Across the state of California, construction is booming. The industry continues to offer stable and profitable jobs, such as general contracting. If you are thinking about applying for a California license, you can follow these steps for how to become a general contractor.
How to Become a General Contractor Today
A general building contractor in California is mostly involved with any structure built for the support, shelter, and enclosure of persons, animals, chattels, or moveable property of any kind that requires in its construction the use of at least two unrelated trades.
If you are working on projects that exceed $500, you need a general contractors’ license. You also need a license if you construct or alter any building, highway, road, parking facility, railroad excavation or other structure in California.
In order to qualify to become a licensed general contractor in California, the California Department of Consumer Affairs requires that you must be at least 18 years old and possess the skills and experience necessary to manage the daily activities of a construction business. Or, you must be represented by a qualifying individual, who has at least four full years of experience.
A license is typically issued to an individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company or joint venture.
You must also have at least four years of experience in the class for which you are applying, in order to take the examination. You may only count relevant experience at a journey level or as a foreman, supervising employee, contractor or owner-builder.
All experience claims must be verified by a qualified and responsible person, such as an employer, contractor, foreman/supervisor or fellow employee.
The General Contractor’s Exam
One of the final steps of how to become a general contractor in California is to pass a business and laws exam and a trade-specific exam.
The exam includes questions on estimation, plans and specifications, framing and structural components, safety, core trades and finish trades. The test’s 100 questions must be completed in 2 ½ hours. The exam is closed book. The passing score is 72 percent. However, there is currently no requirement for continuing education for general contractors.
Applicants must have a working capital of at least $2,500 and file a $10,000 bond. There is an application fee of $300. The two-year initial license fee is an additional $180.
If have additional questions about how to become a general contractor, you can contact the California Contractors State License Board at 1-800-321-2752.