California Contractors State License Board


Please Note

We are a service company that can help you file with the California Contractors State License Board. We are not associated with this nor any other government agency. We offer paid services and software to help you file. You are not required to purchase our service to file - you may file directly with this agency without using our service.


Contact Information

Physical address:
9821 Business Park Dr.
Sacramento, California 95827

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 26000
Sacramento, California 95826

Phone: 916-255-3900

Web: Home Name search

Licenses

We track the following licenses with the California Contractors State License Board in order to provide compliance services to our clients. As a client, you see this and other reference data in License Manager in-line with your licenses.

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California Contractor License

Agency:California Contractors State License Board
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Yes
Bond Requirements:

  • All contractors must have a $15,000 contractor's bond on file with CSLB.
  • An additional $12,500 qualifying individual's bond must be filed for contractors that are qualified by a responsible managing employee.
  • All LLC licenses are required to obtain a $100,000 surety bond as well.
Notes:

Exemptions: 

The following projects or individuals may be exempt from licensing:

  • A project for which the combined value of labor, materials, and all other costs on one or more contracts is less than $500. Work on a larger project, may not be broken down to smaller amounts of less than $500 in an attempt to meet the $500 exemption;
  • An employee who is paid wages, who does not usually work in an independently established business, and who does not have direction or control over the performance of work or who does not determine the final results of the work or project;
  • Public personnel working on public projects;
  • Officers of a court acting within the scope of their office;
  • Public utilities working under specified conditions;
  • Oil and gas operations performed by an owner or lessee;
  • Owner-builders who build or improve existing structures on their own property if they either do the work themselves or use their own employees (paid in wages) to do the work;
  • Sale or installation of finished products that do not become a fixed part of the structure;
  • A seller of installed carpets who holds a retail furniture dealer's license but who contracts for installation of the carpet with a licensed carpet installer;
  • Security alarm company operators (licensed by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services) who install, maintain, monitor, sell, alter, or service alarm systems (fire alarm company operators must be licensed by CSLB);
  • Persons whose activities consist only of installing satellite antenna systems on residential structures or property. These persons must be registered with the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair.
Qualifying Individual Requirements:
  • A qualifying individual, or simply "qualifier," is the person listed in CSLB records who meets the experience and examination requirements for the license. There must be a qualifying individual for every classification on each license issued by CSLB.
  • The license's qualifying individual is responsible for the employer's (or principal's) construction operations.
  • A person may act as a qualifying individual for more than one active license only if one of the following conditions exists:

    • There is a common ownership of at least 20 percent of the equity of each firm for which the person acts as a qualifier; or
      The additional firm is a subsidiary of or a joint venture with the first; or

    • The majority of the partners or officers are the same.

  • Even if he or she meets the above conditions, A PERSON MAY SERVE AS THE QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL FOR NO MORE THAN THREE FIRMS IN ANY ONE-YEAR PERIOD. If a qualifier disassociates from the third firm, he or she must wait one year before associating with a new third firm.

  • A Responsible Managing Employee (RME) can only act as a qualifying individual for one active license at a time.

  • If you have an individual license, you may be the qualifier or you may designate a Responsible Managing Employee (RME).

  • If you have a partnership license, your qualifier may either be one of the general partners (who shall be designated as the qualifying partner) or the RME.

  • If you have a corporate license, your qualifier may be either one of the officers listed on the CSLB's records for your license (who shall be designated as the Responsible Managing Officer, or RMO), or an RME.

  • If your qualifying individual is a Responsible Managing Employee, he or she must be a bona fide employee of the firm and may not be the qualifier on any other active license. This means that the RME must be regularly employed by the firm and actively involved in the operation of the business at least 32 hours per week or 80 percent of the total business operating hours per week, whichever is less.

Fact Checked:11/14/18

Initial Registration

Form:

Application for Original Contractor License

Agency Fee:

$330 application fee + $200 license fee due after passing the exam.

Turnaround:

https://www2.cslb.ca.gov/OnlineServices/ProcessingTimes/ProcessingTimes.aspx

Original Ink:Not required
Notarize:Not required
Penalties:
  • A contractor license is not necessary as long as you don't advertise yourself as a licensed contractor and never contract for jobs costing $500 or more in combined labor and material costs.
  • Unlicenced contracting is part of the illegal underground economy, and results in serious penalties. The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) pursues violators through its Statewide Investigative Fraud
  • Team undercover sting operations and sweeps of active job sites every week.
  • First-time offenses for contracting without a license are usually a misdemeanor, carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine, along with a potential administrative fine of $200 to $15,000.
  • Penalties increase with subsequent violations. A second conviction can mean a fine of 20 percent of the contract price of the work performed, or a $4,500 fine. Also, the unlicensed contractor can be sentenced to jail for no less than 90 days.
How to Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. File entity formation documents with the California Secretary of State - Business Programs Division.
  2. File an Application for Original Contractor License with the California Contractors State License Board.
  3. Pass the relevant exam for your classification.
  4. After passing the exam, submit the required contractor's bond, proof of insurance, and license fee to the California Contractors State License Board.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. File foreign qualification documents with the California Secretary of State - Business Programs Division.
  2. File an Application for Original Contractor License with the California Contractors State License Board.
  3. Pass the relevant exam for your classification.
  4. After passing the exam, submit the required contractor's bond, proof of insurance, and license fee to the California Contractors State License Board.

Registration Renewal

Agency Fee:

$450

Due:

Biennially

Original Ink:Not required
Notarize:Not required
Notes:

The application to renew a contractor license automatically is sent to current licensees by CSLB about 60 days before an expiration date.

Fact Checked:1/27/21

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