California Contractor License Bond Guide
California contractor bonds are required on a state level for any contractor looking to be licensed in the state; other bonds are required on the city or county levels for various classifications of contractors or for specific types of projects.
Why are contractor bonds required in California?
Obtaining a contractor bond ensures the state of California that the principal (the contractor obtaining the surety bond) will perform all work in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. In the event that a contractor practices negligence or does harm to consumers, the obligee (California government requiring the bond) would not be held responsible.
Affected consumers can file a claim against the surety bond; if found to have validity, the surety (the company that financially backs the bond) will pay the claim up to the bond’s full amount. However, the principal is required to reimburse the surety in full for any money paid out.
California state contractor license bond requirement
The Contractors State License Board of California (CSLB) requires contractors to submit a $15,000 contractor bond before a contractor license can be issued.
This bond is subject to underwriting consideration, meaning that a surety underwriter must review the contractor’s bond application, financial documents, and credit history before determining whether — and at what price — the bond can be issued. These bonds are issued for a one-year term and remain in effect until canceled by the surety.
Who must be licensed?
California requires all businesses or individuals who construct or work on any building, highway, road, parking facility, railroad, excavation, or other structure in California to be licensed. Contractors engaged in home improvement must be licensed before they can submit a bid. The full list and the exemptions can be found here.
How to apply for a California contractor license
Applicants for a California contractor license must apply for a license with the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
Complete the license application if you are a new applicant
Easy-Fill Application: complete, print, and mail to CSLB
PDF Application: print, complete, and mail to CSLB
Order an Application: receive the form by mail, complete, and mail it back to CSLB
New applicants include all business entity types, including limited liability companies if exams and experience are required
Pay a $330 license application fee
Report your Certificate of Journey-Level Work Experience work experience requirement
Complete the application for B-General Building classification if, and only if, the individual indicates on his or her Certification of Work Experience form that the applicant obtained experience working on his or her own property as an owner-builder
If additional personnel are to be reported on behalf of the applicant, a completed form must be filed with the license application
A Disclosure Statement Regarding Criminal Plea/Conviction must be submitted for all license applicants
Complete an examination waiver for all business entity types, including limited liability companies, for BPC § 7065 waiver-only applicants
Additional applications may be required to be completed depending on various aspects of your business, including whether you want to get a Joint Venture License, an Asbestos Certification, Additional Classifications, and more. You can find these additional applications on the CSLB Forms and Applications Page.
If you already have an existing CA contractor license
California offers parties interested in a guide on becoming a licensed contractor.
Penalties for operating without a license
Operating without a valid license could result in felony charges being filed, which could mean state prison. Avoid any potential penalties by ensuring your licensure is up-to-date!
City and Local Municipality Required Bonds
City of Palos Verdes Estates Contractor Bond
The city of Palos Verdes Estates, California, requires contractors to post a surety bond in an amount ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. The best way to determine the bond amount required for you is to contact the city of Palos Verdes Estates and verifying the amount of surety bond coverage you must obtain.
Regardless of the bond amount you must obtain, ContractorBonds.com can issue your contractor bond for a $100 premium for a one-year term. However, ContractorBonds.com offers a 25% multi-year discount for contractors who purchase multiple-year terms at once, saving you time and money. Take advantage of our bond discount today and complete a bond application!
Farm Labor Contractor Bond
The California Department of Industrial Relations requires any person engaged in the business of farm labor contracting to register with the Labor Commissioner’s Office and post a $25,000 contractor license bond. The price of a CA farm labor contractor bond is subject to underwriting consideration, meaning the premium you pay for your bond will depend on an underwriting expert’s review of the applicant’s financial, personal, and business history. For more information, see the CA Department of Industrial Relations Rules and Regulations page.
How to get a CA contractor bond
When applying for a $15,000 California contractor license bond, applicants must provide ContractorBonds.com with their contractor license or application number, along with indicating the type of classification they are applying for. You can find all of California’s classifications of contractors here.
Search all contractor bonds in California
Over the years, our bonding experts have put together the most comprehensive surety bond library. Most of our contractor bonds can be purchased instantly online in only a few minutes.
Use the list on the right below to browse all of our available contractor bonds in California You can also try searching by bond amount, obligee, or bond name.