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Confused As To What I Can Do With A B License As A Handyman

 
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Old 10-26-2014, 02:44 AM   #1
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Confused As To What I Can Do With A B License As A Handyman


I know what the law states in California. A general contractor B license can only contract for projects that include carpentry or framing or the aforementioned and two additional unrelated trades. It also states, from what I understand, that a B license can contract for work outside of those restrictions as long as the work is subcontracted out to someone licensed in the relevant trade.

What I don't fully get is how that relates to handyman work.

Say someone has a door that's sticking that they want fixed. I suppose a B license can take that since it would fall under carpentry. Now what if after you're done working the door, getting it to close right, it needs painting. Can you do the painting? At that point it would be carpentry and only one unrelated trade?

What about other handyman staples like fixing a busted toilet, fixing a leaky sink, patching a leaky roof, changing out a light fixture, etc.? Would all those be illegal for a handyman with a class B license to do?

What about advertising? Can a general contractor advertise for work that falls under a specialty license, even though the project would be in accordance with the general contractor guidelines? For instance, can General Contractor Gary advertise a special "Will rewire your whole house for $10,000!"? That falls under electrical, but the project would include a little bit of framing, drywalling, and painting in addition to the electrical.

How about if GC Gary advertises "Will re-roof your whole house for $10,000!"? Can GC Gary legally do that and just subcontract it out to his buddy Roofer Ralph?

I'm really curious about these gray areas (Gray for me, at least) and hope you guys can clear it up. The last thing I need is license trouble.
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Old 10-26-2014, 09:54 AM   #2
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Re: Confused As To What I Can Do With A B License As A Handyman


Rookie:

You bring up an interesting point. In the Corian business we seamed undermount sinks to the top in the shop. Did setting a sink make me a plumber without a license? That's the kinda thing to which I'd tell an inspector "Respectfully, sir, I'll see you in court."

I'm going to rehang a stainless steel undermount sink in a granite top this afternoon. I'd argue this is "maintenance" and therefore doesn't even fall under any licensing guidelines. Homeowners call a plumber and he tells them to call a granite guy and the granite guy tells the homeowner to call a plumber.

Twenty-five years or so ago, I fiddled with an electrical junction box in a basement before my electrician got there and got busted for electrical contracting without a license. So I've learned the hard way what's clear cut and what's not. If you think you can make a good case, go for it.

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Old 10-26-2014, 11:43 PM   #3
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Re: Confused As To What I Can Do With A B License As A Handyman


Did you already get the B license? Didn't the law test cover this?
All the small jobs you describe don't really matter because it's under $500.
Not sure about the advertising element, but I know you have to have your license number on all ads. Hope that helps.
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Old 10-27-2014, 12:24 AM   #4
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Re: Confused As To What I Can Do With A B License As A Handyman


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Did you already get the B license? Didn't the law test cover this?
All the small jobs you describe don't really matter because it's under $500.
Not sure about the advertising element, but I know you have to have your license number on all ads. Hope that helps.
Yes, I already have the license but that was years ago and I really don't remember that being covered on the test. I know what the official CSLB line is but, like with the examples I gave, it feels like there's a lot of gray area.
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Old 10-27-2014, 04:39 AM   #5
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Re: Confused As To What I Can Do With A B License As A Handyman


For me it's grey most of the time. I fall in that area a lot. You nee a painting license to paint a mailbox here.

Good luck to you.
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Old 10-27-2014, 05:25 PM   #6
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Re: Confused As To What I Can Do With A B License As A Handyman


Here in VA i have my class A and i was confused about replacing an outlet. so i called the county and asked they said as long as your not moving any wires and its just remove and replace you are fine. I also got my BLD so i can do everything in residential and commercial work except specialty trades like plumbing and electrical.
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Old 10-30-2014, 10:41 AM   #7
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Re: Confused As To What I Can Do With A B License As A Handyman


I was told I can't even touch a sink on a job if I'm not a licensed plumber.

I get around it by not itemizing certain items on the bill but as a general rule I try to avoid electrical and plumbing on anybody's houses but my own. I do a lot of kitchens and bathrooms where miraculously no plumbing is ever billed. I have a great electrician but have gone through a couple of plumbers already trying to find one who is reliable and reasonable.

I see handymen giving out business cards that say electrical and plumbing right on the card and I am amazed that they even try to get away with it.

How do they get insurance?
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Old 10-30-2014, 04:54 PM   #8
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Re: Confused As To What I Can Do With A B License As A Handyman


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I was told I can't even touch a sink on a job if I'm not a licensed plumber.
fred54:

I spent the day before yesterday pulling a drop in kitchen sink and turning the woman's Corian cutting board into countertop so I could undermount a new stainless steel sink which I did. I turned off the shutoffs, replaced a faucet, and reconnected the disposal and existing supply and drain lines. That's maintenance in my book. My Florida Building Contractor's license is moot for that reason and the fact that you don't need a license to do countertops in Florida.

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