For many people, applying for a contractor license is the culmination of years of preparation. Wherever you are in that process, it’s important to know all of the steps involved. With this information, you’ll understand the requirements you have to meet in order to apply for a contractor license in California.
Prove Your Experience
Before you can apply to take the exam, you must establish that you have the appropriate amount of experience. As a general rule, you’ll need four years of experience in the class that you’re intending to apply. If you have extensive education in the form of:
- Professional training
- An apprenticeship
- A college education
you may be able to apply to waive up to three years of that requirement. Keep in mind that the amount of credit you can get for education relates closely to the type and extent of the education. You may also be able to use other work to count for part of the experience component, although it depends on the work and how you documented it. You’ll usually need to provide transcripts of your completion of an educational program in order for it to qualify.
Submit an Application
Once you have collected all the evidence of your four years of experience, you can usually apply to take the exam. You should wait until you receive the results of your application before you take any other steps, such as paying for a bond. The application requires a high level of precision, and you must ensure that all the documents are clearly filled out and easy to read. You will pay the application fee at this time. If any parts of your application are incomplete, it may be sent back to you to fix and resubmit.
Take the Exam
Once your application has been processed, you’ll receive a notice that you are cleared to take the examination. The contractor licensing exam only takes a few hours out of your day, but it is intended to test the knowledge you have accumulated through years of work in the field, as well as additional study. Taking an exam prep course is an excellent way to get a better understanding of what you can expect from the exam and confirm that you know what you should. If you complete all parts of the exam with a passing score, you can continue the process to receive your license.
Pay a Bond
Usually, you don’t have to prove that you meet certain financial requirements in order to apply for a contractor license, but you will need to pay for a bond. Specifically, you should have a $15,000 bond paid before you receive your license. The bond exists to protect consumers or employees in the case of faulty actions on the part of your business. In some cases, you may be able to avoid paying for a bond by providing a cashier’s check for the same amount, given to the California State Licensing Board.
Submit a Background Check
One of the last steps you need to complete to receive your contractor license is a background check. The state of California requires that you provide a full set of fingerprints. If you live in the state currently, you can go to a nearby location to provide your fingerprints through a live scan. You’ll pay a small fee for the service. If you live out of state, you’ll need to get a hard copy of your fingerprints to submit. The state submits your fingerprints to the DOJ and the FBI to confirm that your record has no unexpected convictions. In some cases, you may have to submit your fingerprints more than once.
Although applying for a contractor license is a process you began years ago, the last few steps are the most important. By taking each one seriously, you can smooth the path to having your own license. To learn more about how CSLS can help you get ready for the exam, contact us today!