General Contractor License Requirements

General Contractor License and Registration requirements

General Contractor License requirements by state

Building a business as a general contractor can be a great way to secure an independent future. Depending on which state you’ll be working in, there may be several requirements you’ll have to meet, which might include licensing and/or registration as well as taking steps to protect your contractor business with the right insurance.

In many cases, Workers’ Compensation coverage is usually required if you have employees or if you have subcontractors who your state would classify as employees. In some cases, even workers paid on 1099 would be considered to be employees, triggering a requirement to carry Workers’ Comp coverage. Many states also require General Liability Insurance and/or a Surety Bond to protect both contractors and consumers.

The distinction between licensing, when required, and registration can seem confusing — but it’s a lot like the license and registration for your car or your work truck. The licensing process requires a test to ensure a minimum level of competency while the registration is simply a listing in a state registry. For a general contractor license, your state may require an exam to ensure proficiency. It’s also common for states to require proof of experience or that you demonstrate financial stability.

If your general contractor business is compliant with state requirements, you can build a secure future with the freedom to choose your clients and schedule. It’s extremely important, however, to comply with state requirements. Local governments may also have requirements that may differ from state requirements. Keeping your business compliant keeps you on the right side of the law and helps ensure your business can continue to grow for years to come.

General Contractors License and registration requirements map

Alabama contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

It is a requirement for General Contractors in Alabama to obtain a state license. This is true especially for maintenance, repair, demolition, construction, or alteration costs exceeding $50,000 for commercial projects. When it is a residential project, the minimum is $10,000.

  • Licensing candidates must pass business, trade, and law exams.
  • They should show proof of industry experience and proof of net worth upon application.
  • General Liability is a requirement to get a general contractor license.

To learn more about Alabama licensing requirements, visit the Alabama Licensing Board of General Contractors.

Alaska contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

A general contractor needs to have a license. There are three kinds of licenses given by the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional. These classifications are the following:

  • General Contractor with Residential Contractor Endorsement. The contractor manages new home construction or undertakes residential projects higher than 25% of the value of the structure.
  • General Contractor without Residential Contractor Endorsement. The general contractor may undertake work worth less than 25%of what the structure is valued at both for commercial or residential work. No exam needs to be passed for this license.
  • General Contractor Handyman. The contractor should be qualified to perform residential or commercial work that is assessed at less than $10,000.

Furthermore, license applicants need to take a 16-hour cold climate course, pass the exam, and must obtain General Liability insurance and Workers’ Compensation insurance.

Arizona contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

All general contractors must have a general contractor license. The Arizona Registrar of Contractors (AROC) awards several types of licenses. The classifications are as follows:

  • General Commercial Contractors.
  • General Residential Contractors.
  • General Dual License Contracting. A combination of residential and commercial contracting.

To get any of the licenses mentioned above, you need to pass the exams (trade, business, and management), provide proof of at least four years of professional experience, and be covered with a surety bond.

Arkansas contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

General Contractors working in the state of Arkansas are required to have a contractor license issued by the state if the project exceeds $2,000. There are several classifications issued by the Contractors Licensing Board:

  • Commercial License. Permission for projects which are worth more than $50,000.
  • Restricted Commercial License. Lets you work on commercial projects up to $750,000.
  • Residential Builders License. For working in single-family residences worth more than $2,500.
  • Residential Remodeler Limited License. Allows you to do home improvements amounting to no greater than $50,000 per project.
  • Residential Remodeler Unlimited License. Allows you to perform any size of home improvement projects.

Furthermore, proof of work experience is needed, which is dependent on the professional line. Below are the following requirements;

  • Commercial contractors. 5 years minimum.
  • Residential builders. 4 years minimum.
  • Residential remodelers. 2 years minimum.

Additionally, licensing applicants must provide proof of their financial statements, pass the trade, business and law exams, and provide proof of workers’ compensation coverage and proof of surety bond.

California contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

General Contractors in the state of California are required to obtain a license for projects worth more than $500. The license is awarded by the California Contractors State License Board. To get the license the following requirements need to be fulfilled:

  • Proof of at least four years of professional experience in the past 10 years.
  • Pass trade, business, and law exams.
  • Provide proof of surety bond and general liability insurance

Colorado contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: Check with City and County Government

As General Contractors you are not required to obtain a license to work in Colorado, but there may be local general contractor registration requirements. Make sure of your local government’s licensing requirements before you start any work.

Connecticut contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: Check with City and County Government

General Contractors do not need a license to work in the state. However, if you work on home improvement projects, you are considered as a home improvement contractor (HIC) in the state of Connecticut. You are then obliged to comply with the state and register with the Department of Consumer Protection.

Delaware contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: Check with City and County Government

All general contractors do not need a license to work in the state; however, you might need to register your business at a local level. Make sure of your local government’s licensing requirements before you start any work.

Florida contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

A general contractor is required to get a license to work in the state. There are several classification licenses in the state:

  • General Contractor. This license has no limit and doesn’t limit the type of work you can perform. A requirement is at least a year of experience in constructing structures no greater than four stories high. You need to have experience in at least four of the seven established categories.
  • Building Contractor. The license is limited to the construction of residential or commercial buildings that do not exceed three stories in height, remodeling, repair, or improvement of any structure.
  • Residential Contractor. Limited to work on residences that do not exceed two stories in height.

To obtain a license, licensing applicants also need:

  • To pass trade, business, and law exams.
  • At least 4 years of proof of experience. If the applicant does not have enough experience, it is possible to send a combination of experience and education. Education is only limited to 3 years to substitute the years of experience.
  • To provide a financial statement as well as proof of General Liability insurance and Workers’ Compensation.

You can register your business at the state level and then apply for a license at a county, city, or local level. For additional information, visit the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website.

Georgia contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

It is a requirement for General Contractors to obtain a state license. You can get your license at the Georgia Board of Residential & General Contractors. To be able to obtain a license, you must meet any of the following conditions:

  • Have finished at least four years in college in a general contractor or related field with a year’s worth of experience.
  • Have a combined four years of experience in college that is accredited by the state with experience in the related field.
  • Have at least 4 years of work experience in construction or any related field. You need to be employed for at least two years as a general contractor as well as one year’s experience in related fields.

In order to obtain your license you will also need the following:

  • Show proof of net worth, Worker's Compensation, and General Liability insurance.
  • Pass the trade, business, and law exams.

Hawaii contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

It is a requirement for general contractors to hold a state license when doing residential, commercial, or public works amounting to $1,000 or more, as well as for projects that require a building permit. The State Department awards several licenses including general engineering contractors for fixed work projects and general building contractors for construction and structures that use more than two related trades.

To qualify, licensing applicants must have General Liability insurance and show proof of liability. The applicant must have Workers’ Compensation insurance as well and needs to pass the trade, business and law exams.

Idaho contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: Yes

There is no state licensing requirement in Idaho, but if a general contractor does any construction work amounting to more than $2,000, the contractor must be registered in the state via the Idaho Contractors Board.

Illinois contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: Check with City and County Government

A general contractor can work in Illinois without the need for a state license. However, there may be licensing requirements present in the local or county level, so be sure to check your local government before you start accepting contracts.

Indiana contractor license requirements

State license: Check with City and County Government ; Registration: Check with City and County Government

All general contractors are not required to carry a state license to operate in the state of Indiana. However, the local government may require you to obtain one, so make sure you check these requirements before you start accepting contracts.

Iowa contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: Check with City and County Government

General Contractors can work in Iowa without a license, however, any general contractor (business or individual) who earns a minimum of $2,000 annually is required to register with the Division of Labor.

Kansas contractor license requirements State license: Check with City and County Government Registration: Check with City and County Government

A state license is not required for general contractors in Kansas, but the local government may have licensing requirements. Make sure of your local government’s licensing and registration requirements before you start any work.

Kentucky contractor license requirements

State license: Check with City and County Government ; Registration: Check with City and County Government

A general contractor license is not required to work in the state of Kentucky. However, there may be licensing requirements at the county/city level so make sure to check these before accepting contracts.

Kansas contractor license requirements

State license: Check with City and County Government ; Registration: Check with City and County Government

A state license is not required for general contractors in Kansas, but the local government may have licensing requirements. Make sure of your local government’s licensing and registration requirements before you start any work.

Louisiana contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

General Contractors are required to have a license to work in Louisiana. There are two licenses you need to consider:

  • Residential License. This license is meant for general contractors in construction and home remodeling projects that are greater than $75,000. In order to obtain this license you are required to:
    • Show proof of financial capacity.
    • Show evidence of insurance (General Liability and Workers’ Compensation).
    • Pass the trade, business and law exams.
  • Commercial License. This license covers commercial projects costing over $50,000. In order to obtain this license you are required to:
    • Submit your financial statements.
    • Pass the trade, business and law exams.

For more information, visit the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors (LSLBC) site.

Maine contractor license requirements

State license: Check with City and County Government ; Registration: Check with City and County Government

General Contractors don't require a license to work in the state of Maine, but if you accept home improvement or home construction tasks greater than $3,000, you need to present a written agreement. There may be licensing requirements at the city or county level so make sure to check those before you start accepting contracts.

Maryland contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

General Contractors in Maryland may need a license but with specific conditions. In order to obtain the license you are required to:

  • Show proof of at least 2 years of experience in construction, home improvement, or any related industry.
  • Present proof of financial capacity.
  • Present proof of insurance (General Liability and Workers’ Compensation).
  • Pass trade, business, and law exams.

For more information, visit the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) site.

Massachusetts contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

A general contractor in the state of Massachusetts needs to be licensed and registered. You need to present proof of Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) registration to perform basic general contractor tasks on existing properties. For bigger projects on pending properties, you need to hold a Construction Supervisor License or a license made for a specific purpose. You need to show at least three years of experience in construction and design, and you’ll have to pass an exam. Only contractors who work on new homes or on commercial buildings are exempted from getting a license.

To learn more about the state licensing requirements, visit the Office of Public Safety and Inspections.

Michigan contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

General Contractors in Michigan are obligated to get a Residential Builders License or a Maintenance & Alterations Contractors License to be able to repair, construct, alter, add, or upgrade a residential building or a residential and commercial building combined. It is required for you to to take a 60-hour licensure course, take the exam, and pass the test. The license is issued by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). Commercial contractors, on the other hand, should contact the local county construction offices for licenses and permits.

Minnesota contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

General Contractors in the state of Minnesota need to be licensed and registered. As a residential contractor or remodeler, you are required to obtain a license but not to be registered at a state level. The license is issued by the Department of Labor and Industry. In order to obtain a license you are required to:

  • Show proof of insurance (General Liability and Workers Compensation).
  • Pass trade, business and law exams.

Mississippi contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

Whether you are a residential or commercial general contractor, if your projects exceed $50,000 you are required by the state to hold a license. You also need to show proof of liability coverage (General Liability insurance) and Workers’ Compensation if you have employees.

Another prerequisite is for general contractors to pass trade, business, and law exams.

The licenses are issued by the Mississippi State Board of Contractors.

Missouri contractor license requirements

State license: Check with City and County Government ; Registration: Check with City and County Government

General Contractors aren’t required to hold a license, but there may be a requirement at the city or county level. You need to check this before you accept contracts.

Montana contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: Yes

Licensing is not required in Montana, but if you have employees, you are required to register at the Department of Labor and Industry. Show proof of your Workers Compensation’ insurance as this is one of the requirements in the state when you have employees.

To learn more about the licensing requirements, visit the Construction Contractors Registration Unit's website.

Nebraska contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: Yes

General Contractors don’t need a state license to work in the state of Nebraska. However, if you do any construction, alteration, renovations, installations, additions, or repairs, you are required to register with the Department of Labor.

Nevada contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

Any business or individual who constructs or alters any building, road, highway, parking facility, railroad, or other structure is required to maintain a state license. In order to obtain a license you are required to:

  • Show proof of insurance (General Liability and Workers’ Compensation).
  • Show proof of a surety bond.
  • Provide a financial statement.
  • Show proof of 4 years of experience within the last 10 years in a related field.
  • Pass trade, business, and law exams.

New Hampshire contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: No

There are no licensing requirements for general contractors in the state. Do, however, make sure that you check licensing requirements in your city or state before you start accepting contracts.

New Jersey contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: Yes

You aren’t required to obtain a license by the state, however, registration for home building license is necessary. The license is awarded by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. You may also register for a home improvement license which is awarded by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

New Mexico contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

General contractors are required by the state to get a license. There are plenty of classifications of licenses awarded by the New Mexico Department of Regulation and Licensing. Make sure to apply for the one that best suits your occupation. In most cases, in order to obtain your license you will be required to:

  • Present proof of at least four years of experience. It is possible to substitute 2 years of education if you don’t have enough years of experience.
  • Pass the law, trade, and business exams.
  • Show proof of coverage. (General Liability insurance and Workers’ Compensation).

New York contractor license requirements

State license: Check with City and County Government ; Registration: Check with City and County Government

General Contractors aren't required to hold a state license in the state of New York, but there may be local governments with their own licensing requirements. Be sure of what they are before you start working.

North Carolina contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

General Contractors are required to have a state license to work in the state if the projects exceed $30,000 in worth. There are many classifications of licenses, and it’s possible that you meet the requirements for more than one classification if you have the necessary qualifications. The classifications are as follows:

  • Building contractors.
  • Residential contractors.
  • Highway contractors.
  • Public utility contractors.
  • Special contractors.

These classifications are further divided into limited and unlimited sections and these depend on the scope of the work that you plan to do.

  • Limited: projects worth less than $500,000.
  • Intermediate: projects worth less than $1,000,000.
  • Unlimited.

You will need to pass trade, license, and board exams to gain your license.

North Dakota contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

All contractors are required to obtain a state license if the project exceeds $4,000. There are four classes in the state and you must apply to a class that fits the scope of work you are planning to do.

  • Class A: project>$500,000.
  • Class B: project<$500,000.
  • Class C: project<$300,000.
  • Class D: project<$100,000.

You are required to show a certificate of insurance (General Liability and Workers’ Compensation) before being awarded a license from the Secretary of State.

Ohio contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: No

The licensing in the state of Ohio is done at a local level. If you plan to perform residential or commercial work, you need to comply with the local licensing requirements for general contractor licensing. Be sure to check your city or county where you are planning to work as a contractor.

Oklahoma contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: No

General Contractors do not need to be licensed or registered at a state level to work in Oklahoma. However, you should make sure of your local government’s licensing and registration requirements before you start any project.

Oregon contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

General Contractors need to hold a license to work in the state. The state defines contractors as people who are paid to do construction work that involves the improvement of real property.

You can apply for a commercial license, residential license, or a commercial and residential (dual) license. In order to apply for a license you will be required to:

  • Show proof of coverage - General Liability insurance.
  • Show proof of Workers’ Compensation if you have employees.
  • Take a pre-license training class and pass the test.
  • If the project exceeds $100,000, you will have to file for a Public Works Bond of $30,000 with the Construction Contractors Board (CCB). The bond needs to be filed before work starts.

Pennsylvania contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: Yes

General Contractors do not need to be licensed at a state level to work in Pennsylvania, but if the aggregate value of your annual home improvement projects exceeds $5,000, you'll need to register with the Attorney General's Office.

The requirements depend on the city you operate in. Check the requirements of your local government before you start working.

Rhode Island contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: Yes

Getting a license in Rhode Island is not required, but you do need to go through an extensive registration process. Every contractor and subcontractor involved in commercial construction, home construction, registration, remodeling, or repairs must register with the Registration and Licensing Board. In order to complete your registration, you will need to:

  • Complete 5 hours of pre-licensing education.
  • Show proof of insurance - General Liability with coverage of at least $500,000.
  • Show proof of Workers’ Compensation if you have employees.

South Carolina contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

A state license is required if you are working on projects worth more than $5,000. The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation issues 2 main types of licenses depending on the type of work you want to perform. The classifications are as follows:

  • General Contractors License.
  • Mechanical Contractors License.

In order to apply for your license you are required to:

  • Present an audited financial statement - you can also submit a surety bond instead.
  • Show proof of at least 2 years of experience in a related field within the last 5 years.
  • Pass trade, business, and law exams.

South Dakota contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: No

You don’t need to be licensed at the state level, but the local government may have licensing requirements. Check with your local city or county before you begin work.

Tennessee contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

You are required to hold a license before negotiating or bidding for projects amounting to more than $25,000. This applies to any contractor who performs installation, construction, or repair of buildings, highways, land, public utilities etc.

  • You'll need to show your years of experience. The ideal experience requirement is 3 years.
  • You'll need to show your financial statements. Reviewed financial statements allow projects up to $3,000,000. Audited financial statements allow for unlimited projects.
  • You are required to pass business, trade, and law exams.

For licensing information, visit the Department of Commerce and Insurance site.

Texas contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: No

Texas does not require general contractors to obtain a license. However, there may be licensing requirements at the local level, so do check with your city or county before you start accepting contracts.

Note: Plumbing, electrical and HVAC work in Texas require a state license.

Utah contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

A license is required if you do any general contracting work in Utah exceeding $3,000. The General Building Contractor License (B-100 license) is issued by the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.

Qualified applicants must present proof of General Liability insurance and Workers’ Compensation insurance.

  • Licensing applicants must show proof of financial capacity.
  • You must show at least 2 years of experience within the past 10 years.
  • You'll need to pass business, trade, and law exams.

Vermont contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: No

As a general contractor, you do not require a state license to work in Vermont. But there may be county or city licensing requirements, so do check with your local government before you start accepting jobs.

For additional information about licensing requirements in your region, visit this link.

Virginia contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

General Contractors are required to obtain a license awarded by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulations. You then have a choice of the license classification that you want to be classified for. There are three license types and the class you choose depends on the scope of work you plan to do:

  • Class A. Individual projects amounting to $10,000 and up to $150,000 annually. A minimum of two years of experience is required.
  • Class B. Individual projects amounting to $120,000 and up to $750,000 a year. A minimum of three years of experience is required.
  • Class C. Unlimited. A minimum of 5 years of experience is required. You'll need to complete a pre-license education class approved by the Board of Contractors and pass the exams.

Washington contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: Yes

There aren’t any licensing requirements in Washington, however, you will have to enroll with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. This will let you supervise various building trades or professions.

  • You'll need to show proof of your surety bond of at least $12,000.
  • You'll need to show proof of insurance including General Liability insurance and Workers’ Compensation insurance.
  • You'll need to pass the board, trade, and business exams.

West Virginia contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

All general contractors are required to obtain a state license if the project reaches more than $2,500. There are several license classifications including general construction and general engineering - apply for the class that works best for you.

You'll be required to submit proof of Workers’ Compensation insurance and you may be required to provide proof of a wage bond. You'll also need to pass business and law exams.

Wisconsin contractor license requirements

State license: Yes ; Registration: Yes

General Contractors are required to have a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier license if the project exceeds $1,000. This can be for construction, home alteration, home improvements, commercial projects, and public projects.

  • You'll need to complete a 12-hour class approved by the board and pass the exam.
  • You'll need to show proof of Workers’ Compensation insurance and other insurance.

Wyoming contractor license requirements

State license: No ; Registration: No

General Contractors are not required to have a state license to work in the state of Wyoming. However, licensing is done at a city or county level, so make sure of your local government’s licensing and registration requirements before you start any project.

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