What Is A California Contractor Bond

When obtaining a contractor’s license in California, several steps must be followed to get a new business off the ground or if a company is expanding from another state. Licensure is a critical part of working as a contractor.

Without a license, there can be severe repercussions. Go here for California contractor license bonding tips.

In California, the construction industry is exceptionally regulated, with the California State Licensing Board or CSLB paying close attention to every aspect. Each individual contractor and how they handle their business needs to follow legal guidelines to work in California.

The CSLS governs construction licenses as a part of the California Department of Consumer Affairs with a governor-appointed 15-member board including an executive officer. The primary goal is to protect the consumer from sub-par or dishonest members of the contracting industry.

All contractors must carry a license except those working on projects valued under $500, with four types of licenses issued. Let’s review how to apply for a contractor’s license in California and give a brief overview of the necessary steps.

What Are The Steps To Obtaining The California Contractor’s Bond

In California, the construction industry is regulated stringently by the California State Licensing Board or CSLB, which diligently pays attention to every detail to ensure the consumer is protected from less-than-quality construction work or faced with dishonest contractors.

All contractors must obtain a contractor’s bond, visit website, if performing projects valued above $500, with each identifying their license class as either A, B, B-2, or C with distinctions provided by the regulating body. Consider the following steps when applying for the California contractor’s bond.

·The primary licensing mandates include the following

A prospective contractor must have adequate “contractor education and credits” or “California contractor licensing schools.”

·The licensing application needs to be completed

A primary reason contractors are denied their bond is the application is not thoroughly completed. The details need to be in-depth and detailed to be accepted. The application will only be accepted if all portions are complete or sufficient information is supplied. 

In order to qualify for a California Contractor Bond, the requirements are relatively straightforward. Some of the basics include the following:

  1. A $25,000 bond is now needed in 2023 to protect the consumer from poor work and the potential for non-repayment
  2.  You can have four years of confirmed experience in the applicable class, whether as a foreman, supervisor or at the journey level.
  3. You’ll be experienced with the daily operations of a contractor’s business with field supervision or have a representative that can serve in this role.
  4. You need to be at least 18 years of age

·The criteria for the application process

The first part of the licensing process in California is deciding if you’re eligible with a $450 application fee (nonrefundable), making it critical that you meet the necessary criteria before formally applying.

At that point, you’ll need to complete either a PDF application or an “Easy-Fill,” you can also or a paper document with the following details:

  1. $100,000 surety bond
  2. $1000000 liability insurance policy
  3. Requesting license type
  4. Type of business entity
  5. Business name in full and address including the mailing address, the physical location, phone and fax numbers, email
  6. Is it a sole proprietorship
  7. The identifying details for each participating party
  8. The corporation must have an active “California Secretary of State” registration number
  9. The qualifying candidates identifying details, including DOB, address, previous or current CSLB number, percentage of the business owned by the individual, legal names of operating personnel, birth dates, addresses, social security numbers, phone numbers, titles held must be included

A thoroughly completed application with the fee goes to the CSLB licensing board, after which a fingerprinting packet and an exam notice are received. 

If you have a conviction that shows up with the background check, you can still qualify, but the CSLB can deny a license based on convictions that relate to contractor duties, qualifications, or functions. 

If you’ve shown substantial rehab, the license can still go through. For those qualified, verified, and fingerprinted, the CSLF exam can be arranged.

·The California licensing exam needs to be passed

Aside from basic experience, contractors in California need to pass the licensing exam after the CSLB accepts the candidate’s application. The Law and Business section needs a sufficient score to ensure you understand the regulations governing construction, while the other part covers the trade. 

Based on the license type, the section will apply the practices associated with that line of work.

·Bonding insurance paperwork will need to be submitted

Once the exam is successfully passed, you must submit documented proof of liability, workers comp, and bond with an initial licensing fee.

Final Thought

A California contractor bond tells the public that you, as a professional, can perform commercial or residential work in construction. Find a guide on the California Contractor’s bond at

In passing the exam, the state certifies that you and your business are qualified and know what you’re doing with adequate insurance and bonds for any work you do. 

Besides the peace of mind, it’s also the law in California; there are penalties and legal repercussions for anyone performing without a license, including the potential for jail time. The priority in California is protecting the consumer; the state takes it very seriously.

Leave a Comment