:    Mr. Kalb, I received your name and contact information from a friend and checked your website. I’m in the process of buying a stone countertop business that requires a California contractor’s license. I have the opportunity to keep the owner as RME but would rather have the license in my name.  After reviewing the contractor board’s website, I believe I currently qualify to take the exam. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and I ran my own concrete contracting business for a year and a half.


A:   Thank you for your email.  To install stone counter tops, you need a C-29 (Masonry) or C-54 (Tile) license.  While the CSLB should give you two years credit for the engineering degree, it does not appear your contracting background will give you the remaining two years needed to qualify for a license.  Concrete would likely not be considered for either of the above classifications.


It appears you will need to keep the current owner on board for a while or hire someone that has the appropriate license.  After two years, you should be able to qualify for your own license.



Q: I have had a California Contractors License for many years. I closed my business; inactivated my license and went to work as a project manager. Can my license be used as the license for a new corporation assuming I am an owner (to some percentage) or RMO/RME?

If so what happens to my license upon my retirement or the termination of the corporation?

A: I sometimes receive calls from people in your position who allow their license to expire and then years later ‘discover’ they must retake the state exams.


Your present license cannot be used for this new corporation; however, you can serve as the Qualifier- Responsible Managing Employee (RME) or Responsible Managing Officer (RMO).  The corporation will be issued a new license number while your sole owner license remains inactive.  Therefore, nothing happens once you retire or the corporation is terminated.  Further, you’re not required to own any of the company even if acting as the RMO.  There is one situation where your individual license could be reassigned to the corporation. This would require you to own 51% or more of this new corporation, however after it was transferred you would lose the Sole Proprietor license forever.



Q: I am a contractor with a “B” license and was under the impression that I would 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.  While ‘service-disabled’ veterans can qualify, 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 State 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 Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Alliance online at  This non-profit organization can provide valuable information you need to know regarding DVBE opportunities and how to become part of that contracting process.