Tag Archives: Contractor

Contractors State License Services hosts Open House statewide in recognition of Earth Day and Green Construction



 Contractors State License Services hosts Open House statewide in recognition of Earth Day and Green Construction.

 Contractors State License Services (CSLS) will be hosting an open house at all school locations throughout California on April 29th, 2011 in recognition of Earth Day and Green Construction.  A variety of speakers and vendors offering construction related information; green products and construction business services are scheduled at 20 plus locations throughout the state. CSLS and strategic partners are working together to educate Contractors and Construction workers on available services and products that can help them take advantage of value-added green offerings that they can integrate into their construction business. “Green construction starts with getting your contractor’s license so assisting students and graduates to get connected in this growing part of the industry is a wonderful opportunity for Contractors”, says David Mizener, CSLS CEO.

At many of the Contractors State License Services school locations Green industry experts, speakers and vendors will participate including American Home Inspection Training (AHIT), Home Depot, HD Supply, Dunn-Edwards Paints, Global HVAC/Ruud, Lowes, Harbor Freight Tools, Jem Industrial Coatings, CBIA Insurance Services, Ewaste Recycler, Contractor Manager, Deep Blue Pool Service, Corp 911 and Solar Seminars.

For this event topics of discussion will cover Zero VOC Paint products, Green insulation, Energy Audit Training, Solar Installation, Sustainable building, Energy Tax Rebates for consumers, Energy efficient appliances, Tankless water heaters, Greenscaping including native landscaping, and much more.  CSLS will also present information on the recently required EPA-Renovation, Repair and Painting certification. Promotions, giveaways and special offers will also be part of this statewide event. Schedules and presenters vary by location. For details on individual school events interested contractors can contact the corporate offices at Contractor State License Services 800-331-4691.

  About CSLS (http://contractorslicensingschools.com/) @contractorslic  #Contractors#License

Contractors State License Services (CSLS) is the largest school in California devoted to the Construction professional. For over 25 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. In fact, 1 in 3 applicants to the California State Licensing Board (CSLB) have used CSLS to successfully pass the exam. Contractors State License Services 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. Contractors State License Services also provides CSLS Contractors with Business Development Services to assist in every aspect of sustaining a strong Construction Business. These include Bonds, Corporation Services, DBA’s, Application Processing, Fingerprint Services, Home Inspection training courses, BPI Energy Audit training courses, NAPCEP Solar PV Photovoltaic Installer training courses, Locksmithing training courses, and Insurance Services.




CSLB Announces Zero Tolerance Enforcement Policy for C-10 Electrical Contractors. 


SACRAMENTO – The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) established a zero-tolerance enforcement policy in 2010 and now issues legal action against any C-10 Electrical contractor who willfully employs an uncertified electrician to perform work as an electrician. CSLB is legally required to open an investigation and initiate disciplinary action against the contractor (which may include license suspension or revocation) within 60 days of receipt of a referral or complaint from the Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS).

Labor Code Section 3099.2 stipulates that anyone who performs work as an electrician for C-10 Electrical contractors shall hold an electrical certification card issued by DAS; DAS is required by Labor Code Section 3099.2 to report violations to CSLB.

Electricians are defined as those who engage in the connection of electrical devices for C-10 contractors. It is CSLB’s position that electrical work must be performed by either a state-licensed or a certified electrician. An indentured apprentice or state-registered electrician trainee may also perform electrical work if supervised by a state-certified electrician. Trenching, concrete, framing, and other work that does not involve connecting electrical devices may be performed by noncertified workers.

Learn more about electrician certification by visiting the Division of Apprenticeship Standards website

Contact a CSLS School Administrator to assist in purusing your C-10 License today! www.MakeMeAContractor.com

Statewide sting nets 19 suspected unlicensed contractors in San Diego County

By Tanya Mannes/www.signonsandiego.com
Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nineteen contractors in San Diego County were among 135 arrested last week during a statewide undercover operation seeking to identify people working without proper licensing.

The Contractors State License Board conducted the operation to spotlight the severe risks California consumers take when they hire unlicensed operators to work in and around their home.

Consumers often don’t realize the risk they run when hiring someone who is not licensed. Because these phony contractors don’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, the homeowner could be liable if a worker is hurt on the job. Also, if something goes wrong or the project is abandoned, homeowners have few options for getting back their money.

“Consumers must check out the people they’re going to hire to work on their home to make sure they’re properly licensed,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “A family’s safety or finances could be jeopardized by not taking a few minutes to verify the contractor on CSLB’s website or through our toll-free phone system. We hope this blitz is a wake-up call for consumers to check the license first.”

To verify licensing, visit www.cslb.ca.gov or call 1-800-321-CSLB.

Of those arrested statewide, some were registered sex offenders and others had warrants for arrest on suspicion of burglary, domestic violence or driving under the influence. (None of those cases were in San Diego County.)

The San Diego County operation received support from the District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department and the California Department of Insurance.

Investigators from CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team posed as homeowners or landlords, asking for bids on projects that ranged from landscaping, concrete and fencing to painting, gutters, garage doors, cabinets, tile work and tree trimming. Those who bid more than the legal limit of $500 for labor and materials received a notice to appear in Superior Court on suspicion of a misdemeanor charge of contracting without a license.

Other charges included illegal advertising and soliciting excessive down payments.

Understanding the Contractor’s License Bond

In California, anyone who contracts to perform work that is valued at $500 or more for labor and materials must hold a current, valid license from the Contractors State License Board (hereinafter “CSLB”) and must carry a Contractor’s License Bond. Surety bonds are commonly used for this purpose, but cash or certificates of deposit may also be posted. All Contractor License Bonds must be implemented by an authorized surety company, in a manner up to the required standard of the CSLB and suitable to the State of California. Currently the CSLB requires that contractor’s bonds be in the sum of twelve thousand five hundred dollars ($12,500). At their discretion, the Board may require an applicant to carry a higher bond amount or separate bonds for contractors who have been disciplined, and the amounts of these bonds vary. The bond amount is not per job. It is the amount available for all jobs a contractor takes on during the life of the bond.

A surety bond is a contract in which a surety company promises the State of California that the contractor will comply with the Contractors’ State License Law. Generally speaking, a licensed contractor is obligated not to commit any violations of the Contractors’ State License Law. The law describes and identifies specific violations that the bond will cover and violations can result in disciplinary action against the licensed contractor. California Business and Professions Code § 7071.15 provides that failure to maintain a sufficient bond can result in a minimum penalty of suspension ranging from 60 days up to 1 year probation, and a maximum penalty of revocation. Additionally, if warranted the CSLB can impose an actual suspension of the license for 5 days or more, require contractors to retake the CSLB law and business examination if not taken within the past 5 years, impose educational course requirements, or require payment of CSLB investigation and enforcements costs.

If the contractor does not comply with the conditions of the bond, a consumer, supplier or an employee can file a claim against the bond. California Business and Professions Code § 7071.5 provides that the contractor’s bond shall be for the benefit of the following:
(a) A homeowner contracting for home improvement upon the homeowner’s personal family residence damaged as a result of a violation of this chapter by the licensee.
(b) A property owner contracting for the construction of a single-family dwelling who is damaged as a result of a violation of this chapter by the licensee. That property owner shall only recover under this subdivision if the single-family dwelling is not intended for sale or offered for sale at the time the damages were incurred.
(c) A person damaged as a result of a willful and deliberate violation of this chapter by the licensee, or by the fraud of the licensee in the execution or performance of a construction contract.
(d) An employee of the licensee damaged by the licensee’s failure to pay wages.
(e) A person or entity, including an express trust fund described in Section 3111 of the Civil Code, to whom a portion of the compensation of an employee of a licensee is paid by agreement with that employee or the collective bargaining agent of that employee, damaged as the result of the licensee’s failure to pay fringe benefits for its employees, including, but not limited to, employer payments described in Section 1773.1 of the Labor Code and regulations thereunder (without regard to whether the work was performed on a private or public work). Damage to an express trust fund is limited to actual employer payments required to be made on behalf of employees of the licensee, as part of the overall compensation of those employees, which the licensee fails to pay.

General requirements for bonds include the following:
•Bonds are NOT transferable – do not attempt to transfer a bond from
one license to another or from one qualifying individual to another;
•The business name and license number on the bond must correspond EXACTLY to the information in the records of the CSLB
•The license number on the bond of a qualifying individual must match that of the firm for whom the individual is to serve as the qualifying individual;
•Contractors bonds must be in the correct amount of $12,500;
•A bond of a qualifying individual must be in the correct amount of $12,500;
•The bond must have the signature of the attorney-in-fact ; and
•Bonds must be filed with the CSLB within 90 days of the effective date of the bond.

To avoid problems with the bonds filed for your license and to maintain your bonds, the following guidelines are helpful:
•Keep your required bonds, cash deposits, or bond exemptions current at all times;
•Renew your bonds promptly. Make sure that the effective date of a new bond is the same as the cancellation date of the old bond and allow for processing time;
•Only one bond is effective at any time. A second bond filed for the same period will cancel out the first bond;
•CSLB does not return any bond that has been accepted or processed for an active license; and
•Keep accurate records on your agent, surety company, bond numbers, effective dates, and terms of the bonds.

If a contractor receives notice from their surety company that a claim has been filed against his/her bond, the contractor should immediately contact the surety company to respond to the claim and explain his/her position. The contractor should also submit all documentation relevant to the claim. If a complaint is filed with the CSLB, the contractor should also respond immediately and provide the CSLB all of the requested information and documentation throughout the course of the investigation. Complaints filed with the CSLB and with surety companies are taken very seriously and a contractor’s cooperation is critical to a successful resolution.
1. See California Business and Professions Code § 7071.6.
2. The term attorney-in-fact is commonly used in the United States, to make a distinction from the term Attorney at law. An attorney-at-law in the United States is a lawyer—someone licensed to practice law in a particular jurisdiction. As an agent, an attorney-in-fact is a fiduciary for the principal, so the law requires an attorney-in-fact to be completely honest with and loyal to the principal in their dealings with each other. See Wikipedia @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_of_attorney .

Important CSLB Bulletin: Attention C-10 Contractors

CSLB Announces Zero-Tolerance for C-10 Requirement ViolationsOnly Certified Electricians to Perform Work as Electricians
SACRAMENTO – Effective immediately, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) establishes a zero-tolerance enforcement policy and will issue legal action against any C-10 Electrical contractor who willfully employs even one uncertified electrician to perform work as an electrician. CSLB is legally required to open an investigation and initiate disciplinary action against the contractor, which may include license suspension or revocation, within 60 days of receipt of a referral or complaint from the Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS).
Subsections within Labor Code Section 3099 clearly state that certification by DAS is required for anyone who performs work as an electrician for C-10 Electrical contractors. DAS is required by Labor Code Section 3099.2 to report violations to CSLB.
Electricians are defined as all persons who engage in the connection of electrical devices for C-10 contractors. It is CSLB a position that electrical work must be performed by a certified electrician or an approved apprentice. Trenching, concrete, framing, and other work that does not involve connecting electrical devices may be performed by noncertified workers.
Questions regarding this CSLB enforcement policy should be directed to Brian Gedney (916) 255- 4435.


What You Need To Know About Becoming A Licensed Contractor

Wondering how to become a Licensed Contractor or if you need to be Licensed? The following are the top questions we hear and answer guiding you and our students through becoming a Licensed Contractor successfully.

Who can become a licensed contractor?
A licensed contractor must be 18 years of age or older and have the experience and skills necessary to manage daily activities of a construction business, including field supervision, or be represented by a qualifying individual with the necessary experience and skills.

Who must be licensed as a contractor?
All businesses or individuals, who construct or alter any building, highway, road, parking facility, railroad, excavation, or other structure in California, must be licensed by the California Contractors State License Board if the total cost (labor and materials) of one or more contracts on the project is $500 or more. Contractors must be licensed before submitting bids.

How much does a license cost?
In addition to the financial requirements that must be met, it costs $250 for an original application fee (nonrefundable) and $150 for the initial license fee for one classification. The license must be renewed every two years. Currently, the renewal fee is $300.

How can you apply?
The Application for Original Contractor’s License is available at any office of the Contractors State License Board. It is also possible to order or download an application form from our Website, www.cslb.ca.gov, call the CSLB’s 24-hour automated information line, (800) 321-CSLB (2752), or write to the CSLB, at: P.O. Box 26000, Sacramento, CA 95826, to request an application.

What kind of experience is required?
At least four years of journey-level experience is required to qualify for the exam. Credit is given for experience as a journeyman, foreman, supervising employee, contractor, or owner-builder.

What are the other requirements?
All applicants must be fingerprinted and undergo a criminal background check before a license is issued at an additional cost to the applicant.

Is there an examination requirement for a contractor’s license?
Yes, the qualifying individual for a contractor’s license is required to pass law and trade examinations, unless he or she meets the requirements for a waiver. An examination notice will be sent at least three weeks prior to the examination date.

Is school necessary?
Although there are no educational requirements to qualify for a contractor’s license, it is highly encouraged to seek assistance from a school that specializes in helping students pass the Contractor State License Board Exam.

For more detailed information on becoming a California licensed contractor, see the CSLB publication, Blueprint
for Becoming a California Licensed Contractor or visit our Website, www.cslb.ca.gov or visit MakeMeAContractor.com for more information today.


Constructech Shares How a Simple iPad Makes a World of Difference for Contractors

Interesting Article we found from Constructech that shares how a simple iPad can make a world of difference for Contractors operating in today’s fast paced environment. In fact, we are such a fan of technology to improve workflow for Contractors CSLS is giving away to 1 lucky winner an iPad. Visit our website to enter today! www.MakeMeAContractor.com


Mobile Construction Management

When it comes to construction, most contractors tend to avoid carrying around all of the paperwork out in the field. Too much paperwork can lead to vital documents being misplaced or destroyed. There are a number of applications specifically designed to save contractors the trouble by giving them mobile access to essential paperwork.
One example is the new “Mobile PlanRoom” app from BuilditLive.com (BIL), www.builditlive.com, a division of Construction Connect Inc., www.constructionconnect.com, Folsom, Calif., which is designed to be used on the iPad from Apple, www.apple.com, Cupertino, Calif. Using Mobile PlanRoom, construction professionals including engineers, contractors, and architects can access various construction documents including contracts, specifications, and drawings right on the iPad’s touchscreen.

“We know what it means to be shuttling back and forth between sites during a construction project and what a hassle it can be to access drawings, plans, and other information at the speed you really need to,” says Marcus Linden, president and chief operating officer, Construction Connect. “Apple’s iPad technology is an ideal workspace to view every document or image that relates to a project in a portable manner so that it is literally at your fingertips.”
Mobile PlanRoom allows users to upload construction documents to the Web via BuilditLive.com. From there, other users can access the documents using an iPad or other various Internet-enabled devices.

Additionally, Mobile PlanRoom enables all project participants to share the data for a specific project without having to be at the same location. It also keeps contractors from having to send out large email files to various individuals involved in the same project.
According to Linden, when using BuilditLive.com and the Mobile PlanRoom app, contractors do not need to be concerned about outdated drawings for a specific project.
“With BuilditLive.com, the general contractor simply posts the most current drawings and invites all participants to the BuilditLive.com project, so everyone is literally on the same page,” says Linden.

National Association of Home Builders Reports: As Downturn Lingers on, Remodelers Toss ‘Business as Usual’ Out the Window

The National Association of Home Builders Reports:

As Downturn Lingers on, Remodelers Toss ‘Business as Usual’ Out the Window

No one at the Remodeling Show in Baltimore on Sept. 14-17 seemed to be sure of when the market will fully recover from its current downturn, but those whose businesses are performing the best aren’t waiting to see a substantial improvement. Instead, they have been changing who they are and how they operate, recognizing that their prospective customers have changed drastically as a result of the economic recession.

“We’ve all been burned a little bit and we want to put our poker chips on things that have given us a return,” said Bruce Case, president of Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. in Bethesda, Md.

After seeing its average job size tumble last year to half of what it was in 2008, his company has restructured to bring in more medium-sized jobs, and it is finding demand solidifying for kitchen and bath improvements. But Case does not foresee an end to the downturn for another two to five years, and is projecting modest annual gains in the 5% to 8% range in the meantime.

Speakers at the conference overall said that remodelers need to invest in professional business practices if they haven’t done so already, especially in calculating their costs and profits so that they know how to price their work and how much revenue they need to bring in to sustain their operations. In a segment of the housing industry that is dominated by very small businesses, many of which are still operating out of the back of a pickup truck, many remodelers have yet to adopt these basic practices.

No matter when a recovery does materialize, presenters at the show warned, remodelers should be focusing on redefining their businesses now and resist the temptation to just get by in soft times. Some of the remodelers attending the annual show, which is produced by Hanley Wood and sponsored by NAHB and Remodeling magazine, will reach record sales this year despite a generally downbeat market, speakers observed.

A ‘Wake-Up Call’

“This is a wake-up call,” said Melanie Hogdon, president of Business Systems Management, Inc. “Things won’t return to the way they were five years ago.”

Aside from bruising consumer confidence, the recession has dealt a more direct blow to home owners, who have lost the equity they previously plowed into improving their homes but still have to rely on their own money for remodeling projects because it’s hard to get loans, she said.

“It’s a buyer’s market,” Hogdon said. Prospective customers are just looking and in no rush to sign a contract. They are no longer grateful for a contractor calling them back. In today’s perilous times, “they want you to provide a sense of security and help them make the rough decisions.”

Hogdon said that thanks to the Internet, today’s customers are also “better informed than ever” about products and can easily check out the track records of the remodelers they might consider hiring.

“You used to be able to upsell,” Hogdon added. Now remodeling customers “are looking for the biggest bang for the smallest buck. There is no more keeping up with the Joneses. They are looking at the contractor for guidance,” and are searching for products that are “serviceable” and not at “the highest end.”

Swapping Horses

As a result of the slowdown, remodeling companies have typically been shifting down, she said, for example, from production to custom remodeling, from custom to full service, from full service to specialty remodeling, from specialty jobs to replacement contracting and from replacement to handyman jobs.

However, this process of “swapping horses,” she advised, requires making fundamental changes in the business that are impeded by legacy issues. “You are tied to what you used to do and can’t let it go.”

Remodelers who used to sell on their workmanship, Hogdon noted, may find that this “is not working so much now that the distance between price and value has narrowed.”

Among other dilemmas remodelers can expect to face as they carve out a new identity for their business: with sales and profits suddenly squeezed, owners may find that they are needed in the field and can’t stay in the office managing business at the same time as a shift to a greater number of smaller jobs makes management more important than it was before.

“When you put the tool belt on, who’s selling the jobs?” she asked. “What other management tasks are you distracted from?”

With the hope of emerging as the last man standing, remodelers may also succumb to the temptation of “taking any job to keep the guys busy. That is a formula for a financial debacle,” Hogdon said. “You probably have too many guys,” but remedying that situation isn’t easy because you have so much invested in them.

Employees will also have to be more flexible and able to adapt to new types of work, methods, products and clientele. However, they may be entirely unequipped to do the new work.

Identifying New Clients

Among other challenges of successfully transforming a remodeling business: the historical data may no longer be relevant for projecting what you need to know; production management requirements may change a lot; and estimating and pricing may have to be done in a vacuum until reliable data from the new business becomes available.

In switching over to a different clientele, “do you know who they are, what they want, how to market to them?” she asked.

In today’s market, the value of the job to the resale of the house won’t be the reason clients decide to purchase a remodel, said Hogdon, but comfort is a big selling point.

Among the unique things that the remodeler can offer are expertise with the financing process, tax credits for energy-efficient upgrades, paperwork, home performance, specialty products and value engineering. Two-day bathrooms — something remodelers used to say could never be done — are popular, she said, and remodelers can help make a name for themselves by partnering with specialists in energy performance, becoming an energy auditor, establishing partnerships with vendors and initiating a less-hurried sales process.

There is a tendency for remodelers to imitate each other and go after the hot jobs, she conceded, and businesses can veer in the opposite direction by going after “what’s not hot, what nobody else wants to mess with.” A prime example is lining up work related to the renovation, repair and painting rule recently implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency. “Everybody hates it,” she said.

Finance Is Pivotal

Also pivotal in reconstituting the business model for a tighter market, she said, is finance. Remodelers need to reduce their overhead and job-related costs. That includes asking for discounts, increasing efficiencies in the office, eliminating necessary overhead, retraining employees to make them more productive, maintaining and repairing tools instead of throwing them out and replacing them, and working out more favorable payment terms and pricing with suppliers and subs.

When it comes to pricing jobs, a strategy of breaking even can lead to nowhere, she said.

To illustrate that point, Hogdon presented the example of a remodeling job that brings in $35,000 in income and costs $23,000, leaving $12,000 in gross profit. Subtracting $10,000 in overhead brings in $2,000 in net profit. If the identical job is repeated four more times, the remodeler has $10,000 in net profit. However, when the sixth job comes along, for whatever the reason, the costs run over and there is zero gross profit. The $10,000 in overhead on this last job “offsets all of the accumulated profit, bringing profit to zero.” The remodeler will then need to do this job five more times to make up for the loss.

In considering various cost strategies:

■“Be sure to plan for the margin you need.”
■“Slice and dice until you get a price you need.”
■“If you can’t mark up materials, charge for your unique expertise.”
■“Test your pricing strategy.”
“And never buy a job.” Hogdon said that lowering the price will lower the margin, and “lowering margins will force you to utilize a higher volume to cover the same overhead.” Another recommendation against price discounts, “they set customer expectations for more price discounts.”

Hogdon recommended using available financial tools, including Judtih Miller’s forecasting tool on Remodeling magazine’s website, information on her site — www.melaniehodgdon.com, and Google’s “markup calculator.”

When operating in a new environment, “plan ahead, test the results, keep what’s valid and abandon what no longer works,” she said. This should result in a new pricing model that’s reliable, enabling remodelers to leverage their resources to do something different.


Helpful Tips from IPSSA

By Ray Arouesty/ IPSSA Aug 2010 Newsletter
Ray Arouesty is an attorney at law and president of Arrow Insurance Service, IPSSA’s insurance provider since 1988.

My client had been servicing commercial pools for more than ten years. On a day much like any other, he received a phone call informing him that water from the pool filter was spraying into one of the apartments. The problem was clear: the filter O-ring had split, allowing a stream of water to be directed toward the building. My client was shocked when the client’s homeowner’s insurance company demanded reimbursement for more than $100,000 in water damage. After all, he was only the service technician. As it turns out, my client never changed the filter O-ring and stated that he never even checked the O-ring for wear or deterioration. Had he done so, the damages probably would have been avoided. A pool service tech will be held responsible for damages caused by his failure to exercise ordinary care. We routinely change the brake pads on our cars before they fail because we know that they will eventually fail if we don’t. The same logic applies to swimming pool equipment. Service techs should have a practice of routinely checking wear on parts and advising their customers before these items break. This includes not only Orings, but plastic hoses and seals as well. It takes little effort and you may be responsible for the resulting damage if you fail to do so.

Page 10 The IPSSAN August 2010
Coverage Corner
Fix things before they’re broken?

For additional information visit www.MakeMeAContractor.com C-53 License, C-61/D-35

Helping Our Community & Friends

Contractors State License Services is proud to announce the John Baker Scholarship.  We believe in serving the California Construction community by providing license examination prep.  Our ongoing commitment to our students and to further education continues to be a high priority for CSLS.  Scholarships are awarded on various criteria reflecting the values of our organization. “Given the economic times it is important to give back in any way that we can.”, says Susan Ishii, General Manager   In doing so we have assisted a number of students not only earn their Contractors License but help reduce the burden of tuition. The Scholarship includes choice of one program valued at $899. This gives students access to over 25 school locations, materials, as well as seminars.

Meet a few of our Scholarship recipients  http://www.makemeacontractor.com/contractor-scholarship.cfm

Or Learn how to participate in our scholarship offerings by visiting  http://www.makemeacontractor.com/free-contractors-scholarship.cfm[slideshow]