DBA, Business Names, RME/RMO & Qualifier Disassociation Suspensions

Shakespeare offered good advice about names. While a rose may smell as sweet by any other name, for contractors the same may not be true of the description in your business name. When a license Qualifier leaves, going thru the exit door starts the clock on your ability to legally bid or continue working projects in process…

Q:  I got my General Contractors license back in the 90’s and have since obtained “C-20” (HVAC) and “C-36” (Plumbing) licenses.  It has been many years since I’ve done any building work.  I exclusively do plumbing and heating.  My business name includes the term “General Contracting” but I want it to reflect my specialty trades.  Do I need to add a ‘doing business as’ (dba), or what is the best way to go about this?


A:  You have a couple options.  You can either change the business name with the Secretary of State and then the CSLB to a new company name of your choice, or as you suggested, add a dba to your business name.  The second option will allow you to keep your original business name, if that’s important to you, while still using the dba name.  If you choose that option keep in mind that you must either do business using the entire name, i.e. ABC General Contracting Inc. dba ABC Plumbing and Heating, or just using the dba name.


Q:  We are forming a new corporation that will basically be a shell company for our current contracting company.  The shell company will sign the contracts and then sub-contract the work to our current licensed corporation.  My first question is whether the shell company needs a license if they will not be performing the work?  Secondly, the new entity will not have employees, only Officers.  Are Officers considered employees?  I’m wondering if we will need to get a new Worker’s Comp policy.

A:  Both the company signing the contract and the company performing the work will need to be licensed.   If you will only have Officers and no additional employees then you can file an exemption from Worker’s Compensation.  Keep in mind that the Qualifier will also need to be an Officer and not an RME (Responsible Managing Employee) if you are filing the exemption.

Q:  Our Qualifier left the company back in July and we haven’t notified the CSLB.  We have an application in process with a new Qualifier but he hasn’t taken the exam yet or completed the fingerprint requirement.  Our current Qualifier sent us a copy of the Disassociation Notice that he plans to submit to the CSLB noting the date that he resigned from the company.  Is there anything that we can do to prevent a lapse in our license?

A:  I would suggest filing a 90-day extension immediately.  You have 90 days to replace the Qualifying individual, but the CSLB will usually grant a one-time 90-day extension to complete the process if you have a current application in process to replace the Qualifier.  Since you have already submitted an application, you should be eligible to receive the extension.  If you do not submit the extension then as soon as the CSLB is made aware of your Qualifier’s disassociation in July, your license will automatically be suspended until the new Qualifier is approved.  Contact our office if you’d like assistance with any of this