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Certification from the Contractors State License Board

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!

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Your Guide to California Contractor License Requirements

Obtaining your contractor license in California is a little bit harder than it is in most other states. Aggravating though it may be, if you can meet the following California contractor license requirements you will not only be able to make it here, you will be able to make it anywhere. Here is what you need to know. Read more

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Home Remodeling Tips for Contractors

home remodeling

"Let's Do This!"

There are many things that can come up when a contractor takes on a new job.  Whether its repairs, or renovations, there are a number of things that can go wrong.  Here is our list of things to consider when taking on new projects.

Making Decisions

Most home remodeling jobs falter when decisions aren’t made quickly.  The best thing to do would be to plan all decisions ahead of time and play out various scenarios in your head.  By focusing on tough decisions like paint, trim, and faucet selection you will not only slow down your own business, but waste the time of the homeowner.  It may not seem like a big deal but decisions like this might slow down the plumber and shift the entire schedule significantly.

Purchasing Materials

You might think that buying materials on your own can save you money.  The truth is there are two sides to this situation.  It is true that a builder might markup materials, but then again he also does more business and his connections might lead to lower prices in turn.

 

Demolition or Repair?

Houses are a big deal.  When taking on a project it must be understood that each decision you make will affect your pocket and your time table.  That is why it is so important to recognize that some houses are just too old to fix up and in the long run it might be beneficial to knock down a property than to dump money into it.  The cost might be greater outright, but you will have less headaches later on.

 

Skimping on Insurance

Do not, under any circumstances, skimp on insurance.  Contracting is a job that has you dealing with many different parties.  By having the proper liability, workers comp, and commercial auto plans you not only safe guard your employees and equipment, you also protect the business you’ve worked hard to build up.  If you have any questions regarding contractors insurance don’t hesitate to contact one of our agents to discuss policies and pricing options.

 

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Who is Covered by Workers Compensation Law

Covered by Workers Compensation Law

If you happen to be a contractor in NY, then you may already know that almost every employer the state is required to provide workers comp coverage for their employees.  In addition to providing this insurance coverage they must also place a notice of it in the workplace where it is readily available and visible.  Listed below are the different types of employees who must be covered under the workers compensation insurance law.  Follow this law to ensure that the right people are covered by workers compensation law.

  • All workers who perform work in an organization that is for-profit.  Part-Time workers, Family Members, and Volunteers who do work in the for-profit organization must also be covered by workers comp law.
  • All employees who work in counties doing work which is considered hazardous.
  • All public school teachers except those employed by NYC as well as Public School Aides.
  • Employees who work in the state of NY including volunteers.
  • Employees working in the US that work 40 or more hours in a week by the same boss.  This also includes full time sitters and live-in maids.
  • All farm workers who make more than 1,200 dollars or more for farm labor within one year.
  • Anyone not excluded from the WCL documentation.
  • Corporate officers, just as long as there are two or more officers and or stockholders.
  • Officers of a two person corporation – just as long as there are other employees
  • Most workers who are compensated by nonprofit organizations.

For those employees that are volunteering their time, and their lives, such as firefighters and ambulance workers, benefits are provided under the Firefighters Benefit Law and Volunteer Ambulance Workers Benefit Law.  It’s important to know who covered by the workers compensation law is.  Failure to provide the proper coverage puts your organization at risk for claim against it.  If you are still unsure as to whether your company has the proper coverage or not, contact our insurance specialists today.

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How to get NYC Home Improvement Licenses

How to get NYC Home Improvement Licenses

In order to run a home improvement contracting company in NYC you will be required to obtain the proper NYC home improvement licenses.

Who is required to have NYC Home Improvement Licenses

As described by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, “A person or business must have a Home Improvement Contractor license if engaged in the construction, repair, remodeling, or addition to any land or building used as a residence. This includes, but is not limited to, the construction, replacement, or improvement of basements, driveways, fences, garages, landscaping, patios, porches, sidewalks, swimming pools, terraces, and other improvements to structures or upon land that is next to a home or apartment building.”

Application Requirements for NYC Home Improvement Licenses

There are a few things you need to do before you even apply for your NYC Home improvement license.  Even though you don’t need these documents in order to process your application online, the DCA reserves the right to request and examine them.

Anyone who owns a sole proprietorship operating under a name other than your own must file a business/assumed name certificate with the clerk of the county.  For those who do business under a name other than your own and not under a DBA (doing business as) there is no need for a business certificate.  If you are in a partnership, you must file for a partnership certificate with the county clerk where you do business.  For Corporations, Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, or Limited Liability Partnerships you must register with the NY Dept. of state.  If you would like to check the status of this you may check at this website: http://www.dos.ny.gov/corps/bus_entity_search.html. If you happen to be doing business out of the state which you incorporated in you need to get a Certificate of Doing Business in Good Standing from your home state’s Secretary of State.

Once you take care of the previously mentioned requirements you may file for your license. The following documents are required by the state as outlined by the nyc.gov licensing website.

The first form to be filled out is the Basic License Application.  This can be done online or in person.  Second, you will need to have your Sales Tax Identification Number OR Certificate of Authority Application Confirmation Number.  The Sales Tax Identification Number is the 9, 10, or 11-digit number on your New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Certificate of Authority.

You will then add this number to the Basic License Application form. If you have not received your Certificate of Authority, enter the 6-digit confirmation number you received when you submitted the application for a Certificate of Authority.  A certificate of authority can be filled out online at http://www.opal.ny.gov/.  If you are more comfortable filling out a paper application then reach out to the organization via telephone at (518) 485-2889. It takes up to 6 weeks to receive this certificate.

Next you will need proof of your business address.  To do that you can use a Utility bill, dated within the last 90 days, a Current lease or deed in the name of either the business or individual listed on the license application, Current rent or mortgage bill, Current license or permit issued by New York State or another New York City government agency that shows your business address.  In addition, you will need to provide Proof of your Home Address.  This can be proven in a similar way by providing either a Utility bill, dated within the last 90 days, a Current lease or deed, a Current rent or mortgage bill a Driver’s license.

Workers compensation documentation is also required.  Proof of this can be in the form of an insurance certificate from a private carrier or the NY State insurance fund office or a certificate of Attestation of Exemption from the NY State Workers’ Compensation Board.  In addition to Workers Comp, you must find a company to provide bonds for licensees.

Following these documents, a roster of employees and a contractual compliance agreement will be needed.

Home Improvement Contractor Exam and Exam Fee

If you wish to get a home improvement license in NYC you need to pass the home improvement contractor exam and pay a fee.  The test is 30 questions and of them, 21 must be answered correctly.  The fee is 50 dollars.  You have 2 chances to pass.  Only one member of your organization needs to pass.

Fingerprints and Processing Fee

All sole proprietors, general partners, corporate officers, members, and all shareholders owning 10% or more of company stock must be fingerprinted at the DCA Licensing Center. The fee is 75 dollars and you must provide either a drivers licence, a government id, passport, green card, or federal employee ID card.

License Fee

The last step would be to pay your license fee.  Depending on when you file, your cost will vary.

HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR LICENSE
License TermLicense Expiration DateIf You File Your Application Between These Dates:Your License Fee is:
2 yearsFebruary 28
Odd years
From March 1 in an odd year to August 31 in an odd year$100
From September 1 in an odd year to February 28 or 29 in an even year$75
From March 1 in an even year to August 31 in an even year$50
From September 1 in an even year to February 28 in an odd year$25
OR
*$125

 



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