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When new students come to CSLS, it’s because they want the very best in construction industry

education, and that’s what we give them. What many don’t realize, though, is there are actually two

types of lessons you get at our school…
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Generally speaking, there are two kinds of construction contractors you’ll find in California: generalists, who can build or repair just about anything (or take on lots of different jobs), and specialists, who might focus on a particular type of building or situation. There is an almost endless number of specialties, from solar construction to electrical, industrial, and so on.

If you’re just starting out in the industry, should you specialize your contracting business?

That answer is going to depend a great deal on your own goals and preferences. Here are a few things to keep in mind, though:

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A lot of new and prospective CSLS students assume that the hardest part of becoming a successful California contractor is passing their licensing exam. And while it’s true that some people do end up spending a few extra hours on studying, our 99.9% pass rate is proof that anyone who has the will and desire (along with the required work experience) can achieve their goal of self-employment.

So, if passing the test isn’t as big an obstacle as you might think, what is? Believe it or not, there isn’t necessarily one hard part about becoming a successful contractor – instead, it’s about being good at lots of little things at once. Here are just a few of the things you’ll have to juggle as a self-employed licensed contractor:
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When it comes to becoming a licensed California contractor, we often see firsthand the amazing way some people overcome just about anything to achieve their dreams. In the 125,000+ graduates we have had, there have been a number who have crawled their way up from nothing, arrived from distant corners of the world, and beaten perceived disabilities or shortcomings to become successful business owners.

On the other hand, though, we also see a lot of people who hold off on trying to reach their dreams because of misconceptions they are holding on to. In fact, there are probably thousands of construction professionals who could be enjoying more freedom and income right now, if only they knew there was no reason to wait.

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CSLS is an interesting school for a lot of reasons, but one of the things that really makes it stand out is that we get a lot of students who don't really enjoy spending time with books or sitting in classrooms. In fact, lots of them moved into the construction industry specifically because they would rather be out in the …
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One thing lots of new students ask about, as they contemplate the process of becoming a licensed contractor in California, is whether the exam they’ll have to pass is difficult.

The short answer, of course, is that it really depends on who you ask… or for that matter, who you are. Some people pick up the knowledge more easily than others, not to mention the fact that some people feel anxiety at taking tests that others don’t.

In general, though, the best question isn’t whether or not the exam is difficult; it’s how prepared you are going to be to take it. At CSLS, we have a reputation for helping our students to make sure they are ready to not only take the exam, but also pass on the first try. Here are a few things we advise them to do to make the process easier:
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There are a lot of reasons to pursue becoming a licensed contractor in California, but one of the biggest is undoubtedly to make more money. In fact, regardless of where you are in your career at the moment, you’ve probably at least thought about how much more you could be earning as a business owner or with better qualifications.

So, how much more money could you be earning as a licensed contractor? That’s tough to say – a lot will depend on your specific situation and ambition level. Here are a few things to keep in mind, though:

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Few innovations have brought as much excitement to the California construction industry as the growing trend toward solar design and installation. Does that mean you should be getting involved?

For a lot of construction professionals, the answer is a resounding “yes.” In fact, now could be the perfect time to round out your solar education and pick up skills that can help you for years (or even decades) to come.

Here are just some of the things that make solar such a good idea:

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A lot of students come to CSLS with no recent classroom experience, or a lack of good study habits that helped them back in high school or college. In fact, many are afraid that they’ll struggle with the material for their licensed contractor exam when the time comes.

One thing we teach them is that a handful of good study habits can be learned in a short amount of time. And once you have them, they can make all the difference in your preparation and stress level.

To see why that is, here are five easy-to-follow study tips for construction professionals who want to pass their licensed contractor’s exam:
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When it comes to becoming a licensed California contractor, we often see firsthand the amazing way some people overcome just about anything to achieve their dreams. In the 100,000+ graduates we have had, there have been a number who have crawled their way up from nothing, arrived from distant corners of the world, and beaten perceived disabilities or shortcomings to become successful business owners.

On the other hand, though, we also see a lot of people who hold off on trying to reach their dreams because of misconceptions they are holding on to. In fact, there are probably thousands of construction professionals who could be enjoying more freedom and income right now, if only they knew there was no reason to wait.

To give you a sense of what kinds of false limitations we are talking about, here are five things you don’t need to become a licensed California contractor:
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Because CSLS has new students from every age range and income bracket, including men and women from California and distant parts of the world, there aren’t a lot of generalizations we can make about them. It might sound cliché, but every person we meet truly is unique in thousands of different ways.

However, there is one thing that all of them have in common, and that they probably share with you: a desire to change their lives by becoming licensed California contractors.

You probably wouldn’t be reading our site, or looking at different programs, if you weren’t considering taking your construction career to the next level. And yet, some of you will fulfill this dream and go on to raise your income and enjoy a self-employed lifestyle, while others won’t. And surprisingly enough, the biggest difference won’t be found in age, financial resources, or even educational and professional backgrounds.

Instead, what will separate the first group from the second is the desire to take action.
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Let’s face it: Most people don’t think of studying for an exam as something that’s “fun” or “entertaining,” even if the outcome could lead to a new career direction and change their lives forever. Even though we make the process of preparing to become a licensed California contractor as simple and straightforward as we possibly can, it still requires a bit of work and effort.

There is one thing you can do to make it more fun, though: Get a friend, or group of friends, to join you.

It isn’t unusual for students to come to CSLS together. And we think it’s usually a great idea. Here are just a few of the best reasons why:
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Have you ever had the experience of wishing you could go back in time, meet with your younger self, and give him or her a heaping dose of good advice? Most of us have – it’s a natural byproduct of thinking what could have been if we had made a better decision at some point in life, or if we had only known what kinds of challenges would be waiting for us in our later years.

Unfortunately, we can’t put you into a time machine and change the course of history. What we can do, though, is give you a good piece of advice that our graduates seem to pass on from one year to the next: Start your business off on the right foot.
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Contrary to what some of the other California licensed contractor schools might want you to think, there are big differences between CSLS and the competition. We’ve built a reputation that has lasted more than two decades, and have a 99.9% first-time passing rate for students. The reason other schools don’t tell you the same thing is because they can’t… our record in helping construction professionals to become licensed contractors is unmatched.

But, the statistics don’t tell the whole story. In fact, there are a lot of things you can get at CSLS that you might not find elsewhere. Here are three of the most important:
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At CSLS, we get the opportunity to work with construction professionals of virtually every age, at every experience level, and from just about every different background you could come from. We hear the good and the bad, see the highs and lows. And, throughout all of it, we still consider construction to be one of the greatest career choices you can make, regardless of whether you’re just starting out or are looking to transition into something new.

Why work in construction and eventually become a licensed California contractor? Here are just a few of the reasons we like:
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There used to be an advertisement that called being in the Army “the hardest job you’ll ever love.” You’ve probably met schoolteachers, or possibly nonprofit administrators, who feel the same way. There are some jobs that are tough yet rewarding. Self-employment definitely falls into that category.

Perhaps that’s why so many California contractors never even seriously consider working for someone else once they’ve found a bit of success with their own businesses. How could they? Here are just a few of the things that await you once your construction company gets off the ground:
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Although retirement’s probably the furthest thing from your mind when you are in your life as a self-employed contractor, the fact of the matter is that there may come a day when you’ll think about doing something else (or even doing nothing at all). When that idea comes into your head, you might explore the possibility of selling your business.

That’s something a lot of construction professionals never really think about, but why not? Businesses are started and sold every day, even in the construction industry. Obviously, you and your expertise represent a big part of what will go into your company, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other elements (such as your equipment, or your company’s reputation) that might be worth a lot of money to another construction team in the future.

The key to leaving your options open isn’t to decide from the outset that you’re going to want to sell your construction business someday, just to take a few important steps to be sure you have choices later:
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When you first begin your professional life as a self-employed contractor, it can be hard to get your business going, or even to make ends meet. As a result, new contractors are often very thankful for every project – and dollar – that comes through the door.

As a result, though, some great construction professionals never learn an important skill: knowing when to turn more work down.

Why would you ever turn away good money for your talents? There are a few reasons you might:
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Once you start marketing your contracting business, you’ll probably come across the notion or advice that you should consider discounting your work (or pricing your services on the bottom end of the scale) to attract your first few customers. But, is that necessarily the best way to go?

In some cases it might be. If you are unknown within the market, you’re going to have a hard time charging the same rates as your competitors who have a long track record and lots of people who know them. And, doing discounted work might not hurt you if you have very low business expenses, or have hung on to another full- or part-time job while you make the transition to self-employment.

Beware of discounting your work for too long, though. That’s because, the longer you do great construction work for less than anyone else, the more you’ll notice a few things will start to happen:
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Surveys show that tens of millions of us have made resolutions this New Year's, or at least set goals for ourselves that we'd like to meet in 2014. But, while a lot of these are personal in nature (like losing a few extra pounds, or finally quitting cigarettes), smart contractors make resolutions for their businesses, too. In fact, here are …
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