What to Do When Your Contractor’s License is Suspended in California?

As a contractor in California, your license is your livelihood. However, there are several reasons why your license may be suspended, including failure to renew on time, disciplinary action by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), or failure to comply with state regulations. If your license has been suspended, it’s important to know what steps to take to address the situation and get your license reinstated. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of dealing with a suspended contractor’s license in California.

What to Do When Your Contractor’s License is Suspended in California?

If your contractor’s license has been suspended in California, here are the steps you should take to address the situation:

Understand the Reason for Suspension

The first step in addressing a suspended contractor’s license is to understand why your license was suspended. In order to address your suspension, you’ll first need to know what it is you did wrong. 

This can be done by contacting the CSLB or reviewing any correspondence you’ve received from them. Common reasons for suspension include failure to renew on time, failure to pay fees or penalties, or disciplinary action by the CSLB.

Address the Reason for Suspension

Once you understand the reason for your license suspension, you’ll need to take steps to address the issue. This may include paying outstanding fees or penalties, completing required continuing education courses, or resolving any outstanding complaints or disciplinary actions.

If there were damages to clients, employees or property as a result of the events causing your suspension, you could be held liable for to pay those back to the injured parties. 

The range of punishments for letting your license can vary, and are usually proportional to the severity of the issue at hand, as well as the damage caused by the issue. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you are operating your construction business in a way that protects you and everyone else around you.

Request a Hearing

If you believe your license was suspended unfairly or you want to contest the suspension, you can request a hearing with the CSLB. The hearing will provide an opportunity for you to present evidence and arguments in support of your case.

We’ll be honest – hearings rarely rule in favor of a suspended license. Usually, people with suspended licenses know what the issue is, and usually a hearing can be a total waste of time and energy for the person trying to get their license back. Often times the hearings take longer than the time it would take to resolve the issue itself!

Complete Required Steps for Reinstatement

Once you’ve addressed the reason for your license suspension and any disciplinary actions or complaints have been resolved, you’ll need to complete the required steps for reinstatement. 

This may include submitting an application for reinstatement, providing proof of insurance or bonding, and completing any additional education or training requirements.

Like the other steps, what you have to do here depends on so many factors: your current standing with the CSLB/State of California, the damage caused by the issue at hand, the number of times you’ve had your license suspended, and so on.

As a general rule, the smaller the problem, and the fewer the number of problems you’ve caused for the CSLB, the shorter your reinstatement period, and the lighter the punishments.

CSLB License Suspension: FAQs

How long will my license be suspended?

A: The length of your license suspension will depend on the reason for the suspension and the actions you take to address the situation, as well as how many times you’ve been suspended, whether you’re a repeat offender, whether you’ve faced prior disciplinary action and in general, how good of standing you are with the CSLB.

You can find out more about the CSLB’s guidelines and regulations about suspended licenses here. 

At any rate, you will have to contact the CSLB for more information on your specific case, so either way, it’s important to make contact with them as soon as possible, so you can get your license back immediately.

Can I continue to work while my license is suspended?

A: Absolutely not. You cannot work as a contractor in California while your license is suspended. Doing so can result in additional disciplinary action and penalties, including criminal penalties and fines that can reach into the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of your violation.

Under no circumstance should you perform work while your CSLB license is suspended. 

How can I avoid having my license suspended?

A: To avoid having your license suspended in the future, make sure to renew on time, ensure all of your insurance, bonds and business records are up to date, and address any complaints or disciplinary actions promptly.

Above all, if your contractor license is ever suspended, expired, or otherwise invalid, DO NOT perform work as you could face much more serious charges than a license suspension.

What happens once I get my license back?

A: Once you’ve performed your restitution and done all of the necessary steps that the CSLB has required you to do as part of your probation, you will be able to re-apply for your license. 

In some cases you may have to re-take the exam or otherwise go through the entire process from the start. In other cases, you may simply be able to re-activate your license without further action. It depends on you and your situation.

At any rate, your license suspension will follow you even after your license is reinstated. Your record is now blemished with a suspension – which means harsher punishments if you violate CSLB and California laws in your construction work.

You Can Get Your CSLB License Back!

Having your contractor’s license suspended in California can be a stressful and challenging situation. However, by understanding the reasons for suspension, addressing the issue, and completing the required steps for reinstatement, you can get back to work as quickly as possible. 

It’s important to keep your nose clean once you’ve had your license reinstated. Let your first error be a teaching moment – so you can keep working as a California contractor.

Perhaps most importantly,  remember to stay informed about state regulations and requirements to avoid having your license suspended in the future. The CSLB has a number of resources available on their website – cslb.ca.gov – that can help keep you in the loop.