How to Become a Licensed Plumber

Are you interested in becoming a licensed plumber in the state of California? Do you know what the requirements are? If this is a career path you’re serious about pursuing, read on to learn more.

What is a Licensed Plumber?

Plumbers are professional trades-persons who deal with the installation and repair of pipes and fittings. In particular, pipes and fittings which carry water or gas, as well as for heating and sanitation systems. Plumbers carry out their work in homes, offices, and factories.

Licensing is a very important aspect of becoming a plumber. This is because once a plumber is licensed they are certified as having the requisite knowledge, expertise, and experience to carry out their work according to recognized plumbing standards.

Licensed plumbers are awarded a compliance certificate which can be shown to their employers. This certificate testifies that a plumber is meeting all relevant plumbing codes, standards, and regulations on the job. They also have insurance which is intended to help their customers in the event that the plumbing work was faulty.

Plumbers that are not licensed may be penalized for carrying out plumbing work without a license.

Interested in Becoming a Plumber? Here’s What You Have to Do

Because plumbing is a trade profession, individuals who wish to become plumbers must meet certain requirements.

Education

Plumbing technology programs are designed to teach students about the fundamentals of plumbing. These courses are typically offered at community colleges or vocational schools and last for two years.

Some of the courses that are offered in these programs include:

  • Welding
  • Plumbing tools
  • Pipe system design
  • The safe use of equipment and tools

Apprenticeship

Alternatively, candidates may also enroll in a plumbing apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are offered by plumbing unions and business and can last anywhere from 2 to 3 years. These programs include both practical experience components, which are often paid training opportunities with licensed plumbers, and formal classes.

For candidates looking to join an apprenticeship, the following requirements apply:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must hold a high school diploma or GED
  • Must have knowledge of how to use computers
  • Must pass a substance abuse test
  • Must know basic math

The California Plumbing License Exam

In order to sit for a plumbing exam, prospective plumbers must have met certain education and experience requirements.

The California Plumbing License Exam is needed in order to work as a licensed contractor in California. Any individual who intends to work as a plumbing contractor that is responsible for constructing, altering, or repairing a building or structure needs to be licensed. This is especially so if the total cost of the job is or exceeds $500.

The California Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) is the authority that regulates plumbing contractors.

How do you get a license?

In order to get a plumbing license, candidates must appear for two exams. The first exam relates to trade knowledge in the field of plumbing. The second one covers aspects of law and business related to plumbing. Some study material can be helpful like C36 License Study Guide for exam preparation.

How do you qualify for the exam?

To qualify for the plumbing license exam in California candidates must:

  • Have a minimum of 4 years worth of experience as either a foreman, supervisor, or journeyman
  • At least 1 year worth of practical experience
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Submit a full set of fingerprints
  • Undergo a thorough criminal background check

License Renewal

The California Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) requires licensed plumbers to renew their license every two years.

You will not be expected to satisfy any additional education requirements at the time of renewal.

Exam Format

The California Plumbing Exam has five major sections. These are:

  • Planning and Estimating
  • Rough-in Plumbing Systems
  • Finish Plumbing Installations
  • Service, Repair, and Remodel Plumbing Systems
  • Worker and Job Site Safety

After reviewing all of this information, you can decide whether or not you want to give the exam. The California Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) offers up to date information about the license application process as well as useful study materials that can help you pass the exam. If becoming a plumber is something you really want to do, you’ll need to go through the process of licensure in California.

How to a Get Law and Business Contractors License

Why Study Business Law?

A Law and Business Contractors license by the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is required to perform work on a majority of construction projects in California. In California, all individuals and businesses that construct or alter, or offer to construct or alter, any construction project except federal projects has to be licensed by the CSLB. This is especially true when the entire cost of materials and labor is $500 or more.

Obtaining this license is a long process of careful considerations. Here are the things you will have to take care of in order to get licensed:

Know Who Can Become a Licensed Contractor

To qualify for this license, you will need to meet certain criteria, which requires that you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Possess a social security number
  • Be able to show that you have the required experience and expertise needed to take care of the daily activities of the construction business

Acquire the Required Experience

An individual, who wishes to be qualified for this license, must possess at least 4 years of experience at the journey level, within the ten years before the application for the license. Candidates will only be given credit for experience as a foreman, journeyman, contractor, supervising employee or owner-builder. In addition, all relevant experience will have to be verified by a qualified individual who has first-hand knowledge of the individual’s work during the relevant time frame.

As a qualifying individual, you can get credit as follows (for up to a maximum of 3 years):

  • Up to 1.5 years of credit can be attained upon submitting of transcripts relating to an Associate of Arts degree from an accredited college. The degree needs to be in building or construction management.
  • Up to 2 years of credit can be received if transcripts for a (i) 4-year program from an institution that is accredited, are submitted in the fields of business, accounting, physics, economics, mathematics or a related field, (ii) a professional degree in law, (iii) a significant amount of university-level work in subject areas of accounting, business, architecture, drafting, construction technology, mathematics, engineering, economics or physics.
  • Up to 3 years of credit can be attained if any of the following are submitted: (i) a Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship from an accredited program or a certified document that signifies the completion of apprenticeship training from a union in the classification being applied for; (ii) official academic records for a four-year degree from an accredited college in any field, such as architecture, engineering, construction technology or others that are directly relevant to the classification being applied for; (iii) transcripts of a four-year degree from an accredited university in the subject areas of horticulture, if applying for a Landscaping classification.

How to Study for Business Law Exam

Know the Classifications a Contractor Can Be Licensed In

For contractors in California, there are three different classifications available. These include:

  • Class “A” – General Engineering Contractor: The main business for such a contractor is related to fixed works that require specialized engineering know-how.
  • Class “B” – General Building Contractor – The main business for such a contractor is related to any structure constructed, in the course of being constructed, or set to be constructed at a time in the future, requiring in its building procedure the use of at least two distinct building trades or crafts. Carpentry and framing projects can be performed without constraint. Class “B” contractors also have the option of entering into direct contracts for projects that involve only one trade, given that the contractor holds the relevant specialty license.
  • Class “C” – Specialty Contractor: For this classification, there are 42 separate options for contractors, whose foremost business involves the application of specific building trades or crafts.

Apply for a Contractor’s License

The application procedure for a contractor’s license requires you to follow certain steps. These include completing and submitting the following:

  • An Application for Original Contractor License – In case of individuals, corporations and partnerships
  • An Application for Original Contractor License (Exam Waived) – In case of individuals, corporations and partnerships with a qualifying person
  • An Application for LLC Original Contractor License – In case of LLCs
  • An Application for LLC Original Contractor License (Exam Waived) – In case of LLCs with a qualifying individual

In the options above where you are required to give an exam, you must submit the relevant application, along with a processing fee of $330 (the amount being charged currently) to the CSLB. In cases where you do not need to give the examination, you ought to submit the relevant application with a processing fee of $300 (the amount being charged currently), along with a preliminary licensing fee (currently $200) and an additional classification fee of $75 (the amount being charged currently).

Note: The applications need to be submitted in person or through mail to the CSLB. Even though the CSLB has different offices, the office in Sacramento is the only one that accepts the applications. The address for this office is: P.O. Box 26000, Sacramento, CA 95826.

Know the Requirements of the Examination

If you are giving the examination, there are certain requirements you will need to. You will be required to pass a written law and business exam for it you have to prepare Business Law Practice Exam and a specific trade exam. You will be allotted 3.5 hours for each exam, which would always be in a multiple-choice format. The centers for exams are typically located in Fresno, Oakland, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Norwalk, Oxnard, San Jose and San Diego. The details for your exam venue and date, along with a study guide, will be sent to you by the CSLB.

In certain cases, the Board may waive the examination. These cases involve:

  • If the individual is currently licensed and has a good reputation in the same classification in which he is now applying for a license
  • If the individual has been licensed and has had a good reputation within the last five years in the same classification in which he is now applying for a license
  • If the individual has passed both the law and business examinations and trade examinations within the past five years, in the same classification in which he is now applying for a license
  • If the individual is the immediate family of a person who is already licensed, and has had a good reputation for five out of the past seven years, prior to the application procedure. The qualifying individual must be deeply involved in the licensee’s business for five out of the past seven years and is applying for the same classification, and the license is mandatory to go on with the operation of an existing family business due to the absence or death of the licensee.

Note: In cases where you think that you might be entitled for an examination waiver, you will still be required to fulfill the “Experience” section of the application. This is, unless you are a current qualifier on a license in good standing in the same class, as the license you are now applying for.

Additional Documents that You May Need to File

Either with your application, or at a later time specified by the CSLB, you need to submit the following documents and provide relevant information:

  • Contractor Bond  (Currently $15,000): This needs to be submitted in the business name of the applicant
  • Qualifying Individual Bond or Alternative (Currently $12,500): The bond of the qualifying individual must be in his/her own name and the business name of the person applying
  • Proof of Workers Compensation Insurance or Exemption Certificate: This is to provide proof of workers’ compensation or an exemption certificate to certify that no workers are employed

In addition to these requirements, LLCs are also required to submit the following items:

  • Surety Bond (Currently $100,000): In the event of a LLC’s failure to pay wages, fringe benefits or interest on wages, along with other such contributions, this surety bond is meant to be for the benefit of affected employees or workers
  • Liability Insurance: Proof of liability insurance, with a cumulative limit of $1 million for licensees who have five or lesser employees, and an added $100,000 for each additional employee. However, the amount must not exceed a total of $5 million.

How to Renew Your Expired License

Valid licenses expire every two years, while inactive licenses will expire every four years. Keeping this in mind, you should know the expiration date of your license and renew well in time.

The License Renewal Process

CSLB will send you a renewal application, approximately 60 days before your license is due to expiry. To ensure the smooth performance of this process, make sure you inform the Board of any address changes, in a timely manner

Note: In case if you do not receive the renewal application, you can order one online or simply call the CSLB at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).

You have to send your renewal application to the CSLB before the expiry date is passed, in order to avoid any unlicensed time. The responsibility of following through with the renewal process lies with you, and not with the Board, even if you do not receive the form.

Bear in mind that the processing time can vary significantly, therefore you should submit the renewal form in a timely manner.

Renewal Fees

The renewal fees would vary according to the time-frame in which you renew.

  • Timely Active Renewal – $360
  • Timely Inactive Renewal – $180
  • Delinquent Active Renewal – $540
  • Delinquent Inactive Renewal – $270

The delinquent fee option comes into play if an acceptable renewal is not received on or before the date of expiry.

Changes in License Structure:

If the nature of the business entity in question has changed (for instance, from a sole proprietorship to partnership, corporation etc), you will not be able to renew the license.

Note: You can renew a suspended or expired license as well.

If your application for licensure is approved, you will receive a Letter of Acknowledgement from the CSLB. This will contain a nine-digit Application Fee Number and a four-digit Personal Identification Number. You can use these to track your application on the CSLB website. The application processing can take up to 3-4 months, therefore wait patiently. You may contact the CSLB if you have any other concerns.

How to Become a “Licensed Contractor” in California

Construction is a science which requires precision. Lack of precision can lead to faulty construction resulting in loss of life and property. This is why the construction industry in California is regulated by the state of which licensing is just one part.

Safeguarding California residents’ lives and their right to enjoy property, the state requires specific contractors to be licensed. Licensing confirm the individual’s knowledge in the area and authenticates that their work is of a certain standard. This ensures safe and quality construction work.

What do I need to become a Contractor

From the outset, all prospective contractors in California must know that they may be required to get a construction license if they wish to pursue this trade. California makes it mandatory for all contractors to be licensed especially if they intend to bid for a project which is valued at $500 or more. This includes both the project’s material and labor costs. Therefore, one of the biggest incentives in getting licensed in California is the ability to bid for high value, big construction projects. Unlicensed contractors can only bid for small construction projects.

The state of California repeatedly reminds its residents to ONLY hire state-licensed contractors. Smart consumers will ask to see a contractor’s “pocket license”. It is therefore in the contractor’s own interest to get licensed both to avoid state penalties, including jail term and more importantly, build customer confidence, leading to a long-term business relationship.

Why-Become-a-Licensed-Contractor-in-California

Prospective contractors must contact the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) for licensing. While in-depth information is available on CSLB’s website, the following may help in getting started:

  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Post a license bond
  • Pass exams (business and trade and license law)
  • Verify four years of journey-level experience in the trade

Getting licensed may be a time consuming process and therefore it is advised that all prospective contractors start early.

Penalties for Unlicensed Contractors in California

The CSLB was established to protect consumers. The Board ensures high construction standards through regulation and penalizes those who are found to be in violation of state construction laws.

Unlicensed contractors through faulty construction can put peoples’ lives in danger. In addition, they give a bad name to the whole industry and avoid taxation through engaging in unlawful trade activities. To curb this practice, the CSLB’s team called Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) conducts undercover operations to unearth illegal construction rackets.

The first offence is classified as a misdemeanor, which is punishable with up to 6 months in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. The convicted may be sentenced with an additional administrative fine of $200 to $15,000. After serving the sentence, if the contractor continues with their old ways, they could be slapped with a fine of $5,000 or 20% of the contract price. Furthermore, second offence automatically attracts a jail term of 90-days.

It must be remembered that not all violations of California’s construction laws result in a misdemeanor; some are classified as felony as well. Those who misrepresent themselves as licensed contractors or use another person’s license for the purpose can be convicted of a felony. Felons serve jail time in state prison.

Is California Contractor’s License worth the Effort?

Yes! In addition to the reasons given above, there is one more reason which should stop an unlicensed contractor – unlicensed contractors can be “ripped off”. Unlicensed contractors cannot legally sue for non-payment. Imagine a shady customer finding out their contractor’s licensing status and refusing to pay once the project is completed?

How to Become a Concrete Contractor

How to become a concrete contractor, before you enter the concrete business, bear in mind that the competition is stiff, therefore be ready to work really hard to make it big. Once you are mentally ready for this intensive business, you can initially penetrate the market working on small residential projects and even multi-level commercial jobs. Your first year of operation would be the hardest, but by producing work to the customers’ satisfaction, you can ensure the success of your concrete company.

How to Become a Concrete Contractor in California?

There are certain things you will need to take care of to enter into this business. Have a look:

Education Requirements:

To become a concrete contractor, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in civil engineering or a related field. After that, you will need to obtain a license, which is a requirement in every state.

Experience:

No matter how learned you are on the topic in terms of theory, you will still need to gather a sufficient amount of experience. The industry you are dealing with is vast, and will require an understanding of a lot of difficult concepts and procedures. For this purpose, you are advised to get firsthand experience, both on the field and in terms of office work. This will allow you to work directly with materials, suppliers, homeowners and contractors.

Target Market:

You’ll need to know your target market. You may want to focus on commercial projects such as offices, schools and public works, or you can go for residential work that would involve pouring walkways and patios in people’s yards, etc. Concrete companies that work on both residential and commercial projects are very few, since the tools, skills and expertise required for both vary a great deal. Decide at the start which sector you want to work in.

Business Plan:

You need to have a business plan in place before anything. You will need to know the direction of your business, your goals, and strategies and so on. Even if you can finance the business on your own, having a proper plan will help you remain focused on the important matters at hand. Within this document, add your target market segments, your company’s mission and philosophy and your projected financial data. You can revise the plan semi-annually to keep it updated.

Purchase/Lease Equipment:

This would be particularly important if you are planning to work in the commercial field. For work in this area, you will need to get your hands on heavy duty mixers, vehicles and other required professional quality tools.

Legal Aspects:

This is one of the first things you should take care of when you plan on starting a business. Get in touch with a lawyer and discuss your options. You can consider forming an LLC or a corporation in order to make sure your personal assets are protected. You will also need to obtain liability, company auto insurance and worker’s compensation insurance.

Suppliers:

As soon as you initiate the planning phase of your concrete business, you will need to start looking for trustworthy suppliers. It is common for certified concrete contractors to arrange for a supplier who provides them with pre-mixed concrete. There are a lot of concerns you will need to keep in mind in terms of the supply chain, including scheduling of orders, drying of the concrete, the weather, etc.

Marketing:

To get into the commercial world, you have to start somewhere. You are recommended to start with the Blue Book’s BB Bid System. This is a free book service that lists every contractor in the US according to region. You can get a hand on a copy of this book in any contractor’s office. This helps you list your company for free. Contractors will then begin inviting you to place bids on projects as soon as you are listed. In addition to that, you are advised to meet with local contractors and request your company to be added to their bid list. And as far as the residential work projects go, you should ask any one you know to spread the word about your business and help you grow.

Once you have taken care of all of these matters, you can begin your business activities as a certified concrete contractors.