Jet Journal

What the CSLB’s new C-49 Contractor Class Means to You

Estimated Read Time: 3 minutes


In their efforts to protect the safety and wellbeing of the public, the Contractor State License Board (CSLB) is introducing its newest license classification for tree service contractors. Starting January 1, 2024, contractors applying for the tree service classification will need to apply for the newly created C-49 Tree and Palm Contractor classification. The CSLB is discontinuing the previously established C-61/D-49 Tree Service Contractor classification. Don't worry, contractors with the prior designation will keep their current license number and the CSLB will convert their license classification automatically, no additional cost. This update to the license classification will not trigger a monetary increase of the renewal process for existing contractors. Moreover, the CSLB will keep the cost associated for both new licenses and renewals the same as the previous C-61/D-49 respectively, making it convenient for old contractors and saving new contractors money. 

History Around The Update.

The original proposal for the change was initiated in 2017, during a CSLB public board meeting.  Members of the public raised concerns about the increased number of accidents related to tree contractors and the lack of a prevailing wage within the tree trimming industry. The increased accident rates were attributed to underqualified contractors performing complicated tree work. As a result of this increase in accidents, tree trimming wages began to fall across the industry. It was proposed that a new specialty classification was needed to ensure that contractors performing tree work specifically had the proper knowledge and skills needed to successfully conduct the work. 

What Is the C-49?

The newly established C-49 classification is known as the Tree and Palm Contractor designation. This new requirement came about as a direct result of safety concerns in the industry. Unfortunately, since the previous classification did not require a trade exam, many under qualified contractors were permitted to conduct tree related work. As a result, not only did accident rates climb amongst those doing the work, but so did mortality rates. This increase in accidents negatively impacted the tree contractor industry as it drove down prevailing wages, making it harder for tree contractors to earn fair compensation for their work. This new classification will focus on prioritizing knowledge and skill of tree maintenance over the traditional general practice in place. The current C-61/D-49 designation has a much broader scope for contractors performing tree care work as it specifies they can prune trees, remove trees, and engage in tree or limb guying. The new classification focuses on more specification and will cover the following: planting, maintaining, and removing trees and palms, as well as pruning, stump grinding, and tree, palm, or limb guying.

What is the Immediate Impact to You? 

New licensees applying to become a licensed tree contractor will now be required to apply for the C-49 classification and, as a condition of the application, will be required to pass 2 examinations: the Law and Business exam and the newly created C-49 Trade exam. For contractors currently carrying the C-61/D-49 classification, the CSLB has indicated they will automatically update licenses starting 01/01/2024 to the new designation. The CSLB estimates all licenses will be converted in 18 months. However, if you have a qualifier for the license and that qualifier disassociates from the license then any new qualifiers will be required to take the C-49 Trade classification exam. In addition to the exam and in accordance with Senate Bill No. 216 contractors who currently have the C-61/D-49 classification as well as new C-49 applicants still have the requirement to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance, regardless of having any active employees or not. 

Let Jet Insurance help you with any questions you may have with not only this, but other California contractor related issues. Give us a call at (916) 836-5330 or reach us via email at [email protected]

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