California Contractor Bond

California contractors must have a surety bond filed with the California Contractor State Licensing Board (CSLB) in order to be licensed. A $25,000 bond is required.

A one year $25,000 California contractor bond (a.k.a CSLB bond) starts at $125. The bond is based on the applicant's credit score, so your social security number is required - don't worry it will not affect your credit since it's a "soft" credit check. The entire quote process takes about 3 minutes.

We shop around to get you the best price and we'll ensure that you get the right bond that is accepted by the state.

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Contractor License Bond

Bond Amount: $25,000
Required by: California Contractor State Licensing Board

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State acceptance guarantee
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Refund within 30 days
1 Year Bond Starts at
*Based on credit and experience

Are there other California contractor bonds?

All practicing California contractors must hold an active general contractor's license bond, and in special circumstances, they may need additional bonds.

A bond of qualifying individual (BQI) is required in addition to the general contractor's bond if the contractor license is qualified by someone that owns less than 10% of the corporation's voting stock. This usually happens when the owner of the business does not have the necessary expertise in a certain contracting field. This is a $25,000 bond.

A $100,000 LLC Employee/Worker Bond is required in addition to the general contractor's bond if the business being bonded is registered as a Limited Liability Corporation ("LLC").

A $15,000 disciplinary Bond is required if a license has been previously revoked.

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How much does a CSLB bond cost?

The cost of a contractor bond is influenced by a variety of factors, including the contractor's credit score, years of experience, and the insurance company offering the bond. Typically, the cost of the bond ranges from 1% to 6% of the bond amount required by the state. 

The higher your credit score, the less expensive your bond would be.A California contractor with a very good credit score can get a 1 year contractor bond for $125.

We partner with over 10 insurance companies to provide our clients with the most competitive rates possible.


Other FAQs (finer details if you're interested)

What information is collected and how long does it take? 

We have a 2 minute form to get a CA contractor license bond. The following information is collected during the process to determine the applicant's eligibility and pricing of the bond:

  • Contractor’s business name and DBA if applicable
  • Business address
  • Contractor Year’s of Experience
  • Contact number
  • Owner(s) name, and SSN 

Is a credit check required for a contractor bond in California? 

Yes, when issuing a contractor bond, insurance companies will typically conduct a "soft credit check" on individual contractors to determine price and eligibility. It's important to note that this type of credit check will not have any impact on an individual’s credit score.

What if I have bad credit?

Generally speaking, a credit score under 650 is considered “bad credit”. We have several insurance partners that specialize in this market, so if you have a less than perfect credit score we can help. Give us a call and we’ll shop around to get you the lowest possible quote.

Why do I need a bond to be a contractor in California? 

We understand… red tape is annoying and you’re probably wondering why this bond exists. Unfortunately, contractors are humans, and they can make mistakes or act dishonestly. The California contractor license bond exists to offer some form of financial protection for consumers that hire contractors. Since 1929, the Contractor State License Board (CSLB) has regulated the approximate 300,000 licensed contractors in the state. Relative to states that do not have a contractor license board, Californians feel more confident hiring and trusting contractors, because they know that the contractor is licensed. This is ultimately beneficial for the California contracting industry as a whole. 

Do I need a physical bond card to prove that I’m bonded?

There is a physical license card offered by CSLB for $25, but it’s not required. All bonds are electronically kept on record by CSLB, so a physical card is not necessary. If a customer wants to verify your license, you can ask them to look you up on the CSLB’s license check page. 

Some bonding agencies tout their own physical cards as a marketing tactic. but in reality, these cards serve no purpose and have no relation to CSLB. Physical cards and mailing out physical cards also add additional cost to the bonding process, which often get passed on to the contractors. Therefore SuretyNow does not offer physical cards as proof of bonding. 

Does CSLB enforce the bond? 

CSLB does enforce the bond actively, and doing paid contract work without a license can result in fines and imprisonment (Business & Professions Code 7028). CSLB enforces the bond through investigating customer complaints and running monthly sting operations throughout California. CSLB receives roughly 20,000 complaints about unlicensed contractors annually, and their sting operations are highly effective. In June 2019, CSLB ran three undercover sting operations and 46 sweep operations around California which resulted in 169 legal actions against contractors. These investigations are conducted by investigators from CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT). 

How can I avoid claims on my California contractor license bond? 

To understand how one could avoid claims on a contractor license bond, let’s look at the most common reasons that claims happen: 

  • Abandoning an incomplete job
  • Failure to repair faulty workmanship
  • Failing to pay employees or vendors in a timely manner

Therefore to avoid claims on your contractor license bond, we recommend that contractors:

  • Always complete jobs according to contract specifications and ensure that customers are satisfied. One common method is to hold off on part of the payment until project completion. That way payment could then be used as proof of project completion
  • Always repair issues that come up from previous jobs. In California, contractors are required to offer a one year warranty on their jobs. This is known as a “Fit and Finish Warranty” meant to cover small things such as tiling, counter installation, and painting. 
  • Always pay your vendors and employees on time, as even employees or subcontractors can make a claim on your bond

What is the claims process like for a California contractor license bond? 

To file a claim against a bond, a consumer must contact the contractor’s surety company and submit (at the very least) a written description of the problem and a copy of the contract. The surety company will then investigate the claim and make payment to the consumer if they find the claim to be valid. Let’s illustrate this with an example.

Consumer Kim hires contractor Jason for a major home renovation. They agreed on a $50,000 contract to do an electrical rewiring panel upgrade, whole house copper repipe and remodeling of kitchen and bathrooms. Two months later, Jason declares to Kim that the job is complete, but in reality, the work was done poorly. Kim finds multiple issues with the renovation and even obtained correction notices from the city inspector. However, when she tells this to Jason, Jason insists that the issues were unrelated to his work and were outside the terms of their contract. Kim looks up Jason’s license registration on CSLB and contacts the surety company listed on Jason’s license to file a claim. The surety company investigates Kim’s claim and determines that the claim was valid so they pay Kim $25,000, the maximum amount that could be paid out to a claimant because it’s the amount of the bond. Jason is now liable for repayment of $25,000 to the surety company, otherwise his bond and license will be canceled.

How do consumers check the bond status for a contractor?

Consumers can look up a contractor’s bonding status via the check for license page on the official CSLB website. It’s super easy and contractors are searchable either via their first and last name, business name or license number. 

When and why did the California contractor license bond amount increase to $25,000

The California contractor license bond and qualifying individual bond amounts were increased to $25,000 on January 1st, 2023 as part of California Senate Bill 607, signed on September 28th, 2021. Prior to the passage of Bill 607, the bond amount required was $15,000. The bond amount was increased due to rising costs of construction and to have greater protection for consumers. 

Learn more from our blog about the bond amount increase.

Do I need to file the bond? 

Nope, you do not need to file the bond yourself. After you purchase the bond from us, we will e-file the bond on your behalf with CSLB. You can verify that it’s been filed by searching for your license on the CSLB website. We file the bond immediately after issuing your bond and it takes about a week for it to show up on the CSLB website.

How do I change information on my contractor bond? 

Give us a call or email if you need to change your existing bond. We will file what is called a bond rider form on your behalf to the surety company to make changes to the bond. 

Will I get proof of my bond?

We’ll send you via email a PDF copy of the bond once it’s been processed. This will serve as proof that you are bonded. You can also ask consumers to look you up on the official CSLB website.