General contractor licensing, insurance, and bond requirements vary widely across the United States. Most states mandate contractors obtain a state-issued license to legally operate, though some like Idaho and Missouri have no statewide licensing.

Licenses generally require applicants to prove experience, pass exams, submit financials, obtain insurance, and renew licenses periodically. Many states offer license reciprocity with certain other states.

Liability insurance minimums range from $100,000 to over $1 million per occurrence depending on license type and location. Workers compensation is compulsory in most states for contractors with employees. Many states require surety bonds of $5,000 to $100,000 to protect consumers financially.

Local jurisdictions often have additional licensing, bond, and insurance rules beyond state requirements. Carefully following all applicable regulations ensures contractors can legally perform work while minimizing liability risks. Resources like state licensing boards provide guidance on qualifications, testing, fees, documentation, and maintenance needed for compliance.

States Without General Contractor Licensing

The following list of states do not have statewide licensing requirements for general contractors. However, many local municipalities within these states require licenses and registrations. For example, Denver requires contractors to pass an exam, have a supervisor’s certificate, and meet standards set by the city. Chicago issues contractor licenses based on project value, with fees ranging from $300 to $2,000. Contractors in Chicago must also carry liability insurance.

Even when state licensing isn’t required, contractors should research local regulations. For instance, many cities mandate active insurance policies. Some allow license reciprocity from other states. The application process involves fees, paperwork, and waiting periods. Staying compliant protects contractors from penalties and assures clients of their qualifications. With the proper licenses and insurance, contractors can bid on projects with confidence.

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

States With General Contractor Licensing

Alabama General Contractor Licensing Overview

To legally operate as a general contractor in Alabama managing construction projects over $50,000, you must obtain a state-issued license from the Licensing Board for General Contractors. Licenses are also required for residential jobs above $10,000 and swimming pools over $5,000. To qualify, you must be at least 21 years old, submit financial statements showing sufficient net worth and working capital, provide references and document relevant experience. once approved, you must pass business/law and trade exams. Licenses must be renewed annually with a $200 fee. Alabama has reciprocity for licenses from AR, LA, MS, NC and TN. Licensed general contractors must carry a minimum $1 million general liability insurance policy at all times. Alabama does not mandate license bonds currently, though local jurisdictions may require them. Following state licensing, insurance and bond rules ensures contractors can legally perform work while protecting consumers.

Alaska General Contractor Licensing Overview

General contractors in Alaska must be licensed by the state’s Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing. Licenses are issued in three classifications based on scope of work. All licenses require general liability insurance of at least $20,000 property damage and $100,000 bodily injury per incident. Workers compensation insurance is also mandatory. Contractors must secure a surety bond of $25,000, $20,000 or $5,000 depending on license type that remains active for 3 years. Licenses must be renewed every 2 years with proof of insurance and bond. License eligibility depends on experience, education, and exam requirements. Alaska does not offer license reciprocity with other states. Meeting all licensing, insurance and bond requirements is necessary to legally operate as a general contractor in Alaska.

Arizona General Contractor Licensing Overview

To become a licensed general contractor in Arizona, applicants must have 4 years of relevant practical experience within the last 10 years under a licensed contractor’s supervision. They must also pass a Statutes and Rules exam and a trade exam specific to their contractor classification. Legal business entity formation and registration is required, along with obtaining a surety bond based on projected annual volume – $2,500 minimum for under $150,000 volume or $5,000 minimum for $150,000+ volume. General liability insurance is compulsory and must cover the scope of work, with minimum $1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate limits recommended. Licenses must be renewed every 2 years through continuing education and paying the $450 renewal fee. Out-of-state contractors licensed in California, Nevada or Utah within the past year can obtain an Arizona license through reciprocity by submitting an application, fees, proof of bonding and insurance. Maintaining licensing, insurance and bonding is essential for legal compliance and financial protection.

Arkansas General Contractor Licensing Overview

In Arkansas, general contractors must be licensed by the Contractors Licensing Board to perform construction work valued at $2,000 or more. Licenses include commercial, restricted commercial, residential builders, and residential remodeler. Applicants must be 21, prove residency, meet experience requirements, pass exams, provide a financial statement, acquire a surety bond, have liability insurance, and pay fees. Bond amounts range from $5,000-$10,000 based on license type. Liability coverage of at least $100,000 for property damage and $300,000 for bodily injury is required. Workers’ compensation is mandated for licenses allowing commercial work or unlimited home remodeling. Licenses expire annually and must be renewed by submitting a form, fee, documentation, and proof of continuing education. Reciprocity is offered for certain licenses from TN, MS, AL, and LA if the out-of-state license is active and exams are passed. Following the licensing, bond, and insurance rules allows contractors to legally perform construction work in Arkansas after being approved by the Board.

California General Contractor Licensing Overview

To legally operate as a general contractor in California, individuals must obtain a license from the state’s Contractors State License Board (CSLB). Applicants must document 4 years of experience, pass trade and law exams, submit fingerprints for a background check, and pay all licensing fees. General liability insurance is highly recommended and workers’ compensation is mandatory if the contractor has employees. All contractors must maintain an active $25,000 license bond from an approved surety company for consumer protection. Licenses must be renewed every 2 years by completing continuing education, paying renewal fees, and providing current bond and insurance information. California has reciprocity agreements for contractor licenses with only Arizona, Louisiana, and Nevada. Key steps in the licensing process include proving experience, bonding, certification, examinations, and activation of the license. Carrying proper insurance and bonding demonstrates credibility and reduces financial risks. Resources are available on the CSLB website for licensing requirements.

Florida General Contractor Licensing Overview

General contractors in Florida must obtain a certified or registered license from the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). Applicants must meet experience requirements, pass a business/finance and a trade exam, prove financial stability, and carry liability and property damage insurance. Licenses must be renewed every 2 years with continuing education. Reciprocity is available for certain out-of-state licenses. All licensees need a $100,000 surety bond or irrevocable letter of credit. Contractors must carry minimum liability insurance of $300,000 and property damage insurance of $50,000. Workers compensation is also mandatory. Following these licensing, bond, and insurance rules allows general contractors to legally operate and bid on construction projects across Florida.

Georgia General Contractor Licensing Overview

To legally operate as a general contractor in Georgia performing construction work valued at $2,500 or more, individuals must obtain a state-issued license. Licenses are categorized based on project scope and value. All applicants must prove competency through education, experience, and exams. Financial requirements include minimum net worth and credit. Once licensed, general liability insurance coverage between $300,000 to $500,000 per occurrence is mandated depending on license type. If employing 3 or more workers, workers compensation insurance is compulsory. A $10,000 surety bond must also be maintained, serving as financial recourse for defective work. Licenses must be renewed every 2 years before June 30th. Only residential licenses necessitate continuing education. Reciprocity is offered with select states if applicants hold an active license for 3 years with no disciplinary action. Insurance, bonding, and license renewal are vital for retaining active status.

Hawaii General Contractor Licensing Overview

General contractors in Hawaii must be licensed by the state’s Contractors License Board to perform any construction project over $1,000 or requiring a permit. Licenses are issued in two classifications – Class A for large infrastructure projects and Class B for building construction. To qualify, applicants must meet experience requirements, pass a business/law exam and a trade exam, and submit an application with documentation and fees. Licenses must be renewed every two years before expiration by submitting a form, paying the fee, providing insurance, and getting tax clearance. Required insurance coverages are general liability and workers compensation. Applicants may also be required to obtain a surety bond of $1,000-$100,000 based on financial history. Licenses can be forfeited if not renewed on time. There is no license reciprocity with other states. Key steps include meeting eligibility criteria, passing exams, submitting a new license application, maintaining insurance, renewing the license biennially, and obtaining any required bond.

Louisiana General Contractor Licensing Overview

In Louisiana, general contractors must be licensed for projects over $50,000 (commercial) or $75,000 (residential). Licenses are issued by the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors. Applicants must meet experience requirements, pass trade and business exams, prove financial solvency, carry general liability insurance, and submit applications with fees to the Board. Licenses must be renewed every 1-3 years. Louisiana has reciprocity agreements with several states. Commercial license applicants must obtain a $10,000 license bond. General liability insurance minimums are $100,000 (residential) and $300,000 (commercial). All contractors with employees must carry active workers’ compensation insurance. Maintaining insurance is essential to avoid suspension. Following these licensing, exam, bond, insurance, and renewal requirements allows general contractors to legally operate in Louisiana.

Maryland General Contractor Licensing Overview

General contractors in Maryland are required to obtain a Home Improvement Contractor License from the Maryland Home Improvement Commission for residential renovation and repair work. Licenses require passing an exam, proving construction experience, showing financial solvency, obtaining liability insurance, and paying licensing fees. New home builders must register with the Home Builder Registration Unit before offering new homes for sale. Licensing is also required from local municipalities for commercial projects. Specialty licenses like electrical, HVAC, asbestos, and lead paint certification may be needed for certain work. Insurance minimums include $50,000 liability coverage and workers compensation for employees. Higher liability limits are recommended for commercial work. Maintaining continuous, adequate insurance like auto, builders risk, and surety bonds as applicable is essential. Meeting all licensing and insurance requirements ensures contractors can legally and safely operate in Maryland.

Massachusetts General Contractor Licensing Overview

General contractors in Massachusetts must register as Home Improvement Contractors (HIC) and obtain Construction Supervisor Licenses (CSL) from the state’s Office of Public Safety and Inspections. HIC registration is required for renovations and repairs on residential properties up to 4 units. CSL licensing applies to larger renovation and construction projects. There are several CSL license types covering different construction scopes. New home and commercial builders are exempt. To qualify for a CSL, contractors need 3 years of experience and must pass an exam. Licenses must be renewed every 3 years. Out-of-state contractors can seek license reciprocity if their home state has equivalent requirements. HIC registration requires a $5,000 license bond to protect homeowners financially. Contractors must also carry general liability insurance of $500,000 minimum and workers compensation insurance of $100,000 minimum. Insurance certificates must be provided when applying for or renewing an HIC registration. Following Massachusetts’ licensing, bond and insurance rules allows general contractors to legally and safely operate in the state.

Michigan General Contractor Licensing Overview

To become a licensed general contractor in Michigan working on residential projects, you must complete 60 hours of prelicensure education, have 3 years of experience, pass an exam, submit an application and fees, undergo a background check, and show proof of financial responsibility. Licenses must be renewed every 3 years by completing continuing education, paying a fee, and maintaining insurance. Michigan does not offer reciprocity with other states. General liability insurance of at least $1 million per occurrence is required, as is a license bond of either $15,000 for residential builders or $10,000 for maintenance and alteration contractors. Workers compensation is also required if you have employees. Following all licensing, insurance, and bonding rules ensures contractors have the proper skills and finances to safely operate in Michigan.

Mississippi General Contractor Licensing Overview

General contractors in Mississippi must be licensed by the Mississippi State Board of Contractors (MSBOC) for projects over $50,000. Licenses must be renewed annually with fees around $250-275. Applicants must pass a business/law exam and possibly a trade exam, meet eligibility criteria, and show proof of liability insurance. Minimum insurance limits are $300,000 per occurrence and $600,000 aggregate for commercial licenses. MSBOC must be listed as a certificate holder. Licenses have reciprocity with 7 nearby states if applicants hold a current license. License bonds are not mandated in Mississippi but may provide extra protection to consumers if required for a specific project. Following these licensing and insurance requirements ensures Mississippi contractors maintain legal compliance and protect their business interests.

Nevada General Contractor Licensing Overview

To legally operate as a general contractor in Nevada, you must obtain a license from the Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB). Licenses are issued in classifications like general building and general engineering. To qualify, you need 4 years of experience, must pass a trade exam and business/law exam, provide financial statements showing stability, and obtain a surety bond. Licenses are issued for 2 years then must be renewed by submitting an application, paying fees, and providing updated documentation. Contractors must carry a surety bond ranging from $1,000-$500,000 to protect consumers. They must have workers compensation insurance or file an exemption affidavit. General liability insurance is not required by law but commonly carried. Applicants licensed in AZ, CA, or UT may qualify for license reciprocity without retaking the trade exam if certain conditions are met. Following Nevada’s licensing, insurance, and bond requirements helps ensure contractors are qualified to operate their business.

New Mexico General Contractor Licensing

To legally operate as a general contractor in New Mexico, you must obtain a license from the state’s Construction Industries Division. Licenses are issued in various classifications based on the type of construction work. To qualify, you need 4 years of relevant experience, a high school diploma or GED, and must pass a trade exam and business/law exam. General contractors must also appoint a licensed qualifying party to supervise operations. Applications involve fees, proof of eligibility, and obtaining a $200,000 license bond. Licenses must be renewed every 3 years through continuing education, fees, and proof of insurance. Contractors need workers’ compensation insurance if they have 3+ employees or can file an exemption with less staff. Liability insurance of at least $1 million per occurrence is recommended to cover bodily injury and property damage claims. Builder’s risk may also be recommended for large projects to protect against theft and disasters. Following New Mexico’s licensing, testing, insurance, and bonding rules is essential for legally and safely operating as a general contractor.

North Carolina General Contractor Licensing

General contractors in North Carolina must be licensed by the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors (NCLBGC) for projects valued at $30,000 or more. Licenses list approved classifications and limitations based on exams, experience, and financials. Renewals are annual with continuing education requirements. Though not mandated, liability insurance is commonly required by project owners and authorities. Workers compensation is compulsory for firms with 3+ employees. Vehicle insurance minimums exist per state law. Surety bonds can serve as financial qualification alternatives. Minimum bond amounts range from $175,000 to $1 million based on license limitation. Licenses ensure general contractors meet competency standards and conduct ethical business. Proper licensing, insurance, and bonding enables contractors to safely serve North Carolina citizens while spurring economic growth.

North Dakota General Contractor Licensing

In North Dakota, general contractors must be licensed by the Secretary of State for any construction project valued over $4,000. Licenses are issued in 4 classes based on project value. Applicants must register their business, document experience levels, provide liability insurance, and be in good standing with the ND Workforce Safety and Insurance program. Licenses must be renewed annually by March 1 along with proof of insurance and fees. North Dakota does not offer license reciprocity with other states. Contractors are not required to obtain license bonds, but project owners may require separate performance and payment bonds. General liability and workers compensation insurance is mandatory. Insurance minimums depend on the scope of work and should be reviewed regularly as the business grows to ensure adequate protection. Following proper licensing and insurance procedures demonstrates professionalism and trustworthiness.

Oregon General Contractor Licensing

In Oregon, general contractors must be licensed by the Construction Contractors Board (CCB). To get licensed, applicants must be 18+, establish a business structure, complete 16 hours of pre-license training, pass the Oregon construction contractor exam, submit a license application with a $250 fee, and provide proof of general liability insurance, a $12,000 surety bond, and workers’ compensation coverage if hiring employees. Licenses must be renewed every 2 years which involves paying a fee, completing continuing education, and providing updated insurance and bond information. For insurance, general contractors need a minimum $500,000 general liability policy and workers’ compensation if they have employees. All licensees must carry a $12,000 surety bond that names the State of Oregon as obligee. Higher bond amounts of $15,000-$20,000 are required for contractors with past disciplinary issues. Going through Oregon’s licensing process aims to establish trust between contractors and customers by requiring competency testing, insurance, and bonding.

South Carolina General Contractor Licensing

To legally operate as a general contractor in South Carolina, individuals must obtain a license from the state’s Contractor’s Licensing Board. Applicants must be at least 18, prove good character, demonstrate financial responsibility and construction experience, and pass a business/law exam plus a trade exam. Licenses must be renewed annually by submitting a renewal application, paying a fee, and completing continuing education. South Carolina has license reciprocity with several other states. All contractors must maintain a $15,000 surety bond to protect consumers. Contractors must also carry general liability insurance of at least $100,000 per claim, workers compensation if they have employees, and optionally builders risk and professional liability insurance. Following these licensing, bond, and insurance requirements ensures general contractors are qualified to manage construction projects safely and professionally.

Tennessee General Contractor Licensing

Operating as a general contractor in Tennessee requires obtaining proper licensing, insurance, and bonds. To get a license, contractors must prove work experience, pass exams, submit a financial statement, show insurance coverage, obtain a $10,000 license bond, and pay fees. Licenses must be renewed every 2 years by meeting education requirements, paying fees, and resubmitting paperwork. Tennessee has license reciprocity with some states. All contractors must carry general liability and workers compensation insurance. General liability covers property damage and bodily injury with minimum limits around $100,000 per occurrence. Workers compensation covers employees’ injuries and is required for firms with 5+ employees. Insurance certificates must be submitted with licensing paperwork. Following these regulations helps contractors operate legally and protects public safety.

Utah General Contractor Licensing

In Utah, general contractors must be licensed for projects valued at $3,000 or more. Licenses are issued by the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) and require documented construction experience, passing exams, business registration, tax compliance, insurance, and bonding. There are license types for general building, residential/small commercial, and engineering projects. Applicants must complete pre-licensure education, file business formation documents, obtain liability insurance and a $15,000+ license bond, and pass a business/law and trade exam. Licenses expire every 2 years and require renewal fees, continuing education, and maintained insurance to stay active. Utah offers license reciprocity with some states if licensing standards are equivalent. Insurance policies must meet DOPL minimums and be written by Utah authorized insurers to remain valid. Following Utah’s licensing steps allows legally performing construction work valued at $3,000 or more across the state while staying current on requirements.

Virginia General Contractor Licensing

To legally operate as a general contractor in Virginia, you must register your business entity with the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) and obtain the proper state-issued contractor license. Licenses are issued in three classes based on project size and contractor experience. You must also designate a qualified individual for each specialty classification on your license. Licenses must be renewed every two years. Pre-license education and exams are required, but there is currently no continuing education requirement. Virginia has license reciprocity agreements with some nearby states. Class A and B contractors must obtain a surety bond. There are no statewide insurance requirements, but general liability and workers compensation policies are highly recommended. Following Virginia’s licensing steps provides important consumer protection and gives contractors credibility to operate legally.

West Virginia General Contractor Licensing

To legally operate as a general contractor in West Virginia on projects valued at $2,500 or more, businesses must obtain a state-issued contractor’s license. Licenses are classified by specialty, such as general building or electrical, and require passing state exams plus registering your business. Licenses must be renewed annually. For out-of-state contractors, West Virginia offers license reciprocity with certain states if you hold an equivalent current license. Licensed contractors with employees must carry workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance by registering with state agencies. Contractors working on commercial projects valued at $100,000 or more need to acquire a wage bond equal to six months of payroll costs to guarantee paying employees. It is also recommended contractors carry general liability insurance of at least $1 million per occurrence. Maintaining valid insurance and bond coverage is necessary for licensing.

Wisconsin General Contractor Licensing

To legally operate as a general contractor in Wisconsin on any construction project valued over $1,000, contractors must obtain a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier license from the state’s Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). To qualify for the license, applicants must complete a 12-hour initial course, pass a state exam, submit an application with fees, and provide proof of public liability insurance coverage of at least $500,000 per occurrence. Licenses must be renewed every 2 years through continuing education and a fee. Wisconsin does not have license reciprocity with other states. All contractor applicants must meet the state’s licensing criteria. General liability insurance coverage minimums in Wisconsin are $500,000 per occurrence and a $500,000 aggregate policy limit. Contractors are not required to obtain license bonds in Wisconsin. The Dwelling Contractor Qualifier license allows general contractors to acquire necessary building permits for construction projects in the state.

Conclusion

In many states, general contractors must obtain a license to operate legally. These licenses often require proof of experience, examination, financial documentation, insurance, and periodic renewal. The mandatory liability insurance varies, with minimums from $100,000 to over $1 million, contingent on location and license type. If contractors employ others, most states require workers’ compensation. Surety bonds, which safeguard consumers financially, are required in a range of $5,000 to $100,000 in many jurisdictions. Furthermore, local regions might impose additional rules on licensing, bonds, and insurance beyond state mandates.

It’s crucial for contractors to comply with both state and local regulations on licensing, bonds, and insurance to operate legally and reduce liability. State licensing boards offer detailed information on compliance requirements. Contractors should contact appropriate authorities for any questions regarding state and local compliance.