South Carolina Builders Prepare for Solar Expansion

If you work in a residential building trade, you know that consumers are taking a more active role in understanding building practices as they relate to energy costs. South Carolina's residential utility customers pay the country's highest monthly energy bills according to federal statistics. Currently, it seems the winds of change are in the consumers' favor. On Thursday, July 26th, 2018  the State House of Representatives voted 64-33 in favor of the Solar Industry in South Carolina. They approved a bill that is going to put money back in the pockets of energy customers and save solar jobs.

Over the last 10 years, residential building contractors have been increasingly changing their mindset to more of a house-as-a-system mentality. Contractors are striving to become more well-rounded with greater environmental awareness. As studies reveal the massive benefits of energy efficiency, it is becoming standard practice for builders to have familiarity with many aspects of a home and to consider all the potential.

As solar energy has grown more popular in South Carolina a law passed in 2014 that caps solar expansion at 2% has become more problematic.  If the cap is not lifted South Carolina could lose thousands of jobs as alternative energy companies flee the state. Consumers producing solar energy would be charged by utility companies instead of getting paid for their excess power. By removing the said cap, as the creators of this bill hope, it will allow people interested in rooftop solar panels to produce energy without extra charges from utilities. This will, in turn, allow homeowners and builders a little extra cash in their pocketbooks.

What’s great about solar-ready homes is that the added clean energy maximizes financial returns and can cover 100% of energy needs, including electric loads, vehicle charging, heating, and cooling of the entire home. This is the direction that homebuilding is going. South Carolina seems to finally be ready to jump on board.


South Carolina Residential Contractor Exam Prep


 

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Louisiana Contractors Exam Prep FAQs

How do I get my Louisiana Residential Contractor License?

  1. Submit an application to the State Licensing Board for Contractors along with the supporting documents. Here is a link to obtain the application: http://www.lslbc.louisiana.gov/default.htm.
  2. Upon receipt of the application, the State Licensing Board for Contractors will send you an examination scheduling notice with the date of your exam. You will be required to pass a Business and Law exam and the Trade exam for the license you are seeking. - Prepare for the exam with online exam prep - 98% Pass Rate!

Do I have to take the State of Louisiana exams at the Baton Rouge State Licensing Board?

LSLBC will offer computer-based trade exams outside of Baton Rouge in partnership with Bossier Parish Community College, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, LSU-Alexandria, Sowela Tech in Lake Charles and Delgado in New Orleans, the trade examinations will be “local” for all contractors.

Are State of Louisiana exams open book?

This is a closed book exam. A calculator will be provided for your use during the examination. The following is an outline of the subject areas (in descending order of weight) that will be covered in the exam:

  • Rough Carpentry 26%
  • Interior and Exterior Finish 20%
  • Concrete and Rebar 19%
  • Associated Trades 10%
  • Excavation and Site Work 9%
  • Roofing 6%
  • Masonry 5%
  • Plans and Specifications 5%

The examination is made up of 80 multiple-choice questions which are equally weighted. You will have four hours to complete this examination.

How long does it take to complete the Builders License Training Institute Louisiana exam prep courses?

The course takes approximately 8-hours, but we move rapidly through the materials. For a thorough review, you may want to allow twice that amount of time. The NASCLA Accredited Commercial Contractor Course should take at least 24-30 hours.

Once you register, you have up to 6 months before your course is deactivated. If you need longer, just give us a call and we can arrange an extension.

Is Continued Education required in order to keep my Louisiana license?

Yes, you are required to complete six hours per year by your original licensing date to renew your Louisiana Contractor License. This increased in January 2012 from four hours to six hours each year.

What happens if I don’t renew my license by my renewal date?

A delinquent penalty of $50 for late renewal of Commercial and Residential contractor licenses may be assessed 15 days following the expiration date. Failure to renew your license within six months after your renewal date will result in forfeiture of your renewal rights and you will have to start all over.

How do I show the State of Louisiana that I’ve completed my annual Continued Education?

Simply mail a copy of your Certificate of completion from our course to:

State Licensing Board for Contractors
252 Quail Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Phone #: (225)765-2301

You do not need to send the Continued Education Form because we have all of the necessary information printed on your certificate.

Does the NASCLA-Accredited Exam replace the Trades exam for Commercial Contractors?

When you pass the NASCLA Accredited Examination for Commercial General Building Contractors, you will be listed in the NASCLA National Examination Database. You will then have this information available for the following states which accept the NASCLA Accredited Examination: AL, AR, GA, LA, MS, NV, NC, OR, SC, TN, UT. US Virgin Islands, VA, and WV. You may also need to take each states’ specific business/law/project management exam in addition to the NASCLA exam.

Do you need Louisiana Contractor Exam Prep or Continuing Education?

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Michigan’s Skilled Trades Crisis and How You Can Help

Do a "Google Search" on the construction industry in Michigan and you'll find a plethora of information on the state's struggle for skilled and licensed construction workers.

The lack of skilled tradespersons has become increasingly problematic for every aspect of the building industry nationwide. The timeline for new builds has increased from 4 months to 7 or more, due to the lack of laborers needed to complete the job. If you are in the building trades you're likely to have experienced this first-hand.  The demand for affordable housing continues to grow and unless we find a way to increase the number of skilled tradesmen to meet construction demands, the problem will only get worse.

The number of licensed contractors was reduced by half after the last housing crash. Those numbers continue to fall as seasoned contractors reach retirement age with very few workers to replace them. Part of the decline is due to a shift in High School curriculum. Over the past decades, students were encouraged to forego shop class for computer science and STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum. They were encouraged to go to college and get a degree in STEM-related industries instead of entering a trade. While these are all worthwhile and much-needed skills, the number of students wishing to enter into skilled trades such as construction and plumbing has decreased substantially over the years.

You Can Help!

Tradesmen currently working in the industry can be ambassadors for change by encouraging the young people around them to consider a career in construction. Get involved with the youth in your area and share your success stories. YOU can make a difference. Invite a young person to spend a summer as an apprentice, and teach them how to swing a hammer or build a knee wall, any aspect of your work that they can accomplish with a sense of pride. Encourage them to prepare for a successful future in the building trades by becoming licensed and eventually become their own boss. Pass on the legacy!

The Builders License Training Institute offers online Builders Pre-Licensure (with a 100% Money Back Guarantee!) to anyone interested in becoming a licensed builder.  In Michigan, you can take the state required 60-Hour prelicensure program online making it extremely easy and affordable to get a license on your own time at your own pace. There are even all-inclusive course and book packages that will save you time and money. Classroom courses are also available for those who want to get their 60-Hour prelicensure done in one week. The Builders License Training Institute even offers nationwide builder pre-license scholarships to deserving students and veterans who wish to enter the building trades.

Now is the time to build a better future by encouraging the youth of this nation to enter a career in the building trades! 

How does one get a Michigan builders license?

  1. Complete a state approved 60-Hour Prelicense Course
  2. Send an application, 60-Hour program certificates, and a $195 fee to the state.
  3. Pass the state exam

Where can I find an approved 60-hour course?

Builders License Training Institute offers an approved 60-hour course online and in the classroom.

What can I expect with the State Exam?

The State exam is made up of two main parts:

Part 1 Business and Law Exam – There are 50 questions on the exam and you must answer at least 36 questions correctly in order to pass. The minimum passing score is 72%. You are allowed 75 minutes to complete the exam.

Part 2 – Trades Exam – The Trades Exam is different for the Individual Residential Builder and the Maintenance & Alteration licensing:

  • Residential Builder Trades Exam – There are 100 questions on the Residential Builder exam and you must answer at least 73 questions correctly in order to pass. The minimum passing score is 73%. You are allowed 150 minutes to complete the exam.
  • Maintenance & Alteration Trades Exam – A separate trade exam is required for each trade you wish to be licensed in. Each trade exam ranges from 25 to 50 questions. Please click on the link below for the PSI candidate information bulletin.

candidate information bulletin is included with our 60-Hour prelicensure course which outlines the topics covered on the exam.  If you are taking an exam for an individual trade, please call or email and we will send you the outline for that trade.  You can also find this information at www.psiexams.com.

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BLTI Gets A 100% Pass Rate!

Congratulations Builders License Training Institute!

Oregon Construction Contractors Board has issued its School Summary Report for students tested between 4/1/18 and 6/30/18.

We’re pleased to announce that the Builders License Training Institute scored a 100% pass rate!

This means that EVERY Builders License Training Institute student who took their State licensing exam during this time frame PASSED THE TEST! That’s definitely something to be proud of!

Proof Positive that The Builders License Training Institute has the BEST prelicensure programs in the State!

 

DO YOU NEED TO GET A CONTRACTORS LICENSE?

Oregon law requires anyone who works for compensation (except bona fide employees) in any construction activity
involving improvements to real property to be licensed with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB)

Contractor 16 Hour Exam Prep Course

Online Narrated Course | Exam Prep
Prepare for your licensing exam on your own schedule with this course
that contains everything you need to know to pass the licensing exam.
Mobile friendly so you can study anytime, anywhere!

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$89

NASCLA Commercial General Contractor

Online Narrated Course | Exam Prep
Sample quizzes and integrated slides included throughout.
This exam prep course is accepted in 13 states.
Mobile friendly so you can study anytime, anywhere!

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$229

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Become A Licensed Michigan Builder Today!

Have you been dreaming of becoming your own boss? Well, now is the perfect time to do just that. Michigan builders are in short supply due to the lack of young people entering the trades, and seasoned contractors reaching their retirement years.

There are a number of ways to become a Michigan Licensed Builder. The Builders License Training Institute offers the state-mandated 60-hour program both online and in a classroom!  It's fast, fun and easy to meet state requirements with their programs. You can choose to take your time and complete the course online in HD video with printable text (with 100% money back guarantee!) or opt for the traditional classroom style at a number of convenient locations throughout the state. The choice is up to you!  You'll enjoy their state-approved and up-to-date curriculum developed by licensed builders. There are even scholarships available for Students and Veterans.  Check out their programs today, you'll be glad you did!  

 

If you're interested in becoming a Licensed Michigan Builder, there are a few steps you need to follow. 

  1. Complete a state approved 60-Hour Prelicense Course
  2. Send an application, 60-Hour program certificates, and a $195 fee to the state.
  3. Pass the state exam

What can I expect with the State Exam?

The State exam is made up of two main parts:

Part 1 Business and Law Exam – There are 50 questions on the exam and you must answer at least 36 questions correctly in order to pass. The minimum passing score is 72%. You are allowed 75 minutes to complete the exam.

Part 2 – Trades Exam – The Trades Exam is different for the Individual Residential Builder and the Maintenance & Alteration licensing:

  • Residential Builder Trades Exam – There are 100 questions on the Residential Builder exam and you must answer at least 73 questions correctly in order to pass. The minimum passing score is 73%. You are allowed 150 minutes to complete the exam.
  • Maintenance & Alteration Trades Exam – A separate trade exam is required for each trade you wish to be licensed in. Each trade exam ranges from 25 to 50 questions. Please click on the link below for the PSI candidate information bulletin.

candidate information bulletin is included with our 60-Hour prelicensure course which outlines the topics covered on the exam.  If you are taking an exam for an individual trade, please call or email and we will send you the outline for that trade.  You can also find this information at www.psiexams.com.

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Building Your Michigan Construction Sales Team

Building a top-notch sales team can be one of the hardest jobs a construction or renovation company owner ever takes on. For most of us in the construction industry, working with our hands come naturally, but the art of communication and marketing (working with our mouths) not so much. Contractors often struggle with the transition from working on the job site to managing sales teams with sales goals and marketing-based projects. Have you ever heard the phrase, “The most successful contractors never swing a hammer”? Well, to some degree that theory has merit. But how does a contractor build a sales team that actually works? Here are a few helpful tools:

How to Grow Your Construction Sales Team

  1. Evaluate your company’s strengths and goals – If you are a one-man show, this won’t take too long, but if you have started the growth patch with a few or even many employees, it is important to benchmark your progress and set goals for the future. Get a pad of paper and write down the unique strengths that your company and your employees possess.
  2. Decide on your target market – Your “target market” can be defined as who you would consider to be the "perfect" customer. Do you specialize in exterior renovations like windows, roofs, and siding? Or interior renovations like kitchens and baths? Do you want to find residential work or do you specialize in commercial construction? It is extremely important to define your target market and make sure your team has a clear understanding of who a qualified customer is. “Qualifying” a customer means deciding on specific metrics that your team will use to evaluate whether a customer is worth spending time on, or if they are a waste of time.
    1. What work is the customer interested in?
    2. What is the overall value of the property needing work?
    3. What is the financial status of the customer?
    4. Is the customer interested in financing?
    5. Is there a possibility of upselling into more work?

These are just a few metrics you can use for qualifying leads. We will be discussing better construction lead generation techniques in a later article.

  1. Organize your hiring process – “Onboarding” is a fancy term for the process of getting new hires up to speed on the inner workings of your company. This can be a make or break for construction salespeople because it will set the tone for the level of professionalism you expect. Make it great! The effort you put forth will reflect in the level of professionalism your salespeople will use with your customers.
  2. Don’t skimp on training - There is no faster way for a contractor to get in trouble, than for a salesperson to mess up the contract. In Michigan, anyone who is working with the customer in the process of selling work is required to be a licensed construction salesperson. This includes passing a state exam. Here is a link to the best Construction Salesperson Exam Prep in Michigan. If you have multiple salespeople, make sure you contact this school directly for Company Discount of up to 50%. Trusting that your salespeople are licensed and doing their work by the book makes life so much easier for you as the company owner.
  3. Outfit Your Salespeople for Success – This includes both a professional appearance, as well as the support and sales systems they need to work efficiently. We all know a "Chuck in a truck” who pulls up to give a bid in a rusty old truck with dirty clothes and dip in his lip. This works for some people, but it does not lead to growth for your company. Your sales team should be wearing professional clothing and driving a vehicle that represents your company in the best light possible. They should also have at a minimum a clipboard and the standardized paperwork that they can use for taking notes, discussing the various services you offer, and organizing the job process for the customer. The most successful construction salespeople will take advantage of every organizational tool at their disposal. This includes the use of tablets, pictures, and even bid software.
  4. Keep the leads (and Cash) Flowing – A salesperson is only as good as the leads he/she is given so make sure you have an organized lead generation and marketing process in place. There are all kinds of ways to keep leads coming in, attending trade shows, and local events, even internet, and social media marketing. If you haven’t tackled the social media market, you NEED to check out the Social Media Marketing for Contractors Course. It could be an absolute gamechanger for finding the customers you want without laying out tons of cash on marketing. Follow the link above and choose your state to get started!

Start Building Your Sales Team Today!

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Florida’s Unlicensed Contractors Feel the Sting

The state of Florida is cracking down on unlicensed contractors. Is your license current?

A number of unlicensed contractors have been arrested during various joint state and county sting operations. Twelve Contractors were arrested as a result of a two-day sting near Miami, and the Broward County sheriff’s department recently netted 26 unlicensed tradesmen, some of whom had been arrested previously for the same offense.

Contractors working without a license face steep repercussions. First-time offenders face a misdemeanor charge, up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Second-time offenders face a third-degree penalty, up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

If you’re a licensed Florida contractor, be sure to check your license and keep current with your state required continuing education. You are required to complete 14 hours of state approved contractor continuing education credits every two years. There are different licensing renewal dates for Florida’s two license categories.

CERTIFIED Contractors must renew by August 31st of EVEN-numbered years.  (2018, 2020, 2022)
REGISTERED Contractors must renew by August 31st of ODD-numbered years.  (2019, 2021, 2023)

Check your license today to be sure you don’t miss the renewal deadline!

Companies like Builders License Training Institute offer state-approved HD video continuing education courses online anytime 24/7, making it easy to complete your continuing education. They're available anytime, days, nights, weekends even holidays! Your records are kept in a safe place and printable certificates of completion offer proof of compliance.

Check your license and complete your continuing education today!

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Michigan’s Skilled Trades Crisis

Plumbers, electricians, pipefitters, roofers, carpenters, ironworkers, glaziers and other skilled tradespeople are in high demand and short supply in Michigan. Shortages of unskilled workers are also on the rise.

 

Michigan isn’t the only state affected by a lack of skilled trades workers. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to fill vacant skilled labor positions throughout the entire United States.

 

A large part of the workforce problem stems from negative perceptions. Young people tend to view these professions as arduous and lacking opportunity for advancement.  High school students are encouraged to forego shop class in exchange for computer science and information technology. The elimination of vocational training in high school has played a major part in the reduction of skilled trades workers everywhere.

 

Help is on the horizon as Governor Rick Snyders “Marshall Plan for Talent” was announced in February 2018.  His plan is to spend more than $100 million over five years to reconstruct the way Michigan prepares its young people for the workforce.  Funding assistance programs are available through various agencies as Michigan Works, Veterans Administration, and American Indian Tribes. The Builders License Training Institute (a division of Certified Training Institute) is currently offering a nationwide scholarship program for Students and Veterans interested in becoming licensed in the building trades.

 

There are thousands of job openings across various industries just waiting to be filled. Such trades can prove to be quite lucrative with a median wage of more than $20 per hour.  The demand for workers continues to rise, older tradesmen are reaching retirement. If you’re looking for a long-term career, you might want to consider becoming skilled in one or two of the aforementioned trades.  If you are already established as a tradesperson, encourage the young men and women you know to become licensed. Certified Training Institute offers online Exam Prep for a variety of trades, including Michigan Plumbers and Builders. Whether you want to become licensed or maintain your license, you’ll find it on their website.

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OSHA’s New Silica Rule Became Effective on June 1st, 2018

This new rule forces contractors to implement engineering controls to reduce the amount of respirable silica dust on construction sites to meet the new PEL (Permissible Exposure Limit) of 50mcg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter), which is 5 times less than the previous standards. The rule was finalized in 2017 and went into effect on June 1st, 2018.

OSHA estimates that more than 840,000 construction workers are exposed to silica levels exceeding the Permissible Exposure Limit each year. Is your crew ready?

There are 2 ways to prevent the silica from becoming airborne during construction projects. Depending on the activity, the use of either a vacuum system (to draw in the dust) or a surfactant (to suppress the dust) is now required. It is the contractors’ responsibility to ensure PEL levels are below the new required limit. OSHA guidelines also require companies to develop and maintain a written silica exposure control plan.

Silica dust exposure and the resulting health hazards have been a very real problem at construction sites for years, and the new OSHA rule is finally addressing that problem. Exposure is extremely hazardous and can cause cancer, COPD, and silicosis, an incurable lung disease. Controlling exposure protects the companies most valuable assets---their employees.

Learn more about protecting your crew from the hazards of silica dust by taking an online course from the Builders License Training Institute. Visit the website and choose your state. You'll find the Silica Safety course listed for continuing education credit (if State required) or as a professional development course for those seeking to expand their knowledge base.

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Become a Contractor in New Mexico

The demand for licensed construction contractors continues to grow throughout the United States. If you're thinking about becoming licensed in New Mexico, you'll find all the information you need below. 

What are the requirements for becoming a New Mexico licensed contractor?

Anyone engaged in construction-related contracting in New Mexico must be licensed. This includes general construction work, electrical, mechanical and plumbing and LP gas. The activities that are considered to be contracting in New Mexico are defined in the Construction Industries Licensing Act, NMSA 1978, Section 60-13-3.

New Mexico issues contracting licenses in approximately 100 different classifications. These classifications can be found in the New Mexico Administrative Code, Title 14, Chapter 6.

Contracting without a license in New Mexico is against the law. If a contractor is working without a license, the Division may stop the construction project and file a criminal charge of unlicensed contracting in Metropolitan or Magistrate Court. The Division also has an administrative process that allows an unlicensed contractor to become properly licensed to do work in New Mexico.  Source:  NM State Website

What do I need to do to become a licensed contractor in New Mexico?

  1. You must take and pass the Business & Law Exam as well as the Trades Exam.
    We recommend you prepare for these exams by taking an Exam Prep Course.
  2. Once you have successfully passed BOTH exams you may contact the Construction Industries Division
    Regulation and Licensing Department to request an application packet.
  3. For an application, contact: Construction Industries Division
    Regulation and Licensing Department
    2550 Cerrillos Rd.
    Sante Fe, NM  87505
    Phone:  (505) 476-4700
    [email protected]
    www.rld.state.nm.us
    Complete application packet must include:

    • Complete Contractor License application
    • Copy of exam score report showing passing scores for Business & Law and Trades exams
    • Proof of Financial responsibility:  Bond
    • Proof of current New Mexico Tax ID number
    • If a Corporation or LLC:  Proof of PRC registration
    • If a partnership:  Proof of registration with the New Mexico Secretary of State
    • Self-addressed stamped envelope to return your application materials if your application is rejected or to send your new license if your application has been accepted

 

Residential Contractor License Dual Course Package
New Mexico Exam Prep Course

$189

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