DBA Name Change, Parent Company, GC’s & Specialty Advertising

From the newest licensed contractor to industry leadership, everyone needs an expert opinion now and then. We hold a ‘parent’ 100% responsible for the latest addition to their family, while making an ‘example’ of another contractor on using solar in a business name…

Q:  I work for the Contractor’s Association and I believe you’ve answered this before, but the issue came up again at our January membership meeting last Wednesday.  My committee wants to know if it is illegal for a GC to advertise as a specialty contractor if they don’t have that particular classification on their license, and where it is stated in the CSLB’s Contractor’s License Law and Reference Book?  Can you tell me where I can find that information?

A:  B & P Section 7161 of the California Contractor’s License Law Book states that it’s a misdemeanor to use false, misleading, or deceptive advertising.  If a General Building (“B”) contractor advertised as a Plumbing contractor for instance, that would mislead the public to believe that the “B” contractor can perform plumbing work alone, which is not the case.

B & P Section 7027.1 prohibits contractors from advertising for construction work outside of areas for which they are licensed.  The CSLB uses the example that a “C-29” Masonry contractor who advertises to do electrical work can be charged with a misdemeanor – unless he or she also has a “C-10” Electrical contractor license. The only exception to this provision permits licensed “A” (General Engineering) and “B” (General Building) contractors to advertise as general contractors.  I hope this clarifies the issue for you and the committee.

Q:  We have a corporation that is currently licensed in Arizona.  Our Parent Company recently formed a new subsidiary that we also need to get licensed in Arizona.  Can we use the same Qualifying individual that we have on our current license for the new entity’s license since they are both owned 100% by the same Parent Company?

A:  Yes, you can use the same Qualifying party on two licenses as long as there is common ownership of at least 25% of each licensed entity for which the person acts in a Qualifying capacity.  Since both licensees are owned (more than 25%) by the same entity, it meets the common ownership requirement. 100% correct!

Q:  We have a “B” (General Building) license and we do solar work.  Our business name as registered with the CA Secretary of State is not descriptive of the work we so we have been operating with a “dba” (doing business as) of “ABC Solar”.  I was recently informed that if that’s how we operate and advertise then we need to add that as the”dba” on our Contractor’s License.  How do we add that to our license?  Our “doing business as” name is already registered with the County.

A:  In order to add a “dba” name to your license you need to complete and submit a name change form to the CSLB.  The new business name will be your company name as registered with the Secretary of State followed by your dba name.  However, although “A” (General Engineering), “B” (General Building), and “C-10”’ (Electrical) contractors can perform solar work, they cannot use the word “solar” as a stand-alone word. “C-46” (Solar) classification holders are the only classification that can use “solar” in their business name without providing a descriptive or limiting word.  For example, a “C-10” contractor can use “ABC Electrical Solar”, and your company as a “B” classification holder could use “ABC Solar General Builders” or something of that nature.