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California Contractor License

Thinking of getting your California contractor license? Or are you planning on hiring a contractor and want to make sure they are licensed? The California construction license lookup is a simple way to confirm that they are. Learn how to use a California general contractor license lookup and other information about contractor licensing you should know.

How Do I Verify a Contractor’s License in CA?

The simplest way to verify a contractor’s license is with the official State of California contractor license search. This is on the website for the Contractors State License Board (abbreviated CSLB).

To use the CSLB license search, you will need to enter either a license number, a person’s name, or a business name. The CSLB license lookup will then show you the name of the contractor as well as their license number, the city where they operate, and their license’s current status. Clicking on the license number will also tell you information about bonding and insurance as well as their business address, entity type, and date of issue and expiration of the license.

How Do I Check a California Contractor’s License?

As mentioned, the California State Contractors Board license lookup is the best method to check a contractor’s license. When you use this California CSLB license lookup, keep in mind that the license numbers only have numbers without letters. The license number is eight digits, and most contractors have a plastic pocket license.

California Contractor’s License Classifications

When using the California state contractors board license search, you will notice there are several possible classifications. There are three main classifications, one of which has many specialty classifications. A is for general engineering contractors, B is for general building contractors, and C is for specialty contractors.

Examples of specialty contractor classifications include:

  • insulation and acoustical contractor (C-2)
  • drywall contractor (C-9)
  • pipeline contractor (C34)
  • solar contractor (C46)
  • and welding contractor (C-61),
  • although there are dozens of others.

Some of the classifications have different letters, including the hazardous substance removal certification (HAZ) and asbestos certification (ASB).

What Is a General Contractor’s License in California?

A general contractor’s license lets general contractors legally provide their services. If someone does not have a license but contracts their services, they can face serious consequences. They will typically face a judge on the Superior Court. They will face misdemeanor charges, which can include punishment of an administrative fine that is $200 to $15,000 in addition to a $5,000 fine and/or six months of jail time.

For the second offense, there is a mandatory jail sentence of 90 days. There is also a fine equal to either $5,000 or 20% of the price of the contract.

If a person uses a contractor’s license illegally or pretends to be licensed when interacting with customers, they can face felony charges.

Using a California contractors license lookup by name is a simple way to confirm that a contractor is licensed.

Do Contractors Have to Be Licensed in California?

Yes. It is a potential felony to work in a federal or state natural disaster area without having a current contractor license. Contractors also need a license to work on homes or other properties.

It is also worth mentioning that there is no legal requirement for consumers to pay a contractor that is not state-licensed. Non-licensed contractors also cannot sue consumers for non-payment.

Legally, contractors include anyone that makes an offer to undertake or undertakes a project that repairs, removes, adds to, alters, or constructs a building, excavation, road, improvement, or development. It includes those who work on HVAC systems, those submitting construction bids, and temporary labor services hiring employees to work on these projects.

The decision to require contractors to be licensed protects consumers. It ensures that contractors have the proper skills and training and that they understand local codes and laws. Meanwhile, the CA state contractors license lookup makes it easy for consumers to verify licensing.

Can a Contractor Work Under Someone Else’s License in California?

What if you can’t find someone when you do a California contractor license search by name? Is it OK if they claim to work under someone else’s license? No, this is not legal.

Any home improvement work or construction contract that has a total labor and material cost of more than $500 requires a license. This means that if you don’t find someone when you use the California general contractors license lookup, they are not legally allowed to work as a contractor.

Qualifying Individuals

While you cannot work under another license, you can get a license with assistance from a “qualifying individual.” This method still lets you qualify to legally work as a contractor. This still counts as a license, so it should still appear on the California general contractor license search.

Qualifying individuals are responsible for the construction operations of the principal or employer. They are the person who meets the experience requirements for a license. One person can be the qualifying individual for up to three firms in a year, but only in one of three cases. Most of the officers or partners must be the same, extra firms must be joint ventures or subsidiaries of the first one, or the qualifying individual must have common ownership of 20% or more of the equity for every firm.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Contractor’s License in California?

There is no set amount of time it takes to get a contractor’s license in California. You can do so as soon as you meet the requirements, including passing the exams and gaining four years of experience. To become licensed and appear on a CA contractors license search, applicants must pass two tests, one on trade and one on law and business. The CSLB can waive the exams in some situations.

The other basic requirements are being at least 18 years old and having four years or more of related education or experience. This requirement includes at least four years (in the past 10) of journey-level experience or experience as a contractor, supervisor, or foreman in the classification you are applying to. The CSLB will typically verify this experience information. You must also have a $15,000 bond before you can become licensed.

The process to get your license and appear on the State of California contractors license search can be quicker if you are already licensed in a state with reciprocity. These only include Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. They also only apply for certain classifications.

Conveniently, you don’t have to keep using a California state contractors license lookup to see if your license has been issued. The Contractors State License Board lists the current processing times on its website. Its website tells you the date the CSLB is currently processing for each type of document and each location or category.

How Long Is a California Contractor’s License Good For?

As mentioned, the CSLB license lookup by name will show you the expiration date of the contractor’s license. If you compare this to the date issued, you will notice that they are only valid for two years. After two years, a CA license lookup contractor would not find results for the contractor or would show that their license expired.

An important note is that the license does not last two years from the date it was issued. Instead, it lasts two years from the final day of the month when it was issued. This means two contractors who got their licenses on Jan. 1 and Jan. 31 of the same year would have their licenses expire at the same time.

Contractors can renew their license for two years when they are on active status. With inactive status, they can renew it for four years. This is why you may see varying license lengths when you use a State of California contractors license lookup.

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Hailey is a creative content writer who previously worked for various companies generating content in different industries. A writer by day and a reader by night, she is passionate about helping people understand about the written topic through her easily digestible content. Not only does she make her written pieces understandable by different audiences, she also puts lots of effort into making it easily understandable by her friend Google.

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