Business Name, Family License Transfer and Qualifier Limits

In life as in contractor licenses, there is just one you! An untimely loss has prompted some questions we can all benefit from learning now. I also help clarify the sometimes misunderstood rules on business naming…

Q: I understand there is a limit of three licenses in which Qualifier can be associated with at a given time. Does that limit of 3 follow the person, or the classification? For instance, if I’m John Doe and I have a “B” (General Building) and “C-39” (Roofing) qualification, can I have three licenses per classification, or does it follow the person?

A: It follows the individual. A qualifying person can only be on up to three licenses at a time, regardless of classifications, within a one-year period.

Q: My Father passed away last weekend. He has a Sole Proprietor license with projects in progress right now. Last year, we had started the process to transfer his personal license to a corporation which my wife and I are part owners in. Setting up the corporation was as far as we got. Now that he is no longer around, am I still able to get his license number in the corporation’s name since I am a family member? What do we do about the projects currently in process? Am I permitted to finish them?

A: I’m so sorry for your loss. With regards to the current projects, you, as an immediate family member can request a continuance for his license. This must be received by the CSLB within 90 days of his passing. They’ll give you a “reasonable amount of time” to continue work in progress and you can even take on new work during that time. At the same time, you can apply for your own license. If you are wanting to keep your dad’s license number, you would be required to obtain the license as a Sole Proprietor, and then you can immediately transfer it to the corporation which you and your wife set up. Need more? Call me for further assistance. 

Q: My brother-in-law is a “C-10” (Electrical) qualifier. He recently left the company he worked for, and he and I are going to start an electrical company. Does it matter what we name the business? He seems to remember the CSLB having an issue with his former Company’s business name and there being some back and forth which delayed the licensing process. We don’t want to run into any of that!

A: The CSLB is very particular about business names. Your business name of course cannot be misleading (i.e., you will not be able to call it “ABC Plumbing”), and it also cannot be too “general” such as “ABC Services” or “Systems Inc”. Most anything with “Electrical”, “Electric”, “Power”, “Controls”, etc. in the name should work for a “C-10” contracting business. You’ll want to check the business name with the CA Secretary of State as well to make sure it’s available for use.