How Much Does It Cost To Be a Certified Contractor in California?

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.

License Fees
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. 

Contractor’s Bonds
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.

This entry was posted in Construction 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 and tuned for more informative posts.