License Reciprocity, Arizona Qualifiers & Nevada Contractor Licensing

A contractor with a California license looking over the borderlines for business discovers things aren’t always as simple as rumored but having good tools makes the job easier. Another contractor walks a fine line to stay out of ‘hot water’ in Nevada, but we begin with a contractor who must make some ‘true’ or false choices…

Q:  I need your help with a Nevada License to install boilers.  I am currently a licensed HVAC (“C-20”) contractor in CA.  From doing a little research, I have found that the equivalent classification is a “C-21” in Nevada.  However, I’ve been speaking with an inspector in Nevada who tells me that I cannot install boilers with the “C-21” class and that I would need to also obtain a “C-1a” (Boilers) license.  Is that true?


A:  Thanks for your question.  If you’re installing boilers for the purpose of heating, or raising a room’s temperature, then the “C-21” will cover you.  The statute reads: “The installation, repair, service and maintenance of equipment, devices, machinery, units and related ductwork which use evaporation, refrigeration, boilers or combustion for the control of air temperatures in structures where people live, work or assemble….”


Q:  I work for a large company that has several sister companies.  I am currently the Qualifier on my company’s “B” (General Building) license in AZ.  My company has requested that I become the Qualifier on our sister company’s Arizona license which is a “C-30” (Finish carpentry).  Can I do that and if so, will I be able to waive the exam since I have a General Building license?


A:  First of all, Arizona will only allow you to be on more than one license at the same time if one of the following is true:  (a) You (the Qualifier) own at least 25% of each company that you are licensing, or (b) One licensee owns at least 25% of the other licensee.  The fact that the two companies have the same parent company is not enough to satisfy the requirement.  Secondly, you will be required to take the “C-30” exam, even though you currently hold a ‘B’ license.


Q:  I’m an electrical contractor and I have a license here in CA.  One of my customers has requested that I do some work for them in the Tahoe area.  My understanding is that there’s a reciprocal agreement between CA and NV that allows me to work in NV if I have a license in CA.  Is there anything else I need to do to start work, such as obtaining a business license?


A:  While many contractors believe that the reciprocal agreement between California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah allows them to use one license in any of those four States, it isn’t quite that simple.  When doing work in another State, you’re required to obtain a license specific to that State.  The agreement generally allows you to qualify for a trade waiver, if you have been licensed for 5 out of the last 7 years in one of these reciprocal States.  You’re still required to take and pass the Management exam and go through their application process.  Unfortunately not all classifications are reciprocal.  For instance, Nevada and California do not reciprocate for Electrical, Plumbing, or Fire Protection.  So as an Electrical contractor you would be required to take the trade exams and show the necessary experience qualification. Reciprocity is a great opportunity for contractors but like all ‘tools’ does require some effort to make it work.


Because all four referenced States have different requirements, please contact each state directly or contact Capitol Services for an assessment of your specific contractor’s licensing situation.