How to Get a Contractor's License

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Many skilled laborers choose to work independently as contractors rather than work for a company. They enjoy the freedom of setting their own schedule and spending more time doing what they enjoy doing. You can obtain a contractor's license by following a few guidelines.

  • Determine the type of license you need. License classifications vary by state. You can contact the State Contractor Licensing Board (CSLB) if you need clarification.

  • Schedule an exam. Most states require the applicant to take a trade and business law exam. You must pass the exam before obtaining your contractor's license. Visit the CSLB site for a list of exam dates for your state.

  • Apply for the license. Passing scores are generally valid for 1 year from the examination date.

  • Show proof of age, a high school diploma or GED, and proof of citizenship or residency. Show documentation if you hold any other state licenses. In addition, you will need two passport-sized pictures.

  • Explain any liens, citations or violations resulting from your work as a contractor. If you're doing business as a corporation, you must register it with the Secretary of State. Failure to disclose a conviction is equivalent to falsifying information and grounds for denial.

  • Submit your application once you have properly filled it out and attach all applicable documentation.

  • Have your fingerprints processed by a Live Scan operator. After approval of your application, you'll receive a packet with three copies of the Request for Live Scan Service Form (BCII 8016) along with instructions. The Live San operator processes your fingerprints and submits them to the Department of Justice and to the FBI. You keep the second copy and return the third copy to CSLB within 90 days from the stamped date on the packet.

Tips & Warnings

  • Police and sheriff's departments generally provide Live Scan fingerprinting services. Public places that take passport photos normally provide fingerprinting services, as well.
  • Be prepared to pay the Live Scan operator a fee for processing and submitting fingerprints. This is in addition to the operator's own fee.

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