Education for Experience Credits, General Licensing and “C-27” Landscape Bids

‘Where there is a will there is a way’ isn’t always true, but ‘generally’ applies to some contracting opportunities in California. We go several ‘degrees’ out of the way to show education is also ‘experience’ if you really want a contractor’s license. For college graduates still seeking employment in the current market, becoming a contractor might be a great way to move ahead as your own boss…

Q: We have the General “B” license and mostly do landscape and ‘hardscape’ work. We would like to know if we need the “C-27” additional class. We mostly handle different trades like: concrete and landscape, tile, outdoor kitchen, retaining walls, water features, and design by landscape architects. Can our company advertise that we do landscape and state we’re a General contractor that specializes in outdoor construction? Can we get a waiver of the trade exam?

A: It’s very unlikely the CSLB would grant you a waiver of the trade exam with a “B” license. However, if you held the “A”, they would at least consider granting such a request.

Regarding your next question, NO you cannot advertise that you do landscaping unless you hold the “C-27” classification. For the most part outdoor tile, hardscapes, water features, walls and landscaping are not covered by the General (“B”) contractors license. Installing an outdoor kitchen is one thing you could handle with your present class and you can contract for landscaping, etc., if this is part of an overall general building project like constructing or remodeling a home. A “B” can also take a landscaping contract and sub out all the work to a licensed “C-27”.

I would recommend applying for a “C-27” license classification, which is very broad. According to an associate, there is very little that a “C-27” contractor can’t do, executed as a single trade, if the work “aesthetically, architecturally, horticulturaly, or functionally…” improves a property. As I indicated, an exam would be required; however, once this class is added to your license you can advertise and perform all the trades referenced in your question.

Q: My son is looking to get his own contractor’s license. He has worked a couple of years for our family business and has a college degree. I read on the Contractor Board’s web site that they will consider education in place of experience qualification. How many years credit will they give for someone who has a four-year degree in Business Administration? He intends on applying for a General building license.

A: The CSLB will give 2 years credit for a Business degree towards the 4-year experience requirement. The same would apply to someone who has a ‘degree’ in Economics, Industrial Technology, Finance, Math, Public Administration, and several other major fields of study. This 2 year “in-lieu of experience” credit should apply to General building (“B”) and all other contractor license classifications.

For anyone applying for the “B” classification with a degree in Civil Engineering, Construction Management or Architecture you likely be granted 3 years credit.

Anyone who has a 4-year (or advanced) degree and is looking to apply for a new contractor’s license or qualify for an additional classification, may want to contact the CSLB or my office to find out how much credit to expect for a given degree and specific classification. For instance, apply for the “A” class with a degree in Mechanical Engineering — expect 3 years credit. Go for a “C-10” with Electrical Engineering – 3 years. Want to apply for the “C-27” with Horticulture – 3 years credit! If you are a graduate still seeking opportunity in employment, maybe this is another income source to seriously consider for your future.