Bond Cost, RME Replacement, Business License and Trade Exam Waiver Experience

Yet another reason to keep that credit score up! An Oregon contractor has a ‘5 year’ plan to build on in CA, while another out-of-state contractor has an ‘issue’ with taking the ‘first step’ in applying for his license.

Q:  I need to obtain a Contractor’s License and I know that I am required to be bonded.  How much do the bonds typically cost?

A:  The amount that a Contractor pays out of pocket for bonding varies based on credit.  For a new Contractor, the fee for the $15,000 Contractor’s Bond is typically about $110 – $150.

Q:  We are submitting an application for our Oregon Corporation to get a CA license.  We have an RME (Responsible Managing Employee) who will be Qualifying the license.  How long does the President of the company have to wait before he can replace the RME with a request to Waive the exams?

A:  B&P Code Section 7065.1 allows for an Officer who has been actively engaged in the business to request a Waiver of the exams after a period of five years.  Keep in mind the license has to remain active during the five years.

Q:  We are an out of State company and one of our good customers would like us to do some work for them in California.  I am just wondering if we are required to have a Business License prior to obtaining the Contractor’s License?  We weren’t sure of the steps to take.

A:  While the application paperwork implies that you need to be registered with the CA Secretary of State prior to submitting a Contractor’s License application, your company really just needs to be registered with Secretary of State prior to the CSLB issuing the license.  You can apply with both agencies at the same time, or you can do one step before the other, either way.  If the CSLB gets to your application prior to your registration being filed, be aware that they will send you a rejection letter asking that you register your entity, however, you do not “lose your place in line” with the CSLB.  It only causes a short delay in the process.

Q:  I am a “B” (General Building) Contractor and I want to start up a Concrete business with a Partner under a separate license with a different Business name.    My Partner seems to think that I can request to Waive the trade exam based on my General Building license.  Is that true?

A:  What your Partner is likely referring to is B&P Code Section 7065.3 which allows the CSLB to consider a Waiver of the trade exam for a classification for someone holding a closely related trade.   Among other requirements, you have to prove that the classification is a significant portion of the work you have done with your current license.  However, this is only granted when adding the classification to your existing license, not when applying for a new license.

I would suggest applying to add the Concrete classification to your existing license with a request to Waive the exams (assuming you meet all the requirements), and once obtained, you can apply for a separate Concrete license under your new Business name, in which case no exam would be required.

All that being said, Waiver requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and there is no assurance the CSLB will approve the request.