Category Archives: CSLB News

C-33 Painting and Decorating License: A Comprehensive Guide

What is the C-33 License?

The C-33 Painter and Decorating Contractors License is the license assigned to painting and decorating contractors in California who work on jobs involving materials and labor over $500.

The C-33 License is designated for painting and decorating contractors in California. It encompasses various activities such as scraping, sandblasting, and applying paints, textures, fabrics, pigments, oils, varnishes, shellacs, stains, fillers, and adhesives​.

The C-33 License is extremely commonplace in the State with over 12,450 licensed painting and decorating contractors, representing 5% of the total number of contractors. The field is highly competitive and regulated by the Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB)​.

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB)

The CSLB is the state agency in California responsible for licensing and regulating contractors in the construction industry, including the C-33 License. Everything you do related to the C-33 license

  • Application Process: The CSLB manages application forms and instructions for the C-33 license
  • Qualifications and Experience: The CSLB sets eligibility criteria, including a combination of education, work experience, and/or apprenticeship training
  • Examinations: The CSLB administers the trade-specific and law & business exams necessary for licensure
  • Background Checks: The CSLB verifies identity and criminal history for all contractors
  • Licensing and Renewal: The CSLB issues and renews all contractor licenses
  • Consumer Complaints and Investigations: The CSLB handles complaints and can take disciplinary action against contractors​​. They also work together with SWIFT to catch unlicensed contractors.

Any painting contractor planning to bid on residential or commercial projects in California where the labor and material costs exceed $500 must have this license​​.

What Does A C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor Do?

Luckily for us, this classification is easy to understand and very straightforward: if you’re painting or decorating a home with materials and labor costing $500, you’re doing C-33 work.

Key Duties

  • Surface Preparation: Cleaning, sanding, and filling surfaces to get them in shape for painting.
  • Material Selection: More of a consulting job – advising clients on paint types, colors, and finishes.
  • Painting and Coating: In addition to painting with rollers or brushes, applying sheens or coatings is covered by this license as well.
  • Trim: Creating trim using paint or coating falls under this umbrella.
  • Decorative Finishes: Faux finishes, textures, and murals.
  • Surface Protection: Sealants and protective finishes​​ for surfaces.

Who Needs the C-33 License?

Contractors who engage in extensive painting and decorating work on various structures and surfaces, and whose project costs surpass $500, are required to hold a C-33 license.

When Do You Need a C-33 License?

Any painting project in California exceeding $500 in labor and materials necessitates a C-33 license. This requirement applies regardless of the project’s complexity or scale. I

If you are doing any painting or decorating job over $500 in California – you need a C-33 License!

When You Don’t Need a C-33 License

For smaller projects under $500, a C-33 license is not mandatory. This is usually applicable only to people who work as handymen or maintenance workers, who have to do a lot of small painting and decorating projects in the scope of their duty.

However, this usually involves things like patching a wall or painting a new hinge – things that cost less than $100 and involve a couple hours of your time.

How to Get a C-33 License

As established, the CSLB is responsible for licensing, maintaining and renewing C-33 licenses. There are a number of prerequisites that a contractor must fulfill before the CSLB will assign a C-33 license.

Below you’ll find the requirements for the C-33 License and the Step-By-Step process to get one from the CSLB.


  • At least 18 years of age
  • Valid driver’s license or ID
  • Social Security or ITIN number
  • Not on probation or parole
  • Four years of journey-level experience
  • A certifier to verify experience known as the Qualifying Individual
  • Documentation of experience if requested​​.

Step-by-Step Process

  • Gain Work Experience: A minimum of four years of experience as a journeyman is required to acquire ANY CSLB license.
  • Get Endorsements: Credible witnesses must testify to the applicant’s background and skills. Usually this is your boss.
  • Submit A CSLB C-33 License Application: Complete and submit the application with necessary documentation.
  • Pay Fees: Pay all the fees associated with your license.
  • Background Check: Submit fingerprints for a background check.
  • Take the CSLB Exam: This two-part exam has two parts: a painting-specfic exam and a law and business exam.
  • Get Bonded And Insured: Obtain a California contractor bond worth $25,000 and Workers’ Compensation insurance for every contractor under the license.
  • Receive Your License And Get To Work!: If you’ve followed all of these steps correctly, expect your license in a few weeks at most.

Application and Exam

Processing Time

The application process typically takes 6-8 weeks. Exam dates are usually given with 3-4 weeks’ notice​​.

Once you’ve passed the exam and you’ve provided all of the necessary paperwork, you will receive your license quickly – possibly within a few days, if the backlog of applications isn’t too big.

The CSLB Exam

The CSLB Exam is notorious for breaking even the smartest, most experienced contractors. This 230 question exam can take up to 6 hours and involves two sections: one on the finer points of painting and decorating, and one section on the business and law of contracting.

Exam Breakdown

  • The C-33 Contractor Exam: 115 questions related to general contractor knowledge as well as specific information about painting and decorating.
  • Law & Business Exam: 115 questions related to the business and law of contracting in the State of California.

C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractors Exam Content

Here’s what you can expect when taking the C-33 license contractors license exam.

  • Planning and Estimating (28%)
  • Substrate Repair and Surface Preparation (30%)
  • Application of Paint, Wallcoverings, and Finishes (21%)
  • Safety (21%)​​

C-33 License Maintenance and Renewal

Renewal Process

The C-33 license must be renewed every two years.
Renewal applications must accurately reflect any changes in business information​​. If you change address, add anyone to your license, or have any changes at all to your C-33 license, make sure you let the CSLB know.

Exam and Re-Examination

Exam results are provided immediately after the test, so you’ll know if you passed or not on the day of the exam.
Unsuccessful candidates receive a performance breakdown for improvement​​. If you fail, you’ll know the specific areas that you need to improve upon to pass the exam.
If you fail the exam, you can retake the exam as many times as you like. Note that the CSLB charges an examination retaking fee every time you need to retake the exam.

Fees and Costs

There’s a litany of costs associated with getting your C-33 License. At the very least, expect to spend $700 on your license, with fees increasing or decreasing based on your business structure, exam results, and so on.

  • Initial application fee: $500.
  • License fee (sole owner): $200; (non-sole owner): $350.
  • Re-examination fee: $100.
  • Fingerprinting fees: DOJ – $32, FBI – $17​​.


If you’re doing painting work in California, you need a C-33 license. Sure, you can get by doing small jobs here and there, but painters really make their money on the big jobs involving multiple rooms or multiple facilities – and in those situations you absolutely need to be licensed.

Getting your C-33 License is not hard at all if you’re prepared and know what you’re doing. The hardest part for any contractor is passing the notoriously difficult CSLB exam, so if you study hard and study often, you’re giving yourself a huge advantage in becoming a licensed C-33 contractor.

The Best Ways To Generate Leads For Contractors

The biggest difficulty of being a construction contractor – and perhaps any profession – is to keep the work flowing in.

The nature of construction work means that finding and keeping customers is a constant battle of keeping up with new forms of finding new customers and balancing that against the time-intensive lead gen strategies of yore.

So how do contractors generate leads? What are the best ways to go about not only growing your list of leads but maintaining them over time?

Let’s take a look.

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation involves identifying and cultivating potential customers for a business’s products or services. For contractors, this means finding individuals or businesses that are interested in whatever services you provide as a contractor. That can be anything from general contracting services to Class C services like plumbing or electrical work.

The goal is to capture high-quality leads – people who are actively searching for contractor services and convert them into customers via a network of marketing and sales tactics that make up your lead gen operations.

Why is Lead Generation Important for Construction Contracting Businesses?

Lead generation is vital for contractors as it helps build a steady pipeline of potential projects, ensures consistent work, and contributes to the continual growth of your contracting business. Without effective lead generation, contractors may struggle with irregular workloads and revenue streams, which has a knock-on effect throughout the entire business.

As a contractor, you need steady work to survive, and the only way to find steady work is through a robust, consistent lead generation program.

A good lead generation funnel is focused on building trust. Your goal is to signal to the customer that you are a trusted professional who will fulfill their needs with as little friction or fear as possible. Your objective as a contractor is to signal that you are not only capable of doing the job but doing it with the least amount of fuss.

With that in mind, lead generation is essentially a lockpicking operation. Your goal is to match the right key with the right lock – which means creating a broad network of tools to access the multitude of different customers contractors must serve.

For that reason, lead generation is all about diversity and consistency. It’s your objective as a contractor to give as many different people as many different ways of reaching your business as possible, as frequently as possible, over an extended period of time.

Let’s go into some ways to do that.

The Most Common Lead Generators For Contractors

There’s so many different ways to generate leads these days, that it’s hard to know which ones to focus on. We can always look to the industry for clues as to which are the best ways to approach customers.

Here are the most common ways that contractors find leads in 2023. These approaches serve as a valid blueprint for any contractor to grow their lead generation operations for their contracting business.

Digital Marketing For Contractors

  • SEO and Website Optimization: Ensuring your website is optimized for search engines is crucial as the most common way for people to find contractors is by searching “local _____ near me”. SEO allows them to find you, and an optimized website is the way to better SEO. Improving your SEO and website presence includes using relevant keywords, creating quality content, and ensuring your site is mobile-friendly, but can get as granular as you like. Hiring a professional to help with this can pay big dividends.
  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): CRO is a huge part of converting cold leads into warm leads and warm leads into customers. A contractor can generate so many leads just by installing a lead generation tool on their website, where interest parties can sign up. Lead gen captures can increase visitor conversion by 20%, giving you essential information like email addresses and phone numbers that you can then follow up with to earn their business.
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: PPC campaigns on search programs like Google allow contractors to target specific audiences, so you only pay for ads directed toward only people looking for your services in your area. Contractors who don’t advertise on Google and Bing are at a disadvantage.
  • Social Media Advertising: Many contractor customers go to Facebook to find recommendations for contractors. Like PPC advertising, paid social ads are targeted advertisements that can reach these potential leads where they’re actively looking for just your services.
  • Social Media Content Marketing: A great way to expand your marketing reach is content marketing. This involves sharing photo and video content online with people on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. These tools help in gaining organic reach within local areas by connecting you with cold leads who may need contracting work. However, these tools require strategic application to be effective, so hiring a professional like a marketing manager or social media manager who can handle the creation and deployment of content.
  • Website Content: Another place where you can gain a competitive edge over your competitors is to have content on your own website that can gain the trust of your audience. For example, tools like CompanyCam and ProjectMapIt allow contractors to share project updates and photos in real-time, turning existing customer relationships into lead-generation opportunities. Blogs and other pieces of expert content can establish your authority in your area of expertise and gain cold leads via SEO. The bottom line is consistent, valuable content on your website can be the type of unique, eye-catching marketing that can set you apart from your competitors.r
  • Facebook Groups: Active participation in relevant Facebook groups can generate leads by answering queries and subtly promoting services.
  • Webinars: Hosting informative webinars on relevant topics can attract interested homeowners and collect their contact details for follow-up.

In-Person and Physical Marketing For Contractors

  • Trade Shows and Networking Events: Participating in local trade shows and networking events can help you connect with potential clients and industry peers. This is where business cards and happy hours come in – so vendors and customers can come together to meet each others’ needs.
  • Direct Mail and Print Ads: Traditional advertising methods, such as direct mail campaigns and print ads in local publications, can effectively reach local audiences, although we’re seeing these wane in relevancy and value over time.

Referrals and Affiliate Programs For Contractors

  • Referral Programs: A referral program that rewards existing customers for bringing in new business is a hugely effective way to entice customers to pass on your name whenever they need work. Word of mouth is the most effective way to gain new business – so give your customers a way to reward you for your good work!
  • Discounts: Along the lines of a referral program, offering discounts to longtime customers can pay big dividends. Not only will they continue to come back to you for whatever specialty they’re in, but the special attention will encourage them to recommend your service to others.

Local Contractor Lead Gen Resources

  • Local Chambers of Commerce: Joining your local chamber can provide networking opportunities, enhance your business’s credibility, and offer access to business resources and professional development. As a construction contractor, this is a critical thing to do – everyone, in every industry, has a need for physical construction.
  • Community Involvement: Engaging in community projects or local sponsorships can increase your visibility and reputation within the community. One of the most common forms this takes is sponsors of local Little League baseball teams or other organizations tailored towards the community youth.

Overlooked Lead Generators For Construction Contractors

Now that you know the most common types of construction contractor lead generators, let’s take a look at some areas that many contracting businesses overlook. These are areas where you can gain an advantage over your less thorough competitors.

Email Marketing For Contractors

Building an email list is a powerful way to connect directly with potential leads by fostering a high-visibility, but highly-unintrusive relationship with a potential customer over a series of emails. Usually, these emails are acquired through website lead-gen, but can also be acquired locally via trade shows or local chambers of commerce meetings.

Here are some general tips about email marketing for contractors.

  • Segment Your List: Understand who your clients are, where they live, and their needs, then separate them out based on customer profiles. Age, income, and location can be key considerations for contractors.
  • Personalization: Customize email content to these individual demographics to increase engagement and open rates​​.
  • Creating Irresistible Offers: Include compelling offers like discounts or free resources to entice recipients. In the contracting world, these may be tips and tricks for house maintenance or things to worry about in the construction world.
  • Automate Your Emails: Most mail clients like Mailchimp or Klaviyo allow for constant automation – so you can generate leads without any effort from you.
  • Keep It Short And Simple: Keep all emails direct and to the point, covering one topic in a minimal amount of time and energy.

Door-to-Door Sales For Contractors

An often-overlooked and often-looked-down upon method to growing your contracting business, door-to-door sales can still be hugely effective, especially in older neighborhoods and especially for contractors working as B-2 Remodeling Contractors.

Door-to-door sales allow for personalized, customized contact with your potential customer. It also allows you to gain information about them, like their email or phone number or even their area of concern, so you can personalize your other marketing efforts towards them. Creating personalized emails or packages for each customer can improve your chances of landing them as a client.

It’s important to note if you are a salesperson selling Home Improvement services to homeowners in California, you need an HIS contractor’s license as per the Contractors State License Board.

Out Of Home (OOH) Marketing

One hugely effective way to reach cold customers as a contractor is Out Of Home(or OOH) Marketing. This type of marketing involves some physical material, like a billboard or a car wrap with your company’s logo, name, and number on it.

This is still an extremely effective way of reaching people in any business, but for local contracting businesses, it’s been shown to be incredibly powerful at gaining awareness for contractors.

Your average person, for example, simply doesn’t know any HVAC professionals in their area – but they’ll remember the one person whose name they saw on a billboard or that one eye-catching vehicle wrap.

It’s all about repetition and awareness in the construction industry, as most people are cold leads right up until their pipe bursts and they need a plumber. Out-of-home advertising is a highly valuable, highly efficient way to continually inform your future customers of who you are and what you do.

Know Your Niche As A Contractor

Perhaps the most important aspect of ALL lead generation is to know where you’re positioned – and the opportunities that your position in the industry presents. It’s critical, before you even start on a comprehensive lead gen program, to know exactly what unique service you offer, and how you’re going to offer that service!

For example, if you’re a general contractor operating in Los Angeles, your lead generation will focus on bigger, more general projects, but even then, if you specialize in say, data centers vs. high-rise residential, you need to tailor your lead gen to where that audience gathers. On the other hand, if you’re a pool specialist in Anchorage, Alaska, your lead generation will look a little more specialized.

The important thing here is to focus your energies on what you do well, and what you do differently than your competitors – then work on making sure your audience knows exactly how you can deliver a better final result than your competitors. Tailoring your lead generation strategies to your niche is extremely important in reaching the right audience and generating quality leads​​.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to lead generation, contractors must keep up with technology or get left behind – but that doesn’t mean the old-fashioned, tried-and-true methods are no longer effective.

The bottom line is that a comprehensive blend of all the lead generation tools available is the best strategy for construction contractors. The name of the game is reach and repetition; by employing a variety of different lead generation channels, and tailoring the approach to each unique audience, contractors can see a gigantic return on their investment in the short and long term.

Do You Need a Contractor License to Pour Concrete in California?

Whether you’re a homeowner aiming to pour a little sidewalk for your front yard, or a journeyman or apprentice concrete pourer thinking of striking out on your own, making sure your concrete project is legal and safe should be the number one priority on your checklist.

Before you even think about pouring a single drop of concrete; before you even think about digging a ditch, it’s critical that you ensure you’re doing everything by the book – as the punishments for running afoul of the law are significant.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at whether or not you need a license to pour concrete In California.

When Is a Contractor’s License Required?

Let’s get this out of the way at the top: a Contractor’s State Licensing Board (CSLB) license is required for any – that’s right, any – construction job that involves over $500 worth of labor and materials

A contractor’s license is generally required for any significant construction or renovation project beyond basic maintenance or “one-trip” jobs.

The majority of states have some form of state licensing program for general contractors, with the rules, fees, and requirements varying considerably. For instance, in Alabama, a license is needed for commercial, industrial, and residential work involving construction, alteration, or demolition of structures. As we’ve noted, in California, any work over $500 requires a license.

Types of Projects With and Without a Contractor’s License

In almost every state in the nation, but especially in California, you need a contractor’s license to perform high-level construction work. It makes sense: people should feel safe living and working in buildings, without the fear that they’ll collapse due to shoddy workmanship.

Contractors’ licenses, like the CSLB contractor license, ensure that construction professionals have the knowledge, experience, and ability to deliver safe and responsible construction services to the general public, with the power to enforce consequences of fines and even jail time!

With that said, there are still many jobs one can perform without a contractor’s license, including most small-scale concrete work. Here are the general types of jobs one can do with and without a contractor’s license, generally speaking.

  • With a Contractor’s License:
    • Large-scale construction projects (anything requiring trade work or subcontractors would fall under this category)
    • Structural renovations
    • Electrical, plumbing, or HVAC work
    • Projects that require permits (generally, there are, of course, exceptions)
  • Without a Contractor’s License:
    • Minor repairs and maintenance
    • Cosmetic upgrades
    • Simple installations like shelving
    • Small concrete jobs, like repairing a walkway

In some states, like Nevada, contractors need a Concrete License for any concrete work. This contrasts with states like Idaho and Illinois, where general contractors may only need to register without specific licensing requirements.

Hiring a Contractor for Concrete Work in California

For significant concrete work, such as pouring foundations, driveways, or large patios, California law requires hiring a licensed contractor. These projects demand expertise in California-specific building practices, adherence to safety standards, and an understanding of local environmental conditions.

The decision to hire a contractor for concrete work in California should be based on the project’s complexity and the homeowner’s expertise:

  • When to Hire a Contractor: For substantial projects like laying a new foundation, building a large patio, or any work that could affect the property’s structural integrity, you need to hire a licensed contractor or become licensed yourself. Considering most of these are projects involving more than $500, you are legally mandated to hire a contractor or to be one yourself.
  • Risks of DIY: While DIY might be tempting for smaller projects, improper execution can lead to long-term issues, from poor drainage to structural weaknesses. For any project over $500 or requiring specialized knowledge, hiring a licensed professional is the safest bet.

DIY Concrete Projects in California

California homeowners can engage in small-scale concrete projects, but they must be aware of local regulations and permit requirements. For non-structural work not exceeding $500, homeowners may not need a contractor’s license.

In California, platforms, walkways, and driveways not exceeding 30 inches above grade and not over any basement or story below do not require a building permit. However, for larger or structural projects, permits and a licensed contractor are required.

Pouring Concrete on Private Property in California

In California, pouring concrete on your own property generally doesn’t require a contractor’s license for non-commercial, small-scale projects. However, as we’ve covered, structural or larger projects like driveways, foundations, and the like do. In addition, local building codes and permit requirements must be followed, especially for more extensive projects.

When it comes to pouring concrete on your own property in California, the need for a permit is dictated by the scope and scale of the project:

  • You Don’t Need A License To Pour Concrete For: Smaller projects like a garden pathway or a minor driveway repair, you usually don’t need a permit if the work does not alter the overall structure or safety of the property.
  • You Need A License For: For more extensive projects, such as building a new driveway with significant elevation changes, a permit is generally required to ensure compliance with local building codes. This is particularly important in areas prone to environmental issues like flooding or earthquakes.
  • Any Job Over $500 Requires A Contractors License: As we stated at the very beginning of this article, any construction job over $500 requires a CSLB license in California.

With all that covered, let’s take a look at exactly the type of license needed to pour concrete on jobs over $500 in California.

The California C-8 Concrete Contractor License

In California, the specific license required to perform concrete work is the C-8 Concrete Contractor License.

The C-8 license encompasses a broad range of activities associated with concrete work, which include:

  • Forming, pouring, placing, and finishing specified mass, pavement, flat, and other concrete work.
  • Setting screeds for pavements or flatwork.
  • Tasks such as demolition, excavation, measurement, mixing mortar, constructing retaining walls, foundations, slab work, post-tensioning work, and curing concrete.
  • The license does not cover work that is primarily related to plaster coatings or the placement and erection of steel bars for reinforcing concrete structures.

General Contractors and Concrete Work in California

What if you’re a general contractor? Can a general contractor do concrete work on the job site you’re overseeing?

And what if you’re a homeowner? Can you simply hire a general contractor to do the concrete work?

The answer is, as always, it depends. Here’s a breakdown.

When Can A Class B General Contractor Can Do Concrete Work?

  • Minor Concrete Projects: Class B General Contractors in California can perform minor concrete work such as small repairs or laying a patio or walkway. This is applicable as long as the project is within the scope of general building work.
  • Part of Larger Projects: If concrete work is a component of a larger building project, like constructing a residential home or a commercial building, a Class B General Contractor can oversee and perform the concrete-related tasks.
  • Non-Specialized Work: For standard concrete work that doesn’t require specialized skills or advanced techniques (like basic foundations, standard driveways, and sidewalks), a Class B General Contractor is qualified to manage and execute the task.

When Is A C-8 Concrete Contractor License Required To Pour Concrete?

  • Specialized Concrete Projects: For projects that require specialized concrete work, such as high-strength structural concrete or intricate decorative concrete, a Class C Concrete (C-8) License may be necessary. These projects often demand specific expertise and techniques beyond the scope of general building work.
  • Independent Concrete Contracting: If a general contractor wishes to operate independently as a concrete contractor, bidding on and executing concrete projects exclusively, a Class C Concrete License is required. This license ensures that the contractor possesses the specialized knowledge and experience needed for advanced concrete work.
  • Large-Scale, Complex Projects: For large-scale projects that involve complex structural elements or unique construction methods involving concrete, a specialized concrete contractor with a Class C License is typically needed. This includes projects like multi-story buildings where concrete is a primary structural component.


As is often the case with these situations, what kinds of jobs a general contractor or homeowner can do on their own property or job site varies and depends on various different factors.

In general, you need a C-8 Contractor License if you’re doing any sort of concrete work. Any concrete job that requires more than $500 in materials automatically requires a licensed C-8 contractor to perform the job, unless it’s a general contractor performing the work themselves on their own job site.

If it’s a small project as a homeowner, like a small path, then you most likely can do it by yourself. Just make sure you’re staying within your local codes and guidelines.

CSLB Application Fees 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) in California manages the licensing of contractors within the state. A critical aspect of this process involves understanding the various fees associated with obtaining and maintaining a contractor’s license.

In 2023, the CSLB has a specific fee structure that applicants and current licensees must be aware of. This guide aims to provide detailed insight into these fees, so contractors can be effective as they plan their future contracting endeavors.

Understanding CSLB Application Fees

What Is The CSLB?

The CSLB is a governmental organization responsible for the licensing and regulation of California’s construction industry by establishing and enforcing the rules around legal construction work.

The CSLB’s main priority is physical and financial safety for the end customer. They accomplish this via their licensing powers, which ensure that only construction contractors who have been verified and licensed by the state of California are allowed to work on construction jobs.

While the CSLB doesn’t technically enforce the rules it lays out – that’s for SWIFT, local authorities, and ultimately, the legal system to handle – it handles every other aspect of contractor laws in California, from setting the legal requirements to becoming a contractor to enshrining the financial and legal penalties for people who run afoul of the law.

Types of CSLB Fees

If you’re applying to become a contractor for the first time in California, buckle up – because the CSLB charges tons of fees. Some would say too many fees (not us, but somebody!).

The CSLB charges fees for everything – applications, renewals, name changes, exams, everything. If there’s any effort at all required by the CSLB, they will charge for it.

All that to say – when you’re applying for a contractor license, or renewing it, or doing anything, expect to spend a good wedge on just fees alone. In the next section, we’ll cover all of those fees in total.

CSLB License Application Fees

Initial Application Fee

  • Fee: $450
  • Description: This fee is for processing a new license application for one singular classification, whether by examination or waiver.
  • Does not include renewals, which have a separate renewal fee. You aren’t charged twice for these. You are only charged an initial application fee for a new application.

Additional Classification Fee

  • Fee: $230 (for existing license); $150 (for new applications)
  • Description: This is the fee for adding an additional classification to an existing license or during the initial application.
  • For example, if you’re a Class B General Contractor holder but want to do your own HVAC work, you’d have to pay this fee to apply for a C-20 license.

CSLB Examination Fees

In order to get your CSLB license, you must pass the CSLB examination. This exam is notoriously difficult for even the most seasoned construction workers, with two separate sections – the Law and Business exam and the Trade exam, which cover general business and law knowledge and trade-specific expertise, respectively.

Luckily, there are no additional fees for the exam – the cost of taking the CSLB exam is included in your application fee.

However, if you fail the exam and have to retake it, there is a $100 fee attached for any examination work.

CSLB Initial Licensing Fees

Initial licensing fees are only applied to new licenses and are only paid once by an individual or corporation for the specific classification they are applying for.

These fees vary and are based on the business structure of the applicant. See our article on Contractor Business Structures for more information.

Licensing Fee for Sole Ownership

  • Fee: $200
  • Description: This is the licensing fee paid by contractor businesses with a sole proprietorship ownership structure upon passing the examination.
  • This fee is paid upon completion of the examination and is one of the last fees you need to pay to get your license.

Licensing Fee for Non-Sole Owners

  • Fee: $350
  • Description: Like the sole ownership fee, this fee is paid upon completion of your examination.
  • This fee is paid upon completion of the examination and is one of the last fees you need to pay to get your license.

CSLB License Renewal Fees

Renewal fees, as the name implies, are the fees required to renew a license. All CSLB licenses must be renewed yearly, so these fees go for both expired licenses and valid licenses – it all depends on the status of your license.

Active License Renewal Fee

  • Fee: $450 for sole owners, $700 for non-sole owners (C-10 contractors will be charged an additional $20)
  • Description: For active license renewals, the fee varies slightly for different types of ownership. It’s $700 for corporations and partnerships, and $450 for sole proprietorships.

Inactive License Renewal Fee

  • Fee: $300 for sole owners, $500 for non-sole owners
  • Description: This fee is lower than active license renewals as it seeks to encourage lapsed license holders to become licensed again. Like the active license renewal fee, this fee is more expensive for partnerships and corporations.

Other Fees

Now that the main application and renewal fees are out of the way, it’s time to go further into the various piecemeal fees.

Home Improvement Salesperson Registration

  • Fee: $200 for application, $200 for timely renewal, and $300 for delinquent renewal
  • Description: This unique fee is applicable only to Home Improvement Salespeople (HIS). This is the only contractor’s license that doesn’t allow the owner to perform any real construction work. This license only allows you to sell services performed by others.

Background Check, Live Scan, and Fingerprinting Fees

  • Dept. of Justice Processing Fee: $32
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation Processing Fee: $17
  • Live Scan Rolling Fees: Varies, but roughly $40
  • Description: All applicants must go through a State and Federal background check. Involved in this process are fees charged by the DOJ and FBI. The Live Scan fee varies based on the location of the applicant, but it’s usually around $40. Check the Live Scan website for more details.

Delinquency Fee

  • Fee: $675 for sole owners, $1,050 for non-sole owners (C-10 contractors will be charged an additional $20)
  • Description: These exorbitant – in our opinion, excessive – fees are charged on renewals that are submitted after the license in question has expired. It’s basically a penalty for not renewing on time.
  • It’s important to note that these fees are not charged on top of the renewal fee for the license, but rather replace them, so you don’t pay this in addition to the renewal fee.

Miscellaneous Fees

These are miscellaneous fees that may or may not apply to your situation and needs.

  • Duplicate/Replacement Pocket/Wall Certificates: $25
  • Business Name Change: $100
  • Certified License History: $67 per name researched
  • General Status Letter: $8
  • Bond Status Letter: $8
  • Copies of Public Documents: $0.10 per page
  • Certified Copies of Public Documents: $2 plus $0.10 per page

Payment Methods and Processing

  • Accepted Payment Methods
  • CSLB accepts checks, money orders, and credit cards. Detailed payment methods can be found on the CSLB website.

Processing Time

  • Processing times vary, especially during times of high volume. We always recommend submitting applications and renewals well in advance of deadlines to avoid any issues.

So… How Much Does It Cost To Get Your CSLB Contractor License?

So, how much can I expect to pay to get my CSLB contractor’s license?

The answer is – it varies. It all depends on what kind of license you need, the status of your license, whether it’s your first license or you’re renewing it, whether your license is expired, and so on.

There’s so many variables to getting your license, and every situation is different. However, here is the general total of the basic fees anyone needs to get their contractor license in California.

Total Estimated Cost of Fees for a New CSLB License

For a Sole Owner:

Application Fee: $450
Initial License Fee: $200
Fingerprinting (DOJ and FBI): $80

Total Fees For Sole Proprietors: $740

For a Corporation or Partnership (or any business structure that involves more than one person):

Application Fee: $450
Initial License Fee: $350
Fingerprinting (DOJ and FBI): $80 (excluding rolling fees)

Total Fees For Corporations Or Partnerships: $900


The most important skill for a California construction contractor is planning. You need to plan your life in advance – doing your apprenticeship work, gaining work experience in your trade, getting your license and ultimately building a successful business all require and understanding of your situation and the career you want.

Don’t overlook fees when planning your future as a CSLB-licensed contractor. These small amounts can really add up quickly – and if you don’t effectively plan not only the cost of these fees but the times that you pay them, you can end up spending far more money than you initially planned.

C-2 Insulation and Acoustic Contractors License: The Complete Guide

Thinking of going into the insulation business? Apprentice insulation professional looking to make the jump and start your own business? Spot a gap and want to corner your area’s soundproofing market?

You’ve come to the right place. This guide provides in-depth information on what a C-2 contractor does, the job types they handle, job examples, limitations, and success strategies, drawing from a range of sources for the most comprehensive overview.

What is A C-2 Insulation and Acoustical Contractor?

A C-2 Insulation and Acoustical Contractor is a specialist who installs insulating media and performs architectural acoustical material for temperature and sound control.

A C-2 contractor handles anything to do with insulation – installing, removing, adjusting, and so on. As the license itself says, this license covers all types of insulation, whether thermal or acoustical.

C-2 contractors usually work on residential installs, but they also find a lot of work in office buildings, working on constructing ceilings for giant offices and data centers. A big niche that falls under this category is soundproofing: an area that has become more and more important as modern life has become louder and more intense than ever – creating a need for builders to soundproof their assets to stay competitive.

Types of Jobs for C-2 Contractors

C-2 Contractors do a number of different roles, many specialized, and many general. The common thread amongst all jobs is they require some structural understanding, along with the obvious insulation and acoustical expertise required.

  • Soundproofing Contractors
  • Ceiling Contractors
  • Insulation Specialists
  • Home Insulation Contractors

Whether you’re installing insulation or soundproofing, you need this license. You can also operate a business that provides both services under the same license – a way to double or triple your income.

Typical C-2 Contractor Jobs

The C-2 license is one of the broadest, most flexible Class C contractor licenses out there. Every house needs insulation, especially in the infernal California heat – but the scope of the C-2 license goes much further than that.

Here are some of the most common jobs a C-2 Contractor does.

  • Suspended Acoustical Ceilings: Implementing overhead sound control systems in buildings.
  • Specialty Ceilings: Designing and installing unique ceiling types for aesthetic and functional purposes.
  • Demountable Partitions: Building modular partitions that can be easily moved or reconfigured.
  • Sound Absorption Insulation: Installing materials specifically designed to absorb and reduce noise.
  • Commercial Insulation: Implementing insulation solutions in commercial buildings for energy efficiency and sound control.
  • Residential Insulation Installations: Providing insulation in homes to improve thermal efficiency and reduce noise.
  • Grid Ceiling Systems: Setting up grid-based ceiling frameworks, often for drop ceilings. Ubiquitous in office parks and data centers.
  • Scaffolds and Ladders for Access: Setting up temporary structures for access to high or difficult-to-reach areas during installation.
  • Air Filtration Prevention: Ensuring buildings are airtight to enhance energy efficiency and control sound transmission.
  • Pipes and Ductwork Insulation: Some C-2 contractors work with HVAC contractors to insulate piping and HVAC ducts to reduce energy loss and noise.

Duties of a C-2 Contractor

What duties does a C-2 contractor have on-site? Here are some of the daily tasks you can expect to be doing as a C-2 contractor.

  • Installing various ceiling systems and insulation boards.
  • Batt, rigid board, and radiant barrier applications.
  • Building sealing for air filtration prevention.
  • Soundproofing and Weatherstripping.
  • Safe job site maintenance
  • Project estimation and financial management​​
  • Customer service

Limitations of C-2 Contractor Work

A C-2 Insulation and Acoustical contractor is legally restricted from bidding on projects outside their specialization, ensuring a focused and expert approach to their field of work​​.

Unless you’re a Class B General Contractor, you can’t perform any jobs outside of insulation or acoustical work without facing legal and potentially criminal penalties via the CSLB.

7 Steps To Success as a C-2 Contractor

How do you set yourself up for success as a C-2 contractor? Here’s some of the fundamentals of growing and maintaining a successful contracting business in the insulation and acoustical industries.

  • Conduct Market Research: You need to do your research when it comes to launching an insulation or acoustical business. Without a basic understanding of your local market, you have no chance of succeeding.
  • Establish a Business Niche: Once you’ve done your research, you can find the opportunities in your area. Find a service with few competitors that you can provide better than anyone else – and make it your specialty.
  • Set Up a Pricing Strategy: Your pricing should cover all costs while being competitive. You’ve already done your research so you should know what this price is, compared against others in your area.
  • Get Your CSLB License and Register Your Business With The S.O.S.: Register your business with the California Secretary of State and obtain the necessary C-2 license. It’s best to work with an attorney to ensure proper paperwork and compliance with state requirements​.
  • Start Marketing: A contractor that isn’t marketing is a contractor who is losing business. Invest in some money towards ads, SEO, and physical marketing – paying an expert to do this will pay off huge dividends.
  • Provide Exceptional Service: The absolute best thing you can do is to provide the best service in the area. If you leave your customers happy, they will be ecstatic and recommend you to others, both in-person and online.
  • Stay Up-to-Date on Industry Trends: Keep abreast of industry trends, especially in energy efficiency. This will help you stay competitive and offer the most current solutions to your clients, while also ensuring you stay compliant with California laws.

How To Get Your C-2 License

In order to get your CSLB C-2 License, you need to fulfill certain requirements. Once you meet all of these, getting your license is easy. Simply apply for your license, pass the exam, provide insurance, and – boom! – you’re a C-2 contractor!

  • Experience: A minimum of four years in the insulation and acoustical field.
  • Qualifying Individual: A manager with four years of relevant experience and a valid C-2 license who can vouch for your experience.
  • Application Submission: Providing detailed work and personal background information to the CSLB.
  • Pass the CSLB Exam: Pass both the Law and Business Examination and the Trade Examination.
  • Pass A Background Check: A comprehensive criminal background check.
  • Obtain And Show Proof of Bonds and Insurance: Obtaining a contractor’s license bond and adequate liability insurance. Note that insurance requirements have changed for California contractors in 2023!
  • Pay Fees: Pay the associated fees to the CSLB.


The C-2 Insulation and Acoustic Contractors License is an often-overlooked option for young people who want to get into construction. Considering how important insulation is – and will only continue to be – in our sun-baked state, there’s never any shortage of jobs for people who can provide good insulation services.

If you do your research, put in the hours, and market yourself well, there’s no reason you can’t be a huge success as a C-2 insulation contractor.

What Jobs Can A General Contractor Do In California?

With over 100,000 license holders in California, Class B General Contractors make up the majority of construction professionals in the state.

As masters of the basics of construction, general contractors know the fundamentals of every aspect of building – and are responsible for making sure the project comes out the way it’s supposed to.

What Kind Of Jobs Can You Take As A General Contractor: A General Overview

In…general…a general contractor can do a wide variety of construction-related tasks, but usually related only to the fundamental and structural aspects of the building.

They’re allowed to take on structural tasks like framing or carpentry jobs, where that’s all they’re hired to do. Once it goes beyond that, they need to subcontract.

While general contractors can do framing and carpentry, they are restricted from doing additional work on their job sites, unless they have the necessary Class C license to perform the work. Jobs like plumbing and electrical are accessible only to those license holders.

In addition to these general rules, there’s also a patchwork of specific bylaws and regulations as to what types of jobs they can do additional work on, which jobs they can’t, what types of trades they can perform, how many, and so on.

What Does The CSLB Say?

When it comes to ensuring your work as a general contractor is legally compliant and totally above board, it’s important to always follow the CSLB codes and regulations to a T.

Here’s what the CSLB has to say when it comes to jobs Gen Cons can do:

“Business & Professions Code

Division 3, Chapter 9. Contractors, Article 4. Classifications 7057.

Except as provided in this section, a general building contractor is a contractor whose principal contracting business is in connection with any structure built, being built, or to be built, for the support, shelter, and enclosure of persons, animals, chattels, or movable property of any kind, requiring in its construction the use of at least two unrelated building trades or crafts, or to do or superintend the whole or any part thereof.

This does not include anyone who merely furnishes materials or supplies under Section 7045 without fabricating them into or consuming them in the performance of the work of the general building contractor.

(b) A general building contractor may take a prime contract or a subcontract for a framing or carpentry project. However, a general building contractor shall not take a prime contract for any project involving trades other than framing or carpentry unless the prime contract requires at least two unrelated building trades or crafts other than framing or carpentry, or unless the general building contractor holds the appropriate license classification or subcontracts with an appropriately licensed specialty contractor to perform the work. A general building contractor shall not take a subcontract involving trades other than framing or carpentry unless the subcontract requires at least two unrelated trades or crafts other than framing or carpentry, or unless the general building contractor holds the appropriate license classification. The general building contractor may not count framing or carpentry in calculating the two unrelated trades necessary in order for the general building contractor to be able to take a prime contract or subcontract for a project involving other trades.

(c) No general building contractor shall contract for any project that includes the “C-16” Fire Protection classification as provided for in Section 7026.12 or the “C-57” Well Drilling classification as provided for in Section 13750.5 of the Water Code, unless the general building contractor holds the specialty license, or subcontracts with the appropriately licensed specialty contractor.
(Amended by Stats. 1997, Chapter 812 (SB 857).”

So…What Types Of Jobs Can A General Contractor Perform?

Sometimes the CSLB can use language that makes your head spin. There’s a lot of legalese and specific, confusing language in there that can have general contractors wondering if they’re staying compliant. So what exactly are they saying here?

The long and short of it is, if you’re a general contractor, you can do framing and carpentry on any job that is framing or carpentry only. Any more than two trades, you gotta hire it out!

If you’re a general contractor with a Class C license, you can do any Class C work on your job.

Wrapping Up

If you’re a general contractor, chances are you’re probably not doing the work yourself. You’re already deeply familiar with your limitations and your expertise – and why get your hands dirty when you can just hire someone else to do the work for you?

When in doubt, though, follow these simple guidelines. General Contractors:

  • Can Perform Construction Work On Framing and Carpentry Jobs
    • General contractors can sign contracts and self-perform work that involves framing or carpentry projects.
    • There is an exception: you cannot do framing or carpentry work if the project involves two or more trades.
  • Can Engage In Licensed Trade Work
    • GCs can also engage in contracts for a single trade, but if they lack the necessary specialty classification for that trade, they are required to subcontract the work to a contractor with the appropriate classification.
    • This does not include carpentry or framing!
  • Can Undertake Multiple Unrelated Trades
    • A general contractor can enter contracts for two or more separate and unrelated trades and self-perform the work if they hold the correct license for each respective trade job.
    • Once again, framing and carpentry cannot be counted as one of the trades – they must be one of the other Class C Classifications!

Contractor Warranties: What California Contractors Need to Know

Implied, express, or contractual – warranties are a critical part of contract law that ALL California contractors need to know to be successful.

Sure, one can say “I’m a contractor and not a lawyer!” and while that’s true, it’s also essential that you understand the basics of a contract, to make sure you don’t get burned by sketchy subcontractors or ruthless clients – both of which want to get the most value for the least money.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at warranties for contractors – what they are, what they do, and why you need to know them to be successful as a California contractor.

What Is A Construction Warranty?

In California, a warranty is a legally enforceable assurance provided by a contractor to a client regarding the quality, functionality, and durability of the work delivered.

Warranties in the construction domain serve to uphold professional standards, protect consumer rights, and provide a framework for action and remuneration in case of construction defects or non-compliance with specified standards.

It serves as a pledge that the delivered project will adhere to the specified standards, and should any issues arise within a stipulated period post-completion, the contractor will rectify them at no additional cost to the client.

In legal terms, a warranty refers to a guarantee or promise enshrined within a contract, under which the contractor assures the quality, performance, or condition of a particular subject matter to the client. Warranties also stipulate the consequences of construction defects, legally outlining what a contractor must do in the case of a construction defect.

What Does A Construction Warranty Do?

Warranties, at their very basic level, are legal protections that protect both the contractor and the client by outlining all of the responsibilities of both parties – and the consequences for violating the terms both parties agreed upon.

  • Contractual Assurance: A warranty is a contractual assurance wherein the contractor guarantees the quality and compliance of the job. This could range from the materials used, the workmanship quality, to the project adhering to local building codes and regulations.
  • Binding Obligation: Once a warranty is stipulated within a contract, it becomes a binding obligation, enforceable in court. The contractor is now legally bound to honor the warranty, failing which could result in legal repercussions.
  • Remedial Action: The primary purpose of a warranty is to provide a remedial course of action in case the delivered work doesn’t meet the specified standards. Warranties exist to protect the client, by outlining the specific steps a contractor must take to fix a contractual violation.
  • Risk Allocation: On the flip side, warranties also protect contractors by defining the extent to which contractors are liable for defects or issues arising post-construction.

Types of Construction Warranties

  • Express Warranty: This is a clearly articulated assurance provided by the contractor regarding specific aspects of the construction project. This is essentially any warranty or guarantee a contractor puts in a contract. It specifically and granularly outlines the things they promise to deliver to the client and the timeframe they’ll fix any problems that crop up.
  • Implied Warranty: Unlike express warranties, implied warranties are not explicitly stated but are implied in the very nature of construction. By taking on any construction job, a contractor is tacitly agreeing to these warranties. There are two types of implied warranties in the United States.
    • Workmanship Warranty: guarantees that any construction project will be built in a good or workmanlike manner, free of major defects. This includes both labor and materials.
    • Warranty of Habitability: guarantees that any construction project will be suitable for the purpose they are intended for and be safe to live in.
  • Statutory Warranty: These are warranties determined by the state. Statutory warranties do one thing: they specifically outline the amount of time that contractors are liable for any construction defects.

Common Construction Warranties In California

Warranties in California cover a spectrum of durations and construction aspects, and they can vary from industry to industry and home to home. Here’s some of the main ones you’ll come across in your career as a California contractor.

General Warranties

  • Mandatory Warranties: Contractors in California are obligated to provide warranties on their work, such as a 4-year warranty on installed items, a one-year warranty on the fit and finish of certain areas, and a guarantee against defects in compliance with building codes and manufacturer requirements​.
  • State Law: Notable legal codes include California Civil Code 900, which requires one-year expressed limited warranties for both new construction and remodeling projects, and the Right to Repair Act (California Civil Code 896, et seq.), which includes implied warranties into the one-year warranty requirement.
  • One-Year Warranties: These short-term warranties cover aspects like “fit and finish” of certain elements, “manufactured products,” compliance with “interunit noise transmission standards,” and irrigation, drainage, and landscaping systems​.
  • Two to Five-Year Warranties: These cover medium-sized problems, like untreated wood posts, dryer ducts, plumbing, sewer, electrical systems, exterior pathways, and paint and stains causing deterioration​.
  • Ten-Year Warranties: Ten-year warranties are all about foundational and structural elements. Ten-year warranties ensure long-term accountability on the construction elements most critical to human safety.

Notable Court Cases Involving Warranties

When it comes to contractor contracts, looking to existing court cases is a good way to learn about the system, so you can prepare yourself for even the worst-case scenario.

1. Moore v. Teed

Moore v. Teed was an interesting case about contractual fraud and construction defects, with a big emphasis on the legal application of Business and Professions Code §7160. In the case, a homeowner was suing a contractor for damages because the contractor severely overpromised… and underdelivered to the tune of $300,000.

This ruling gives homeowners more leverage over contractors who promise the world and don’t deliver. In the case, the court ruled that homeowners are entitled to the “image that the contractor promised” when selling their services. In other words, a contractor is liable for the promise of the project made by the contractor and is due damages equal to the promise made to the client – whether it’s in writing or not.

2. Howard Contracting, Inc. v. G.A. Macdonald Construction Co., Inc.

This landmark case made it to the California Supreme Court and set a precedent that allows subcontractors to recover damages for cost overruns caused by delays and disruptions – even if there’s stipulations in the prime contract barring such claims.

The civil ruling changed things for both subcontractors and contractors in California by giving subcontractors the option to sue for – and receive – damages for any out-of-pocket costs or expense overruns caused by delays. The key thing is that even if the prime contract states the prime contractor isn’t liable for damages, they are still liable for damages.

3. Aas v. Superior Court Of California

In this massive 2000 ruling, the California Supreme Court delineated the boundaries of negligence claims in construction defects scenarios. The court ruled that homeowners could not recover damages for construction defects that hadn’t caused property damage. It seems obvious, but before then, there was no legal precedent protecting contractors against

This ruling set a significant precedent on the scope of liability for contractors and developers, finally establishing precedent that homeowners can’t sue contractors for damages related to construction defects…. without actually suffering damages related to construction defects.

It’s wild that we even have to type that…but here we are. Thanks to this court ruling, contractors and the state of California must have saved millions in legal fees from baseless lawsuits.

California Contractors: Get To Know Your Contracts!

As you can see from these court cases, it’s critical for any contractor to know what’s in their contracts – and what’s excluded from them. Any contractor who is too lazy to learn at least the basics of contract law is a contractor who will find themselves in trouble at some point down the road.

We hope this guide serves as a good jumping-off point for your contracting business – now’s the time for you to dig deeper into your own personal situation to make sure you’re covering all your bases and setting yourself up for success as a California contractor.

Additional Reading

California State Licensing Board
Levelset – Warranty requirements for contractors in California​
Esquire REB – New Construction Warranties Provided By California Law​
Valley Contractors Exchange – New Construction Warranties
Stone Sallus – Construction Defect Claims in California: Understanding Your Options​
FreeAdvice – California Contractor Warranty Form
Smith Currie – New California Construction Laws for 2023

New Laws for California Contractors in 2023

We’re always hearing stories from former clients and current contractors that they’re seeing frequent violations of new contractor laws that just came into effect this year, in 2023.

There are a ton of new laws that are – to be frank – absolutely critical to know as a contractor, no matter your classification, location, or size. Any violation of these new laws carries serious penalties – including time in jail for repeat offenders.

Arm yourself with the knowledge and take the steps necessary to protect your business by becoming familiar with the following pieces of new legislation.

Senate Bill 216 (Dodd)

If you’re a concrete, HVAC, Asbestos or Tree Service contractor in California – listen up!

Senate Bill 216 (SB216), which amends the Business and Professions Code (BPC) Section 7125, is a piece of legislation that requires 5 Class “C” contractors to carry workers’ compensation insurance, even without employees.

This mandate means that contractors with a C-8 Concrete, C-20 Heating, Warm-Air Ventilating and Air-Conditioning, C-22 Asbestos Abatement, or D-49 Tree Service license must have valid workers’ compensation insurance by January 1, 2023.

And as a note to all contractors of all classifications: by January 1, 2026, all contractors must have valid workers’ compensation insurance, irrespective of whether or not they have employees.

The only exception to the new CSLB workers’ comp requirements is joint ventures without employees. Anyone with this structure of business is exempt from SB 216’s workers’ comp requirements.

Senate Bill 607 (Min)

In another insurance-related move, the California Senate passed Bill 607 (SB 607), which marks another important change in the requirements to hold a CSLB license. It updates numerous sections of the BPC – with one huge change in bond amounts.

SB 607 mandates that the CSLB qualifier, license, and minimum disciplinary bonds be raised from $12,500 and $15,000, respectively, to $25,000 for all three bonds as of January 1, 2023.

As a bonus for the families of military members looking to become licensed contractors, SB 216 also requires the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) boards and bureaus (including the CSLB) to waive application and license fees for military family members.

What if I Don’t Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance Or My Bond Amount Is Insufficient?

If you are currently in one of the above classifications and you do not have workers’ comp or a sufficient bond amount…well, we’ve got bad news for you: your license is surely suspended.

Don’t panic – just stop doing work entirely if you are still doing it. This is critical as you can face serious legal consequences for working without a license.

Next, you should immediately begin the process of getting the necessary workers’ compensation insurance and/or increasing your bond amount. Once that is sorted out, you can re-apply for your license.

If you’re unsure or don’t remember if you have workers’ compensation insurance, you should immediately check your license status.

Senate Bill 1237 (Newman)

Huzzah for troops-turned-contractors – SB 1237 is here to waive any renewal fees!

Senate Bill 1237 (SB 1237) updates the current law that requires DCA boards, including the CSLB, to waive renewal fees for a licensee who is called to active duty as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or California National Guard.

This applies if the licensee or registrant is stationed outside of California. The new law expands the definition of “called to active duty” and extends it to licensees on active duty during a “state of insurrection” or a “state of extreme emergency.”

Assembly Bill 2105 (Smith)

In another move that will have veteran contractors excited, Assembly Bill 2105 (AB 2105) mandates a 50% fee reduction for an initial license or registration fee for all veterans!

All you have to do is provide paperwork proving you are a veteran who has served as an active-duty member of the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard or Reserve components and was not dishonorably discharged.

For HIS contractors, this still applies to you as well! This applies to all initial license fees for anyone acquiring a CSLB license.

Assembly Bill 1747 (Quirk)

Assembly Bill 1747 (AB 1747) increases the civil penalty from $8,000 to $30,000 for every violation of BPC Section 7110 (savvy legal contractors will know these are building code violations) and amends Section 7099.2 (how much in penalties violators will pay).

This bill expands BPC 7110 to include failure to comply with certain health and safety laws, water laws, safe excavation requirements, pest control requirements, illegal dumping, and other state laws related to building and insurance requirements.

Assembly Bill 2374 (Bauer-Kahan)

Bad news for litterbug contractors: your time is up.

Assembly Bill 2374 (AB 2374) amends Penal Code Section 374.3 and now requires courts to notify CSLB or other DCA boards or bureaus when a licensee is convicted of an illegal dumping crime. This is so the board can publish the conviction on their website.

The bill also increases the fines a court may impose for this crime, which is great for everyone everywhere. In a double-swoop of awesome for contractors who like to do the entire job right, it also requires the court to order a person convicted of dumping commercial quantities of waste to remove or pay for the removal of, the waste matter that was illegally dumped. Which, again, is an absolute win for everyone involved.

Assembly Bill 2916 (McCarty)

Assembly Bill 2916 (AB 2916) amends BPC Section 7124.6 and modifies the CSLB Letter of Admonishment (LOA) program to allow CSLB to determine whether it should be issued for one or two years, rather than the current one-year limitation.

In making that determination, CSLB is required to consider the gravity of the violation, the good faith of the licensee or applicant being charged, and the history of previous violations.

This is a pretty technical bill and to be honest, it remains to be seen how it will affect contractors. It seems to really only affect disciplinary actions, which affect only a small number of contractors. We’ll keep you posted on how it develops.

Stay Compliant…Or Else!

These new laws have serious consequences for any contractor that is non-compliant and remember: Ignorantia juris non excusat – ignorance of the law does not mean you are free from the consequences of violating it.

And in the CSLB’s case – the punishments are extremely severe for anyone violating contractor law in California. So don’t do it!

FAQ: CSLB Licensing Workshops

Are you considering becoming a licensed contractor in California? The process can be overwhelming, with what feels like thousands of hoops to jump through and forms to fill out. 

Wisely, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) has started offering licensing workshops to help guide you through it. 

In this article, we’ll cover the most frequently asked questions about CSLB licensing workshops, including what they are, how they can help you, and how to sign up.

What Are CSLB Licensing Workshops?

The CSLB offers a variety of licensing workshops to assist individuals who are interested in becoming licensed contractors.

These step-by-step guides are short, but highly informational, workshops that really guide you through the entire process of applying for, testing for, and ultimately receiving a California contractor license. 

They cover all sorts of topics and have been shaped by common questions that the CSLB found contractors were asking. Some of the areas covered in these workshops include:

  • A general overview of CSLB licensing requirements
    • What do you need to actually become a contractor?
  • Business and financial management for contractors 
    • How to manage the business side of contracting?
  • Exam preparation and test-taking strategies
    • Basically – how to pass the notorious CSLB exam?
  • Laws and regulations related to contracting in California
    • Learn how to make sure you’re doing work legally
  • How to avoid common mistakes in the licensing process
    • Mistakes can hold up your license for weeks or months. Just don’t!
  • How to file a complaint against a contractor
    • An unfortunate side of the business, but necessary. CSLB professionals can tell you how to best handle an unscrupulous contractor.

How much does the CSLB licensing workshop cost?

These workshops are free! You don’t have to pay a red cent! 

The CSLB started giving these workshops out as a way to help contractors get licensed, so they have no need to charge. They just want to help you become a contractor!

Where and when do I take the CSLB licensing workshop?

The CSLB hosts their licensing workshop on the first Friday of every month at 10:00 a.m.

Usually, these workshops are in-person, but since the COVID pandemic, they’ve shifted these workshops to entirely online. As of April 2023, it seems that these workshops are still fully digital. 

How do I sign up?

The CSLB recommends signing up for their email list to receive access to register.

They encourage you to check the box for “Podcasts and Webcasts” to ensure you receive your invitation, as well. Otherwise, you’ll receive the wrong information (although perhaps still relevant to your license!).

Is the CSLB licensing workshop available in Spanish?

Yes! The CSLB licensing workshop is available in Spanish.

Find out more about taking the licensing workshop here, or watch the video below:

Participa en nuestro workshop para obtener la licencia para construir

Bonus: Get CSLB Exam Study Guides… In Spanish!

Spanish-speaking construction professionals rejoice! The CSLB has released a bunch of brand-new Spanish study guides. 

These study guides cover a variety of topics, including construction law, safety, and business practices, and can help you pass the exam first try.

CHECK OUT OUR ARTICLE HERE to see the full list of new study guides in Spanish. Here are a few of the big ones: 

  • C-6 Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry
  • C-8 Concrete
  • C-10 Electrical
  • C-15 Flooring and Floor Covering
  • C-20 HVAC

These study guides provide valuable assistance to Spanish-speaking applicants who may struggle with the English language, so check them out!

What To Expect From the CSLB Exam: The Essential Facts

If you’re looking to get a California contractor license from the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), you know one of the most difficult parts of the process is passing the notoriously difficult CSLB exam.

This behemoth of a test is designed to be difficult in order to weed out shoddy contractors, so if you go in without preparing, you’re in for a world of hurt.

In this essential but comprehensive guide, we’ll look at only the most crucial elements of the CSLB exam, so you can know what to expect when you sit down and take the test.

The CSLB Exam: A True Test Of A Contractor’s Knowledge

The CSLB exam is designed to evaluate your competency and expertise in your chosen trade, and it is designed to make you fail if you don’t know what you’re doing. 

It is divided into two main parts. 

The first part of the CSLB exam is the Law and Business section, which is taken by applicants. 

The second part of the CSLB exam is the Trade section, which tests the knowledge of your specific trade. If you’re studying for a C-36 Plumbing License, for example, you can expect plumbing-specific questions on your trade exam.

Law and Business Section

This section focuses on contracting business management and includes topics such as contract law, financial management, and employment laws. 

  • 115 Questions Long
  • Multiple-choice format
  • 2.5 hours allotted time
  • Minimum passing score of 72%
  • Divided into the following sections (percentage of the test in parentheses):
    • Licensing (~15%)
    • Bookkeeping (~15%)
    • Safety (~12%)
    • Contracts~(~10%)
    • Bid Procedures (~12%)
    • Insurance (~3%)

Trade Section

The Trade section targets the technical aspects of your chosen specialty. The number of questions and the required passing score depends on your trade classification. However, most trade exams share the following characteristics:

  • 80 to 125 questions
  • Multiple-choice format
  • 2 to 4 hours allotted time
  • Minimum passing score of 72% for most trades
  • Information contained within depends on your trade

Total Questions and Duration

Overall, you can expect to answer between 195 to 240 questions, depending on your trade. The total exam duration ranges from 4.5 to 6.5 hours, with breaks between sections.

How Do I Physically Take The Test?

You can take the test in person at various testing centers around California. There are currently eight testing centers in California. You can take the CSLB exam in the following cities:

  • Berkeley
  • Fresno
  • Norwalk
  • Oxnard
  • Sacramento
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego
  • San Jose

The exam itself is administered on a touch-screen computer that immediately gives you the results on completion of your test. 

You can find more information about the test itself in this CSLB pamphlet,

Preparing for the CSLB Exam: Effective Strategies and Resources

To achieve success in the CSLB exam, thorough preparation is key. Here are some valuable resources and strategies to aid in your exam preparation

  1. Study Guides. The CSLB offers study guides for each trade classification, which cover key exam topics and provide useful tips.
  1. Sample Questions. Familiarize yourself with the exam format and question types by reviewing sample questions provided by the CSLB.
  2. Practice Tests. The CSLB provides practice tests to make sure you’re not only familiar with the topics covered but also the software to take the test itself.
  3. Take A Course. There are quite a few schools out there – like industry veterans CSLS – that have proven methods and courses to help you pass the test the first time. 

After the Exam: Moving Forward in the Licensing Process

Once you have successfully passed the CSLB exam, what’s next?

Well, you should receive your exam results right after taking the exam, so you’ll know if you passed the exam and need to take the next steps to get your license.

If you scored less than 72%, you will have to retake the exam. If you passed, congratulations! You are close to getting your CSLB license! Here are the next steps to take!

  1. Submit all the relevant documents to the CSLB (Like Contractor’s Bond, Workers’ Compensation Insurance, Licensing Fees, etc.)
  2. Check your exam status
  3. Receive your license!
  4. Begin working as a licensed California contractor!

The CSLB exam is a notoriously difficult proposition for many contractors – and rightfully so – it’s a test of a contractor’s ability to safely and securely deliver a quality product that protects the public from any issues.

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to pass – far from it. Preparation is the most important part, so study up and get a guide if you need help getting your license today and becoming a contractor tomorrow.