Get Licensed



You already know that licensed landscape contractors don't have to worry about getting busted, and you've probably noticed they get the choicest jobs. But do you have any idea how much money they make?

According to a recent CLCA wage survey, licensed landscape contractors take home an average of $72,000 a year. This is after they've paid their license fees, insurance fees, suppliers' bills, employees' salaries, and all other business expenses. What's more, this doesn't include additional benefits they typically enjoy, such as health insurance, vacation days and so forth. Even the smallest licensed landscape contractors, the ones whose annual gross sales are less than $150,000, take home $40,000 a year on average.

Obtaining a license achieves more than just keeping the Contractors State License Board off your back. It gives you "credibility." With credibility you can charge more for your work and secure bigger and better jobs—the kind that put real money in your pocket.

The truth is, many CLCA members started out like you, either doing "mow, blow and go" maintenance work or small construction jobs without a license. Eventually, though, we got tired of being on the fringes of California's great economy. We wanted to make the big money too. So we became licensed. We think you can too.


Obtaining your C-27 Landscaping Contractor's License isn't nearly as difficult as you might think.

There is a license exam, but contractors' license schools do a great job of preparing individuals like you to pass it, and a school is sure to be located near you. If you're uncomfortable taking the test in English, you have a right to request translation assistance. Exams are given at several locations throughout California, so it's unlikely you'll have to travel very far. And, if you don't pass the first time, you still can take the exam as often as the CSLB can schedule you to do so within an 18-month period before you have to submit a new application.

You also need four years' experience in the landscape trade in order to be eligible for licensure. The odds are, though, you already have it. Also keep in mind that you may be able to receive credit for education, technical training, or apprenticeship training in lieu of a portion of the required four years of practical experience.

It doesn't cost an arm and a leg to apply for and maintain a license. The application fee is $300. License fees run $180 per year. In addition to license fees, there is a license bond requirement for contractors. These bonds typically cost less than $120 per year with a good credit score. Compare these fees with what you could make as a licensed landscape contractor!


Once you obtain your license, you'll be eligible to join the California Landscape Contractors Association. As a CLCA member you'll enjoy great insurance rates, access to information, industry contacts, professional development opportunities, legal forms and assistance, the right to enter landscape awards competitions, the prestige of displaying the association's logo, and more.