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Just Elementary, Inc. » Business Tips » Examination Waiver for California Contractor’s Licenses

Examination Waiver for California Contractor’s Licenses

Examination Waivers for California Contractor's LicensesSince 2003, getting Examination Waivers for a California Contractor License is no longer automatic from the CSLB (Contractor’s State Licensing Board).

So how do you know if you are eligible for receiving a waiver for taking a California Contractor’s license exam?

One situation is where there is an unfortunate death of a licensed contractor of a family run business.  If you are the surviving spouse or child of a business that is in need of a licensing,  you may be able to qualify, because there are provisions that can qualify you for a waiver.  First of all, you have to be an active participant in the business.  This means being actively involved for at least five (5) of the last seven (7) years prior to applying.  Also, the license of the deceased family member has to have been active and in good standing for the five (5) of the last seven (7) years, and finally a license must actually be required for the business to continue operation.  If all of these criteria are met, then you are eligible for an examination waiver.  Though, it is not automatic, because granting the examination waiver is still at the discretion of the Registrar.  ‘Discretion’ means that it isn’t a slam dunk to get a waiver.  Which is why it is important to get the initial application for waiver prepared properly to avoid delays and possible denial.

What is another circumstance under which an examination waiver may be requested?  Employees and partners of a corporation are all typically eligible for an examination wavier after five (5) years of active involvement.  Experience is still important, which means keeping proper documentation of employment and credentials and certificates received.

Examination Waivers for California Contractor LicensesWhat about if you are from out of state, and want have the ability to do work in California?  Can you get a examination waiver?  This is a much harder task to accomplish.  One way to be able to do work in California is to buy an existing license.  How is this possible?  Well, it has to be a corporate license.  These are typically attached to on going businesses.  So one way is to buy a business operated with a corporate license.  This would typically come along with the goodwill of the business, along with a customer base and employees.  Of course, that comes at a cost that is commensurate for an active ongoing business.  The good news is that there are corporate licenses that are associated with smaller volume businesses that can be acquired at asset cost which makes sense for an established contractor business.

For assistance with sourcing the appropriate license and/or help with transferring a Contractor’s license, contact our client care manager, Sonia Chhabra at (888) 926-9193 or send an email to

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