SBE News

Capitol Connection #1047

Whenever you visit a ‘foreign’ place like CA, it’s good to get a guide! Let me point the way. Assisting contractors would be ‘dbaa’ for Capitol Services, or doing business as always, for some with ‘unacceptable’ business names a ‘dba’ is the way…

Shauna Krause, writer of Capitol ConnectionQ: We recently applied for a California Contractor’s License.  We have licenses in several other States including Florida, Nevada, Washington, and Arizona.  We applied under our corporate name which is the President’s last name followed by “Commercial Contracting Services”.  The CSLB rejected our application stating we cannot use “Contracting Services” in our business name.  This is how we are licensed in all other States.  We are already registered with the CA Secretary of State with this name.  What do we do?  The rejection letter didn’t give us much guidance.

A:  The CSLB’s guideline is your business name must either identify the trade classification you hold or be a completely fictitious name that has no meaning.  In addition, you cannot use vague terms in your business name such as “services”, “improvements”, “contractor”, or “solutions”. “Contracting Services” is considered a vague term.  You will need to either change your name with the Secretary of State or come up with a ‘dba’ (doing business as) name to add to the license application.

Q:  We are a General Engineering contractor and our range of services include site engineering, industrial and wastewater treatment, water utility and technical services, water conditioning, water purification systems, and laboratory services.  We recently formed an LLC to take over the operations of our currently licensed Corporation.  Our application was rejected due to our business name not being “compatible.”  The letter instructed us to come up with a few ‘dba’ (doing business as) names and submit them for review, which we did, and the CSLB responded by saying none of the names were acceptable.  Can you give us any direction?

A: After reviewing your submission, I see the issue is each Business name you presented included the word “water”.  The CSLB has been strongly implementing B&P Code Section 7059.1(a) which states “A licensee shall not use any business name that indicates the licensee is qualified to perform work in classifications other than those issued for that license, or any business name that is incompatible with the type of business entity licensed.”  While you do need an “A” (General Engineering) license to perform the work you do, using the word “water” in your business name could imply that you are a swimming pool Contractor.  I suggest you come up with a business name without the word “water”, or somehow incorporate “engineering” in the business name.

Q:  We have a license that holds the “B” (General Building), “C-10” (Electrical), and “C-36” (Plumbing) classifications.  Our Qualifier left the company and we only have until the 15th of next month to replace him.  We have employees who hold the Electrical and the Plumbing licenses (Inactive) who are willing to be added to our license.  What will happen to the “B” classification if we don’t have someone to replace in time?

A:  If you do not replace the Qualifying Individual for the “B” classification within 90 days of his disassociation date, the classification will be removed from your license.  If you find someone and submit the application prior to the 90-day cut off, you can request a one-time 90 day extension to allow for processing time and testing if needed.

While knowledge is power, knowing where to go for the answers is half the battle. Get expert assistance immediately when you call 866-443-0657, email, or write us at Capitol Services, Inc., 1225 8th St. Ste. 500, Sacramento, CA 95814. Research past columns at