License Number Advertising, Generals & Landscaping and Expiration of Renewal Applications

Does where your CA license number must appear include the shirt on your back! Keeping work in progress may hinge on your timing when it comes to getting a renewal without a costly timeout. Aiming for the top is not a bad plan, but what level will get you a passing grade on license testing in Nevada? …

Q:  We are an “A” General Engineering contractor and we have been self- performing landscaping work (fencing, irrigation, etc) as part of our highway and park projects for over 20 years.  Now the city is telling us that we need to have a “C-27” (Landscaping) classification in order to bid on a park project that is about forty percent landscaping.  Is that right?

A:  The “A” can self-perform or subcontract the landscaping work if the overall project falls within the General Engineering class.  Because General Engineering contractors can perform projects that involve “parks, playgrounds and other recreational works,” you should be able to do the work, however the City ultimately decides what type of Contractor they want to perform the work.  You may want to either add the “C-27” classification to your license (since it sounds like you have the requisite experience), or sub-contract that portion of the project to a licensed Landscaping Contractor.

Q:  I know that I’m required to have my license number on all advertisements such as business cards, trucks, and print ads.  What about our company shirts?  Do we need to have our license number on those?

A:  Yes, according to the CSLB’s Advertising Guidelines for Contractors, “advertising” includes “any clothing or giveaway items that include your company name or logo.”

Q:  My license is set to expire on July 31st.  I sent in my renewal application along with the fee and I confirmed with the CSLB that they received it on July 28th.  They told me that they are taking at least two weeks to process renewals, which means they won’t process mine until after the expiration date.  Since I sent it in on time can I still work while they are processing my application?

A:  Your license status will reflect “expired” until the CSLB processes your renewal, therefore no, you should not be doing any work when your license is not active.  We always recommend that you send in your renewal several weeks before the expiration to avoid any lapse in the license.

Q:  I will be taking the Nevada General Building trade test and the Construction Management test next week.  Do you know what percentage I need in order to pass?

A:  You are required to score at least 70% on the trade exam and at least 75% on the Construction Management exam.


AZ Generals, Installing Artificial Turf and Disassociation Notice

Misconceptions, rumor, ‘friendly advice’ and complex rules that change when borders get crossed make it tough for contractors at times. That’s one reason it’s important to ask questions! We begin in Arizona and will proceed ‘one step at a time’ because it’s important to get it right wherever you work…

Q:  You helped our corporation obtain a second General Building license in California.  We had to attach a ‘dba’ (doing business as) name since it was the same corporation with the same classification.  We are also licensed in Arizona and we want to get a second General Building license there with a different Qualifier since you can’t have multiple Qualifiers on the same license.  Does Arizona also require that we attach a dba to the second license?

A:  Actually, no.  Arizona allows you to have as many licenses as you want under the same corporate name, so you will not be required to have the dba attached.

Q:  I want to get my contractor’s license for painting, drywall, cabinetry, and other types of finish work.  I was told I wouldn’t qualify for a General Building license because I don’t have experience framing. Can I apply for all the classifications that I need at the same time?

A:  No, you would need to start with one classification and then once issued, add the additional classifications, step by step, one at a time.  Remember that you are required to show at least four years of full time work experience, within the last ten years, in each trade that you are applying for. Call if you need assistance.

Q:  I am a “C-27” (Landscaping) contractor.  With the current drought that we are experiencing in California, I’ve had a few people contact me regarding installing synthetic turf to replace their grass since they aren’t watering as much.  Can I do that with my landscaping license?

A:  Yes you sure can.  Installing synthetic turf requires either a “C-27” (Landscaping) license or a “C-61”/”D12” (Synthetic Products) license.

Q:  We just received our renewal notice and one of the Officers the CSLB has listed on here is no longer with the company.  We updated our Officers with the Secretary of State as soon as he left, but obviously the CSLB was not notified.  How do we go about getting his name off of the license?

A:  It’s good that you updated the Secretary of State (SOS), but that doesn’t automatically update the contractor’s license or CSLB.  You will need to file a Disassociation Notice to remove him.  If he has been replaced you will also want to submit an application to add the new Officer.

Contractor Note: In a recent newsletter, the CSLB reminds public works contractors that prime contractors are required to submit the contractor license number of each subcontractor they plan to hire when bidding a job.  This requirement took effect in July 2014 and the goal of this legislation is to “stop prime contractors from knowingly or unknowingly hiring unlicensed subcontractors to work on public works projects.”


Documentation for Applications, ‘Family’ Number Re-Assigment, RME Waivers and Who Can Bid?

What you needed yesterday but don’t use in the present may hold the key to getting a contractor’s license back in the future. Documentation is everything. We’ll explore how to get a family waiver, test or not, as the individual case may be…

Q:  I had a contractor’s license many years ago and I want to get it back.  I understand that since it’s been over five years I need to re-apply and take the exams again.  Is it necessary for me to complete the “Certification of Work Experience” portion of the application since I have been licensed in the past?

A:  Yes, even though you have been licensed in the past you still need to complete a new Certification of Work Experience page.  You will need to show at least four years of full time work experience, within the last ten years, in the trade you are applying for.

Q:  I have worked for my Dad for over ten years in the construction industry and he is getting ready to retire.  I was told that I could take over his license and not have to take the exams.  Is that true?  And what forms do I fill out; would it be an application for Replacing the Qualifying Individual?


A:  To answer your first question, B & P Code Section 7065.1(b) allows someone who is immediate family member to waive the exams if certain conditions are met.  As long as you have been actively engaged in the business for five out of the last seven years you should be able to qualify for a Waiver the exams.  However, regarding your second question, Replacing the Qualifying Individual would not be the correct application to use in this case.  Contact our office for assistance with the application process and having the license number re-assigned.

Q:  We are a large corporation based in Canada.  We don’t actually perform any construction work, we provide consulting services to our subsidiaries and they do the actual construction work.  One of our customers wants us to build a few hotels in California.  If the parent company (providing the consultation work) obtains a CA contractor’s license, does that allow for our subsidiaries to do the construction work?

A:  Each entity bidding on, contracting for, or performing contracting work in CA is required to have their own contractor’s license.

Q:  I am the President of a corporation that has been licensed since 2001.  I received a letter stating that I can replace my RME (Responsible Managing Employee) without needing to take the exams.  I’m wondering if this is valid or if this is some sort of scam?

A: In certain circumstances, B & P Code Section 7065.1(c) allows an individual to request a Waiver of the exams if they have worked in a supervisory capacity for the corporation for five out of the last seven years, but again, only under certain circumstances.  The licensee must have not requested this Waiver within the past year, and the license must have been Active and in good standing for five out of the last seven years. Visit the website to keyword search additional conditions or past columns on this issue.


Family Waiver, Landscaping Swimming Pools, Responsible Managing Employee Compensation

We often hear from aspiring contractors who have grown up in the business and want to follow in their parent’s footsteps. If you want to keep the same license number timing is everything as we learn here. A landscaper’s ambition gets ‘cut short’ and we review what it takes to be a Responsible Managing Employee…

Q:  My Dad retired a couple of years ago and inactivated his license.  I have been doing construction work for over 10 years for a General Building company and I want to get my own license.  Would it be possible for me to take over my Dad’s license number since it’s a low number?  I did work for him for several years when I first started in the industry.  Also, would I be able to waive the exams?


A:  To answer your first question, B&P Code 7075.1(c) allows for a Sole Owner license to be transferred to an immediate family under certain circumstances, however one of the conditions is that the license in question must be current and Active.  Since your father’s license has been Inactive for several years, you cannot request that number be reassigned to you.

Unfortunately you would not qualify for a Waiver of the exams.  In order for that to occur you would be required to have worked for your father and actively engaged in his business for five out of the last seven years.

It sounds like you have the requisite experience to obtain your own license by taking the exams, so contact us if you’d like our assistance.


Q:  I am a “C-27” Landscaping contractor and I have had a few customers ask me to repair or maintain their pool.  Am I allowed to contract and perform this work for them?

A:  If the swimming pool is part of your landscaping project, you can sub-contract the pool part of it out to a licensed swimming pool contractor, however it is my understanding that you cannot self-perform the work. Note that you cannot just take a pool contract by itself and self-perform or sub-contract the work out to a licensed pool contractor.

Q:  I have my own license and I was recently talking with a company that wants me to be their Responsible Managing Employee (RME) and transfer my license to them.  What kind of salary do RME’s typically get for letting a company use their license?  Are there other requirements of RME’s that I should know about?

A:  While we don’t offer advice on what is appropriate compensation, we frequently get asked that question, and as far as we know, there is no “going rate.”  Your compensation is something that you work out with the company.  Talking with others who hold RME positions might be a good place to learn more.

With regards to RME requirements, B&P Code Section 7068.1 states that the qualifying individual is responsible for exercising direct supervision and control of the employer’s construction operations.  RME’s are also required to be actively involved in the operation of the business for at least 32 hours or 80% of the total operating hours, whichever is less.

SWIFT Justice for Unlicensed Contractors, CSLB Update & Worker’s Comp Re-Certification

In a break from tradition, I believe for the first time, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) held its quarterly meeting in the Sheet Metal Workers’ Assembly Hall in Fairfield, CA on June 18th.

According to David Kalb, founder and former owner of Capitol Services, this was a lively meeting lasting close to 5 hours.  The Registrar’s Report covered Procedures regarding the Board’s Interaction with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the CSLB Sunset Review Process.

A welcome report from the Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) on evening the playing field for licensed contractors. Not only did the Board Highlight a number of SWIFT “sting” operations around the State targeting unlicensed individuals, but also detailed how a variety of “bad actors” were put out of business.  In one case, a grand jury cracked down on 4 licensees who were involved in a “RMO for hire scheme”.

Some interesting facts emerged from the Licensing Division at this Board meeting.  1) There continues to be a significant rejection rate for Limited Liability Company (LLC) applications, primarily due to inconsistencies with the Secretary of State’s (SOS) records.  Unless the LLC application includes ALL Members and/or Managers as designated at the SOS, the application will be returned for corrections.

2) Contractors are required to recertify that they’re exempt from Worker’s Compensation as part of the license renewal process.  A number of forms are being rejected because the appropriate box is not being checked.  Regardless, one Board member expressed concern that some contractors are being less than truthful when certifying they’re in fact exempt from W/C.  His example involved concrete contractors who, if honestly exempt, are pouring and finishing their projects with NO employees.


3) The Board adopted a detailed “Table of Acceptable Supporting Experience Documentation” to be used as part of their application review and investigation process.


Several pending bills were discussed and subsequently supported by the Board during the Legislative Program Update.  Of note, SB 465 (Hill) which 1) extends the CSLB sunset date from Jan. 1, 2016 to Jan. 1, 2020; 2) eliminates the existing requirement that applicants demonstrate evidence of financial solvency by “possessing” operating capital of $2,500; and 3) Increases the amount of the contactor’s bond from $12,500 to $15,000.  The $2,500 requirement has been around for decades and it rarely, if ever, is required to be proven as part of the application/renewal process.  If passed and signed by the Governor, SB 561 (Monning) will amend the way in which Home Improvement Salespersons (HIS) can register making it more efficient for both the licensee and salesperson.  There was also a lengthy discussion on B&P Code Section 7031, which will be discussed in a future column.

As they do on a yearly basis, the CSLB held a second day of meetings (on June 19) in conjunction with the Nevada State Contractors Board.

Fingerprinting for Applications, Waivers & NV LLC

Timing is often everything in life, or licensing, as our Michigan contractor learns in applying in California.  I will not ‘waiver’ in getting you the answer to your question when you ask us about the ‘rules’ in any aspect of contractor’s licensing. Finally, we wrap up with a ‘back to the future’ answer for a NV LLC…

Q:  Our corporation is going to be applying for a new license and our Officers all live in Michigan.  I read that if they get fingerprinted outside of CA the process can take months longer than if they do it in California.  They will be out in CA next week to meet with the client that they will be doing a project for (once they are licensed of course).  Can they get fingerprinted at that time?  Do they just save the receipts and submit them with the application?

A:  No one can be fingerprinted until you apply for the license and get the notification from the CSLB to get fingerprinted.  The CSLB will send out Live Scan Request forms, which they will be required to take with them to get printed.


Q:  I thought Waivers had went away, but recently read a couple of articles indicating that when applying for additional classifications that a Waiver may still be an option?  What are the rules regarding this?

A:  Waivers can still be an option in certain circumstances, but it has become increasingly difficult to qualify.  Waiver requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and there are no hard and fast “rules”.  That being said, in order to qualify for a possible Waiver, you have to show at least four years of work experience in the trade you are applying for.  Secondly, the additional classification must be closely related to the classification you currently hold.  Contact my office to discuss this further.

Q:  I am forming a Nevada Limited Liability Company (LLC) as a “C-1D” (Plumbing) contractor. I’ve been told that California won’t accept my NV LLC if I attempt to obtain my California contractor’s license.  Is this true?

A:  It depends on what you mean by California not accepting your NV LLC.  Up until January 2012 California did not issue contractor’s licenses to LLC’s.  They do now.  As you may know, there is a reciprocal agreement between California and Nevada for certain classifications.  Reciprocity allows for a Waiver of the trade exam if you meet all the requirements, however the Plumbing classification is not one of the reciprocal classifications.  In sum, your LLC can obtain a license in CA, however you will be required to take the exams, show your work experience, and meet all of the other LLC requirements. Let us know if you need further help.