By Shauna Krause, President, Capitol Services, Inc.
Any test taken is always a bet you hope to win. Sometimes passing it is the only way to ‘win, place or show’ as our first contractor discovers. There are times when the label placed on something is almost ‘self-explanatory’, but not always as we learn in a ‘liability’ question followed by another on restoring a revoked license…
Q: We have an employee who has many years of experience doing all aspects of General Building work. We want him to be our Responsible Managing Employee (RME) for a new license, but he is not a “book” guy and is nervous about the exams, particularly the “law’ exam. What is the purpose of the law exam, what does it consist of, and is it possible to have someone in the office take that portion of the exam?
A: The main purpose is for the applicant to demonstrate they know how to run a contracting business. It consists of questions related to this knowledge such as business finances, business organization, bonds, insurance, contracts, licensing, safety, and public works. The same individual who is qualifying the trade portion of the license isrequiredto take the law portion of the exam.
Q: I’ve been self-employed and doing construction work for family, friends, neighbors, etc. for over five years now. I’m ready to get my own license so I can start advertising for the services I provide. How will the CSLB verify my experience? I read on your website that it’s difficult to qualify with self-employed experience. I take pictures of all my work and can get my customers to sign statements.
A: You are correct in believing that qualifying for a Contractor’s License is difficult with self-employed experience. That work can be difficult for the CSLB to assess. They absolutely will not consider photos as valid proof of your work background. You would need to provide some type of verifiable evidence that the work was done to code. Permits you pulled, contracts, invoices, etc.
Q: I have a “B” license and I typically do small/average home improvement jobs. I have been asked to do a fairly large remodel job and the customer is asking that I obtain General Liability coverage. I am bonded and I don’t have any employees, although I do use subcontractors. Is it required that I carry liability insurance?
A: While it is a requirement, by law, for a home improvement contractor to notify the homeowner whether or not they carry General Liability coverage, it is not a requirement for contractors to have liability insurance. Notifying the homeowner must be done in writing, and the information must accompany the bid. The CSLB strongly recommends that contractors carry liability insurance. Without it you have everything to lose should something go very wrong.
Q: My license was revoked due to some citations I received last year. How long do I have to wait before I can re-apply for a Contractor’s License?
A: There is no specific time limit. You will need to provide documentation demonstrating that all loss that resulted in the revocation have been fully satisfied and you have complied with all terms and conditions imposed by the revocation before you can apply for a new license.
While knowledge is power, knowing where to go for the answers is half the battle. Get expert assistance immediately when you call 866-443-0657, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write us at Capitol Services, Inc., 1225 8th St. Ste. 500, Sacramento, CA 95814. Research past columns at www.cutredtape.com.