In an effort to protect consumers, all businesses and individuals who construct, alter, or offer to construct or alter any business, highway, road, parking facility, railroad, excavation, or other structure in the state of California must get a California Contractor License from the Contractor State License Board (CSLB.)
Short on time? Check out our Contractor’s License FAQ page.
How to get a California Contractors License
Step #1: Meet Pre-Requirements
- 18 years of age or older
- Have a valid social security number
- Have at least 4 years of experience at a journey level
- For a full explanation of what qualifies as experience, visit the Experience Requirements Section.
Step #2: Determine your California Contractor License classification
- Class A: General Engineering Contractor
- Class B: General Building Contractor
- Class C: Speciality Contractor (which contains 41 separate licenses)
- For a full explanation of class licenses, visit the Contractor License Classification Section.
Step #3: Apply for original exam by completing the following steps
- Complete an Application for Original Contractor’s License.** Watch a video on how to do this.
- Complete the Certification of Work Experience Form 13A-11
- Complete a Project List Form 13A-6A, if applicable
- Submit the above with a $300 non-refundable processing fee to the address below:
Contractors State License Board
P.O. Box 26000
Sacramento, CA 95826-0026
**Do not submit anything else with your application, upon approval you will instructed to submit the rest of the required documents, fees, and bond.**
Step #4: Wait for the CSLB to send you a letter of acknowledgement
This letter will contain two important numbers: an application fee number and a 4-digit PIN number. You can use these two numbers to check the status of your California Contractor License application.
- If your California Contractor License application is denied (because of insuffiecient or incomplete) information, you will have the chance to resubmit your application with the missing information included.
- If your California Contractor License application is approved, you will receive:
- Fingerprinting Live Scan packet
- Notice to Appear for Examination
Step #5: Complete the fingerprinting scan packet and take examination
**About the examination: There is a written law and business examination and a specific trade examination. Examinations are 3 ½ hours and are multiple choice.**
Worried about a felony conviction? Check out this post on getting a contractor license with a felony.
Step #6: Upon passing the examination, you will be notified of the final items you must submit:
- Licensing fee of $180
- Proof of Worker’s Compensation Insurance
- $15,000 California Contractor License Bond
Step #7: Purchase California Contractor License Bond
Purchase a bond from a licensed surety bond provider.The bond amount is set at $15,000. You will not need to pay the entire bond amount ($15,000) to get your CA Contractor License Bond. Instead, you'll just pay a small amount based on your credit score.
You might only need to pay $150 for your bond! Get a free quote by visiting our Contractor License Bond Quote page. Or click below.
Step #8: Submit
Submit the above items to the CSLB. You should get your CA Contractor License wall certificate and pocket card within one week after your license is issued. CA Contractor Licenses are valid for 2 years.
For further information, visit the CSLB apply for a contractors license page.
General Contractor License Guide - Resources to get licensed