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How to Renew Your Contractor's License in California

renewing your license

If you’re a California contractor, it is very important that you maintain your license. You can’t actively contract if your license is inactive, expired, or suspended. Doing so can be extremely costly. It’s best not to linger and wait until the last minute to renew. Check out some important information on renewing a contractor’s license.

Do Contractors' Licenses Expire?

An active CA contractor’s license expires every two years. Sixty days prior to the expiration date, the Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) will send a renewal application to the business address on file. It is very important to update your address with the CSLB if it has changed. To avoid any lapse in your license or a delinquency fee, a completed renewal application and payment must be received by CSLB's headquarters prior to the expiration date of the license. It is your responsibility to make sure your license is renewed, even if you don't receive a renewal form. The processing time for renewal applications vary so it is vital that the fees and applications are submitted in a timely manner. If you have not received a renewal application from the CSLB within 45 days of the expiration date, you can visit the CSLB website to order a renewal form or call the CSLB at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).

Changes to Your Business

Did you know that some business changes can affect your licensing? You will not be able to renew the license if:

  • Your business entity type has changed (e.g., sole owner to corporation, sole owner to partnership, partnership to corporation, etc.).
  • Your corporate registration number assigned by the Secretary of State's Office has changed.
  • There has been a change to the Owner of a Sole Owner license or General Partners of a Partnership license.

Each of these conditions will require a new license. Application information can be found on the CSLB website.


California Contractor's License Renewal Fees

Current renewal fees are as follows:

• Timely Active Renewal Fee - $450
• Timely Inactive Renewal Fee - $225
• Delinquent Active Renewal Fee - $675
• Delinquent Inactive Renewal Fee - $337.50

Fees will increase if your renewal is received after your expiration date. For more information on the recent increase in CSLB fees, check out our blog.

Corporate License Renewal

The CSLB verifies a corporation’s status with the Secretary of State prior to granting a renewal. Make sure your corporation status is “Active”. If the status is suspended, you will be required to clear the suspension with the Secretary of State before the license can be renewed. If the corporation has dissolved, merged, or surrendered, the CSLB will cancel the license.

Also, the corporate name in the CSLB’s records must match the name on the Secretary of State’s records. The CSLB will not change the corporate name in their records until it has been changed with the Secretary of State’s office first.

How Do I Renew an Inactive, Suspended or Expired Contractor's License?

Inactive licenses expire every four years. If your license is renewed inactive, you do not need to maintain any bonds, workers compensation, or designate a qualifying individual. If you later wish to have the license active, submit an Application for Reactivation and pay the required fee.

A suspended license can be renewed either to active or inactive. To renew active and with “good standing” status, the suspension must be cleared.

Delinquent or expired licenses will only be renewed from the date an acceptable renewal is received at the CSLB through the remainder of the current renewal period. Any work preformed while the license is expired is considered unlicensed. To apply for retroactive renewal, the applicant must provide the CSLB with a written petition within 90 days of the license expiration and they must show that the delay was due to circumstances out of their control. Expired licenses can be renewed anytime within five years after its expiration. If the license has been expired for more than five years, you must reapply for a new license.

Other Tips for Contractor License Renewal in California

Make sure to complete your renewal application carefully to avoid the application being rejected. The certification must be completed, the application signed by the appropriate personnel, and fees paid. Never send cash to pay. Applications and fees should be sent to the CSLB Headquarters Office located at P.O. Box 26000, Sacramento, CA 95826-0026.

Did you know that Business Consumer Alliance has many resources for Contractors? Check out our Contractor Link Program for help in growing your business.

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About Business Consumer Alliance Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.