The California Contractors State License Board has a licensing classification (C-28) called “Lock and Security Equipment.” This means that locksmiths and other security-equipment experts need to get a license to do independent work as a contractor in California.
The board mandates a certain amount of actual work experience before issuance of a locksmith license. An applicant must also pass an exam on locks and security equipment to get a contractor license. In addition to these basic requirements, certain criminal convictions may present a problem when trying to get a license. Finally, all applicants must meet specified financial qualifications to get licensed as a locksmith and security-equipment contractor in California.
Individuals seeking to do their own work need to individually qualify. They do not just go into hospitality jobs board or go into a company and give out their resumes.
Companies seeking to use a business entity as a contractor need to have an employee who qualifies for a license and is responsible for the actual work.
Note on Locksmith Education:
It is not required to actually take formal classes for a “lock and security equipment” contractor license in California. However, it is generally a good idea to get an education in any form of construction or engineering when seeking a license in this area. Formal education may help you get a job and prepare yourself for the contractor exams.
All qualifying persons must obtain four years of contracting experience on locks or security equipment. Trainee time does not qualify. In other words, only time as a contractor, supervisor, journeyman or foreman will count toward your experience requirement.
You must pass two tests to get a California locksmith license. The first exam is a general California Law and Business exam for all contractors. The second test is the lock and security-equipment trade exam.
The board makes it somewhat easy to prepare, and it is best to get ready while you are still gaining experience than to wait until the last minute and cram. Look in the Resources section below for two links – one for each exam. Use those study guides to find exam study references and test content outlines. Study the references thoroughly to prepare for your exams.
The application form is also linked to in the Resources below. You need to fill that out and send it in with the $250 fee for the application only (a separate $150 license fee will apply later if you qualify for a license). Make payments out to the “Registrar of Contractors.”
Fingerprint instructions will arrive along with your exam instructions in the mail. You will have to submit the fingerprints and pass a background check to get approved for a California locksmith license.
Not just anyone coming off the street can get a license for locks and security equipment. For example, you need $2500 in working capital for locksmith work. You also need some surety bonds that total approximately $20,000 and workers compensation insurance in the event that you hire employees.
Guide to Prepare for the California Contractor’s Law and Business Exam
California Locksmith License Application
Study Resources for the California Locksmith and Security Equipment Exam
California Contractors Blueprint for Locksmiths and other Contractors