Does a Contractor’s License Require Continuing Education?

You have a contractor’s license and want to maintain it in good standing. That means operating your business in an ethical and professional manner. You’ll also need to renew your license so it doesn’t expire. Fail to do that and you could pay some hefty fines.

If your renewal period is pending, you may wonder what is required of you. Specifically, many contractors want to know if they need to complete any sort of continuing education (CE)  before they will be allowed to renew. As it turns out, that’s not a simple yes or no answer.

Whether you are interested in California contractor licensing or work in a different state, it’s important to know and follow your renewal obligations. Here is some key information about renewals.

Renewals and Continuing Education

Not every contractor will need to complete continuing education units to renew their licenses, but many will. This largely depends on the state where you are licensed. 

Be aware that your particular county may also have continuing education requirements. As a general rule, you are responsible for meeting any educational requirements you have and providing proof of completion.

What Is CE?

Continuing education is a learning requirement that some states establish to ensure that your knowledge as a general contractor does not become outdated. For example, regulations relating to safety may be updated at any time. The same applies to the handling of materials, insurance obligations, and more.

CE may be offered in many different forms. Some states partner with private training centers where students go to complete their training. Others offer online learning options or may work with local community colleges.

What you learn during these continuing education sessions may vary. For example, Georgia contractor licensing requires three hours of CE for each year in the renewal period. However, the specific training can change from one year to the next.

CE Obligations for California Contractor Licensing

Continuing education is completed in hours or units (CEU). The number of hours you must complete depends on your state. Your obligation may also vary depending on the type of contracting work you do. 

For example, commercial contractors may have to take more CEUs than residential contractors. Plumbers, electricians, and HVAC contractors often have additional educational hours as well.

Plan Ahead

Remember that continuing education classes for contractors may take some effort to complete. Classes may have waiting lists. You may even need to travel or plan a day or two off work to complete your licensing requirements. Don’t wait too long or your renewal could be delayed.

Is It Hard to Get a Travel Agency License?

If you are interested in becoming a travel agent (seller of travel), you should know that you may need a license. Some states require it. Take care to have the right licensing in place before you begin operating your travel agency.

Fortunately, the process of obtaining a California, Washington, Hawaii, or Florida travel agency license isn’t too complicated. However, it is important to know your obligations and responsibilities. Here’s some information that covers everything you need to know.

What Is a Travel Agency License?

A travel agency license is a license to sell travel and travel services. The precise requirements may vary from one state to another. However, if you operate a travel agency in a state that requires licensing, you must comply with that. 

Additionally, you are usually obligated to become licensed in a state if you sell travel there, even if you are located somewhere else. For example, a travel agent in Missouri who sells vacations to NYC must obtain a New York travel agent license.

Should I Get a Florida Travel Agency License?

It is often a good idea to become a licensed seller of travel in states that have major tourist destinations. Of course, Florida and California have Disney in addition to dozens of other attractions. New York has Times Square, Broadway, Central Park, and more. So many people are also attracted to the natural beauty of Washington and Hawaii.

Before you decide, remember to consider your future plans. You may not sell travel experiences in these states now, but you might in the future. Licensing isn’t prohibitively expensive, so perhaps you should be prepared.

Other Travel Agency Licenses and Accreditations

If you don’t sell travel in a state that requires a license, you may have other obligations. For example, in Illinois, travel agents are required to establish a trust account. Delaware travel agents need to get an occupational license. In Louisiana, you must pay an annual licensing fee if you operate a retail travel agency in a storefront.

While you research travel agency licenses, don’t forget to look into accreditations. These may not be mandatory, but they can make a big difference when it comes to your business growth. 

One of these is the ARC accreditation. You will need this if you want to be able to issue plane tickets directly to your clients. There are other affiliate accreditations as well, including the TCRC registration that protects travelers in California. 

Take the time to learn your obligations. Then take the steps to obtain the licenses you will need now and in the future.

4 Myths About Starting a Car Dealership

There are some myths about becoming a car dealer that might discourage you from taking the opportunity to open your own dealership. However, it’s important that anyone who is interested in this endeavor knows the facts.

Myths About Opening a Car Dealership

Following are some of the biggest myths about starting a car dealership, from getting a Texas car dealer license (or a car dealership license in Georgia or any other state) to how much experience a person needs to have in the business.

Myth 1: There’s Too Much Risk Involved

While it’s true that starting any type of new business carries a certain amount of risk, dealerships, specifically franchises, carry less risk than many other types of businesses. 

If you’re interested in opening a dealership franchise, the work the franchisor has already invested in it makes it less risky. There is a business model for dealerships to follow and best practices have already been established.

Myth 2:  You Don’t Need a Texas Car Dealer License If You Aren’t Located in Texas

If your dealership often sells cars to customers who live in another state, you might need a dealership license for that state in addition to the state in which you are located. States have different regulations about licensing, so it’s important to understand when you would need multiple licenses.

Myth 3: You Need Experience in the Auto Dealership Industry

Although it makes sense that some experience in the industry would be beneficial, with a car dealership, it’s not a requirement. There are companies that offer formal business training and ongoing support to those interested in opening a car dealership.

You can get training on the important standards of the industry, procedures, and best practices while you receive expert advice from consultants and experts. While experience in the auto industry does help, it is possible to own a successful dealership without it.

Myth 4: Getting a Car Dealer License Is Difficult

Auto dealer licenses are some of the most common license types needed; they’re required in just about every state. In general, if you sell over a certain number of cars in a year, you need a license. 

Receiving this license is as easy as submitting an application through a licensing company that includes information about you and your dealership. The company submits the application to the state, the state processes it, and you’ll receive your car dealership license.

Don’t let myths about starting a car dealership deter you from your dreams; always search out information about the facts to make sound, educated decisions about your business.

To Charge or Not to Charge: A Breakdown of Fees for Travel Agents

In the past, a travel agent charging a fee for their services was unheard of. But the value of travel agents has become more apparent than ever, especially since the impact of COVID-19 on the industry has been a significant one. It’s now becoming more mainstream for these professionals to charge fees for their services.

The Problem with Not Charging Service Fees

For almost every agent in the travel industry, whether they hold a Florida travel agency license, a New York travel agent license, or credentials anywhere else, the bulk of their income still comes from commissions. It isn’t always easy to earn a sustainable income on commissions alone.

Commissions don’t account for the countless hours agents spend ironing out all kinds of details for their travelers. Hence, many people now believe that travel agents should be charging service fees, especially when they save their clients so many hours of their own planning, research, booking, and revising.

It Can Be Difficult “Asking” for Money

While it’s easy to say that travel agents need to be their own advocates, it isn’t always easy to ask for money. Many people aren’t comfortable with it and don’t have it as a part of their daily MO. 

Some agents use the “no fees” promise as part of their marketing platform, and this is okay. If you do want to begin charging fees, consider starting out by charging for certain services and not others. 

Have a Florida Travel Agency License? Or a License in Any Other State? Charge for These Services

No matter where you operate your business, you’ve worked hard to get your travel agent license and establish yourself as a travel advisor. Consider charging for the following services, if nothing else:

Booking Non- or Low-Commissionable Reservations

These include smaller vendors, independent hotels, and even leisure air travel bookings.

Booking Air-Only Travel

Charging a fee for air ticketing is not uncommon for corporate travel agents, so leisure agents can follow suit as well.

Booking FITs or Anything that Is Customized

By default, it takes agents more time to create and book FIT itineraries, and it makes sense to be compensated for the extra time and effort.

Booking Add-Ons

Travel advisors who offer personalized “concierge” services, including in-depth planning of itineraries, should be compensated for the research, ticketing, and ongoing maintenance that is created with add-ons.

A Final Tip for Travel Agents

As a travel agent, you don’t click a magic button or wave a wand to pull travel itineraries, reservations, and plans together; you work really, really hard at it. If you’re not comfortable charging blanket fees for your services, consider starting out by charging only for some services.

4 Dos and Don’ts as a Newly Licensed Car Dealer

You’ve received your car dealership license in NY or one of the other states where you do business. Now, you can buy and sell cars and conduct other related business. 

That’s great news, but there are some important things to keep in mind. This list of four dos and don’ts will help you maintain your dealer’s license in good standing and ensure you get the most out of your investment.

1. Do Display Your License Correctly

It isn’t enough to simply have your license. Many states have a specific requirement that you display your license where it can be viewed by the public.

This is also good business practice. Your license assures potential customers that you are trustworthy and have met or exceeded every standard set by your state. Display your license to earn trust and confidence from potential car buyers.

2. Don’t Exceed the Bounds of Your Dealer’s License

Does your car dealership license in NY specify that you are licensed for specific activities? There are a few different types of licenses that dealers might receive. It’s important that you only engage in authorized activities for the specific license you have been issued.

For example, you may have been issued a license to conduct private sales. This generally limits you to selling several cars per year as an individual but doesn’t allow you to open a lot or engage in wholesale transactions.

3. Do Maintain Insurance for Your Car Dealership License in NY

You had to provide proof of third-party liability insurance and other coverages to obtain your Alabama car dealer’s license. In order for that license to remain valid, you will need to maintain that coverage as long as your business operates. Pay attention to liability levels so that your insurance is adequate. That’s not just good practice for keeping your license, but it’s also good business policy.

4. Don’t Fail to Maintain Your Lot

There are physical requirements for operating a licensed dealership in most states. This includes having an office, maintaining separate parking or display areas for vehicles for sale, and maintaining appropriate utilities. The latter usually includes a landline phone. You must also have a business sign with the name of your dealership clearly displayed and a properly surfaced lot.

Keep up with these four items after you receive your dealer’s license. This will ensure that you’re in compliance with regulations and that you earn the trust and respect of your customers.

How to Best Prepare for Your Travel Agency License

You’ve decided to start a travel agency. You have experience in the industry and a desire to help people create rewarding travel experiences. That’s a great start, but there may be some other requirements for you to meet. Specifically, some states require you to have a license, often called a “Seller of Travel” license. For example, you’ll need to obtain your Florida travel agency license if you operate your business out of Florida or if you sell travel services in the state.

What Is a Travel Agency License?

If you do business in certain states, you must obtain a license to become a seller of travel. These licenses are fully administered at the state level. There is no federal travel agency license.

However, you may need to obtain licenses in multiple states. For example, if you are in California, you will need a license there. If you sell travel packages to destinations in Texas, you may also need a Texas travel agent license.

Fortunately, travel agency licenses are intended for liability protection and to ensure you operate your business ethically. The process is more about filling out forms and paying fees than passing any sort of class or taking a test.

Verify Whether You Need a License or Not

Don’t make assumptions about this. Consider where your offices are located and the destinations you include in your services. Learn the licensing requirements for each state. Don’t forget states where you may do business in the future.

Learn the Requirements for a Florida Travel Agency License

If you want to sell travel services in Florida, you must register with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. There are different agencies that handle licensing in other states. You must find out who handles licensing for each state that is relevant to your business. Then, you must learn the rules and processes that you need to follow.

Obtain a Bond If Necessary

A bond is a financial guarantee that you will operate your business ethically and meet all of your obligations. Travel agents are often required to have surety bonds because they are trusted to collect money from their customers and distribute it to other entities. 

If a travel agent fails to do that, the customer can file a claim against the surety bond to recoup their losses. This, along with any licensing fees you pay will cover most of your licensing expenses.

What Can You Do with a Travel Agency License in California?

In the state of California, you must obtain a California travel agency license before you are allowed to operate a travel business. You must register with the state Attorney General’s office to do this. Once you complete this process, you become a licensed seller of travel.

By following this directive, you ensure that you are compliant with state law. Additionally, you may find that it’s worth complying with because it gives you the freedom to operate your business in the state without difficulty. 

Once you have your registration number, you can open your travel agency and do business with travelers in one of the most popular destinations in the world.

Sell Travel Opportunities to CA Residents and Businesses

A California travel agency license isn’t just for travel-related businesses located in California. You must register your business if you intend to market your services to California residents or businesses. 

Is it worth the time and effort to do this? Yes. If your home travel business is located in CA, you must obtain your license regardless. If it isn’t, consider the large number of people who live and work there. Wouldn’t you want to be able to sell travel services in California?

Use Your California Travel Agency License to Sell Travel to Popular CA Spots

California is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Business travelers frequently head to Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other major cities. Many use the services of travel agencies. Tourists look to travel agents to help them plan trips to Disneyland, Joshua Tree National Park, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and more.

Keep in mind that many travelers use California as a launchpad for their trips to other destinations — including Hawaii, Asia, and Mexico.

Earn Trust

Anybody interested in travel-related services in California can use a computer to glance through the state’s website. This will tell them whether a travel agency is properly registered or not. If it is, this lets them know that your business has met all state licensing requirements. 

Additionally, displaying your license number on your website or in advertisements is a trust indicator. It adds a sense of credibility. This helps travelers feel more confident doing business with your company.

If you can’t imagine running a travel agency without selling your services to California residents or selling travel to destinations in the Golden State, you must obtain your state license. It’s well worth the cost and any paperwork.

3 Reasons Why People Want to Work with a Licensed Contractor

California contractor licensing is strictly enforced. This is also the case in many other states. It’s simply a matter of law that you must go through the process of obtaining a contractor’s license

Of course, legality is just one consideration. Many people simply will not do business with any company that isn’t properly licensed. Here are three reasons why this is so important.

1.   Licensed Contractors Can Pull the Right Permits

Only businesses with construction licenses in California and other states can obtain proper work permits. People know that working with an unlicensed contractor usually means that the work is being done without required permits from the local authorities.

There are a few problems with this. First, if the city or county discovers work is being done without permits, they may shut down the project entirely. Additionally, the home or business owner could be fined. 

A final inspection must be conducted at the close of any construction or remodeling project. Again, this won’t happen if a licensed contractor doesn’t do the work. If something goes wrong, the homeowner has little recourse.

2.   California Contractor Licensing Requires Skills and Experience

To obtain a contractor’s license, someone must have verifiable experience and proven skills. Many licensing processes include a test that contractors must pass before receiving their license.

No licensing process is 100% perfect. However, it is the best means that people have for determining whether a contractor can do the work and whether they have earned a positive reputation.

3.   Liability and Insurance Requirements

Builders and other contractors must have a license to obtain business insurance. Insurance companies will not have liability or workmen’s compensation policies for unlicensed contractors. This is extraordinarily important for people who:

  • Are concerned that there is proper coverage in case a contractor makes a mistake
  • Don’t want to be liable for accidents or injuries that occur on their property
  • Need to have insurance-related repairs done to their home or business

An injured construction worker who can’t seek damages from an uninsured contractor may choose to take legal action against the property owner. Also, if a homeowners insurance company finds that the homeowner failed to hire a licensed contractor, they may not cover repairs or take responsibility for any injury claim.

Ultimately, any construction contractor will benefit from taking steps to get properly licensed. In addition to being legally compliant, they’ll be able to attract more customers and increase their bottom line.

Tips to Keep Your Construction License in Compliance with State Law

When you do business, savvy customers will ask to see your Georgia construction license and other documents that indicate you can legally perform the work you advertise. 

It’s imperative to maintain your licenses in every state, to ensure that you can continue to serve your customers. These tips will help you stay in compliance with state law.

Get the Right License

The term “construction license” is quite broad. In many states, there are different licenses depending on the type of work you do and your industry. For example, California contractor licensing requirements stipulate that both subcontractors and contractors must obtain their own licenses.

Some fields have additional requirements. This is especially common for contractors in these service areas:

  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • HVAC
  • Environmental services

It’s important for you to do the necessary research for your state and industry.

Know The Rules for Maintaining a Georgia Construction License

Remember that it’s your responsibility to know the rules and regulations for each state. Even if your business is headquartered in one state, you will likely have to obtain licenses and stay compliant in every place you do business. 

These rules can get complicated, because each state has its own requirements for obtaining your construction license and staying in compliance. This includes how often you need to renew, the costs, and how you should display your licensing information for potential customers. 

Pay Close Attention to Lead Times

Lead time refers to the amount of time it takes to process your application and issue your license. This is important if you plan on expanding your business into new areas or on offering new services that require additional licensing. 

The last thing you want is to lose out on money and opportunities because your license application is pending. Plan to submit any applications or renewals well in advance.

Stay on Top of Regulatory Changes

Getting your construction license is just one step. There are other things you will need to do. After you obtain your license, you will need to maintain a reputable business in good standing. If you don’t, it’s possible your state could take steps to suspend or revoke your license. 

One of the most important things you will need to do is stay on top of any regulatory changes. The agencies in charge of creating regulations that influence construction licensing may make changes at any time. It’s your job to understand these and meet them accordingly.

3 Reasons a Car Dealership License Might Be Denied

If you plan to open a car dealership, you’ll need to obtain a license from your state to do so. An NC car dealership license indicates that you have met the requirements set by the state’s Department of Transportation or other governing body.

Many people have no trouble obtaining this license, but there are also circumstances in which an application for a car dealership license might be denied. Here are three of the most common reasons.

1. Failure to Meet the Physical Requirements of an NC Car Dealership License

If you want to obtain a car dealership license, you must have a physical place of business that meets certain requirements. 

For example, to obtain a Pennsylvania car dealer’s license your car dealership must have:

  • An area large enough to display at least five vehicles
  • A permanent office building
  • A file cabinet with a lock 
  • A sales desk
  • An office phone
  • A permanent sign with the business name and hours of operation

Additionally, the applicant must provide an occupancy permit and proof of appropriate zoning. Other states have their own sets of physical requirements that must be met. 

If you don’t meet these requirements, you may be able to obtain your dealer’s license without a storage lot. However, you will have to take some additional steps.

2. Failure to Meet Other Licensing Requirements

It’s important to be aware of any other licensing requirements to ensure that your application won’t be denied. In addition to filling out the paperwork and paying the fees, most states mandate that you take additional steps.

First, you will probably have to obtain a surety bond. Many states also require proof of the appropriate insurance, a diagram of your car lot, a copy of your lease agreement, photos of your location, and a franchise agreement. (The latter is a requirement for selling new vehicles.) 

Finally, you must verify that you need a dealership license or a salesman license.

3. Inability to Complete Mandatory Licensing Coursework 

When you obtain a dealership license, you are agreeing to comply with any laws and regulations that apply to you or your business. In order to do this, you must prove that you are familiar with the rules and capable of running your business properly. 

Many states require that you complete a training course before they will consider your application. You may also be required to take a refresher course each time you apply for renewal.

By following these tips and ensuring you have all the appropriate paperwork needed, your NC car dealership with gain a license in no time!