how to become a general contractor
Tom Hallissey No Comments

If you have questions about how to become a general contractor in New York City, you should know you must obtain a license before you can put a shovel in the ground. The New York City Department of Buildings issues licenses to eligible business owners who file an application and pass a background investigation. The straightforward certification process allows you to operate a general contracting business legally in the five boroughs.

What is a General Contractor?

“A general contractor is an individual who is responsible for the day-to-day operations and oversight of a construction project,” according to Law.com. A general contractor may perform work in areas that include demolition, remodeling, plumbing or electrical.

How to Become a General Contractor Today

how to become a general contractor

In New York City, there is a clear process for how to become a general contractor. You must submit an application to the NYC Department of Buildings.

License Qualifications

In order to apply for a general contractor’s license, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be able to read and write the English language
  • Have good moral character

Background Investigation

New York City requires a background investigation for those seeking to become general contractors for one, two and three family homes.

Applicants must submit original documentation in-person to the Department of Buildings’ Licensing & Exam Unit, between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Copies are not accepted.

The address is:

NYC Department of Buildings

Licensing & Exam Unit

280 Broadway, 6th Floor

New York, NY 10007

how to become a general contractor

You must bring:

  • Typed, completed and notarized LIC6 license application form
  • Child Support Certification Form
  • Notarized Supplemental Investigation Questionnaire
  • Notarized letter on your company’s letterhead listing the name, home address, home phone number, Social Security Number and percent of ownership for all corporate officers, partners and/or stakeholders.
  • Original proof of an Employer Identification Number or a Federal Tax Identification Number from the IRS.
  • Your last three consecutive business bank statements, which must each show an ending balance of $25,000, or a notarized letter from your company’s bank that states you had an average balance of at least $25,000 for the previous 12 months.
  • Your original general liability insurance certificate, which must have at least $1 of coverage.
  • A workers’ compensation certificate
  • A disability insurance certificate
  • The primary principal’s current original photo ID, which could be a driver’s license, a non-driver ID card, a passport or a green card
  • The primary principal’s Social Security card and original proof of home residence, which could be a utility bill, bank statement, deed or lease, or a typed, notarized letter and bill from the person with whom you are residing. A cell phone bill is not accepted.
  • Original proof of your business address, which could be a utility bill, bank statement or lease. Neither cell phone bill nor credit card bill are accepted.
  • If your company was formed outside of New York State, corporate documentation from that state must be submitted in addition to a certified copy of the Application for Authority from the New York Department of State.

There is a $330 fee for the mandatory background investigation.

how to become a general contractor

Additional Required Documentation

The Department of Buildings also requires additional documentation.

For Corporations:

  • A certified copy of your Certificate of Incorporation from the New York State Department of State
  • A copy of your Filing Receipt or Certificate of Good Standing
  • Your corporation’s minutes stating the names of your elected officers and the time, date and location of the meeting

For Limited Liability Companies:

  • A copy of your Filing Receipt or Certificate of Good Standing
  • A certified copy of your company’s Articles of Organization from the New York State Department of State
  • Your LLC’s minutes stating the names of your elected officers and the time, date and location of the meeting

For Partnerships:

  • Your Certificate of Partnership stating all present officers and their percentage of ownership

For Sole Proprietors:

  • A copy of your business certificate from the County Clerk

For Businesses located outside New York State:

  • A certified copy of your Application for Authority from the New York State Department of State

These detailed steps apply only to New York City applications. License rules for other municipalities will differ. If you have any other questions about how to become a general contractor in New York City, visit the Department of Buildings website.

how to become a general contractor