C-10 Electrical Contracting License Guide for General Contractors

Ever hired a subcontractor as a general contractor only for the sub not to show up when it’s time to do the job? Of course, you have – this is the construction industry we’re talking about, where no-call no-shows are commonplace, even among seasoned contractors.

How many times have you, as a general contractor, looked at a faucet install and thought: “I should just do this”?

More commonly, how many times have you had to wait around for an electrician to show up just to do a simple wire-up?

Instead of delaying progress on a project until you can bring in an available sparky to do your electrical work, you might think about getting a C-10 license yourself.

If you want the option to perform electrical work all on your own, you must obtain a Special Class C-10 license. With this new classification in your arsenal, you’d be legally cleared to work on…

  • Electrical Wiring
    Your everyday residential, commercial, and industrial installs, such as wiring for lighting systems, power distribution, and electrical panels.
  • Electrical Repairs
    You’d be legally allowed to assess, diagnose, and fix electrical issues on a deeper level than as a general contractor alone.
  • Installation of Electrical Fixtures
    The installation of electrical fixtures like outlets, switches, light fixtures, ceiling fans, and circuit breakers would be in your hands. This is huge for a general contractor.
  • Low Voltage Systems
    You’d be legally cleared to handle low-voltage electrical systems, including security systems, intercoms, data cabling, and telecommunications infrastructure.
  • Electrical Upgrades
    You could upgrade existing electrical systems, including capacity upgrades, electrical panel replacements, and the installation of energy-efficient electrical components.
  • Electrical Maintenance
    You could carry out routine electrical maintenance services. And you wouldn’t have to wait for subcontracted specialists to come in to inspect electrical systems to confirm that everything is functioning safely and optimally.
  • Electrical Design
    You could provide electrical design services, including creating electrical plans and layouts for new construction or renovation projects.
  • Safety and Code Compliance
    Monitoring electrical work and regulating safety also comes with the C-10 territory. You’d be qualified to evaluate and confirm that electrical systems are compliant with state and local building codes and industry standards.
  • Electrical Inspections
    You’d also be authorized to inspect electrical systems by yourself to verify compliance. You could assess risk and examine the functionality of the electrical installation.

Maintaining Your C-10 License

Picture yourself with your C-10 license in hand and you’re (literally) keeping the lights on with all your new electrical jobs. Now that you’re juggling two license classifications, it’s critical that you stay plugged in with the latest California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) regulations on top of all the various codes and laws around electrical work.

Electrical codes evolve. So do industry-wide practices. To make sure all your work is safe and meets current standards, the CSLB requires periodic exams and continuing education for licensed contractors.

  • Pass Your Exams: Your requirements for C-10 licensing exams can be found on the CSLB website. We recommend taking a CSLB exam course to ace your exams. At the very least, this study guide is specifically designed for electrical exam takers.
  • Meet The Experience Requirements: You need a certain amount of on-the-job experience before securing a class C-10 contractor license. The amount of that experience varies depending on whether you want to be a general electrician or a fire/life/safety technician or if the work you’re performing is residential vs. nonresidential – but you need at least 2,000 hours of electrical experience to be qualified for even the lowest tier.
  • Get and Stay Insured: General contractors like you already know that having a contractor bond and – in many cases, workers’ comp – are required for your overall operations. The terms of your bond and insurance coverage plans may change when you take on electrical work, but your responsibility to maintain this coverage remains the same. Learn more about the bonds you need as a contractor in 2024.
  • Stay Continually Educated! A big part of maintaining a C-10 Electrical Contractor license is continuing education. You’re required to keep yourself updated on the latest electrical codes, regulations, and industry best practices and that means enrolling in the right courses to keep you covered. Check out the full list of Department of Industrial Relations-approved continuing education providers.

Is the C-10 License worth it for general contractors?

There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with the C-10 License. So take a look at all your work across a calendar year and think about how much electrical work you actually plan to do.

Is the cost of insurance worth it? Are the fees associated with the C-10 License worth it? Run a cost-benefit analysis and decide for yourself!

It’s possible that securing a C-10 license would save you time and money because you wouldn’t have to wait and schedule with subcontractors. But it’s also possible that you’d save time and money because you hired subcontractors.

No matter what you choose, play it safe. Always follow the guidelines set by the CSLB. Remember, you must accumulate the required amount of experience and pass your exam before you even apply for a class C-10 license.

If you can keep your bonds and insurance agreements in good standing and remain up to date on continuing education for this specific classification of work, maybe you really are that contractor who can keep the electrical part of their career switched on.

For more on general contractors holding C-10 licenses, check out our comprehensive article on Class B and C-10 Licenses.

This entry was posted in Construction Technology, Contractor Business, Contractor Jobs on by .

About CSLS

Contractors State License Service (CSLS) is the largest school in California devoted to the Construction professional. For over 23 years, CSLS has helped its students pass the exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California, licensing more students than any other school. From our main offices in Southern California, CSLS operates over 25 locations with full-service support and classrooms. We have grown to this extent by providing quality, professional services. In comparison, this provides 7 times the number of convenient locations than the second largest contractor school. Contractors State License Services is one of the only contractor schools in the state that is run by educators, not lawyers or people mostly interested in the bonding and insurance business. Contractors State License Services formerly operated under the oversight of the State of California's Bureau for Private Post Secondary and Vocational Education. As of January 1 2010, the new Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) came into existence replacing the BPPVE. CSLS now operates under the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (CPPEA), Article 4 Section 94874(f). Our Mission is simple; We can help you pass your California Contractors License Exam. Celebrating our 25th year, CSLS has helped over 120,000 students pass the California contractor licensing exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California. Additionally, we offer complete home study and online contractor’s license programs to help you pass your California contractors license exam. CSLS offers licensing classes for all types of contractor licenses, including General Engineering Contractor, General Building Contractor, Specialty Contractor, Insulation and Acoustical Contractor, Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor, Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor, Concrete Contractor, Drywall Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Elevator Contractor, Landscaping Contractor, Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Contractor, and many others. For a complete list of contractor licenses, visit www.MakeMeAContractor.com and tuned for more informative posts.