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Interior framing of new house under construction.

How to get Your C5 Framing and Rough Carpentry License in CA

Learn how to get your C5 Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor License in California.

How to Obtain Your California C5 Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor License

To obtain a C5 Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor License in California, you must complete a specific procedure. This involves submitting an application and passing two state-mandated exams: the Law & Business Exam and the C5 Trade Exam. The application process, widely regarded as the most complex step, requires careful completion and submission to the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), accompanied by the necessary fees. While you can manage the application process independently, enlisting the help of the Contractors Intelligence School can streamline your efforts and enhance your chances of success.

The licensing process can be summarized in the following steps:

Step 1: Qualification Check

First, ensure that you meet the state's requirements (listed below) to be eligible to take the exams.

Step 2: Enroll in a Course

Enroll in a course with Contractors Intelligence School, widely recognized for its effective exam preparation.

Step 3: Establish Your Business

Establish a business entity and meticulously complete the state application.

Step 4: Exam Preparation

Prepare for the state exams by utilizing study materials provided by Contractors Intelligence School.

Step 5: Exam Scheduling and Passing

Schedule and successfully pass both the Law & Business exam and the C5 Trade exam.

Step 6: Final Steps

Fulfill any additional requirements or steps outlined by the CSLB to successfully conclude the licensing process.

California Framing and Rough Carpentry License Requirements

Like all contractor licenses in California, you must meet the requirements established by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). These requirements are as follows:

  • Be at least 18 years or older.
  • 4 years of journey level experience. When considering this requirement, you must demonstrate four years of journey-level experience within the past 10 years. This experience is typically acquired by working for a licensed contractor, but it can also be a combination of completed apprenticeship programs, education, and fieldwork.
  • SSN or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).

What are the costs associated with obtaining a C5 contractor license?

The costs associated with obtaining a contractor's license typically include:

  • Business entity registration (if applicable). The fee for this registration can vary depending on the county or city. It's advisable to inquire about the specific dollar amount from the agency where you are registering your business.
  • CSLB fees. $450 for the Application for Original Contractor's License, and $200 for the Initial License Fee for sole ownership companies ($350 for non-sole-ownership companies).
  • School fees. Contractors Intelligence charges between $295 and $495 for their most popular courses. Prices may differ with other schools.
  • Bonding. All contractors seeking to become licensed must post a contractors bond in the amount of $25,000. On average, this bond costs $250 per year. Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are also required to carry additional bonding, known as the LLC/worker bond, which is estimated to cost $2,000 per year.
  • Insurance. Your business may require two types of insurance: general liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance. General liability insurance is mandatory for LLCs applying for a contractor's license, while it's not required for the CSLB to issue a contractor's license number otherwise. Conversely, a C5 contractor's license cannot be granted until the company secures workers' compensation insurance or applies for an examination waiver if applicable. To understand the costs associated with these insurances, consulting with a licensed insurance agent is advisable.
  • Livescan fingerprinting. When completing your livescan fingerprints, you will pay an estimated $75. This fee typically includes the Department of Justice (DOJ) fee, FBI fee, and the livescan location rolling fee.
Project performed by licensed C5 contractor.

What Can a C5 Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor Do With Their License?

With a C5 Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor license, you can perform a specific range of tasks focused primarily on framing and rough carpentry. You will be responsible for constructing and installing structural wood framing components for both residential and commercial buildings. This includes building the wooden framework of a structure, such as floors, walls, and roofs, by cutting, shaping, and assembling lumber or engineered wood products. You will also apply sheathing materials like plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) to form the subfloor, wall, and roof surfaces before the installation of finish materials. Additionally, you will handle the installation of subflooring materials over the floor joists and construct wall framing, which involves placing studs, headers, and other essential components.

Furthermore, as a C-5 licensed contractor, you will be qualified to build and assemble the framework of roofs, including rafters, trusses, and other structural elements. You will construct and install wooden exterior stairways, decks, and porches as part of the building's structural framework. Your responsibilities will also include adding structural supports, such as bracing and blocking, to enhance the stability and strength of the framing, and installing temporary supports and scaffolding needed to complete framing work safely. This license specifically focuses on the framing and rough carpentry aspects of construction, not extending to finish carpentry or other specialized trades. You must adhere to all relevant building codes and standards to ensure the structural integrity and safety of the buildings you work on.

What if my experience is in metal framing, but I don’t perform any structural framing?

If you perform metal framing and not structural work in California, you will need a C9 Drywall Contractor license. The C9 license covers work that involves the installation and repair of gypsum wallboard and other gypsum products to wood and metal studs, wood and steel joists, and metal framing. It also includes taping and texturing, the application of substances and products to the surfaces of walls and ceilings, and installation of non-bearing partitions.

This license is more appropriate for contractors who focus on interior metal stud framing as part of drywall installation rather than structural framing. If your work involves more comprehensive tasks related to metal framing, such as load-bearing metal structures, you might need a different classification, such as a General Building Contractor (B) license, which allows for a broader range of construction work, including framing and other structural work. Always check with the CSLB to ensure you are applying for the correct license based on the specific nature of your work.

How long does it take to get a C5 contractor license?

The time it takes to obtain a C5 contractor license depends on various factors, including CSLB's processing times, exam preparation, and the speed at which you complete the final licensing steps. On average, the process can be completed within two to three months.

Here's a breakdown of timeframes for each key step:

  • Application Processing: Typically takes 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Exam Preparation: This phase often overlaps with the application processing.
  • Law & Business Exam: This exam has a duration of 3.5 hours.
  • C5 Trade Exam: This exam also has a duration of 3.5-hours.
  • Final Steps: must be completed within 90 days of passing all required exams.

I’m ready to start, now what?

Ready to kickstart your career as a framing contractor? Don’t wait any longer! Take the first step today by contacting Contractors Intelligence School at 800-425-7570. Now is the time to turn your passion for construction into a thriving business. Operators are standing by to help you on your journey to becoming a licensed Framing and Rough Carpentry contractor.

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