Weed & Brush Clearing, RME Departure and Worker Comp Requirement

I will ‘pull-start’ a landscaping question before mowing down a misconception about ongoing changes to worker insurance requirements growing closer every day. Another contractor wants to ‘hedge’ his bet on his RME resigning…

Q: My Partner and I have a contractor’s license in which he is the Qualifying Partner and I am the General Partner on the license. We are going our separate ways and I’ll need to get my own license. Is there any way I will be able to qualify for a Waiver of the exams?

A: You should be able to obtain a waiver of the exams based on Business & Professions code 7065.1. Of course, the CSLB granting a waiver is on a case-by-case basis and will be determined by the review of your work experience and such. 

Q: I have been an electrical contractor for 20 years and have always worked as a subcontract without the need of employees. I incorporated a couple of years ago for tax purposes and added my wife as an Officer/Owner, but she’s not an employee. I was on a job recently where another contractor who is an HVAC license holder, told me that he received a notice from the CSLB recently stating that all ‘C-20’ contractors are required to carry Worker’s Comp even if they don’t employ anyone. He also told me that when he called the CSLB to make sure the notice was accurate, that he was informed that soon all contractors will be required to carry Worker’s Comp insurance. Is that true? 

A: Yes, that is true. That requirement will take effect January 1, 2026.

Q: You recently helped our Company with obtaining a CA license. As you know, we had hired a Responsible Managing Employee (RME) and used his license to obtain our license. Now that we are licensed, we are doing some precautionary planning over here in case our RME were to resign and take the license with him. What is the process if that happens, do we have to start all over again?

A: No, you do not have to start all over again. Licenses are associated with a business entity, and only directly associated with the qualifier if it’s a sole proprietorship license. In your situation, since you are an LLC, the license belongs to the LLC and you will be required to replace your RME. The CSLB gives you 90 days to replace the qualifier, which is usually plenty of time to complete the process.

Q: What type of contractor’s license is required for weed and brush clearing/removal for fire prevention purposes?

A: It depends on the method being used to clear the weeds and brush and whether it’s strictly brush and weeds you are removing. For example, if you are clearing brush and weeds and there is no altering of the grade of the land, and no trees are trimmed or removed, and no stump grinding is done, then a contractor’s license is not required. 

However, if you are using heavy equipment that alter the grade or trimming trees or grinding/removing stumps, and the project is over $500, you would need either the ‘C-12’ Earthwork and Paving license, or the ‘C-61’/’D-49’ Tree Service license, or the ‘C-27’ Landscaping license, depending on what tasks and equipment you are using. We should talk!