California Contractor Disciplinary Bond: A Comprehensive Guide

As a state with one of the most booming contractor industries in the United States, California has important and strict guidelines for those hoping to enter the industry. One of the requirements many contractors must meet in California is contractor disciplinary bond. In this article, we’ll detail the specifics about the disciplinary bond, bond seeking process, and answer any questions you may have about this specific bond.

What is the California contractor disciplinary bond?

The California disciplinary bond for contractors is a critical requirement established by the Contractor's State Licensing Board (CSLB) in California. This comprehensive bond is designed to protect consumers and address any violations or misconduct committed by contractors in the state. More specifically, the disciplinary bond is a form of insurance that contractors who have previously had disciplinary action taken against them must obtain in order to reinstate, reissue, or reapply for their contractor's license in California. It serves as a layer of protection for clients or customers who may suffer financial losses or damages due to a contractor's non-compliance with legal and ethical obligations.

Who is it Meant For?

The disciplinary bond is explicitly meant for licensed contractors operating in the state of California who have had disciplinary action taken against them. It applies to various types of contractors, including general engineering contractors, general building contractors, specialty contractors, and home improvement contractors.

If a license has been revoked—or in some instances, suspended—for a violation of the Contractors State License Law, the contractor must file a disciplinary bond with the Registrar to reinstate, reissue or reapply for a new license.

How much does it cost?

The cost of the disciplinary bond for contractors in California varies based on several factors. These factors may include the type of contractor's license held, the size and scope of projects undertaken, the contractor's financial stability, and their track record in compliance with state regulations. Typically, the bond's amount ranges between $25,000 and $150,000, but the specific sum required depends on the licensing classification.

Something important to note is that the current mandated minimum bond amount for disciplinary bonds is now increased to $25,000. This bond amount was instated on January 1, 2023, as a result of the Senate Bill 607. This bond amount cannot be less than $25,000, and it cannot be greater than ten times the amount of the contractor’s bond.

The California Registrar will determine the bond amount based on the severity of the contractor’s infraction(s), with more serious violations leading to the bond amount being higher, and vice versa.

The surety underwriter will determine the premium based on several factors, including:

The size of the bond requirement: Smaller bond requirements will be less expensive than larger bonds, since the issuing surety has less risk on smaller bonds than larger bonds.

The contractor’s credit and financial history: Higher credit scores (better credit) mean that the surety undertakes less risk by issuing the bond to the contractor, and thus the premium rate will be lower.

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Why does the disciplinary bond exist?

The disciplinary bond exists for several reasons, mainly focusing on protecting consumers and ensuring a higher level of accountability in the contracting industry. Here are some key reasons for its existence:

Financial Protection

The bond provides financial protection to customers in case a contractor fails to fulfill their contractual obligations, including incomplete or substandard work, financial losses, or damages caused by the contractor's negligence or misconduct.

Compliance and Accountability

By requiring contractors to acquire the bond, the CSLB ensures professionals follow relevant laws, regulations, and ethical standards while performing their duties. The bond acts as an additional incentive for contractors to abide by all applicable rules and to avoid misconduct.

Compensation for Losses

In case a contractor violates the terms of their license and causes financial harm to a customer, individuals affected can make a legitimate claim against the bond for compensation. This provides an avenue for affected parties to seek relief and financial recovery.

Consumer Confidence

The disciplinary bond helps foster trust and confidence between consumers and contractors by offering financial assurances. Customers feel more secure when hiring a licensed contractor who holds a bond, as it acts as a safety net in case something goes wrong during a project.

The CSLB's intention in introducing the disciplinary bond is to ensure that contractors can be held accountable for their actions, safeguard public interests, and maintain the reputation and professionalism of the contracting industry in California.

What are the requirements for a disciplinary bond?

Disciplinary bonds are subject to the following requirements, as specified by the CSLB:

  • The bond must be filed in addition to, and cannot take the place of or be combined with, any other bonds required to maintain an active contractor's license;
  • The Registrar determines the bond amount, which is based on the seriousness of the violation(s). The amount may not be less than $25,000 , nor greater than ten times the amount of the contractor's bond. See Business & Professions Code Section 7071.8;
  • The bond must remain current and on file with the Registrar for at least two years. In some cases, the Registrar may require a longer filing period; and
  • The firm's license must remain active and current while the disciplinary bond is on file.

Where do I obtain a disciplinary bond?

In California, disciplinary bonds for contractors can be obtained through the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). Here are the specific steps to obtain a disciplinary bond in California:

Step 1: Determine if you need a disciplinary bond

The CSLB may require contractors to obtain a disciplinary bond under certain circumstances, such as prior disciplinary actions or license suspension/revocation. Check with the CSLB website to see if a disciplinary bond is necessary for your situation.

Step 2: Research bonding companies

Identify bonding companies approved by the California Department of Insurance, as they are the authorized issuers of disciplinary bonds. You can find a list of approved bonding companies on the CSLB's website or by contacting them directly.

Step 3: Contact surety brokers

Reach out to surety brokers who are partnered with surety companies licensed in California to inquire about their requirements and procedures for obtaining a disciplinary bond. Provide them with any necessary information or documents they may need.

Step 4: Obtain a quote

Request a quote from the surety broker, as the cost of a disciplinary bond can vary. Be prepared to provide details regarding your specific situation and contracting activities. Surety Now offers fast, free quotes; simply fill out the form on our site, and we’ll send you an email within 24 hours of how much your bond will cost.

Step 5: Choose a bonding company

Evaluate the different quotes and terms offered by the surety broker and select the one that best fits your needs and budget.

Step 6: Complete the application (if requested by your surety broker)

With the chosen bonding company, complete the necessary application forms. These forms typically require personal and business information, as well as details related to your contractor's license and any disciplinary history.

Step 7: Provide required documentation

Along with the application, supply any supporting documentation requested by the bonding company or CSLB. This may include copies of your contractor's license, any disciplinary letters, or other relevant materials.

Step 8: Pay the premium

Once your application is approved, you will be required to pay the premium for the disciplinary bond. The cost of the bond will depend on various factors, including the amount of coverage required and your contractor history.

Step 9: Receive the disciplinary bond

After paying the premium, the bonding company will issue the disciplinary bond to you. It is crucial to review the bond carefully to ensure it meets the CSLB's requirements.

Step 10: Submit the bond to CSLB

Finally, submit the disciplinary bond to the CSLB as mandated. Follow their guidelines for submission, which may include mail or electronic methods. Upon acceptance, your disciplinary bond will be recorded and you can proceed with your contracting activities.

Remember, it's essential to consult with the CSLB or a legal professional directly for specific guidance tailored to your circumstances, as the licensure and bonding process can vary.

How long is a disciplinary bond active for?

The length of a disciplinary bond is a minimum of two years. However, longer durations of disciplinary bonds are also widely found. One important requirement to know is that California state requires that, for as long as a disciplinary bond is on file, the contractor must maintain an active and current license.

Are there alternatives to obtaining this bond?

Instead of a disciplinary bond, some contractors may choose to file a bond alternative, such as cash or a certificate of deposit with the Contractors State License Board.  However, with each form of bond alternative, the CSLB will retain the collateral for three years after the end of the bonding period being covered. As such, many contractors do not opt for these options and instead simply seek a disciplinary bond with surety companies.


In conclusion, the California disciplinary bond for Contractors plays a vital role in consumer protection and accountability in the contracting industry. By requiring licensed contractors to obtain this bond, the CSLB ensures contractors comply with state regulations and that customers have financial recourse in case of misconduct or negligence. The bond contributes to maintaining the integrity and reputation of the contracting industry, fostering trust between contractors and consumers in California.