In order to get your contractor license in California, you need to be 18 years old, have 4 years experience of journey-level work, you need to pass the CSLB exams and you have to pay all the associated fees to the CSLB.
While the process to become a California general contractor is simple, there are fees you have to pay in order to legally perform contracting work in California.
Here’s everything you’ll need to pay for to become a contractor certified by the CSLB.
CSLB Exam Fees
The first fees you face when applying for your CSLB license are for the CSLB exam.
It is $450 to take the test to get your CSLB license. This is called the Original Application fee and you have to pay it to become a CSLB certified contractor.
This fee only applies to one exam and each exam applies to one specific classification, so if you do specialist work that requires a specialist license, you will need to pay this fee twice.
For example, if you are an HVAC specialist contractor, you will have to pay for both the general exam and the HVAC exam in order to do HVAC work in California.
If you fail, you have to pay a $100 Re-Examination fee for every time you want to re-take the exam (in addition to the time it takes to schedule and review your examination). If you fail the exam, the costs add up quickly.
Once you pass the exam, there are a number of additional fees you will have to pay to receive your license and start working as a general contractor.
The first one is an Initial License Fee, which is $200 if you are the Sole Owner of your business. If you are a partner in a business, you will have to pay $350 for your CSLB license.
You will also have to pay $32 for the Fingerprinting Fee (a background check) and the FBI Processing Fee of $17.
The final hurdle for getting your CSLB contractor license is to supply a proof of a Contractor’s Bond to the CSLB.
Contractor’s Bonds are like insurance – you pay a fee in order to be covered financially in the case of a disaster or similar scenario.
In order to be a CSLB-certified California Contractor, you must give the CSLB proof that you have contractor’s bonds worth $25,000.
Contractor’s bonds will cost you $60 to $600. How much your bonds cost will depend on your credit score.
How much does it cost in total to become a contractor?
In total, it will cost you somewhere in the range of $700 to $1500 to get your Class “B” License and become a California general contractor.
Specialist contractors like electricians, plumbers and masons require a Class “C” license – which requires you to do the entire process all over, making it doubly expensive. Expect to pay $1200 to $2000 for a Class “C” License.
Those costs can rise, too – it costs $100 every time you fail the CSLB test. Save time and money with CSLS’s contractor license courses. Our expert guidance will make sure you pass the test the first time, so you can start making more money right away.