Experience Credits, Corporate Tax Changes and CA License HAZ Requirements

Who can speak for experience in a license application? What is an ‘unrelated’ trade, generally? When does a simple alteration in business practice mean no ‘change’ in a license? How can a contractor jobsite ‘HAZ-ard’ not require special CSLB attention? Why, because, everyone has contractor licensing questions and fortunately I have answers for them! …

Q:  We have a license in the name of our corporation, we have three Officers and several Directors.  We are considering changing from an ‘S’-corp to a ‘C’-corp.  I currently Qualify three licenses based on common ownership.  If we decide to change our corporate status, how does that affect our licenses?  We have to ensure all licenses remain in place.

A:  Changing from an ‘S’-corporation to a ‘C’-corporation does not change the business entity itself, so the license will remain the same.  I’m not a tax expert, however it’s my understanding ‘’S-corps vs. ‘C’-corps is an election you make for the purpose of filing taxes. When the Contractor’s license would be affected is if a new entity is being formed.

Q:  I have a “B” (General Building) contractor’s license and I will be moving red mercury from one spot to another on one of my jobs.  I will not be removing from the site, just moving it out of the way from where I’m working on the structure.  Do I need to have the Hazardous Substance certification on my license in order to do that?

A:  The CSLB HAZ certification is strictly for the handling and removal of Underground Storage Tanks and soil that contains oil or gasoline. All other hazardous materials are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Toxic Substances Control. Their website is www.dtsc.ca.gov. I would suggest checking with that agency.

Q:  I have been working for my own Construction and Consulting company in Florida for the last several years. I have a GC (General Construction) in Florida. I need to get a license in California and I’m in the process of filling out the paperwork.  On the Certification of Work Experience where I’m listing my experience with my own company, do I sign the bottom of the form since I am the contractor who holds the license?

A:  No, you cannot certify your own work experience.  You will have to have someone with first-hand knowledge of your work experience sign on your behalf.  Examples would be an employee, a fellow contractor you’ve worked with, a sub-contractor, etc.

Q:  I have a pending application with the CSLB for a “B” (General Building) license.  I was informed prior to applying that I needed to document experience in framing and two unrelated trades in order to qualify for the license.  My former employer completed my Work Experience page, and he included as part of my work experience framing, painting, and carpentry, which I thought would meet the requirement.  The CSLB has rejected my application asking for more specific trade duties.  Do you have any advice?

A:  The trades you mentioned would only be considered framing and oneunrelated trade.  Framing is a form of carpentry, so carpentry is not considered an unrelated trade.  Contact our office if you’d like further assistance.



Application Processing Time, Renewals, Low Voltage and Business Entity Licensing

We ‘divide’ and conquer a tough question for one contractor and ‘shrink’ time for an ambitious applicant! Unfortunately, even an expert can’t save another when the ‘clock’ runs out on a final ‘deadline’…

Q:  I need to obtain my Contractor’s license.  In speaking with several of my colleagues who are licensed, they have said how incredibly long it takes, in one case I heard six months!  That seems crazy to me.  Is there any way to expedite that, I’m ready to leave the current company I work for and go out on my own?

A:  There are many factors which contribute to the time it takes to obtain a license, such as testing, fingerprinting, etc.  If you complete all the paperwork and requirements in a timely manner, and there no issues with the fingerprints, you should be able to obtain a license much quicker than six months.  Contact us if you would like assistance, our goal is to avoid any delays in the licensing process.

Q:  Can you please tell me what is required to re-instate my Sole Owner contractor’s license?  It expired back in 2008.

A:  Because it’s been expired for over five years, you can no longer renew your license, so you will need to apply for a new license. You will be required to re-take the Law and Trade exams, also due to it being over five years old.

Q:  What type of license is required to install Home Theatre systems?

A:  The “C-7” Low Voltage classification would be the most appropriate license for that type of work.

Q:  I am trying to decide whether to apply for my contractor’s license as a Corporation or LLC.  Can you advise what the differences/benefits of each are?

A:  While I cannot advise you from a legal, tax or accounting perspective, I can let you know the differences from a contractor’s licensing prospective.  In addition to the standard $15,000 Contractor’s Bond, LLC’s are also required to file a $100,000 LLC/Worker bond.  They are also required to show proof of at least $1 million in General Liability coverage.  You should contact a CPA or attorney to discuss tax benefits and legal results of each.


Q:  I applied for a Sole Proprietor license and after consulting with an attorney I want to change to a Corporation.  I have already tested and fingerprinted.  How should I proceed?


A: Let’s divide the answer.  There are two ways you can go about this, at this point.  The first option is to complete the process of obtaining the Sole Owner license, and thenapply to transfer the license number to the Corporation (or you can be issued a new license number).  Or, if you don’t intend on doing business as a Sole Proprietor, you can apply for the Corporate license, and at the same time request the Sole Proprietor application be withdrawn.  An individual can only have one application in process at a time.  Either way would be about the same time frame to ultimately have the Corporate license number.

Docks & Underwater Licensing, RME Replacement, Carpentry and “C-10”

Let me introduce ‘the situation’ not a star of reality TV. We ‘finish’ a mistaken idea for one contractor before it gets started and ‘switch’ on and off for a “C-10”. But let’s ‘dive in’ as we begin ‘underwater’…

Q:   Is there a specific contractor’s license for underwater construction and dock repairs?

A:   There is no specific classification for underwater construction and dock repairs, that is covered with the General Engineering license, which your company currently holds.

Q:  We have come in to a situation where we need to replace our Responsible Managing Employee (RME) on our license.  I know there is a time limit for completing this, and I’d like to have two of our employees apply to qualify so that we don’t run in to this in future where we are under a time crunch.  Is that possible?

A:  You can only have one Qualifier per classification and your license only holds the one “A” General Engineering classification.  While you can only have one Qualifier on your license, you can have other employees obtain Sole Proprietor licenses as a “back up”.  That way if your new Qualifier leaves the company, another licensed employee can be added to the license without the need for testing and fingerprinting, which will speed up the replacement process.

Q:  I am an attorney and have referred several contractors your way.  I have a client who holds a “C-6” (Carpentry) license.  Is he permitted to do exterior carpentry work such as decking, trusses, wood framing, etc?

A:  The “C-6” classification is for “Finish Carpentry” within structures such as cabinetry, millwork, etc.  what you described is “Rough Carpentry” which is covered by the “C-5” classification (Framing and Rough Carpentry).

Q:  A few years back your company helped me acquire my “C-10” Electrical license.  I am opening a new company that will be doing low-voltage home audio systems.  Can I do this work under my “C-10” license at the new company?

A:  No, if you will be doing business under a new entity, you will be required to get that company its own license, but yes, the “C-10” classification covers you to do low-voltage work.

Q:  You are helping us obtain a Contractor’s License in CA.  Once we obtain the license, is there anything we need to be aware of such as re-certification?

A:  The CSLB does not have a continuing education or continuing competency requirement.  Your license is up for renewal every two years, and you’ll just also want to make sure your Bonds and insurance remain updated.