Who Needs A California Contractors License & What Kinds
In California, anyone who contracts to perform work on a project that is valued at $500 or more for labor and materials must hold a current, valid license from the CSLB.
The CSLB licenses contractors in 43 different classifications. This ranges from general contractors to swimming pool contractors, landscapers, painters, electricians, plumbers and many more.
Understanding the difference between a general and specialty contractor.
General building contractors usually oversee projects and coordinate the specific licensed subcontractors for a job. Specialty or subcontractors are usually hired to perform a single job. For example, if you want only roofing or plumbing work, you may want to hire a contractor licensed in that particular specialty.
A general building contractor may also contract for specialty work, but must hold a specialty license for that work or actually have a specialty contractor do the work. The only exception is if the job requires more than two types of work on a building. Then it is appropriate for a licensed general building contractor to contract for and oversee the entire project. For example, if a kitchen remodeling will involve plumbing, electrical and carpentry work under one contract, one should hire a licensed general building contractor. Under these circumstances, a general building contractor may perform all of the work on a building, or subcontract parts of the job to contractors with specialty licenses.
California Contractor License Classifications
Source: Contractor State License Board - http://www.cslb.ca.gov/