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Significance of the Contractors State License Board

Certifications from trade organizations and manufacturers can bring legitimacy to your business. They may also give you access to discounts on raw materials and supplies. CSLB regularly conducts sting operations to catch unlicensed contractors and issue costly citations. Consumers can run license info to determine if contractors have past or pending legal action.

General Contractors

Homeowners and business owners spend billions of dollars annually on home improvements. Whether it is a minor repair or a significant kitchen remodel, the contractors state license board is essential in ensuring contractors are qualified to conduct construction work. The CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) performs undercover sting and sweep operations to catch unlicensed contractors performing illegal work. On average, SWIFT catches one unlicensed contractor per week. The CSLB also posts Industry Bulletins to help contractors keep up with the many state regulations and periodic changes in laws that affect them. This can be especially helpful for smaller, independent contractors trying to stay on top of everything. Licensed contractors can also access an online lookup tool to verify their company’s name, license number, and classification.

Specialty Contractors

In addition to ensuring contractors are capable and responsible builders, states use licensing to enforce other regulations. For example, a contractor who doesn’t carry a license may need the proper insurance to perform work. This can result in fines or other penalties. Licensed contractors must also comply with state laws on materials, safety, labor, etc. They are also typically required to secure a bond and proof of workers’ compensation coverage. In addition, many specialty contractors need to have a specific state license. These include roofing, HVAC, electrical, and drywall contractors. In most jurisdictions, it is against the law for a general contractor to accept a contract for specialty trade category work unless they have the appropriate specialty license or can hire an appropriately licensed subcontractor.


The main reason why contractors carry licenses is to show that they have the requisite knowledge of the trade. Licensing allows state organizations to ensure that a contractor has the correct header thicknesses, knows how to wire an electrical panel or install a gas-fired water heater, and follows local laws regarding safety. When hiring, many consumers need to consider a contractor’s licensing status, focusing instead on recommendations, pricing, and consumer reviews. However, verifying that a contractor is licensed before hiring them for any work is best. If you hire an unlicensed contractor, you may be liable for sales taxes and other penalties. This is why using a CSLB lookup tool is essential. It will let you know if a contractor is licensed and whether they’re current, expired, or suspended.


A contractor license bond is a financial promise that contractors will adhere to state laws and regulations. The bond protects customers from unethical behavior and damaging actions by the bonded contractor. In the event of a claim, the bond provides compensation to the obligee. For example, if a contractor fails to pay subcontractors or suppliers or causes damage while working on a project, the customer can file a claim against the bond. The surety company then investigates this claim. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the contractor may be required to repay the surety company. In addition, the CSLB may require the contractor to take remedial action or pay a fine. These penalties are in addition to any disciplinary action taken against the contractor.


If a consumer feels harmed by a licensed contractor, the complaint is submitted to the contractors’ state license board. A professional from the investigatory department then investigates the complaint. This person will interview you, the licensed contractor, and others who can provide information. The ER will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to show that the licensee violated the Contractors’ State License Law. Upon completion of the investigation, the case will either be closed with a letter of caution or sent to an Investigative Center. If a violation is determined, the case is presented to the Board at a regularly scheduled meeting. The Board does not know the name of the complainant or contractor and will decide on an action, which could include a letter of caution, a civil penalty, suspension, or revocation.

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