Solar in NV & CA, HIC Salesperson rules & Misleading ‘Waiver’ Offers

Whether in Nevada or California a solar contractor can’t light up your life without the proper license, but which one is right for the job? We offer clarification on the rules for selling home improvements in California. Another contractor gives us the ‘key’ to a slim chance on ‘locking down’ an exam waiver…

Q:  We’re solar contractors in NV and have a question on the best classification to apply for in CA.  We called the Contractors Board in Sacramento and they told us your state has a “C-46” (Solar) license.  We called back a second time and the new person who answered said we could get the “C-46” or an electrical license “C-10.”  We found you on the Internet and you look to have a lot of experience in these issues.  In your opinion, which license would be best?


A:  In order to shed some ‘light’ on this topic, I am sending you an “Industry Bulletin” from 2010.  The CSLB published this a few years ago to respond to questions regarding which classifications are authorized to perform solar projects.  This “Fact Sheet” lists 7 different classifications that can properly perform some or all aspects of solar energy projects.


The “C-46” is a broad classification, which allows contractors to “install, modify, maintain, and repair thermal and photovoltaic solar systems”.   “C-10” contractors are “authorized to perform any solar projects which generate, transmit, transform or utilize electrical energy in any form for any purpose”.  “A” (General Engineering) and “B” (General Building) contractors are also authorized to install solar energy systems.


The real question is what classification you can qualify for.  In addition, depending on the license classification you hold in NV, you may be eligible to secure a waiver of the trade test.  I hope this information helps.  Call us if you have any further questions.


Q:  I have a question and my business partner referred me to your company.  What is California’s rule for home improvement salesman? Some places I’ve worked treat them as independent contractors and others treat them as employees.


A:  In CA, a Home Improvement Salesperson (HIS) is a person employed by a licensed contractor to solicit, sell, negotiate, or execute home improvement contracts.  A Home Improvement Salesperson can work for a number of contractors and sell a variety of goods and services, but must be registered with the CSLB separately for each contractor for which he/she is employed.


Q:  I got a solicitation in the mail (not from your company) stating that the CSLB allows individuals to request a waiver of the exams if they have been an Officer of the corporation or a “key employee” for at least five years.  Do you know if this is true and what is a “key” employee?

A:  That is true under certain circumstances.  The CSLB only allows this waiver request for individuals seeking to replace the Qualifying individual on an existing license, not for the purposes of obtaining a new license.   According to B&P code 7065.1(c), in order to qualify for this waiver the following conditions must exist:

1.     For five of the seven years immediately preceding the application for replacing the Qualifier, the corporation or LLC must have continually employed the new Qualifying individual in a supervisory capacity in the same classification(s) being applied for.

2.     For five of seven years immediately preceding the application, the corporation or LLC has held an active license in good standing in the same classification(s) being applied for.

3.     The corporation or LLC has not requested a waiver under this subdivision within the past five years.

As far as what it meant by “key employee”, I believe the company that you received the solicitation from is referring to item 1.

License SCAM Alert, Canceling Bonds and Joint Venture Licensing in CA

It’s ‘Bond,’ contractor’s Bond that, like fictional super-spy 007, becomes the target for our first ‘shot’ in answering questions this edition.  Another contractor ‘assumes’ responsibility for his answer and we alert all contractors to a phone scam to beware of right now…


Q: The assets of our company were sold and your firm assisted us with obtaining new licenses in CA, NV, and AZ.  Can we cancel the bonds that we have on file for the old company, or are we required to keep them active for a period of time?


A:  Once the licenses are cancelled, you should contact your insurance company and request that the Bonds be cancelled as well.  We’re not aware of any requirement for them to remain on file.  This being said, in CA for instance, consumers can make a claim against the Bond for up to two years after cancellation.


Q: My insurance company did not renew my Contractor’s Bond and now my license is suspended.  I contacted them and they are going to write a new Bond.  This means my license will show a suspension for these past weeks and this makes me nervous.  Do you know if they can backdate the Bond so there is no break?


A:  I can tell you that the CSLB will accept a “backdated” Bond if it is received within 90 days of the expiration date.  They will retroactively lift the suspension, which means it will not show on your record.  Whether your bonding company will backdate the Bond is up to them.


Q:  We currently have a Joint Venture (JV) license made up of three entities and we would like to remove one.  I assume that when we remove that entity we will also need to amend the name of the JV to remove that company’s business name.  Is this possible and how is it done?

A:  Joint Ventures are treated the same as Partnerships, which means when you remove an entity (partner) from the license the license is cancelled.  So, in order to do business as the Joint Venture with just the two remaining entities, you would need to apply for a new license.

Also, you are correct that when you apply for the new license you will need to amend the business name.  As you may already know, an acceptable Joint Venture business name must include the full business name of each entity listed, part of each entity’s business name, or a completely fictitious name.


Both California and Nevada Issue an “Industry Alert”

Nevada and California want to give contractors a heads-up on a situation they’re dealing with in both States. This Industry Alert warns of a scam targeting existing licensees as well as new license applicants.

According to CSLB Registrar Steve Sands at least one “unscrupulous company is using information from CSLB’s website to contact licensees or applicants to mislead and scam them”.  According to Mr. Sands, the caller leads the licensee or applicant to believe he or she works for the Contractors Board and needs to pay money over the phone to get continuing education credit, renew a license or to schedule a licensing exam.”

There is NO law requiring continuing education in CA or NV.  Further, CSLB and Nevada License Board staff will never ask for credit card information over the phone, nor do they have the authority to process any payment by phone.

The CSLB has begun putting warnings in place on letters sent to applicants and with their renewal notifications.  Both agencies have also prominently placed warnings on their web sites. Beware.

Nevada Qualifiers, Out of State Fingerprinting & Renewals without an RME

Do you know you can’t use the same ‘fingerprints’ in two different states? We ‘qualify’ an answer for an out-of-state contractor, share tips on Nevada licensing and learn why your ‘fingerprints’ can’t cross state borderlines…


Q:  I noticed that Nevada doesn’t use the terms RMO/RME like California.  Does that mean that the Qualifying Individual must be contracted as an executive and be given a title (Vice President for example) in the State of Nevada?  If this is the case, could you please tell me what are the different titles that may apply?


A:  For the State of Nevada, your “Qualified Individual” may either be an employee or an Officer.  The Qualifier does not need to be given an Officer title in order to act in that capacity; however, if he/she is an Officer, the titles to choose from are President, Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer.


Q:  We are in the process of updating our Officers on our CA and NV licenses.  I am discovering that the new Officers are required to get fingerprinted for CA.  Will they also be required to get fingerprinted for NV?  If so, can the fingerprints they get here in CA be used for NV purposes as well?


A:  Yes, the Nevada State Contractors Board does require that all personnel you list on the application get fingerprinted.  The fingerprints are not transferable from one State to another.  For CA, the Officers cannot get fingerprinted until the application is submitted and they receive the request from the CSLB.  For Nevada, they can get fingerprinted ahead of time and submit these with the application.


Q:  My company is going to need a CA license for a project we have coming up and we were wondering if the Qualifying individual has to be an employee of the entity obtaining the license, or can he be an employee of a subsidiary company or parent company?  I’m not sure if it matters, but neither the subsidiary company nor parent company has a license in CA.


A:  A Responsible Managing Employee (RME) must be a bona fide employee of the applying entity.  This means that the RME must be employed by the firm and actively involved in the operation of the business at least 32 hours per week or 80 percent of the total business operating hours per week, whichever is less.


Q:  We just received our renewal for our CA License, but our RME left the company a few months ago (unbeknownst to the CSLB) so he is not available to sign.  We have designated a new RME but he is not on record yet.  He has some projects to finish with his own license before he wants to be added to our license.  Can we request an extension?  Or can we have the new qualifier sign and attach an explanation of our future plan?


A:  The CSLB will not accept a renewal unless it is signed by the Qualifying individual, as well as an Officer, listed on the license. The CSLB will not give you an extension, nor will they accept the new Qualifier’s signature until he is officially added to the license, even with an explanation.  In order for them to process the renewal, we suggest simultaneously submitting a Replacement of Qualifier application with the Renewal Application signed by the new Qualifier so that they can (hopefully) be processed together.


National Contractors Licensing, Renewing A License with No Officers & Fingerprinting

While hearts soar on the West Coast with the recent Series win by the San Francisco Giants, our fellow Americans on the Eastern Seaboard struggle to recover from ‘Sandy’s’ devastating strike. Where do you apply for the ‘national’ contractor’s license? Finally, we can help you save a couple bucks!…

 Q: We’re looking at doing work in the Hurricane Sandy states.  I wanted to know if you know of someone who could assist with the contractor state license requirements?

A:  Your question is a timely one in as much as the CSLB just issued a press release on this very issue.  The Contractors Board is reminding CA contractors to check East Coast jurisdictions before traveling to assist with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.  The laws in other states vary.  Not all have licenses, while others require licensing at the local rather than state level.  According to CSLB Registrar Steve Sands, “it would be a mistake to assume that having a CA license enables you to work anywhere outside of this state”

Unfortunately, we do not know of any service that directly assists with licensing in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, etc. 

Q: I run a nationwide contractor referral business and found that the most difficult aspect of bringing on new contractors is verifying their licensing information due to the inconsistencies from state to state.  That is what ultimately led me to your web site. I would like to know if there is a nationwide license and also how your services work?

A:  We are a consulting firm and the main service we provide is to assist contractors with obtaining their contractor license in California, Nevada, and/or Arizona.  We often get asked about a “nationwide license” and as you are probably aware, such a thing does NOT exist.


Another service we provide is a State-by-State analysis of licensing requirements.  Because State licensing requirements change frequently, we can research the current procedures and provide a detailed report including whether a license is required (with or without an exam); whether there is reciprocity; what fees are necessary; bonding requirements (if any), etc.
Q:  Our renewal is due at the end of the month; however, both Officers listed on the application recently left the company.  How can we renew the license without an Officer’s signature?  What happens to the license if it’s not processed by the expiration date?  The Responsible Managing Employee (RME) still works for the company.


A:  The CSLB does require the signature of both an Officer and Qualifying individual (in your case the RME).  We recommend that you complete an Application to Report Current Officers and file this at the same time as the renewal application.  By adding one or more new individuals this will allow the CSLB to process the renewal – hopefully on a timely basis.  If an acceptable renewal is not processed by the expiration date, you’ll need to cease operations at that time.  The new Officer(s) will be required to provide fingerprints.

Q:  I was “Live Scan” fingerprinted in CA but since one of our Officers was fingerprinted out-of-state, she had to go through the “hard copy” card process.  On the CSLB web site, it states: “Return the cards with the required processing fee of $51.00 to the CSLB for submission to the DOJ and FBI”.  We did this however the CSLB sent it back saying the new fee is $49.00.  They pointed us to another location on the Contractor’s Board web site with this fee amount.  Why the inconsistency?

A:  We checked with someone at the CSLB and were told they’re aware of the ‘glitch’ but do not know when it will be changed.


“Reviving” a ‘dead’ CA license, metal studs and Joint Venture licensing

Can an old CA contractor’s license be brought back to life again when it ‘died’ a decade ago? The ‘mettle’ of a framing contractor is tested and we finish by helping readers learn what it takes to pull together to form a ‘joint venture’ effort…



Q: My husband had a CA license and failed to renew it on time.   It expired back in 2000. Now he wants to renew it. He currently has an Arizona “K-11” (Electrical) license that he has held for approx 12yrs.  How does he go about this in the quickest way, as we are looking to move to CA early next year?

A: Thank you for contacting Capitol Services Inc.  Because his CA license has been expired for over 5 years he can no longer ‘renew’ it.  He can however re-apply for the license and request that the number be re-issued.  As you may know, there is a reciprocal agreement between CA and AZ so he can request to waive the trade exam based on the fact that he has been licensed for the past five years in Arizona.  He’ll still be required to take the law test again.  The process to obtain the license will likely take about 8 weeks, so if you begin soon, he will have the license before you move.  Let us know if you’d like help with the process.

Q:  I need assistance with determining what classification my company will need to meet the requirements to do metal stud framing in the State of California.  I don’t do Structural Steel, just the metal stud framing.  I also handle the drywall and insulation to finish off the wall, so I’m not sure if I need separate classifications to do that, or if it would be covered under the framing.  Thank you in advance.

A: In order to do the metal stud framing you’ll need a “C-5” (Framing and Rough Carpentry) classification.  Even though drywall and insulation are part of your projects, the CSLB will require you to have the “C-2” (Insulation) and “C-9” (Drywall) classifications to perform this work because the “C-5” doesn’t cover these trades.  According to the CSLB, the “B” classification would cover you for all three trades; however, in our experience we have found it is difficult to qualify for the exam without electrical, concrete, roofing and/or plumbing experience.



Q:   I am inquiring about the fees and requirements to set up a Joint Venture with another contractor. I want to bid a project that requires both “C-20”(HVAC) and “C-10”(Electrical) licenses. My firm only holds the HVAC and would like to partner with another contractor whom holds both. Please let me know what all is required, particularly the application process.


A:  A Joint Venture (JV) consists of two or more entities, each of which holds a valid CA contractor’s license in good standing.  Since you hold the “C-20”, you could locate a company with the “C-10” or, as indicated, “another contractor whom holds both”.  A JV application signed by all Qualifiers and an Officer of record for each entity is required.  You’ll also need to post a $12,500 Contractor’s Bond, which is in addition to the bond you presently have on your corporate license.  Further, a new Worker’s Comp policy (or certified Exemption) is necessary.  The State fee will run $555.00.