CSLB Public Information Center Frequently Asked Questions
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A CONTRACTORS LICENSE?
Complete an Application for Original Contractors License. You can fill it out on CSLB’s website here and then print it, or download and print a blank application and complete it using blue or black ink, or request a paper copy at any CSLB office or by calling 800-321-CSLB (2752).
- Carefully read the general information and follow the instructions included with the application.
- Identify a qualifier for the license.
- Be aware that you must submit certifications to support the work experience listed on the application. CSLB will not accept work experience certifications after the application has been reviewed and accepted.
- Be sure to sign and date the application before sending it in.
- Proofread the application for any missing information. If CSLB needs to return an incomplete application, the license may be delayed, or the application denied or considered abandoned if corrections are not made within 90 days of CSLB notifying you of the problem.
- Applicants requesting special testing accommodations should complete an Accommodation Request for Examination here on CSLB’s website and include it with the application.
FAQ FOR APPLYING:
- You may apply for only one classification at a time. After CSLB issues your license, you may apply for any additional classifications.
- Submit the application, the non-refundable application processing fee of $450, and all required application documents to:
Contractors State License Board
P.O. Box 26000
Sacramento, CA 95826
Note: Do not submit any bonds or the initial license fee with your application.
- After the qualifier passes the exam(s), CSLB will send information about how to submit the initial license fee and other required documents (bonds, proof of workers’ compensation insurance, fingerprinting, etc.) before licensure. Please submit all the required documents together to avoid delays. CSLB cannot issue a license until you meet all issuance requirements.
I SENT MY APPLICATION, WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
CSLB will send a letter of acknowledgment within 4-6 weeks, which will include two important numbers:
- a nine-digit application fee number.
- a four-digit personal identification number (PIN). The letter will also include instructions about how to use these numbers to check the status of your application. The application fee number also will appear on other documents related to the application. Please keep a record of this number and use it in all inquiries about the pending application.
HOW CAN I CHECK THE STATUS OF MY APPLICATION?
Each week, CSLB updates information on its website on the Processing Times page, which will give you a good idea of when your application will likely be processed.
Additionally, you can use your PIN and application fee number to check the status of your application on the CSLB website here.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO COMPLETE THE LICENSE APPLICATION PROCESS?
Processing times continually change because of the many factors (i.e., type of application, application returned for corrections, workload, staff vacancies, etc.) that affect the time it takes to process an application.
A randomly selected percentage of applications every month undergo additional investigation of work experience claims. If your application is selected for further review, you may still take and pass the exams, but your license will not be issued until the work experience claims are verified and you meet all additional issuance requirements.
WHEN WILL I GET MY TEST DATE?
After CSLB reviews and accepts your application, you will receive a “Notice To Schedule an Examination.” CSLB contracts its examinations with PSI, and you will need to schedule your examination(s) by using PSI’s website or calling PSI (877) 392-6422. You will be able to choose your exam date and location. More details can be found here.
If the exam is waived, you will instead receive a request for additional documents and payment of the initial license fee.
IF I FAIL AN EXAM, HOW CAN I RETAKE IT?
If you fail the law and business exam and/or the trade exam, you must pay a non-refundable $100 fee each time you reschedule. You may submit your payment in person at the Sacramento Headquarters, by mail, or paying online here. There is a 21-day waiting period from the date the exam was taken before your exam eligibility is sent to PSI Exams for you to reschedule. You have 18 months after CSLB accepts your application to pass the exams. After 18 months, the application is considered void, and you will have to submit a new application with new fees.
Exam results are good for five years. If you pass one exam and fail the other, you only have to retake and pass the one you failed within five years.
HOW DO I SUBMIT MY BOND?
The required bond(s) must be written by a surety company licensed through the California Department of Insurance. More details about Bond Requirements can be found here.
Once a new bond has been submitted, you may visit the CSLB website to view the processing times for Bonds here.
HOW CAN I SUBMIT MY WORKERS’ COMPENSATION OR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION EXEMPTION?
CSLB has created an online form that allows users to submit information that will automatically update the license or application record. Only insurers duly licensed to write workers’ compensation insurance in California may issue and file certificates. Click here to begin using the electronic process.
For qualifiers who believe they may be exempt from workers’ compensation, you may submit an online exemption form here.
You are not eligible for an exemption if:
- You have employees, including home improvement salespersons (HIS) or a qualifier who is a responsible managing employee (RME).
- You hold a classification in C-8 Concrete, C-20 Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning, C-22 Asbestos Abatement, C-39 Roofing classification, and/or D-49 Tree Service. These classifications are required by Business and Professions Code section 7125 to have a Certificate of Workers' Compensation Insurance or a Certificate of Self-Insurance on file with CSLB. Joint venture entities are excluded from this provision.
WHAT IS THE INITIAL LICENSE FEE (ILF)? I AM THE SOLE OWNER OF MY BUSINESS, WHY ARE THERE DIFFERENT AMOUNTS LISTED TO PAY THE ILF?
The initial license fee (ILF) is to issue the license for the first two-year period. There are two fees: $200 for sole ownership and $350 for non-sole ownership businesses.
The ILF is determined by the business structure the applicant(s) decided to apply under, regardless of how many members have ownership stake in the business.
Sole ownership pertains to a sole proprietorship, which is one person who owns an unincorporated business by himself or herself.
All other business structures, such as corporations, LLCs, partnerships, etc. are considered incorporated businesses and are non-sole ownership.
I HAVE A SOLE OWNERSHIP CONTRACTOR’S LICENSE AND I RECENTLY INCORPORATED. HOW CAN I APPLY MY SOLE OWNER LICENSE TO MY CORPORATION?
A new license is required whenever the business entity changes (such as sole owner to corporation, sole owner to LLC, sole owner to partnership, partnership to corporation, etc.) or when specific changes occur with the business structure.
Licenses are associated with a business entity and not necessarily the qualifier. Therefore, licenses are not transferable from one business to another , even if the qualifying individual is the same for both (Business and Professions Code section 7075.1).
Please visit this page for additional information regarding license number reissuance.
WHO MUST REGISTER AS A HOME IMPROVEMENT SALESPERSON (HIS)?
You must register with CSLB if you solicit, sell, negotiate or execute home improvement contracts for a licensed contractor (regardless of the dollar amount of those contracts), with limited exceptions. To apply, you must complete the Application for Registering as a Home Improvement Salesperson. For more details, including any exceptions to registering as an HIS and requirements for HIS, please visit this page.
HOW DO I GO ABOUT FINDING INFORMATION ABOUT PAYING PREVAILING WAGES?
All workers employed on public works projects must be paid the prevailing wage determined by the Director of the Department of Industrial Relations, according to the type of work and location of the project. The prevailing wage rates are usually based on rates specified in collective bargaining agreements. Please contact Department of Industrial Relations for additional information or visit their website here.
HOW DO I SET UP MY COMPANY’S BUSINESS ENTITY?
CSLB does not offer legal advice on what business structure(s) would best fit the applicant’s needs. If an applicant is interested in applying as a corporation, LLC, or partnership, they will need to first register the business with the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State has more information on the various business structures here.
WHAT IF THE SCOPE OF WORK I DO OR WILL DO QUALIFIES AS MORE THAN ONE CLASSIFICATION?
If the qualifier is unsure on which classification to apply and needs assistance, please answer the following questions and email the answers to Classifications@cslb.ca.gov.
- What are you performing, installing, replacing, and/or repairing?
- How is it being performed, installed, replaced and/or repaired?
- What materials, tools, and/or equipment are being used?
- What will the contract for the customer say? What will the scope of work performed be?
Once received, the Classification Deputy will review the information and will make the determination by email on which classification would apply best to the scope of work explained.