1,000,000th Contractor License Issued by Contractors State License Board
Milestone reached 85 years after first license issued
SACRAMENTO —The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) reached a milestone on Saturday, January 10, 2015, when its one-millionth contractor license was issued to a tree service company in Norwalk (Los Angeles County).
“This milestone says a lot about the resiliency of the construction industry,” said CSLB Registrar Cindi Christenson. “Despite ups and downs in the marketplace, this industry is a major reason the state has thrived, especially during the past century, and why California is the envy of many other states and countries. Construction has helped our state though a depression, economic downturns, wars, natural disasters, and many other challenges.”
A Quick Look at CSLB’s Early History
CSLB was created on August 14, 1929, with the support of the state’s construction industry, to protect the public from contractors who were irresponsible. CSLB began as the Contractors’ License Bureau under the Department of Professional and Vocational Standards. The Department had complete control over Bureau operations.
The original application fee was $5.00. Licenses were not issued with classifications as we know them today. An applicant merely checked on the reverse side of the application the type of work he/she wanted to perform; the same license was issued to all contractors. No license examinations were required. The only requirement was that the applicant had “good character.”
Originally, there were only four reasons that the Bureau could discipline a licensee:
- Abandonment of a contract without legal excuse;
- Diversion of funds or property
- Departure from plans and specifications; and
- Willful and deliberate disregard and violation of any building codes.
In its first year of existence, the Bureau issued 27,657 licenses.
The Bureau changed into its current board format on September 15, 1935, enabling appointed industry representatives to have a say in the state’s construction industry regulations. Seven members were appointed to the Board, and its first meeting was held in Sacramento on November 18, 1935.
Beyond building homes and major infrastructure and transportation systems, California’s construction industry was especially robust in the mid-1940’s after the end of World War II, and produced remarkable and iconic structures during the 20th century that include the California aqueduct; dozens of bridges, among them the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges; multiple dams; and countless low, mid-, and high-rise commercial and residential buildings.
By the Numbers
Detailed below are the years when each 100,000 license milestone was reached, followed by a current list of classifications with the most licenses. There currently are about 284,000 licensed contractors in California, in more than 40 different licensing classifications.
CSLB License Milestones
September 24, 1929
First License Issued
January 19, 1948
License #100,000 Issued
April 19, 1961
License #200,000 Issued
November 18, 1974
License #300,000 Issued
February 10, 1981
License #400,000 Issued
October 16, 1986
License #500,000 Issued
August 7, 1990
License #600,000 Issued
December 8, 1994
License #700,000 Issued
October 4, 2001
License #800,000 Issued
July 12, 2007
License #900,000 Issued
January 10, 2015
License #1,000,000 Issued
*U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics
Top 20 “Active” License Classifications (As of January 2, 2015)
Total Active Licenses
% of Active Licensees
General Engineering Contractor
Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and
Flooring and Floor
Cabinet, Millwork and
Finish Carpentry Contractor
Earthwork and Paving
Swimming Pool Contractor
Tree Service Contractor
Fire Protection Contractor
*U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics
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