Suspended, Borrowed License and Qualifier Removal

It takes a ‘turn-around back flip’ and an expert save to get our first contractor on the right track! Has another mistakenly ‘broken’ the law? While your license may be ‘suspended’ it isn’t ‘dead’ until you really ask for it…

Q:  My company has the “B” and “C-33” (Painting) on our license.  Our Qualifier left the company last year, and I replaced him on the license for only the “C-33” classification because we are really a painting company and we don’t do any building work.  I marked the box on the application asking that they not remove the previous Qualifier until I was added.  They added me as the Painting Qualifier, however they didn’t remove the former Qualifier.  Therefore, when we received our renewal, he is still listed on there as a Responsible Managing Officer (RMO).  I understand the renewal will not be acceptable without all of the Qualifier’s signatures, and he is not going to want to sign this.  Any ideas?

A:  Let’s jump right into this, you are correct that you must have all Qualifiers signatures on the renewal form, so you’ll need to have him removed and then order another renewal without his name on the form. Based on the copy of the application you submitted for replacing your former Qualifier for only the “C-33” classification where you clearly marked the box to remove the former Qualifier upon adding you, I contacted the CSLB and was able to have it corrected and the license now shows him Disassociated on the same day you were added.  Now you’ll need to order a new renewal, which will only show your name on it.  You can call the CSLB to order one (which can take about two weeks to get to you), or we can pick one up for you in person with a permission letter and have it to you same day.  Call our office if you’d like help.

Q:  Is it appropriate for a company who has an employee or shareholder with a GC license to use that individual’s license?

A:  No, that is not appropriate or legal.  The company itself needs to have its own license in order to do contracting work.  The company can use the employee or shareholder as the Qualifier (assuming they meet all the requirements), but they would need to go through the registration and application process.

Q:  It’s been over 90 days since our Qualifier left our company, so our license is currently Suspended for lack of Qualifier.  Is there a point when the CSLB eventually pulls the license or terminates it?  We aren’t currently doing any work, but we don’t want to lose the license.

A:  No, the license will remain suspended until you replace the former Qualifier.  The CSLB doesn’t “terminate” a license unless the Contractor requests them to do so.

Stock or Asset Sales, RMO’s and Foreign Experience Credits

Does experience gained with a foreign ‘accent’ count here at home? My expert second opinion rights an inadvertent ‘wrong’ and helps prevent another mistake. While some questions are easy to learn from, sometimes more information or space to answer may be required so I always welcome your call or call back! …

Q:  I currently live in Spain, but I’m originally from the States.  My company wants me to move back (and frankly, I do too) and manage work that’s been proposed in CA.  The catch is, I’ve been living here for over ten years.  I have been an Engineering Contractor all of my life and while working in Spain I have been overseeing projects and managing all of the work being done, however I haven’t actually done any of the work for quite some time.  My company wants me to be the license holder in CA.  I have a college degree too if that means anything.  Does the CSLB consider work done outside of the United States, or does your experience have to be from California in order to get licensed?

A:  The CSLB absolutely accepts experience gained outside of the USA, however it may take some additional documentation.  The State of California welcomes all Contractors and will issue Contractor’s licenses as long as the experience is backed up, possibly with W-2’s (or the equivalent) or permits (if they required them where your experience was gained), or some other type of documentation.  

Q:  Is it true that a Vice President cannot be a Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) on a California contractor license?  I called the CSLB today to clarify how to fill out an application form and was told that the only Officers they allow to be RMO’s are President, Treasurer and Secretary.  According to what I was told, our Vice President is going to have be listed as a Responsible Managing Employee (RME) on our license.  In previous years we have had Vice Presidents as RMO’s, so we were surprised today to find out that is not allowed.  Is this a new policy, or were we never actually allowed to have VP’s as RMO’s?

A:  That is absolutely not a new policy, nor a correct one.  The call center is usually very good at giving out accurate information, but it is like any other agency where you may need a second opinion.  A company can have as many Vice Presidents as they want without them being listed with the Secretary of State.  The CSLB needs your personnel to match what is listed at the Secretary of State level, so it’s likely the person you spoke with was referring to the fact that “Officers” need to match the Secretary of State filing.  And because the Secretary of State is only concerned with President, Secretary, and Treasurer, and not Vice Presidents, that’s where the disconnect happened.  BUT you should absolutely not list your RMO/Vice President as an RME.  That would not be appropriate.  

Q: I have a Contractor’s license with a ‘dba’ (doing business as).  I’m going to be selling my ‘dba’ side, but I want to keep my corporation intact and still be able to do business. Can you help me with the process?  

A:  I can help you with the process, for sure, however I need to know more background with regards to the sale.  For example, are you only selling the use of the dba name (in which case I cannot answer whether or not that’s even possible)? Will it be a stock sale or an asset sale?  And all that being said, are you selling the corporation or just the use of the name? Let’s talk! 

New License Number, General Landscaping and “C-10”

Our first contractor makes the ‘grade’ and gets an “A” while another is looking ahead to the finish line in hope for a ‘checkered’ flag. An attorney who has done the right thing discovers his client has had a last minute ‘change’ of heart. Now what? …

Q:  I have a “C-27” (Landscaping) license.  I believe I need an “A” (General Engineering) license.  We do earthwork that involves much more than average landscaping work.  This would be for farms, orchards, and row crops on a variety of agricultural fields.

Services include:

  • Hydraulic design for conveyance pipelines and micro-drip/sprinkler irrigation systems
  • Trenching
  • Excavation
  • Earth grading upon excavation completion
  • Electrical work in association with agricultural pumping stations
  • Concrete flatwork in association with pumping stations
  • Welding and fabrication of steel piping in association with pumping stations
  • Sometimes boring of pipelines (normally subcontracted due to permits)

Essentially the complete construction and implementation of each individual irrigation system includes a multitude of trades from design, installation and completion.

A:  The CSLB places no limits on the size of an irrigation system that a “C-27” Landscaping contractor can install, however the “C-34” Pipeline classification or the “A” General would likely be required for large scale agricultural irrigation. 

Q:  We (meaning our corporation) are wanting to add a “C-10” (Electrical) classification to our license.  We currently hold the “B” (General Building).  Is there any special consideration for the time frame we already submitted for the “B” (General Building)?  Or do we need to do a whole different Work Experience page for the different classification?  And can we use the same Certifier, or would that raise red flags?

A: Thank you for contacting us.  The CSLB will consider the time claimed, however you must show at least four years of full-time work experience doing electrical work (“C-10”) within the last ten years.  You can absolutely use the same certifier.  The person who signs off on your experience can be anyone who has firsthand knowledge of your work background.

Q:  I am an attorney and my client currently is a corporate license that we are closing down in order for them to do business in California under their Limited Liability Company (LLC).  When we submitted the application for the new LLC, there was a form to fill out about whether we wanted a new license number issued or if we wanted our current license number transferred.  We checked the box stating that we wanted a new license number issued.  My client received the fingerprinting paperwork and now informed me that they now want to keep the same license number.  Is it too late to make the request?

A: Being that fingerprinting paperwork has already been sent out, that tells me the application has been “posted”.  Posted means they have the basic requirements to process the application.  Usually once an application has been posted you can no longer make changes to it because all the original information has been entered in their system.  However, the request for license number re-issuance isn’t processed until they actually issue the license, so they will likely accept your amended request for re-issuance.

Waiver Experience, Fingerprinting and Subcontractor Licenses

‘Alexa, bundle my renewal’ won’t cut it either as some things still require individual paperwork, and if it sounds too good to be true ‘clarification’ is likely needed. Finally, a cross country contractor is getting started with the wrong ‘directions’…

Q:  I am a General Contractor in California and I have a painter who is soliciting us to have my Company hire him as a sub-contractor to do some painting work for us.  I asked him for his license number and he said that sub-contractors are not required to be licensed, and he can simply work under my General Contractor’s License.  That doesn’t sound right to me.  Can you clarify?

A:  The only way an individual can work under a company’s license, is if that individual is directly employed by the company.  Sub-contractors are required to be licensed for any work done over $500 (labor and materials included). 

Q:  My boss has a Sole Proprietor license that is current and Active, and it’s due to expire on January 31st of next year.  He also has an application in process in which he is applying to be the Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) for a company he will be working for once their license is issued.  Is he still required to renew his Sole Proprietor license, or will the new application automatically take care of renewing his personal license?

A:  No, it will not be automatic.  He will still need to submit a renewal application and pay the required fee.  If your boss owns at least 20% of the new LLC, he can renew his personal license Active.  If he owns less than 20%, he should renew his license Inactive.

Q:  You are helping us with obtaining a “C-45” Contractor’s License in CA.  Our Qualifier was approved and scheduled for an exam on December 15th.  He also received the fingerprint information.  Is it okay for him to fly out to California early and do the fingerprints prior to the exam, or does he need to wait until he passes the exam to complete the fingerprint requirement?

A:  Once you receive the fingerprint request forms, you can be fingerprinted at any time.  He does not need to wait until he passes the exams to get them done. 

Q:  I have been a General Building contractor licensed in Louisiana for over 15 years.  I am filling out an Original License Application “Waiver” because I will be providing my license verification from Louisiana which I already have back from them.  Do I still need to complete the Certification of Work Experience page that’s part of the application?  

A:  Yes, you do.  Even if you believe you are eligible for a Waiver, the CSLB still requires that you have the experience section of the application completed and document at least five years of journey-level experience.  Also, I believe you have the wrong directions and you are completing it incorrectly.  Please call my office and we’d be happy to help you out with the process and make sure you have the right start with the proper forms.

Registered Agent, LLC Conversion and Acceptable Experience

If you are a contractor, I can help you and sometimes the answer is ‘fast’, other times they are just ‘hard’. Something different for a ‘change’, and a contractor looking for a special ‘agent’ wraps it up…

Q:  I am interested in applying for a General Building (“B”) license, but I am unsure whether I will qualify or not.  I went to a technical school for HVAC training back in 1993 and since then I have been doing general maintenance construction work including some remodels.  All of this has been done on a referral basis.  I’ve done a lot of painting, floor installs, and even many paver installations.  I can document my work history with pictures/images, and I have many references who can vouch for my experience.  Do you have any advice as to whether I would be approved to sit for the exam?

A:  I am not in the position to give you a hard and fast “yes” or “no” answer, however I can tell you that based on what you’ve described, it will be difficult to get approved.  As you may be aware, the CSLB requires that you document at least four years of fulltime work experience in the trade you are applying for within the last ten years.  That being said, any training from more than ten years ago will not be considered.  

Also, the CSLB does not accept photos/images as a form of verifiable experience.  For the “B” classification, your fulltime work experience needs to include Framing and at least two unrelated trades.  It sounds like you have the two unrelated trades (Flooring and Painting), but you didn’t mention Framing.  You can feel free to give me a call anytime to further discuss your experience and the likelihood of success.

Q:  I am an attorney and I have a client who is looking to sell their business which is currently a Corporation.  The buyer intends to convert to a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and transfer the license number.  From the research I’ve done, both from your articles online at as well as the CSLB website, I understand the personnel of the current Corporation and the new LLC all need to be the same on both entities in order to accomplish this.  If the Managers/Members of the new LLC change shortly after the license number is transferred, is that acceptable?  In other words, does the requirement for having the same personnel need to be indefinite?  If the answer is no, how do we notify the CSLB and when?

A:  The personnel of the original Corporate license does not have to indefinitely match the personnel of the LLC.  Once the license number is transferred, you can update the personnel at any time.  Once updated with the Secretary of State, you have 90 days to notify the CSLB of the change.

Q:  You helped me obtain my Sole Proprietor license last year.  I’m going to incorporate and transfer my number.  I was wondering if your company provides Registered Agent services, or can I be my own Registered Agent?

A:  We do offer Registered Agent services so please contact me if you’d like to get that set up.  You can act as your own Registered Agent as long as you have a California address.

Installing Tubs, Info Statements and Disassociation Notices

Cut to the chase, cut red tape, it’s what I do every day for contractors. Problems solved here are a lesson to all, but thirty years of experience has shown me another new problem is always just a week away. Key word for our first question is ‘responsible’, another contractor knows his stuff, but an expert opinion is always a wise choice. I wrap it up with a question that ‘rocks’…

Q:  I was the qualifier for the Company that I previously worked for.  I had eight different classifications.  I left the company about six months ago, and just out of curiosity, I looked up their license and noticed I am still listed as the Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) so they have just been using my license this entire time.  I found a “Disassociation Notice” on the CSLB’s website, but my question is, do I need to fill out a form for each classification, or does one Disassociation Notice work for all of the classifications?

A:  One Disassociation Notice will remove you from the license completely for all classifications.  

Q:  You are helping me with the process of replacing the RMO on our license with a request to Waive the exams.  I reviewed our latest filing with the Secretary of State, and it shows me as President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Director.  I’m the only one listed.  I remember you had said there is way to keep him on as an Officer, but does that mean I also need to file a new Statement of Information to list him as well?

A:  That is correct, you can keep him on the license as an Officer.  As long as you have a designated President, Secretary, and Treasurer with the Secretary of State that matches what you have on file with the CSLB, there is no need to list him on the Statement of Information.  For example, you can elect to have two Presidents or two Secretaries, etc. with the CSLB, however both are not required to be listed with the Secretary of State.  “Vice Presidents” are also not required to be listed with the Secretary of State, but they can be on the Contractor’s as Officers. Confused? Call me! 

Q:  One of our clients is requesting that we obtain a Contractor’s License in California.  We are a Hospitality contractor (out of Colorado) and we install the tub and shower surrounds in hotel bathrooms.  Our client suggested we look in to the “C-54” (Ceramic and Mosaic Tile) classification.  Is that what you would suggest also?  Is there an exam for the “C-54”?

A:  The “C-54” would work if the showers and bathtubs are tiled or stone, however you would not be able to install non-tile (such as cast iron, steel, plastic, fiberglass) shower walls or tubs.  And yes, there is a law and trade exam for the “C-54” license.  A “C-61”/”D-12” (Synthetic Products) contractor can install plastic and/or fiberglass tubs/shower enclosures, and the C61/D12 classification does not require a trade exam.

Exam Waivers, NV “C-1” and Criminal History Disclosure

2 B or not 2 B is not the question, rather we shall “C-1”, but only if the fee has been paid in NV. We roll the dice with another contractor and it comes up 11, CA application question 11 that is and share the rules for a contractor making a Qualifier change….

Q:  We have a Nevada “C-1” (Plumbing and Heating) license.  We recently started installing fire sprinklers, because we recognized we are permitted to, based on the sub-category “C-1b” (Fire Sprinklers).  What is the difference between the “C-1b” and the “C-41” (Fire Protection) license?  Also, with our NV “C-1” license, are we permitted to work on all project types, i.e. residential, multi-family, apartments, commercial, etc?

A:  The “C-1b” classification allows you to install fire sprinklers only, while the “C-41” (Fire Protection) classification is broader in applications.  The NV Fire Protection class allows you to do automatic fire sprinkler installation, fixed fire extinguishing systems, and fire alarm installations.  Nevada doesn’t differentiate between residential and commercial, so yes, you can do all types of projects with your “C-1” license.  

When you initially obtained the license, you were required to either pay into the residential recovery fund or sign an Exemption form stating you wouldn’t be doing residential work in Nevada.  If your company paid into the fund, you are good to go!  If your company signed the Exemption, you will want to be sure to pay the required residential recovery fund fee before you start doing residential work.

Q:  With respect to Question 11 on the Original Contractor’s License application, it requires disclosure of misdemeanors in the US or a foreign country.  In some jurisdictions a speeding ticket can be a misdemeanor.  Does the CA Contractors State License Board require disclosure of those?

A:  Traffic tickets don’t need to be disclosed unless it was something like DUI or reckless driving or if there was aggravating factors.  If you are unsure whether to disclose it or not, I always recommend just answering ‘yes’, completing the disclosure, and then if the CSLB determines it’s not a “conviction” that’s relevant to that question, they will just ignore it.  BUT, if you don’t disclose something and they find something that should have been disclosed, there is a possibility of your application being deemed “falsified”.  That being said, if it was merely a speeding ticket, no need to disclose.

Q:  We have a current license with the following classifications: “C-36”, “C-20”, “B” (General Building), “C-43”, “C-4”, and “C-2”.  Is there any way we can have one of our employees take over the license as the Qualifier without needing to take the exams?

A:  I looked up the license and the current Qualifier has held those classifications for well over five years.  B&P Code Section 7065.1 allows for an employee who has worked in a Supervisory capacity for over five years to request to Waive the exams.  He/she will need to document at least four years of full-time work experience in each classification.  The employee will likely also need to provide five years of W-2’s. 

Certified License History, Pressure Wash Licensing and Fingerprinting

A ‘digital’ question gets us rolling! I will ‘blast’ through another while under pressure to clean up some confusion about power washing before wrapping up ‘history’ for our last contractor…

Q:  I have a question regarding the fingerprinting process. If I am understanding correctly, because I am an out of state resident, I need to take the fingerprint card to a police or sheriff’s office here in Alabama, complete it and mail it in. It sounds like the LiveScan service is for CA residents only.  Is this correct?

A:  Live scan services are not for California residents only, however live scan fingerprints for the CSLB can only be done in California in order for them to be sent electronically.  If you do the fingerprints outside of California, it can add weeks, and sometimes months, to the process.

Q:  Our company does pressure washing (or power washing).  One of my clients recently requested to have our Contractor’s license number in order to complete their project.  We have been doing pressure washing for over eight years without a Contractor’s license.  We don’t use any chemicals or detergents or soaps or any abrasive materials that are typically used in water blasting.  Our equipment setup uses water at 3,500 PSI and 4.7 GPM.  It was my understanding that it was considered water “blasting” when it reached at least 10,000 PSI and 8 GPM, in which case a contractor’s license would be necessary.  Can you clarify?

A:  If the cost of the pressure washing/blasting project is over $500, including labor and materials, a Contractor’s License will be required.  The “C-61””D38” (Sand and Water Blasting) classification would be the license you would need to obtain.

Q:  I have had a Responsible Managing Employee (RME) on my license since its inception.  He left the company in March of last year (2018).  I applied to add myself as the Qualifier shortly after he resigned, and I requested a 90-day extension, which was granted.  I had several personal matters come up during the process, including a death in the family, and I kept having to re-schedule my exams.  I had until September to replace the RME, but the process was actually completed in early August.  If you look at my license online, it shows the former RME Disassociated on March 14th and then I became the Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) on August 8th.  One of my current clients has an attorney who is looking at my license and stating that it was suspended from June 14th thru August 7th due to not having a Qualifier.  I understand that would make sense- if- I wasn’t granted the 90-day extension.  How do I prove that my license has been in good standing all along?

A:  The only way to show proof of that would be to order a Certified License History from the CSLB which will give you the history of any suspensions, expirations, etc.  We can order the documents for you so please contact us if you’d like our assistance.

Retaking Exams, Comp Suspension and License Transfer to an LLC

The second question should probably be first, but the suspense is too great! 

A complicated question from a lawyer that has its roots in a contractor’s ‘family tree’. Finally, a worried applicant may need a second, or third, or fourth ‘take’ to pass his contractor’s exam, and that’s okay! …

Q:  Our license is currently Suspended because the CSLB has not processed the Worker’s Comp certificate that our insurance company submitted yet.  It’s also up for renewal and expires at the end of the month.  If I submit the Renewal application with a Suspended license, will they still renew it timely?

A:  I would suggest submitting the Renewal application with the Worker’s Comp Certificate and then they will process them together.  As long as the CSLB has an acceptable Renewal before the expiration date, they will retroactively renew the license.  They are taking about three weeks right now to process renewal so the sooner you send it in the better!

Q:  I am an Attorney and I have a client whose Trust I’m handling.  He unfortunately is not doing well.  He has a Sole Proprietor Contracting business that his Son has basically been running for the last 6+ years.  Before he “took over”, the Son worked for him for at least 10 years prior.  The Son would like to continue the business with the low license number but operate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC).  Let’s say the Father applies now to transfer his license number to an LLC.  If he were to pass away, does that license number go away because it was originally his number, or does it now belong to the LLC?  If it’s the latter, can the Son take over the license?  And would he need to take the exams?

A:  Three questions and I have three answers for you.  If the Father transfers the license number to an LLC, then the license number would remain with the LLC if anything unfortunate and unexpected were to happen to the Father.  Being that the Son has worked for his Dad for so long, he would be able to qualify to take over the license as the Qualifier.  There are only a few ways to qualify for a Waiver of the exams, and given the background you gave me, he would likely qualify, however please call me to discuss this further. 

Q:  My company wants me to be the Responsible Managing Employee (RME) for their “A” (General Engineering) license.  I applied for my own personal license just to get through the exam before I go through the process of applying as their RME.  I have a test scheduled for next month, but they are pressuring me to get started on the process of getting the company licensed.  What happens if I don’t pass the exams?  I don’t want to hold the company up any longer than I have to.

A:  If you don’t pass the exams the first time around, the CSLB requires that you wait three weeks to re-take them.  You can take the exams as many times as you need to within an 18-month period.     

Bond Indemnitors and General Solar Installation

In our age of Roomba’s and robot chefs, some things are still not ‘automatic’ with a contractor’s licensing paperwork. When you add one and one you don’t always equal two in this interpretation of contractor regulation. Go figure, it’s kind of a ‘trade’ off…

Q:  My husband and I started a company approximately two years ago.  The way we set it up was I was the President, Secretary, and Treasurer, and he was the Director.  We have recently separated, and I am remembering that I had signed for a Contractor’s Bond for the company.  I signed because the bonding company had informed us the rates were based on credit and I have the better credit score.  I have already disassociated from the Contractor’s license and Secretary of State personnel list.  Does the CSLB automatically remove me from the Bond so that I’m not responsible if there happens to be a claim against it?

A:  No, the CSLB does not automatically remove you as the Indemnitor on the Bond.  I urgently recommend contacting the bonding company you purchased the Bond from to determine the necessary actions you need to take. Stuff happens, so don’t wait. 

Q:  I am a homeowner and I found your website while searching the internet for help.  It looks like your company is more an advocate for Contractors and attorneys representing them, however, from your articles I read, it appears you can most likely answer my question.  I am hiring a Contractor to install solar panels on our roof.  He has a “B” (General Building) license.  I have used him in the past for other repairs and additions, so I trust him.  So, here is my question…can he do Solar work?  Because I read online that “B” Contractors can only contract for a job if they are doing two unrelated trades. 

A:  Thank you for contacting Capitol Services!  I don’t often hear from homeowners but I’m happy to answer your question.  You are correct in that “B” Contractors do need to be doing at least two unrelated trades on the same job, however, “Solar” in and of itself is considered two unrelated trades.