Defined by the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Contractors State License Board classifies a low voltage C7 contractor as “communication and low voltage contractor installs, services, and maintains all types of communication and low voltage systems which are energy limited and do not exceed 91 volts.”
To the layman, this means that it is a licensed installer or technician that has the experience and training to help you with your telephone and telecommunication systems, sound systems, cable television, closed-circuit video, satellite dish antennas, and low voltage landscape lighting.
Here are the requirements to become a Low Voltage C7 Contractor:
- Age: Must be at least 18 years of age or older.
- Experience: Must have at least four years’ experience of performing or supervising low voltage work (personal experience is also accepted by the state now). A person with any first-hand knowledge of your experiences, such as a homeowner or employer, can verify the experience.
- Education: A college degree and or trade school credits can suffice for up to 3 years of experience.
- Application: Must apply for “Application for Original Contractor’s License” through the Contractor’s State Board office.
- Exam: With pre-approval from the state and a valid California state drivers license, the potential contractor can take the computer-based Low Voltage Systems Examination in a designated location, as well as the Law and Business Exam. The Low Voltage Systems Exam has 100-120 questions on topics relating to the various aspects of low voltage equipment, including their installation, maintenance, and servicing. Other topics will be on the exam as well. For example, job design and planning, material selections and estimation, wire/cable installation and termination, component installation, testing, troubleshooting, repairing and safety while installing. The contractor’s exam has a time limit of 150 minutes, and the contractor needs a score of at least 70% to pass the exam. The success rate of the exam is high, with many exam-preparation companies claiming their rates to be around 98-99%.
- Fees: In the State of California, an initial application fee of $300 is required for new applicants, as well as contractors who are reapplying. There is an additional fee $180 for a 2-year license card. In addition to these, a contractor needs to have at least $2,500 in working capital, either in cash or equipment. If it is in equipment, it will need to be verified. Applicants are also required to file a $10,000 bond with the Registrar.
- Documentation: Contractors need to provide their Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, as well as all documentation to prove that he or she meets the above requirements and has passed all exams.
Low voltage fire alarm systems, fire protection equipment, lock, and security equipment and solar equipment are exempt from this classification and require a separate licensing process. The different licenses consist of an Alarm Company Operator License ($35), Qualified Manager ($105), and an Alarm Agent registration ($17). The contractor must be employed by an alarm company operator to sell, install, monitor, maintain, service, or respond to alarm systems or to supervise such actions.