A California drywall expert or company that seeks to enter into business contracts to install drywall must obtain a license from the California Contractors State License Board. A license for contractor drywall work is a Class C license in California–a specialty license with the C-9 license code. Companies or individuals seeking a drywall license do not need to attend any specific educational courses. California requires an individual licensee or representative of a company with a license to have work experience instead of a specific educational background. California drywall contractors, like most California contractors, must take a Law and Business exam and a separate drywall exam. The person or entity obtaining a California contractors license generally must also get insurance and a contractors bond before conducting business as a drywall contractor in the state.
Either an individual or company may apply for a California drywall license. An individual in a one-man operation must be the qualifying person (expert) on the application. A company may also get a license by hiring a qualified individual.
The qualifying individual does not have to attend any college classes or trade schools. However, attending classes that include information on the drywall business or other construction or engineering subjects is advisable to anyone who intends to be a qualifying individual for a California contractors license. The board does not recommend any specific courses or schools for California contractor licensing.
On the other hand, the qualifying person must have at least four years of experience in drywall operations in the previous ten years. The experience must be as a journeyman, supervisor, contractor or foreman. Time as a trainee does not count toward this four-year requirement.
Access the “Blueprint for Becoming a California Licensed Contractor” online guide to get the exceptions and other details about getting a California drywall license (see Sources). Although a license is generally required for drywall contractors in California, some exceptions apply (such as projects under $500).
The qualifying individual must then prove his knowledge by passing two exams: the Law and Business exam and California drywall exam (trade exam) before the applicant may obtain a license.
To apply for both the license and exams, go to the license application (see Sources). Fill out the application, experience forms and other document in the application packet. Make out a check in the amount of $250, payable to the Registrar of Contractors, as of 2010. The applicant must also pay a separate $150 licensing fee after passage of the Law and Business and drywall exam.
Wait for the board to send fingerprint instructions and exam information. You will receive a “Study Guide for the Law and Business Examination” that also has resources for the drywall examination.
The qualifying individual may also start preparing immediately by accessing the Law and Business and drywall study guides (see Sources). However, these guides are not really study guides. They do, however, provide exam resources for preparing for the exams.
The blueprint also mentions that you may purchase the “California Contractors License Law and Reference Book.” Call 800-562-1197 to order this California contractors exam reference book. The fee is about $15.
In terms of working capital, the applicant must have more than $2500 on hand for drywall work. Applicants with employees must also get insurance for workers compensation.
Applicants must have the following bonds (speak to an insurance agent to get further details and to secure a California contractors license bond):
1. A $12,500 California contractors license bond; and
2. An additional $7,500 “Bond of Qualifying Individual” for the Responsible Managing Employee or Responsible Managing Officer.
In certain situations, exemptions apply for bonding requirements. Refer to the blueprint for these exemptions.
Note: Applicants who may not get a bond may instead make an equivalent cash deposit to get a California drywall license.
Study Resources for the California Contractors Law and Business Exam
California Drywall License Application
Study Resources for the California Drywall Exam
California Contractors Blueprint for Getting a Drywall License