General contractor license requirements

General Contractor License Requirements by State: A Comprehensive Guide

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An Overview of General Contractor License Requirements by State

If you are a general contractor, you are responsible for ensuring projects run smoothly and your clients and subcontractors are content with your work. Part of that may involve getting a general contractor license. Each state has different requirements. Here’s an overview of General Contractor License Requirements by State.

No license nor registration is required for the following states:

  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Wyoming

However, there may be individual municipal or city requirements for general contractors, so be sure to check. The following states require licensing, registration or both:

Alabama

If you are operating in Alabama, you will need a state license and registration. A general contractor must have a state license for maintenance, repair, demolition, construction or alteration projects worth more than $50,000 for commercial projects.

Alaska

If you want to work in Alaska as a general contractor, you must obtain a state license. You get three kinds of permits:

  • General contractor with residential contractor endorsement
  • A general contractor who lacks residential contractor endorsement
  • General contractor handyman, which lets you take on projects valued at less than $10,000

Arizona

Arizona is another state where you will need both the state license and registration. If you want any of these licenses, you must pass trade, business, and management exams, provide a 4-year proof of expertise, and have surety bond coverage.

Arkansas

If you want to qualify as a general contractor in Arkansas, you need a state general contractor license for any work over $2,000. Classifications include:

  • Commercial license
  • Restricted commercial license
  • Remodeler unlimited license
  • Remodeler limited license
  • Residential builders license

California

In this state, you must have a state license and registration to operate here. You must show evidence of:

  • Being in professional practice for four years within the last 10 years.
  • Passing trade, business and law exams
  • Surety bond and the general liability insurance

Connecticut

In Connecticut, you don’t need a state license to work as a general contractor. However, if you are working on residential property, ensure you register with the Consumer Protection Department.

Delaware

General contractors just need a business license with the correct business group code. However, different counties may have additional licensing for contractors.

Florida

In Florida, you must have a state license and get the relevant registration. This includes:

  • General contractor: Must have at least a year in constructing buildings that are at least four stories high
  • Building contractor: Construction, remodelling, repair, or improving residential or commercial buildings that don’t exceed a height of 3 stories
  • Residential contractor: Only work on residential buildings not exceeding two stories in height

Georgia

Here, you need a state license. To obtain one, you must be at least 21 years old and have either four years of experience in the construction field or have a relevant 4-year degree. You must also pass an exam.

Hawaii

In Hawaii, you need both state license and registration to undertake projects worth $1,000 or more.

Idaho

Licensing is not required, but you must register to work on projects worth more than $2,000.

Iowa

General contractors in Iowa do not need a license, but if you earn $2,000 or more annually from your projects, you should register with the Iowa Division of Labor.

Louisiana

In Louisiana, general contractors must have a state license for projects worth more than $75,000. Subcontractors must also have a license when materials and labor are worth more than $7,500.

Maine

General contractors do not require a state license. If your home repair or construction project costs more than $3,000, you’ll have to produce a signed contract.

Maryland

The Maryland Home Renovation Commission is in charge of approving license applications. You must:

  • Possess a minimum experience of two years in construction, home renovation, or a similar industrial experience
  • Provide statements of financial position
  • Provide evidence of liability and workers compensation insurance
  • Take and pass examinations in commerce, business, and the law

Massachusetts

Massachusetts requires registration and licensing for ordinary home contractors. To make simple repairs to an existing house, you’ll need to be registered as a Home Improvement Contractor.

Michigan

In Michigan, you will need a state license and registration. You must obtain a Maintenance & Alterations Contractors License or a residential builders license to work on various projects.

Minnesota

Minnesota requires all general contractors to be registered and licensed with the state. The only need for residential renovators or contractors is a license; they must be registered at the state level, but they do not need a permit to work.

Nebraska

A state license isn’t needed for general contractors to operate in Nebraska. However, you must register with the state Labor Department if you do any development, modification, remodeling, installation, addition, or repair work.

Nevada

General contractors must have a state license. The license is granted by the Nevada State Contractors Board. A bond is also required.

New Jersey

There is no licensing requirement in New Jersey, but, if you engage in the construction, improvement, or repair of houses, you must enroll with the Division of Consumer Affairs of the state.

New Mexico

Working in New Mexico requires a state-issued general contractor license. NM Department of Regulation and Licensing contractor licenses come in a variety of forms and levels.

North Carolina

A state license is necessary for the general contractor if a project is worth more than $30,000. Licenses can be classified as:

  • Construction workers
  • Contractors for the home
  • Contractors for the construction of highways
  • Contractors in the field of public utilities
  • Contractors with certain skillsets

North Dakota

To accomplish work costing well over $4,000, all contractors in North Dakota must have a state license. Depending on the nature of the work you want to undertake, you should petition for Class A, B, C, or D status.

Ohio

Whether you want to operate as a contracting company in Ohio, ensure to check with both the state and city to see if you need a license or registration.

Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, general contractors are not required to hold a state license to provide services. City requirements vary.

Oregon

General contractors require a license, but the exact license depends on the type of buildings worked on. You’ll also need to:

  • Provide a copy of your insurance card
  • Attend a pre-licensing program and pass the exam to get your license.

Pennsylvania

As a general contractor, you don’t have to enroll with the country’s Attorney General’s Office until your yearly home renovation projects surpass $5,000 in value.

Rhode Island

There is no certification obligation for general contractors in Rhode Island, but there is a rigorous registration procedure. If you’re a contractor or subcontractor working on a commercial or residential project, you must register with the Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board.

South Carolina

To operate on any commercial construction project costing more than $5,000 in South Carolina, general contractors must have a General and Mechanical Contractors License.

Tennessee

Before bidding or negotiating on contracts worth $25,000 or more, general contractors must be licensed as contractors.

Utah

A general contractor must have a license to complete projects worth more than $3,000. The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing issues the B-100 General Building Contractor License.

Virginia

To work as a general contractor, you must be licensed by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulations.

Washington

Although you do not need a license in Washington to work as a general contractor, you must register with the Washington Department of Labor & Industries.

West Virginia

In West Virginia, general contractors who work on projects costing more than $2,500 must be licensed as general contractors.

Wisconsin

For building projects costing more than $1,000, a general contractor needs a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier license. This covers residential, commercial, and public works construction, modifications, and upgrades.

As a general contractor, you should understand that different states have their requirements, and for some, you don’t even need licensing. Regardless of what city you are in, you should always consult with your city and county government before starting a project.

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