Becoming a licensed general contractor in Arkansas involves meeting certain eligibility requirements, applying for the appropriate license, and maintaining that license. This comprehensive guide provides an overview of the licensing process, including the steps for obtaining a new license, renewing an existing license, reciprocity with other states, and the bond and insurance requirements.


In Arkansas, anyone who performs construction work worth $2,000 or more must have the appropriate contractor’s license issued by the Contractors Licensing Board. Licenses are required for both commercial and residential work.

There are several types of contractor licenses in Arkansas:

  • Commercial license – Allows contractors to work on commercial projects worth over $50,000. This license also permits residential work within the contractor’s classification.

  • Restricted commercial license – Allows contractors to work on commercial projects worth less than $750,000.

  • Residential builders license – Allows contractors to work on any single-family residence where the project is worth more than $2,000.

  • Residential remodeler limited license – Allows contractors to perform home improvement work worth up to $50,000.

  • Residential remodeler unlimited license – Allows contractors to perform home improvement projects of any size.

In addition to passing exams and meeting experience requirements, contractors must provide proof of a license bond, workers’ compensation insurance, and submit a financial statement when applying for licensure.

Requirements for Becoming a Licensed Contractor

The requirements to become a licensed general contractor in Arkansas include:

  • Be at least 21 years old – Applicants must meet the minimum age requirement.

  • Establish residency – Applicants must show proof of Arkansas residency.

  • Meet experience requirements – Applicants must document relevant construction experience. This is verified through references.

  • Provide a financial statement – Applicants must submit a financial statement, such as a balance sheet. This does not need to be from a CPA.

  • Obtain surety bond – Applicants must acquire a license bond based on the license type.

  • Carry workers’ compensation insurance – Proof of workers’ compensation insurance is required for employees. This is not required for limited licenses.

  • Pass examinations – Applicants must pass a business and law exam. Trade exams are also required for certain classifications.

  • Pay licensing fees – Fees range from $50 to $450 depending on license type.

Steps to Obtain a New Contractor’s License

Follow these key steps to get a new contractor’s license in Arkansas:

  1. Determine the appropriate license type – Evaluate your experience and desired work to choose the right license.

  2. Establish eligibility – Meet all prerequisites like age, residency, experience level, and insurance requirements.

  3. Obtain a surety bond – Acquire a license bond that corresponds to the license type you are applying for.

  4. Prepare a financial statement – Have a current balance sheet ready to submit with your application.

  5. Complete the license application – Fill out the appropriate application form entirely.Pay the licensing fee.

  6. Pass the required exams – Schedule and pass the business and law exam. Take any trade exams needed for your classification.

  7. Submit application and documentation – Send in your completed application, documentation, bond, financial statement, and fee payment to the Contractors Licensing Board.

  8. Receive license – If approved, your license will be issued. You can then legally contract and perform construction work in Arkansas.

Steps to Renew an Arkansas Contractor’s License

General contractor’s licenses in Arkansas must be renewed each year. Follow these steps:

  • Confirm expiration date – Licenses expire one year from date of issuance. Renewals can be submitted within 45 days of expiration.

  • Complete renewal application – Fill out the license renewal application form fully and accurately.

  • Pay renewal fee – Fees range from $50 to $150 based on license type.

  • Provide updated documentation – Submit any documentation that may now be required, like proof of insurance.

  • Meet continuing education requirements – Contractors must complete 2 hours of continuing education annually.

  • Submit renewal packet – Send completed renewal form, fee, updated documents, and proof of continuing education to the Licensing Board.

  • Receive license renewal – Your renewed license will be issued if approved. You can then continue contracting for the next year.

Reciprocity with Other States

Arkansas offers license reciprocity with some states, allowing contractors to transfer an active out-of-state license. This shortcut bypasses needing to take Arkansas’ exams. States with license reciprocity include:

  • Tennessee
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • Louisiana

To obtain an Arkansas license through reciprocity:

  • Verify that your current license is active and in good standing. Only certain classification types will transfer.

  • Complete and submit a reciprocity application along with the standard documentation and licensing fee.

  • Pass Arkansas’ business and law exam. Trade exams may be required for certain classifications.

  • Once approved, your Arkansas contractor’s license will be issued based on the equivalent license type and classifications from your original license.

License Bond Requirements

All contractor’s license applicants in Arkansas must obtain a surety bond and provide proof to the Licensing Board. Bond amounts vary based on license type:

  • Commercial license – $10,000 bond

  • Restricted commercial license – $10,000 bond

  • Residential builders license – $10,000 bond

  • Residential remodeler limited – $5,000 bond

  • Residential remodeler unlimited – $10,000 bond

Bonds must be valid through the date of license expiration. Renewals require proof of continuous bond coverage.

Insurance Requirements

Liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance are also required for licensure.

  • Liability insurance – All contractors need minimum general liability coverage. Typical required amounts are $100,000 for property damage and $300,000 for bodily injury.

  • Workers’ compensation – Proof of workers’ compensation insurance is required for commercial licenses and residential unlimited licenses. This covers employees in the event of work-related injuries. Exemptions apply for sole proprietors and partnerships without employees.


There are a number of important steps involved in becoming a licensed general contractor in Arkansas. Key requirements include meeting eligibility prerequisites, passing examinations, obtaining a surety bond, carrying adequate insurance, and submitting the proper documentation and fees.

It is essential for contractors to maintain valid licensure through proper annual renewal. Reciprocity is available to transfer active out-of-state licenses for certain classifications.

Understanding the full licensing process, from a new application to renewal to reciprocity, allows general contractors to remain in compliance while legally performing construction work in Arkansas.