If you are planning to operate a general contracting business and perform construction work on projects valued at $2,500 or more in Georgia, you are required by law to hold an active state-issued contractor license. This comprehensive guide provides an overview of the licensing requirements and application process to become a licensed general contractor in Georgia.

Licensing Requirements

The State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors oversees four categories of general contractor licenses in Georgia:

  • General Contractor
  • General Contractor Limited Tier
  • Residential Basic Contractor
  • Residential Light Commercial Contractor

The type of license you need depends primarily on the scope and dollar value of the construction projects you plan to undertake. Each license type has specific eligibility criteria in terms of education, experience, and financial requirements that must be met.

Education and Experience

At a minimum, all applicants must demonstrate one of the following to establish your competency for licensure:

  • Hold a diploma or college transcript in engineering, architecture, business management, or building construction.
  • Completed college coursework and work experience equivalent to at least 4 years of education in a university, technical, or trade school.
  • Have at least 4 years of proven experience as a manager or supervisor of construction projects, with at least 2 years working under the direction of a licensed general contractor.

In lieu of formal education, you can submit additional documentation of long-term work history and experience in the construction industry. This may include past projects, references, and examples of your skills.

Financial Requirements

Applicants must also meet minimum financial requirements in terms of net worth and credit. The net worth requirements are tiered based on license type:

License TypeMinimum Net Worth
General Contractor$150,000
General Contractor Limited Tier$25,000
Residential Basic Contractor$25,000
Residential Light Commercial Contractor$25,000

For the Residential Basic and Light Commercial licenses, a $25,000 surety bond can be used to meet the net worth requirement. For the General Contractor licenses, a signed letter from a certified public accountant is required to prove sufficient net worth.

You’ll also need to provide proof of a line of credit from an approved lending institution.

Obtaining a New License

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply for a new general contractor license in Georgia by following these steps:

1. Choose Your License Type

  • General Contractor – for work over $2,500 on all types of building projects
  • General Contractor Limited Tier – same scope but contract amounts up to $1 million
  • Residential Basic Contractor – detached homes up to 3 stories
  • Residential Light Commercial Contractor – detached homes plus multifamily and light commercial projects

2. Review License Requirements

Download the application packet for your license type. This will include the application form, instructions, required documents, and fee schedule. Make sure you have everything in order before applying.

3. Submit Your Application

Complete the application form and collate all of the required supporting documents. You can submit the paperwork and fee:

  • Online via the state licensing portal
  • By mail to the Board office address

4. Pass the Licensing Exam

Once approved, you’ll receive an exam authorization letter. You must pass the exam within 1 year to obtain your license. Exams are administered at approved testing centers.

5. Get Licensed

Upon passing the exam, your license will be issued by the Board. You must have your license number before legally performing construction services.

Renewing Your License

General contractor licenses in Georgia must be renewed every 2 years by June 30th. To renew your license:

  • Log in to your online licensing account
  • Complete the renewal application
  • Pay the $100 renewal fee

Late renewals during the grace period of July 1st to July 31st incur a $200 late fee. Licenses that are not renewed become inactive.

Only residential contractor licenses have continuing education requirements that must be met as part of renewal.

Reciprocity with Other States

Georgia offers license reciprocity to general contractors already licensed in certain other states without having to take the Georgia licensing exam. The requirements are:

  • You hold an active, equivalent license obtained by exam in the other state
  • Your original license has been active for at least 3 years
  • There is no disciplinary action against your license

Commercial Licenses: Reciprocity is offered to unlimited general contractors from Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Residential Licenses: Reciprocity is offered to residential basic contractors from Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

Surety Bonds

As a condition of licensure, all general contractors in Georgia must maintain a $10,000 surety bond. This must name the licensee and be issued by an approved surety company.

The purpose of the bond is to provide financial recourse for consumers in case of defective work or contract default. It does not, however, take the place of general liability insurance.

Insurance Requirements

Licensed contractors must also carry the following minimum insurance coverage:

General Liability Insurance

License TypeMinimum Coverage
General Contractor$500,000 per occurrence
General Contractor Limited Tier$500,000 per occurrence
Residential Basic Contractor$300,000 per occurrence
Residential Light Commercial Contractor$500,000 per occurrence

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Required if you have 3 or more employees.

Maintaining valid insurance, along with your bond, is an important requirement for retaining an active license status.


Becoming a licensed general contractor in Georgia involves meeting clearly defined education, experience, financial, and testing requirements. While the application process entails submitting paperwork and passing an exam, it helps ensure contractors have the proper knowledge and skills. Once licensed, you’ll need to renew your license every 2 years and keep your insurance and bonds up to date. With the proper credentials, general contractors can legally perform construction work and operate a contracting business in Georgia.