Cost Limits for Handy projects, Experience Credit and Contractor Advertising Rules

I begin with a ‘credit’ check for one aspiring contractor, while another license applicant is concerned with a completely different ‘experience’ in the past. Sometimes having the desire to get a license, and working without one, requires a certain ‘conviction’…

Q:  I want to get my Contractor’s License and some of my experience is from a long time ago and I know they will only consider experience within the last ten years.  I only have two years of construction experience within the last ten years.  Will the CSLB give me any credit for an AA degree from a Community College?

A:  If your Associate Arts (AA) degree is in Building or Construction Management, the CSLB will give you up to one and a half years of experience credit.  You will need to submit your sealed transcripts along with your license application and the CSLB will determine the months of experience credit based on the courses you completed.  They typically give credit for the fields of construction, accounting, business, etc. You didn’t mention it, but if you have military experience that may also be considered. 

Q:  What does the CSLB consider “advertising” for contractors?  

A:  The CSLB requires a license number in a wide range of promotional vehicles and stresses that advertisements are not limited to newspapers, radio, and TV commercials.  They include; business cards, social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Other forms of advertisements: referral websites (Angie’s List, Contractor Connection, etc.), any contract proposal, lettering on trucks and other vehicles, sign or billboards identifying a person or company as a contractor, electronic transmissions such as company’s website content, any soliciting brochure, pamphlet, circular, or internet posted or distributed, and clothing or giveaway items that include the company name or logo, and any directory or listing that states or implies an individual is requesting or looking for the kind of work that requires a contractor’s license.

Q:  I have worked for a licensed contractor for several years, however I haven’t been working for him for four years yet so I know I don’t qualify for my own license yet.  I have been doing work on the side, and when I advertise online I always specify that I’m not licensed and cannot do work over $500.  Just out of curiosity, if a project does happen to go over $500 and I somehow get caught, what is the possible penalty? 

A:  First-time conviction penalties for unlicensed contracting include up to six months in jail may cost up to $5,000 in fines. Penalties are more severe with each successive violation. A second conviction carries a mandatory sentence of 90 days in jail.  That being said you’ll want to make sure you don’t take on a project that potentially may go over $500 (labor and materials combined).