Obtaining a contractor license in California can be a challenging process, but it is essential for anyone who wants to work in the construction industry. The California State Licensing Board (CSLB) requires that contractors hold a valid license in order to perform any work on a construction project. The two biggest challenges to obtaining a California general contractor license are passing the exam and paying all of the fees. The exam is intentionally difficult and you are unlikely to pass it without studying.
There are no educational requirements to qualify for a California contractor license, but an exam preparation program designed around the topics covered in the exam can help you gain confidence to pass the exam on the first try. All contractors with employees must provide proof of workers' compensation insurance coverage. Contractors without employees must submit an exemption certificate, however C-39 Roofing contractors are not eligible for an exemption from the workers' compensation insurance requirement. Under California law, an unlicensed contractor “cannot initiate or maintain any compensation action for the performance of any act or contract for which a license is required, unless the contractor has been properly licensed” at all times during the performance of the work. The CSLB requires that contractors specializing in a particular trade hold a class C specialized contractor license.
The general building contractor cannot count structural construction or carpentry when calculating the two unrelated trades needed for the general building contractor to contract a main contract or subcontract for a project involving other trades. Unlike a contractor with specialized licenses who must dedicate himself to performing work that belongs solely to his trade, the general contractor can accept projects with multiple trades. Most importantly, having a general contractor license or other type of contractor license is a legal requirement in California. If you are a contractor or subcontractor in California, it is recommended that you do not perform any work on a construction project without a valid California contractor license in effect at all times.