Each state has a strong interest in the regulation of home improvement contractors because of the potential harm of construction projects. These license requirements are meant to reduce the risk of harm by creating minimum standards of competency and insurance coverage. Many state and local levels of government have licensing requirements specific to home improvement contractors.
Most jurisdictions require applicants to take a written examination and to prove the financial ability to operate a contracting business. Contractors may be required to provide a surety bond, proof of insurance, financial statements, letters of reference, and proof of experience.
How do I become a licensed contractor?
Becoming a licensed contractor can be an overwhelming experience. There are usually a slew of state, county, and city licenses and registrations necessary in order to operate as a compliant contractor. Contractors are often required to take and pass exams, submit fingerprints, pass background checks, demonstrate adequate insurance coverage, and post a bond. CT Corporation can streamline all these requirements and obtain all licenses on your behalf.
Most states will require contractors to register with a State Board, pass examinations, and then obtain local business licenses and permits. Some states that license contractors this way are Florida, California, and Nevada. Other states do not license contractors on the state level. For instance, New York contractors must be licensed at the county and/or city level of government. Often contractor licenses are different based on whether the contractor preforms residential or commercial work. Many contractor licenses have additional exam or experience requirements for specialties such as carpentry, framing, painting, concrete, irrigation, etc.
Other requirements include forming or foreign qualifying your business entity, registering for state and local taxes, and obtaining basic business licenses. Contractors that plans on having employees will need to register for payroll taxes at the state level. Some states and localities require contractors to obtain basic business licenses, even if they are only entering the jurisdiction to work on one job.
How can I get reciprocity for my contractor license?
Many states offer reciprocal privileges for contractor’s licenses issued by another state. Generally reciprocity is only available for equivalent licenses with the same classifications. It is a common misconception that a reciprocity agreement between states allows contractors to avoid licensing requirements in that state. Contractors must still go through the process of obtaining a license in each state that they plan to operate.
Reciprocal agreements typically waive the trade portion of the examination required for a state contractor license. To meet the reciprocity requirements a contractor must be licensed, having passed the equivalent trade exam, and be in good standing in the reciprocal state. A license application must still be submitted and the business law exam must still be passed by the applicant in each state they want to work as a contractor.
Sometimes a contractor must have held a license for a specific period of time before they can take advantage of reciprocal agreements. For example, Arizona requires that the applicant is actively licensed and in good standing for five (5) consecutive years in the reciprocal state before they can apply by reciprocity. In Nevada, the applicant is required to be actively licensed and in good standing in the reciprocal state for five (5) of the last seven (7) years. In Arkansas, the applicant may also have to get a form signed by the state they are currently licensed in verifying that they meet the requirements of reciprocity.
CT Corporation will help guide contractors through the entire licensing process, whether they are seeking a license through reciprocity or managing ongoing renewals. We can help you obtain all of the licenses and registrations you need, minimizing time-consuming and costly delays. For additional help please contact CT Corporation to consult a licensing specialist.
I am a commercial painter. Do I need a contractor’s license and if so why?
In many states what constitutes a contractor is broadly defined to include any person who undertakes to construct, alter, repair, improve, or demolish any building, road, or other improvement. In many states you will be required to take an examination to be a licensed general contractor. Construction licenses are required because licensing laws protect the public from incompetence and dishonesty in those who provide construction services. The requirements also provide minimal assurance that all persons offering such services have the required skill and character, understand local laws and codes, and know the basics of a contracting business. Because of the strength of this public policy, the laws apply regardless of injustice to the unlicensed contractor. The remedial purpose of the law is designed to protect the public regardless of the equities involved. The licensing statutes represent a legislative determination that the importance of deterring unlicensed contracting outweighs any harsh results. Thus, even a small lapse in licensure during construction may prevent recovery of all compensation due the contractor, not just a portion of it. For additional help please contact CT Corporation to consult a licensing specialist.
How can I apply for a General Contractor License?
Most general contractor licenses, which are typically issued by a state's Contractor’s Board, must be applied for by mail. Application fees range from $0 - $900.00. In 33 states, a general contractor requires licensing at the state level, and in 18 states, a general contractor may require licensing at the local level.
The construction industry is one of the most heavily regulated in the United States, and each state has unique contractor licensing laws, specialty classifications, and application requirements.
CT Corporation has extensive experience regarding specific jurisdictional requirements. Our experts can streamline the process of identifying and obtaining the proper contractor license for your business. We provide comprehensive research on each application's requirements and prepare error-free application materials, minimizing time-consuming and costly delays. Please contact CT Corporation to consult a licensing specialist.
What are the licensing requirements to become a roofing contractor?
The construction industry is one of the most heavily regulated in the United States, and this is no less the case for contractors working in specialized fields. Each state has unique contractor licensing laws, specialty classifications, and specialty contractor application requirements.
The threshold question that must be addressed is whether the roofing contractor intends to do residential and commercial work. For example, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry requires that residential roofers be licensed with the state by filing a Residential Roofer New License Application. On the other hand, Minnesota does not license commercial roofing contractors at the state level; they must be licensed at local level.
Currently, 32 states require licensure for residential and/or commercial roofing contractors at the state level. The remaining 18 require licensure at either the state, county and/or municipal level. A state could hypothetically require licensure at two levels, or all three. For example, the Idaho Bureau of Professional Licensing requires roofing contractors to file an Application for a Business Entity Contractor Registration. Additionally, the city of Idaho Falls requires roofing contractors to file an Application for Building Contractor License. Similarly, roofing contractors must file a Building Department License Application with the city of Pocatello.
Other requirements to become a roofing contractor may include, but are not limited to: (1) proof of worker’s compensation insurance, (2) proof of unemployment insurance, (3) proof of liability and property damage insurance, (4) proof of passage of residential, commercial and/or industrial examinations, (5) submission of a surety bond, (6) the designation of a qualifying party and/or construction supervisor license and (7) copy of Articles of Incorporation or Partnership Agreement.
CT Corporation will navigate the maze of state, county and municipal licensure requirements for roofing contractors, as well as manage all ongoing license renewals to ensure continuity in compliance. For additional help please contact CT Corporation to consult a licensing specialist.
What is a Specialty Contractor?
A specialty contractor can perform contracts relating to the specialty in which they are licensed. In some cases, specialty contractors obtain licensure by submitting the appropriate classification on a general contractor application. In other cases, states may have a separate application that is unique to that specialty.
The most common specialties with respect to licensing are electrical, HVAC, plumbing, home improvement, roofing and solar . These licensing categories may exist at the local level, depending on the state(s) in question.
The construction industry is one of the most heavily regulated in the U.S., and each state has unique contractor licensing laws, specialty classifications, and application requirements. CT Corporation has extensive experience regarding specific jurisdictional requirements.
CT Corporation can streamline the process of identifying and obtaining the proper contractor license for your business. We provide comprehensive business license research on each application's requirements and prepare error-free application materials, minimizing time-consuming and costly delays. Please contact CT Corporation to consult a licensing specialist.