Monthly Archives: November 2022

What Is A Class “B” General Building Contractor’s License And Do I Need One?

Are you a contractor performing work in California? Then you need a CSLB Contractor’s License. 

Although there are a number of contractor’s licenses covering a number of different types of work (like HVAC, plumbing, and so on), the most common type of contractor’s license you’ll need is a Class “B” General Building Contractor’s License.

What is a Class B License?
A B-Class or Class “B” Contractor’s License is a requirement for anyone performing contracting work in California that costs more than $500. 

Since most jobs will cost more than that, if you’re doing any sort of general contracting work in California, you will need a Class B license or face severe penalties.

According to the CSLB’s website, a California general building contractors license allows a contractor to build a house or a shelter as long as framing or at least two unrelated trades are being performed. 

For example, a general contractor cannot bid and perform on a project that only requires electrical work to be performed, but a general contractor can subcontract this work to a licensed electrician.

If the project requires both electrical and plumbing work, the general contractor can bid and perform on this contract.

As a general building contractor, you can not take any contracts that involve only one trade, unless the one trade is framing or carpentry.

Requirements for applying for a Class B license
The requirements for obtaining a B-Class License are:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have 4 years of verifiable experience and skills necessary to manage the daily activities of a construction business, including field supervision. In other words, 4 years of on-site work as a journeyman, foreman, supervisor, or contractor in general construction
  • Obtain a Contractor’s Bond of $15,000. This amount will be raised to $25,000 in 2023.
  • Pass The CSLB Exams. You must pass two examinations to get your Class B License – one law and business exam and one trade exam.

How do I get my Class B General Contractor’s License?
The steps to get your B-Class CSLB license are actually very straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting your B-Class license.

  • Determine your eligibility. Do you meet all the requirements laid out above?
  • Apply for the test. Submit your application, pay the fees required, and send a fingerprint sample for a background check.
  • Schedule an exam. Set a date for when you want to take the test.
  • Pass the examinations. Take the two CSLB exams. 
  • Become certified! After you pass the exam, your license will be issued, so long as you can provide your Contractor’s Bond and pay the additional fees needed to receive your license. It takes about a week after your license is issued to receive your certificate!

Taking the CSLB Exam
The hardest part for contractors is the difficult CSLB exam. Many contractors will be just fine handling the trade part of the exam, but a large number of contractors struggle with the other part: the law and business exam.

The law and business exam is filled with many small details concerning old and rare laws. Without proper preparation, many good contractors can fail to get their licenses. 

CSLS offers everything you need when it comes to passing the Class B General Contracting examination on the first try. Learn more about how CSLS can help you get your contracting license today!

How to Pass the CSLB Exam The First Time?

Passing the CSLB Licensing Exams can be extremely difficult for those taking it the first time (or the third or tenth time!). 

While most contractors will be familiar with most of the questions on the Trade Exam, the Law and Business Exam contains a number of difficult questions that could lead to a failing grade – and a delay in getting your California contractor’s license.

A delayed license means lost time – and in the construction world, that’s money left on the table that could instead be in your pocket. You can avoid losing time and money by passing the CSLB Licensing Exam the first time by following these tips when preparing for your upcoming CSLB exam.

Identify Your Weaknesses
The most important thing to narrow in on when you’re studying for the CSLB Exam is knowing where to focus your time and energy – what areas do you need to spend the most time on?

For many contractors, this is going to be the Law and Business Exam, which is filled with a lot of unfamiliar and specific laws and guidelines.

Before you even start studying, it’s crucial that you spend the time at the beginning finding the areas that you should spend the most time on, so you don’t waste time studying subjects that you already know well.

Break Up The Work
When studying, it’s important that you break up the work in ways that allow you to best retain the information. Breaking subjects and topics into smaller chunks will give you the best chance to be able to answer the many specific questions you will face on the exam.

Break up your studying into small pieces that you can become an expert in a small amount of time. Maybe you spend a week focused on one particular subject, so you can master a single subject before moving onto the next one. Maybe you focus on the things that are most difficult to you first, so you can get the hardest things out of the way first.

There’s a lot of information on the CSLB exams, so breaking it up into small pieces is the only way to effectively learn all of it.

Teach It To Others
The best way to learn is to teach the information you are learning to another person. During the course of your preparation for the exam, you may find it extremely helpful to teach the knowledge you’ve gained to someone else.

You may annoy your family and friends, but teaching others the concepts you’ve learned will help strengthen your memory – and help you pass the exam the first time.

Practice Exams
Practice makes perfect, and the CSLB examination is no different. It’s important to constantly test yourself as you prepare for the exam, to make sure that you are progressing in a way that will allow you to pass the test.

Practice exams will also allow you to see your progress – as you continue to study, your score should continue going up as you practice and retain more information. It will also help you feel more comfortable on the day of the exam, as many practice exams will reflect the exact same format as the actual exam.

Get Guidance
The CSLB exam can be extremely difficult even if you’re prepared. It’s almost impossible without any preparation or help.

If you’re worried about passing the CSLB exams – and want to give yourself the best possible chance of passing your first time – CSLS has everything you need to succeed. 

With a series of CSLB-specific prep classes, a series of practice exams for you to test yourself, and accessibility for Spanish speakers, CSLS can help you pass the CSLB exam the first time, so you can start making more money right now. Learn more about CSLS’s exam prep classes and practice exams today!

What Are the Different Types of Contractor’s Licenses in California?

If you’re a construction contractor in California working on jobs over $500, you have to have a license with the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) in order to legally perform work in the state. 

However, there are a number of different classes of licenses provided by the CSLB, all of which cover different areas of construction in California. 

It can be confusing to know exactly which type of license you need for a particular job – so let’s take a look at the various licenses to make sure you know exactly which type of license you need.

Class A – General Engineering Contractor
The Class “A” license is the General Engineering Contractor’s license. This license is specifically for engineers – for people whose “principal business is in connection with fixed works requiring specialized engineering knowledge and skill.”

You need a Class A license if your business involves specialized engineering knowledge in areas such as: irrigation, drainage, harbors, hydroelectric projects, airports, tunnels, bridges, parks, streets, sewage, and so on.

The Class A license is for engineers who have a 4-year degree in engineering. You must still fulfill all the other obligations of the other CSLB licenses.

Class B – General Building Contractor
The most popular of all the CSLB licenses, the Class B General Building Contractor License is for any contractor whose business involves building homes or shelters for people, animals or other property. 

A Class B license is required for:

  • Anyone building a structure built as a home or other shelter for people, animals or property
  • Any construction of a structure involving at least two trades
  • Jobs over $500

A person with a Class B License can:

  • Oversee full construction of structures designed for shelter of people, animals, or property
  • Perform any carpentry or framing work
  • Subcontract out trade work

A person with a Class B License cannot:

  • Take a contract for trade work involving anything other than framing or carpentry unless it involves two unrelated trades other than framing or carpentry
  • Take any subcontract for trade work involving trades other than carpentry or framing, unless the subcontract requires two unrelated trades other than carpentry or framing

Class B-2 – Residential Remodeling Contractor
A Class B-2 contract is very similar to the Class B contract, but it is for people whose sole business is remodeling, or as the CSLB puts it: “a contractor whose contracting business is…to make improvements on or in an existing residential wood frame structure.”

A Class B-2 License is required for:

  • Anyone who does remodeling of existing structures as their primary business
  • Jobs over $500

A person with a Class B-2 License can:

  • Work on any remodeling project involving three unrelated building trades
  • Take prime contracts for trades or crafts such as drywall, flooring, siding, painting and so no.
  • Self-perform or subcontract any trades out to licensed subcontractors

A person with a Class B-2 License cannot:

  • Work on any job that requires a build from scratch – it must be remodeling
  • Work on any remodeling jobs that require less than 3 unrelated trades
  • Do fire protection, asbestos abatement, or well drilling work without the appropriate specialty license


Class C – Specialty Contractor’s License
A Class C license from the CSLB is required for anyone whose operations require special skills and whose contracting business requires the use of these specialized building skills. There are currently 65 different specialties that require a Class C license.

Essentially, you need a Class C license if you are a specialty tradesperson as your primary contracting business.

If you perform any specialized work in the following trades, you need a Class C License from the CSLB:

  • Insulation and acoustical
  • Boiler, Hot-Water Heating, and Steam Fitting
  • Framing and Rough Carpentry
  • Cabinet, Millwork, and Finish Carpentry
  • Low Voltage Systems
  • Concrete
  • Drywall
  • Electrical
  • Elevator
  • Earthwork and Paving
  • Fencing
  • Flooring and Floor Covering
  • Fire Protection
  • Glazing
  • Warm-Air Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC)
  • Building Moving/Demolition
  • Asbestos Abatement
  • Ornamental Metal
  • Landscaping
  • Lock and Security Equipment
  • Masonry
  • Construction Zone Traffic Control
  • Parking and Highway Improvement
  • Painting and Decorating
  • Pipeline
  • Lathing and Plastering
  • Plumbing
  • Refrigeration
  • Roofing
  • Sanitation System
  • Sheet Metal
  • Sign
  • Solar
  • General Manufactured Housing
  • Reinforcing Steel
  • Structural Steel
  • Swimming Pool
  • Ceramic and Mosaic Tile
  • Water Conditioning
  • Well Drilling
  • Welding


Which One Do I Need?
Which Contractor’s License you need from the CSLB depends on what kind of contracting you do primarily for your job.

If you’re an engineer, you need a Class “A” License.

If you’re a general contractor, you need a Class “B” License.

If you’re a remodeling contractor, you need a Class “B-2” License.

If you’re a tradesperson working in a specialized field of work, you need a Class “C” License.

Whatever license you need from the CSLB, CSLS can help you get there with extensive courses that will arm you with the knowledge you need to pass the CSLB exam and become a licensed contractor. Start your contracting business today with CSLS!

How to Protect Against Power Outages On Your Construction Site

As temperatures rise across California and air-conditioning puts a greater strain on the state’s power grid, the likelihood of power outages increases – especially in the hotter months. 

Contractors need to be prepared for possible blackouts or brownouts on their job sites. Just because the power’s out doesn’t mean clients become less demanding or that timelines increase.

Here’s how you can be prepared for power outages on your construction site.

How Much Power Do You Need On A Construction Site?
The first step in making a strong power plan for your construction site is knowing how much power you need. Make a list of your most common equipment that you use on your jobs and the power each of them requires.  Don’t forget tools you wouldn’t normally associate with construction – like phones, computers, fans and so on.

Identify the amount of energy all of these pieces of equipment require and you’ll be able to figure out exactly how much power you need to run your site.

Use Batteries Where Possible
Whenever possible, try to use equipment that can run on batteries as a backup. This way, if the outlets aren’t working, you have a stable source of energy for your equipment that doesn’t require electricity. 

The good thing about batteries is you can stockpile them – you’re only limited by the amount of batteries you have and how charged they are. They also don’t require ventilation like fuel-powered equipment does, giving you more flexibility for use.

Make sure you’re charging as many batteries as you could possibly need before days where blackouts might occur – it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

Generators Are Necessary
Even if you have gear with batteries, you need somewhere to charge the used ones. A backup generator (or two) is absolutely necessary on construction jobs where you might lose power. 

Nowadays, any decent-sized generator will be able to charge electronic devices quickly and effectively, so you can always have fresh batteries on hand. 

Just make sure you know how to use your generator, that it can be placed in an outdoor area with plenty of ventilation for the exhaust, and that you have enough fuel to last as long as the outage.

Plan Ahead
Realistically, you don’t have to drag your generator to every job site – usually you can find out in advance when and where blackouts are likely to occur.

Sustained heat puts a lot of stress on the power grid across California. You can find information about where and when to expect blackouts on your local energy provider’s website ahead of time. On those days, make sure you’re prepared.

Being blackout-prepared is just one tiny skill that a contractor needs to know. Enroll in CSLS today to learn everything you need to be a successful licensed contractor in California!


How To Secure Your Construction Site During A Shutdown

Site shutdowns can happen for any number of reasons – loss of funding, safety issues, natural disasters, political issues, and so on. A site shutdown that is beyond your control is an inevitability for contractors – it’s a matter of “when” , not “if”.

When you’re not on site, any number of things can happen. The most common issues contractors run into are fires, water and weather damage, as well as theft and vandalism.

So how can you protect your job site while you wait for permission to start work again? Here’s a few different things to take care of before you shut the whole thing down.

Make A “Stop Work” Plan
As contractors, we should always be planning for the worst case scenario to happen. Construction is an extremely volatile industry prone to random stoppages – so having a plan to deal with anything is critical.

To deal with any situation where you have to stop work immediately, having a plan for stopping work – a “Stop Work” Plan – goes a long way. 

This plan contains all of the protocols and procedures for shutting down a worksite safely and effectively, so that you’re protected from the risks that come along with having to stop work. 

This plan will include precautions to take with regards to weather, water, fire, theft, vandalism, trespassing, destruction, and general public safety with regards to the jobsite. Here’s a few ways to deal with these in your Stop Work plan.

To fireproof your site, always make sure you remove anything flammable or combustible from the job site. This includes electronics like space heaters. 

Ensure your fire sprinkler systems are working, if you intend to maintain them during non-operation. If they’re not active, drain the lines and secure the main water supply valves to prevent use.

Make sure your job is waterproof by shutting off any domestic water supply to the site. Search the site thoroughly for any leaks or running water and make sure they are taken care of before leaving the site.

Don’t leave anything that’s unsealed or temporarily sealed to weather, along with any walls or exposed roofs. Set up some sort of leak detection technology to ensure that water doesn’t ruin all your hard work while you’re gone.

Ensure everything that could be affected by weather is properly protected and secured. 

Cover lumber, drywall or anything that could rot by simply being exposed to moisture. Protect any electric outlets from exposure to the elements. Disassemble and remove anything that could break, snap or otherwise be destroyed by winds or moisture. 

Continuous security is necessary to keep your assets protected. 

At the very least, build a fence around the perimeter of the site, and ensure it is constantly maintained. All gates should be locked with padlocks to deter entry. Secure all work trailers or storage with heavy locks.

Continuous security of your construction site also means foot patrols, motion detectors and video security systems. You need to keep eyes on your site at all times, both in-person and remotely.

The easiest way to stop theft or vandalism is to remove anything valuable from your site – give thieves no reason to enter the site in the first place. Easily-removed tech like computers or tablets should be taken to a storage facility until work begins again. 

These are the easiest ways to protect against the most common threats facing a closed jobsite. Learn more best practices for construction sites (and become your own boss) by enrolling at CSLS today!


How to Avoid Going Over Budget On A Construction Project

Budgeting for a construction project nowadays seems like an impossible task. There are constant changes in supply, material costs seem to keep rising, and projects themselves seem to be getting more and more complex.

However, it is possible to stick to your budget throughout the process – it just requires a consistent focus on the details. 

Here are a few crucial components to staying under budget on your construction projects.

Re-Analyze Your Bid Before Starting Work
If you’re hired on a construction project, that means the client believes in your ability to get the job done – and part of that job means being honest with yourself about the budget after you win the job.

It’s crucial that you go through your budget after to make sure your proposed costs haven’t changed since your client reviewed the bid and report back any changes. 

Sometimes years can go by between a client accepting your bid and you actually starting the work – so going back to reassess your budget when you’ve finally got the green light is critical to delivering.

Clients often expect budgets to change once the actual work begins and real world issues like material cost changes begin to arise. It’s your job to make sure they have an accurate picture of what it’s going to cost before you start. It saves you both pain later on.

Always Budget Conservatively
The old saying “under-promise and over-deliver” could not be more true when it comes to budgeting. When you’re reviewing your initial bid and updating your budget to reflect any changes, always supply the client with the most conservative budget you can.

By doing this, you set their expectations of what it will cost at the very most. Then, when you deliver the project under this conservative construction budget, you look like a hero to your client and your client is happy they saved money. Win-win.

Communicate Quickly and Constantly
As the project moves along, there will inevitably be changes in budget. A material may cost more than you initially planned or a piece of the plan may be more difficult to execute. It is critical that you communicate any of these changes to your client as soon as possible.

Nobody wants to be surprised by the price of something. Communicating these changes in budget with your customer, ensures that you avoid the client feeling ambushed at any point down the line. 

Document Everything
Always stay on top of any changes in budget, make sure that you have communicated these changes in writing, and always get them to sign off on these changes. This way both you and client have a paper trail either of you can point back to in the case of a dispute.

By documenting every change in budget and confirming it with the client, you’re protecting yourself from any issue the client may have with cost. It also protects you from any legal action as you have essentially created a series of contracts with them with each agreement.

Budgeting is an essential skill of an expert contractor. Learn everything you need to know about budgeting – and much more – by enrolling at CSLS today!