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Contractors Guide to Licensing

When you set up your general contracting business, you will want to make sure that not only do you have the right liability insurance, but that you are properly certified and licensed. While the qualifications for licensing vary based on the contractors state license board where you live, there are certain universals that you will want to follow. Here is an overview of general contractor licensing and how it works from state to state.

Know Your Business

General contracting isn’t something that a person should simply jump into. It’s important to do your time in the trenches, learning the ins and outs of the business. A high school diploma or General Education Degree (GED) are vital in any case. You should then seek apprenticeships and training in your field. When you’ve spent several years in the business and have a strong handle on how general contracting works, you may be ready to approach licensing.

License Qualifications

The basic qualifications to seek a licensure for a contracting business requires that the applicant be an adult of at least 18 years of age, can read and write in English and be of good and upstanding moral character. Most states will conduct a background investigation which costs a few hundred dollars and requires the following:

  • Social Security Card
  • Photo ID
  • Proof of Residence
  • Several months’ bank statements
  • Licensure application paperwork

Some states may require additional information based on whether your business is a sole proprietor, corporation or LLC. Do your homework and investigate your home state’s requirements before getting started.

Assessment and Testing

Again, each state and type of contracting business has its own requirements, but many will require that you take an assessment exam to be sure that you know the laws surrounding the industry in your area, construction and building codes, safety procedures, OSHA requirements and the like.

As with anything important, make sure you take the time to do your homework. Look carefully into the requirements of your contractors state license board and into the specifics of what you’ll need to know to pass the assessment. Then, study hard to be sure you’re up on all the latest knowledge and information.

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License Application and Fees

When you have passed your background check and assessment exams, the time comes to get your business up and running! You will need to get proper and adequate contractors insurance to cover your activities and protect you from liability and damages. This includes both general liability insurance and workers compensation insurance. You will then need to fill out an application for your licensure and pay the licensing fees to your contractors state license board. When everything is paid up and the papers in order, you will then be issued a license that makes it legal for you to work as a general contractor in your state. Congratulations on being a licensed contractor!