Studying for my C-15 flooring license in Ca.

Discussion in 'Industry News, Training & Organizations' started by NoFx12, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. NoFx12

    NoFx12 Pro Member


    Lately I have been asked to do wall to wall installations and I feel that there is potential there. I have experience in the custom rug aspect of the carpet industry and know older folks that know how to install "easy/cheap" carpet.

    Have gotten great advice from them but unfortunately this was not their specialty and they were mostly doing small side jobs. That is as far as that went because his specialty was tufting rugs. A dying art as you may know.

    Another factor is the carpet I will be laying is very expensive for the most part. Mostly handmade or axe minster along with wiltons and most likely natural fiber. I know the risk is high but so are the rewards. The work is pretty much guaranteed but there are a few obstacles beside the ones mentioned above.

    I have clients that do commercial and industrial properties as well . There is major potential but I know I need a good solid team for this to happen. I am willing to take the time to advance in my career and learn this to teach others.

    One installer asked me once "do you know how to make good seams" and I said yes that is our bread and butter and he responded "then you know how to install."

    I dont know how true that is so I am approaching this very respectfully and with caution since I have heard a few horror stories.

    Now here is the biggest issue. I use to work for a place where I learned the trade of custom area rugs.
    Let's just say there was some shady things going on and long story short we ended going under another company because their assets were at risk...
    The new company was terrible when it came time to pay and the owner had a nasty attitude.

    My question is:

    Has anyone taken the test ? What proof do you need to qualify to take it?

    I have my fingers crossed that there is a way to do this without having to bother anyone.

    Thanks in advanced-!
  2. Haven’t taken it but sounds like you should take some CFI training and certifications. I think @Nate Hall does a natural fiber certification and there’s definitely many highly qualified carpet installers of that caliber to network with in the CFI organization. I’d take advantage of its offerings.

    You guys are funny over there in California. I get a vacuum hose the other day and it has the California cancer warning label on it. Here in Florida they just want business tax receipt to install any flooring. 25$ and you’re good.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2018
    • Funny Funny x 1
  3. NoFx12

    NoFx12 Pro Member

    Wow, I wish it was that easy here !
    Unfortunately there's all sorts of things we have to do in order to obtain the license..
  4. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    It's been about 40 years since I took the exam for a C-15 Contractor's License. I remember there were several questions I missed because the test had bad answers. One in particular was the gap required between tackless and wall. The correct answer is dependent on the carpet thickness, but no more than 3/8" (I believe that was correct in 1975), but the answer for the test was, believe it or not, 1-inch. It was a multiple choice answer; I don't remember which one I chose, but I got it wrong and they told me what the "right" answer was.

    At that time, I had to have 4 references. I couldn't name my former boss because he fired me, but I used a building contractor, an electrician, a real estate broker and the local sheriff. They had to indicate I had a minimum of 4 years experience, which I did. The building contractor gave me my first licensed job, which evolved into a contract to do all of phase one of a condo development. That really pissed off my former boss. I ended up doing work for about half the builders that used to have him do their work.

    Anyway, I hope someone with much newer experience with the California Contractors License Board will share their experience with you, @NoFx12. Other training is invaluable too, but without that C-15, business will be tough in CA. I let my license lapse when I moved and took a job as a salesman. I thought I'd never install again. I moved back home after about 5 years and started working on my knees again, but I kept putting off getting my license back. I had a lot of excuses, but none very good. But it was a small community and I was well known, so I didn't have any trouble getting work. Still, I should have complied with state law. Water under the bridge now. Not much chance of me doing any installing again. :ohno:
    • Like Like x 1
  5. NoFx12

    NoFx12 Pro Member

    I appreciate your response Jim.
    I feel competent all I need is a shot . I was just reading on the
    Reference aspect and yes you still need that. I'm not sure but I also read they might even check your taxes.

    Seems like it's going to be a hassle but I don't want to be discouraged. I'm going to keep looking into it as I know plenty of people in the industry that would vouch for me as far as references . Not just in the industry but working professionals that reached a high level of success.

    @Mike Antonetti where is Nate located ? The natural fiber certification sounds interesting...
    • Like Like x 1
  6. NoFx12

    NoFx12 Pro Member

    By the way Jim , something similar happened to me.
    My ex boss burned a lot of bridges and I decided to venture on my own.

    Some of his clients heard about me eventually and started works to work with me although I do have to say not all were good.
    Some didn't give good vibes and others and tried to screw me over others were just plain disloyal.

    I cut them off completely .
    • Like Like x 1
  7. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    Nate is in Minnesota I believe. He travels to do trainings all the time to and installs.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    • Agree Agree x 3
  9. Sounds very similar to the ceramic/marble license our county required up to 5 years ago. Experience, references, state testing, finances,etc. then they stopped doing it. Counties nearby didn’t require it. It was called a competency card, I still renew mine every two years (150$)in case it comes back but will probably let it lapse. It’s not coming back in my opinion.

    I had to track down guys I worked with for references(4 yrs minimum experience) I heard the G.C. License was going to be minimum bachelors degree but doubt it’s been implemented.

    I’m not sure if CFI does high end carpet certification, double stick, woven, etc. but the prerequisites should apply for res/commercial 1&2.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    I got my C-15 in the early '90s. There were mail order text books I purchased to study for the test. There were 2 parts to the test, a Law section and a Trade section. Both were extremely easy if you spent any amount of time studying and/or spent time working in the trade. The test was mostly either multiple choice or straight math/estimating. I was surprised at the low score needed to pass------if I recall correctly it was 58%.

    We also red and took another test pertaining to asbestos law. It was required that we signed an affirmation that we had read and understood those laws. I don't believe that test was graded as pass/fail. You just had to read and learn at the time you applied for the license.

    The jobs I did no one ever asked for my license.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Pioneer Carpets

    Pioneer Carpets Pro Member

    As a fellow NoFX fan I will help you out on this one.
    First you have to ask yourself if youre a good test taker. My opinion is that written tests are BS because if you are a good test taker or not as little if anything to do if you are a good installer in the field.
    If youre a supreme test taker, just go in with your current knowledge, its multiple choice, how wrong can you be?
    If youre an average test taker, I recommend you sign up for a home school program. The most important part of the packet is the sample tests. The are surprisingly accurate and the schools update them when CSLB updates their tests. You'll find several questions in the sample test that are word for word in the real test.
    If youre a crappy test taker you might have a hard time. I know a few accomplished installers who have taken the tests seveal times and not able to even pass the trade test.
    You have the option of hiring an employee who has a license to be your qualifying individual
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    I wish we had licensing in my jurisdiction it MIGHT help to eliminate some of the less desirable cohorts who under take the craft
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Pioneer Carpets

    Pioneer Carpets Pro Member

    Just remembered the other part of your question...proof.

    You will need someone to sign your application who says they can verify your experience installing floors on a journeyman level for four years.

    Honestly, from reading your post, you would be best served subcontracting out the installation. Shop for bids from installers who claim they can install your fancy carpet, then multiply that by 1.5 and that is the price your charge the customer. Thats the standard 33.3% mark up. No one will accuse you of cheating them and you'll still walk away with your rightful wage.
  14. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    This is very sound advice!!!
    I had nearly 10 years under my belt when I took the test in 1984 (I think). I am a very good test taker but I still wanted a 'guarantee' of sorts so I did buy the sample tests. At that time you could only take the test in Sacramento and maybe L.A. so I wanted to nail it. I did. My brother in law took it several years later and it took him 3 times. He was qualified but just not very good with tests.
  15. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    When i took my red seal certification in resilient floor covering i damn near failed all my practicum testing because my heart was not in it. No client, no care seemed to be my mentality. On the written portion i was top of the class, lucky for me learning has always come easy with that thing up on top of my noggen.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. NoFx12

    NoFx12 Pro Member

    This sounds like the best option thus far.

    What if something goes wrong ? Then The installer would be liable or myself ?

    I appreciate everyone's input.

    Sound advice from all

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