Is It Time to Add Another Classification to Your License?


As you start to develop more experience in your chosen field, you might decide to apply for another classification on your contractor’s license. For a small business, adding a new classification might noticeably expand your ability to provide services to various customers. If you think you might be ready, here’s what you need to know.

Why Might I Add Another Classification?

As you probably already know, contractors have to get and maintain a license for many of the services they provide to their customers. You might be ready to start a business with just one classification. Getting a new classification on your contractor’s license could be a great way to expand your services, or just stay relevant in a changing industry. If you have already been running a business for a while, you may consider applying for a new classification in a field that dovetails with your current services. When you are just getting started, you might want to research competitive businesses in your chosen field. If the top companies often offer services in more than one classification, you might ultimately need more than one to have a fair chance at success.

What Are the Rules for Adding Classifications?

Adding classifications to your license is managed by the California State Licensing Board (CSLB), since licenses are typically handled by state agencies. In California, applying for a new classification has some overlap with the original process you took to get a license, but not completely. In order to make your application, you have to be able to prove that your license is renewed and current. You have to specify who is going to hold the license (if not you), and pay all necessary application fees and bonds. You must also be able to prove that you have the right qualifications for the classification. This might include education, exams and experience. If you have completed all these tasks, you can submit your application for review.

Can I Apply for Multiple Classifications?

Sometimes, people want to add several classifications to their license at once. How you approach this depends on the classification you have already, and what you want to apply for. For example, if you want to add several C-61 Limited Specialty classifications, the state allows you to put all of the additions on one application. For other classifications, however, you may need to make a separate application for each one.

Before you start preparing your applications, consider the time necessary to adequately study, practice and take the exams you need to get these new classifications. It can be tempting to forge ahead too quickly and mire yourself in too much work on the side. You want to grow your business steadily, without the risk of blowing it up. Be practical about your time management, especially at first. Give yourself plenty of room to work within your current licensing restraints, and add extra time on the side to expand your skills as you can.

Do I Have to Take Another Exam?

If you have been working within the industry under the guidance of a licensed employer for some time, you might wonder if you even have to take the exams. You can apply for an exam waiver, but there is no guarantee that the state will grant your request. In order to meet the basic qualifications, you must demonstrate that you have the necessary experience and skills needed to obtain the license without taking the exam. There are several alternatives that the state will consider. For example, the registrar may grant you a waiver if you can show that you have been working for a business holding a license to the same classification for five of the past seven years. In some cases, it may be less hassle to take the exam.

For many contractors, adding new classifications to a license is part of keeping their business current and able to compete. You might not be gung-ho about studying for a ton of exams all at once, but a steady accumulation of licenses could be an effective way to grow your business over time. For practical advice and hands-on preparation for all of your contractor licensing exams, contact CSLS today!