Vehicles & Business Name Requirements, RME/RMO and Restorations & “C-22” Asbestos

Some jokes are always funny, some only funny once. Waiver requests are much the same. Adding specialty classes is a process that begins with one step at a time, despite a contractor’s desire to get it all done now!  But first, what name do you display on your work or company vehicles?  There is a ‘fine’ line between what is acceptable and what’s not…

Q:  We have hundreds of work trucks throughout California and the business name on the trucks is a shortened version of our full business name.  We were recently cited by the CSLB for not having our full business name on one of our trucks.  We have no problem paying the fine, but without having to update our hundreds of trucks, how do we make sure this doesn’t happen in the future?

A:  The business name that you have on your company vehicles is considered “advertising” so yes it must match the business name on your license.  Since you don’t want to change all of your existing trucks, I would suggest adding the shortened version of your company name that you have on your trucks as a DBA on your license.  That would require a name change form with the CSLB.

Q:  Last year we had to replace our Responsible Managing Employee (RME) with one of our Officers.  Because he had been with the company for so long as an Officer, the CSLB granted him a Waiver of the exams.  He is going to be retiring soon so we need to put another person in the Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) spot.  We plan to use another Officer who has been with the company for over 10 years, so that he too can request a waiver of the exams.  Can you help us with this?

A:  While we do assist with the process of replacing your Qualifier and Waiver requests, your new RMO will not be able to request a Waiver of the exams.  Once your company is granted one for a particular Qualifying individual, you are required to wait five years before you can make that request again for a different individual.

Q:  We need to add several specialty classifications to our license.  We have an employee who has an Inactive Sole Owner license that holds the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC classifications that we need.  How do we go about transferring those to our company license?

A:  You will need to add the specialty classifications one at a time as the CSLB will only allow you to have one application in process at a time.  Since your employee has an Inactive license holding these classifications, he/she will not have to re-test or show their experience background.

Q:  We are a General Building contractor and we do restoration work.  We sub-contract all asbestos abatement work to contractors who have the asbestos certification.  We want to add the new “C-22” (Asbestos Abatement) classification to our license so we can start self-performing the work.  What are the requirements for that?

A:  Your “C-22” Qualifier will be required to show at least 4 years of experience doing asbestos abatement work, take and pass the trade exam (and law exam if they are not previously licensed), and your company will need to show proof of registration with DOSH.  If you are not yet registered with DOSH, you will be required to provide the CSLB with proof of registration within 90 days of the “C-22” classification being added to your license.  If you fail to provide the proof within 90 days, the classification will be removed from your license.


CA Generals, NV “B” Licensing, Bid Limits and Unlicensed Contractors

“To be or not to be” isn’t the question. Unlike the line from Shakespeare’s work, for some NV applications it’s ‘generally’ a “B” or “B-2”…

Q:  I have had a “B” (General Building) license in CA since the 90’s and I recently applied for a NV license.  I sent in verification of my CA license with the application.  I thought the Reciprocity agreement meant that you didn’t have to show your experience because they would just use the CA license as proof that you have the required experience, but they sent me a letter asking for four references and a resume’.  I haven’t been able to get a hold of the analyst handling my application, but do you know why they wouldn’t be accepting my CA license verification?


A:  Of course! It’s not that they aren’t “accepting” your CA License.  Assuming you have been actively licensed in CA for five out of the last seven years, you should be able to qualify for Reciprocity and waive the Trade exam.  BUT, Nevada just recently changed the Reciprocity rules with regards to the General Building (“B”) classification.  Nevada has both the “B” (General Building) and “B-2” (Residential and Small Commercial) licenses.  “B-2” contractors can do everything that “B” contractors can do, but only on structures that are under three stories.  Any work done on structures over three stories requires a full “B” license.  That being said, in order to qualify for a full “B” license, you have to show that you have experience working on structures over three stories.  Since CA doesn’t have that requirement, when you apply for a “B” License in NV and ask for Reciprocity, you have to also provide the four references and resume’ showing proof that you have done work on structures over three stories.


In Fresno on May 28, 2015, the California Contractor’s State License Board (CSLB) partnered with the California Highway Patrol and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office to conduct an undercover sting operation, and caught eight people who were illegally contracting.  Two of the eight suspects had been cited by the CSLB before.  Repeat offenders proves the need to “Check the License First” for consumers and contractors alike.

The CSLB’s Registrar, Cindi Christenson says “Even when contractors tell you they’re experience, it’s still best to check CSLB’s website or call our toll-free line to make sure the person is licensed for the type of work they’re offering.”

Any bid over $500 (labor and materials included) requires that you hold a valid contractor’s license.  First time conviction penalties for contracting without a license can include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5000 in fines.  A second conviction can result in a mandatory 90 days in jail.

Not only does unlicensed contracting put homeowners at risk, but it also undercuts legitimate contractors.

Fingerprinting for CA Licensing update, New Rule on SS Number Alternative and Qualifier Change

We ‘point’ out some recent changes in fingerprinting for CA applications.

Also, a roadblock has been removed for some foreign business, while a ‘suspenseful’ development leaves another contractor down and out of business at present. Don’t let this happen to you because a little ‘knowledge’ is also a dangerous thing!..

Q:  I don’t have a US Social Security number.  Can I qualify for a California Contractor’s license without that?

A:  Beginning in January when Senate Bill 1159 became effective, the CSLB started allowing Individual Tax Identification Numbers as an acceptable form of identification.

Q:  Our Responsible Managing Employee (RME) left our company several months ago and we have an application in process to replace him, however it was just sent in recently.  Our former Qualifier has now associated with a new license, and therefore notified the CSLB that he left our company several months ago, which caused our license to go suspended.  We knew there was a possibility that this might happen, but our new RME told us that if we got down to the wire with regards to timing we were allowed to request a 90-day extension.  We did that and it was denied.  Do you know why they would have denied it and if there’s anything we can do?

A:  The CSLB will sometimes grant a 90-day extension to replace your Qualifier, but the key is you have to have an application in process and you must request the extension prior to your license being suspended.  Your new RME had the right idea you just didn’t get the request in soon enough.  Unfortunately there’s nothing you can do at this juncture but wait for your new application to be processed.

Q:  Our new corporation has applied for a new General Building license in California.  We already have a license and all of our Officers have been fingerprinted for the CSLB.  What’s curious is they are requesting fingerprints from our Vice President even though he’s provided them before.  He’s not listed on our current license but he was fingerprinted for a license he was associated with about 8 years ago.  I thought once you were fingerprinted for the CSLB you didn’t have to do it again.  Is that not the case?  He is traveling for the next few weeks and we don’t want this to hold up our application.

A:  The phrase “you learn something new every day” proved itself to be true for your question.  In the past, yes, it was the case that once you were fingerprinted for the CSLB you didn’t have to do it again.  When I contacted the Contractors Board, I learned that they are now purging fingerprint information for Officers/Applicants that have not been associated with a license for a number of years.  The CSLB confirmed with me that your VP in fact will need to be fingerprinted again because his fingerprint information has been purged.

Q:  I work for a construction company and want to obtain my own license.  I filed bankruptcy a few years ago.  Can I still get a license?

A: While the CLSB has the authority to grant or deny an application, a bankruptcy, in and of itself is not usually grounds to deny a license.

Multiple DBA’s for Licenses, License posting and Worker’s Compensation Exemptions

Being in the right place is one secret to success, knowing when it’s the right time is a little trickier. While ‘breaking up’ is hard to do, for a JV it’s also fatal. An eager bidder has to put the ‘brakes’ on his ambitious plans ‘post’ haste! …

Q:  We are purchasing a construction company that has employees and we have applied for a new license for the new company.  We plan to transfer the employees to the new company once the sale is final.  With regards to Worker’s Comp, can we file an Exemption now since we don’t employ anyone yet?  Or are we required to add the new company to our policy since we plan to transfer all of the employees once the sale is complete?

A:  You can file the Exemption now with the intention to provide the CSLB with proof of Worker’s Comp as soon as the employees are officially transferred to the new entity. When employees are hired Worker’s Comp must be provided, to protect both you and your workers.

Q:  We need to change our business name on our Joint Venture license.  Are we required to have “Joint Venture” at the end of our name or can we change it to just our two business names?  Secondly, The Joint Venture used to be made up of three entities and we need to remove one of them.  How do we go about doing that?

A:  To answer your first question, Joint Ventures are required to have either “Joint Venture” or “JV” at the end of their business name.

Also, Joint Ventures are considered a Partnership and you cannot make any changes to a Partnership license.  I recommend ‘terminating’ the existing license and then you would be required to apply for a new license with the two entities that currently make up the JV.

Q:  Our corporation is currently licensed as a General Building Contractor.  We have formed a new LLC and our license application is in process. I spoke with someone at the CSLB and they told me that our application is accepted when it is posted.  Does that mean our LLC can operate now that the application is posted?

A:  You cannot perform any contracting work until the actual license is issued.  “Posted” means that the application is acceptable but doesn’t necessarily mean that the process is complete.  Many times there are more items that are required after the application is posted, such as bonds, proof of insurance, or fingerprinting.

Q:  We would like to add two ‘doing business as’ or dba names to our contractor’s license.  We are doing a lot of general contracting work at this point and a few of our customers have been hesitant with the work because of our name as Roofing and Waterproofing.  Can you help with this?

A:  You can add one dba to your license but you cannot have two dba’s on one license.  If you want a second dba, you can apply for a separate license for the same entity with a different dba.  And yes, we would be happy to assist you with that process.


Removing Lead-base paints, “C-33”, LLC & DBA’s, Carpet Cleaning and Apprenticeship licensing

It took years to become contractor’s law but the popularity of the LLC has soared among California firms. We have answers for LLC’s and clarify a contractor’s question about reciprocity. We’ve helped people through the application process for more than 25 years but get called out on the ‘carpet’ for the first time by an applicant’s question…

Q:  I am a licensed “C-10” (Electrical) contractor. I recently formed a Limited Liability Company (LLC) with a partner. Do I have to change my license to LLC in CA, or can I file a dba for my LLC under my Sole Proprietor license name?

A:  Contractor’s licenses in CA are issued to a specific entity, i.e. Sole Proprietor, Corporation, LLC, Partnership, etc. Therefore, any time you change your entity type you need to notify the CSLB by re-applying for a new license; you cannot just add a dba to your Sole Proprietor license.  There are certain circumstances that allow you to re-assign your number to the new entity, which in your case would require that your Sole Owner license be in good standing and that you own at least 51% of the LLC.

Q:  Can a Nevada Licensed Contractor do work/contract in California? I read that there is a reciprocal agreement between the two States.

A:  No, a Nevada licensed contractor cannot do work or contract without a contractor license issued by CA.  Yes, there is reciprocity between Nevada and California for certain classifications so there is a possibility that the Qualifier can waive the Trade Exam, but he/she would still need to go through the license application process.

Q:  I’m currently a certified (Class “A”) General Contractor in Florida. In an effort to qualify the company that I work for in your state, I want to obtain a “C-33” (Painting and Decorating) License in the state of California. In looking at your “C-33” classification, it does not depict the total scope of work that our company performs. Since it is imperative that we comply with your state’s license board requirements, I would appreciate any effort on your part to clarify the following questions for me. Our company performs the following work: pressure washing, abrasive blast cleaning, lead removal, bridge, tunnel, and industrial painting, including platform installations in order to perform our work. Are all the above-mentioned tasks covered under the “C-33” classification? Thank you in advance.

A:  All of the work described, with the exception of lead paint removal, can be performed by the “C-33” Painting and Decorating classification in CA.  In order to perform the lead paint removal you will need to contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to become certified in lead abatement.  The CSLB does not regulate that portion of the work.

Q:  We are forming a new company that will provide a variety of services that will require several specialty classifications.  One of the services we will offer is carpet cleaning.  Does that require a specialty license, and if so, what classification does that fall under?

A:  Carpet cleaning does not require a contractor’s license because you aren’t installing anything. 

Q:  I just completed a plumbing Apprenticeship program and now I want to get my plumbing (“C-36”) contractor’s license.  Can you help me with that?

A:  Thank you for contacting us.  The CSLB will give you up to three years of credit towards the four-year experience requirement for completing a formal Apprenticeship program.  In addition to the Certificate of Completion you will also need to show at least one year of experience in the plumbing trade.  If you can do that, then yes, we would be happy to assist you with the process.


“C-17” & General Qualifiers, Business Names & Advertising and “C-36”, “C-20” Overlap

Baseball season is back and we go to bat today for an Arizona company, a veteran glazer and a plumber who pitches a ‘wet’ one. Unfortunately, by the end of the ‘game’ played here, readers will discover it’s three strikes and you’re out!..

Q:  I have been a “C-17” (Glazing) contractor for many years.  I recently took a position with a company that currently has a “B” (General Building) license.  They want me to add the “C-17” classification to their license, which I plan to do, but they also want me to replace their “B” Qualifier.  With respect to the four year experience requirement, does work done under a “C-17” qualify for General Building experience?  My projects involve much more than just glazing.  Within glazing falls coordination of structural steel, concrete, finishes, even landscaping.

A:  You are going to have a hard time proving “B” experience working as a“C-17”.  Sometimes people can claim work experience gained from a particular classification to qualify for another classification, but only if the classification is closely related.  Glazing is more of a “stand alone” specialty classification that would be difficult to verify that you were performing the duties required to qualify for a General Building license. The CSLB will likely request that you show proof of your “B” work with contracts or permits showing that you performed specific trades such as framing, carpentry, plumbing, roofing, etc. so it seems unlikely as ‘pitched’.


Q:  We understand that a vehicle can be deemed “advertisement” and as such the vehicle should include the name under which our license is held in Arizona, as well as our license number preceded by “ROC”.  Our question is, do we have to include our full name or just the DBA (doing business as)?  Such as AB Insulation Group Inc., d/b/a AB Insulation or just AB Insulation?  Also, can we include the name of our Parent Company on the truck?  For example “AB Insulation, a part of the AB Construction Services group of companies”?

A:  You are correct that Arizona requires that your advertisements include your license number, including “ROC” preceding the license number, and your business name under which you are licensed.  That being said, you would need to include the full name, AB Insulation Group Inc. dba AB Insulation, since that is the business name under which you are licensed.  I did not find anywhere in the law where it states that you cannot include a Parent Company’s name on the truck, but according to staff I spoke with at the ROC, you cannot include other business names on vehicles, only the business name on the license. This ‘strikes out’ any but the licensed name being used.

Q:  Hi, I have a “C-36” license and I was told by the CSLB that I cannot work on swamp coolers. We have done this since 1960, and while it’s not a major part of our business, it’s very irritating that I’m being told we can’t do it. It involves water supply, pump, and other “water” related parts and in my opinion should be included in the “C-36”(Plumbing) classification. How to I petition this and/or get a ruling?

A:  I understand your thinking with regards to the “water” related parts, however replacing or repairing swamp coolers would not be covered under your “C-36”.  Depending on the scope of what exactly you’re doing, it could be the “C-20” (HVAC), or the “D-34” (Prefabricated Equipment), or even a license with the Bureau of Electronics and Appliance Repair. So, as Mike Krukow says on Giant’s broadcasts, ‘grab some pine meat’ you are out. And so are we!

SWIFT Justice and Lost Renewals

For unlicensed contractors, or anyone who tries to play ‘fast and loose’ with rules that protect workers or consumers justice will prevail. From the SWIFT Investigators seeking to ‘sting’ the unlicensed to local prosecutors protecting their consumers, contractors must beware breaking the law…

According to the Davis Enterprise Newspaper, a Vacaville Contractor was recently sentenced to three years probation after being convicted of Worker’s Compensation Insurance fraud.  This according to the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office.

Contractors licensed by the CSLB are required to carry Worker’s Compensation Insurance for their employees.  Treating actual employees as “independent contractors” to avoid this requirement can get you into very hot water.  If you have employees, make sure the proper coverage is being claimed and that ALL employees are covered.  Only covering some, but not all, employees can be just as problematic as avoiding coverage altogether.

This case originated from the Yolo County District Attorney’s Information and Resource Sharing Group (DAIRS).  This is a group comprised of representatives from the Department of Industrial Relations, The Contractors Board and local building and code inspectors.

According to a recent News Release from the CSLB, Contractor Boards in CA and NV teamed up on April 27th in a simultaneous sting operation.  This “Boarder Blitz” was the fourth such operation conducted by the Contractors State License Board and Nevada State Contractors Board.  According to the media release, “Five unlicensed contractors were cited at a home in South Lake Tahoe, CA while 12 were snared at a Stateline, NV Condominium, including one contractor who holds a CA license and two who had a suspended CA contractor’s license.”

At each sting location, investigators from CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) and NSCB posed as homeowners seeking bids for construction improvements. Using leads developed mostly from Craigslist and local bulletin board ads, investigators developed a list of suspected illegal contractors and asked for bids on exterior painting, paver installation, demolition, and decking.

The CSLB and NSCB are working to level the playing field for contractors who are licensed and carry the proper bonding and Worker’s Compensation coverage.  If you’re playing by the rules, it is downright annoying and costly to be underbid by those who are cutting costs by skirting the law.

Q:  I recently moved my business and in the process, forgot to notify the Contractors Board.  This caused my renewal to be sent back to the CSLB by the Post Office and now my license has expired.  I called the Board and they are sending me another renewal; but in the meantime, I’m out of business.  Anything you can suggest or do to help?

A:  We can speed up getting the renewal to you for signature by picking it up for you in person.  Waiting for the CSLB to send it to you can take up to two weeks.  We can pick it up same day and email it to you.  You can then send the signed renewal along with the required fee to our office and we will hand deliver it back to the Board.  The CSLB is taking about 10 business days to process renewal applications, so unfortunately you are out of business until it is processed.  The renewal form also allows for you to change your address so you can fill two needs with one deed! Let me know if you’d like our assistance.