If you want to operate as a general contractor and work on residential construction projects in Michigan, you’ll need to obtain the proper licensing from the state. This ensures you have the required skills, training, and insurance to safely and legally perform construction work.

This guide provides an overview of the steps to become a licensed general contractor in Michigan, including the requirements, fees, and processes for obtaining and renewing your license. We’ll also cover insurance requirements and reciprocity with other states.

Requirements for Becoming a Licensed General Contractor in Michigan

To qualify for a general contractor’s license in Michigan, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Prelicensure Education – Complete 60 hours of approved prelicensure education courses before applying for your license. At least 6 hours must cover each of the following topics:

    • Business Management, Estimating, and Job Costing
    • Design and Building Science
    • Contracts, Liability, and Risk Management
    • Marketing and Sales
    • Project Management and Scheduling
    • Michigan Residential Code
    • MIOSHA Construction Safety Standards
  • Experience – Have at least 3 years of experience in the business of residential building construction. This can be met through education credits and/or hands-on experience.

  • Examination – Pass the appropriate residential builder or maintenance and alteration contractor examination. Exams are administered by PSI licensure testing services.

  • Application – Submit a completed license application along with any required documentation and fees. All applicants undergo a background check.

  • Financial Responsibility – Provide proof of financial responsibility, which involves filing a financial statement showing required net worth and liquid assets.

  • Good Moral Character – Applicants must be of good moral character to be approved for licensure.

Let’s look at the step-by-step process to get your general contractor’s license in Michigan.

Steps to Obtain a New General Contractor License in Michigan

Follow these steps to obtain your initial general contractor’s license in Michigan:

1. Meet the Eligibility Requirements

First, ensure you meet all the eligibility requirements outlined above – education, experience, financial responsibility, etc.

2. Complete Prelicensure Education

Enroll in an approved 60-hour prelicensure education program. Be sure to complete at least 6 hours in each of the required subjects. Maintain your course certificates of completion.

3. Establish Your Business Entity

Decide what business structure you will operate under – LLC, sole proprietorship, corporation, etc. Then complete all necessary filings with the state to establish your business.

4. Prepare Your License Application

Once you meet the eligibility criteria, complete the license application. This can be done online through the Accela system. You’ll need to provide information on your business, experience, education, and finances.

5. Submit Your Application and Fees

The license application fee is $175. Pay your application fee and submit all required documentation online through Accela or by mail. Application fees are non-refundable.

6. Complete a Background Check

All applicants undergo a background check during the application review process. If you have any criminal violations, be prepared to provide additional documentation.

7. Schedule Your Examination with PSI

Once your application is approved, you’ll receive instructions from PSI on scheduling your licensing exam. The exam fee is $76 and is paid directly to PSI.

8. Pass Your Examination

Exams are offered at PSI testing centers around Michigan. Bring valid ID and any materials you’re allowed. You must pass the exam to move forward.

9. Obtain General Liability Insurance

Get appropriate general liability insurance for your contracting business before beginning work. This is required for licensing.

10. Receive Your License

Once approved, you will be issued your general contractor’s license. Print copies to display as required by state law while working on job sites. You can now legally contract for residential construction projects as a licensed general contractor.

Steps to Renew Your General Contractor License in Michigan

General contractor licenses in Michigan must be renewed every 3 years. Here are the steps for renewal:

  • Review your license details in your Accela account and make any necessary updates.
  • Pay the $155 renewal fee through Accela.
  • Provide proof you completed 21 hours of continuing education over the preceding 3 years. At least 3 hours must cover workplace safety.
  • Maintain the required financial responsibility – file an updated financial statement to prove this if requested.
  • Renew your general liability insurance policy.
  • Receive your renewed contractor license via Accela. Print copies for display on job sites.

Failure to renew on time before your license expiration date will result in late fees. Renewing late may also lead to disciplinary action.

Reciprocity for General Contractors From Other States

Michigan does not offer general contractor license reciprocity with any other states. Contractors with a current license from another state still must meet all Michigan licensing requirements and apply for a new license.

However, applicants licensed in another state can use equivalent experience and education from the other state toward Michigan’s eligibility requirements. But ultimately every general contractor working in Michigan must hold a valid Michigan residential builder or maintenance and alteration contractor license.

License Bond Requirements

Licensed general contractors in Michigan must obtain license bonds based on their license type:

  • Residential builders license – $15,000 license bond
  • Maintenance and alteration contractors license – $10,000 license bond

Bonds must be filed before licensure and renewed along with your license. The surety bond helps protect consumers in the event the contractor fails to comply with contracting requirements.

Insurance Requirements

At minimum, Michigan requires licensed general contractors to carry:

  • General liability insurance – Provides coverage for third-party bodily injury and property damage claims. The typical recommended amount is $1 million per occurrence / $2 million aggregate. Liability insurance is required for licensing.

  • Workers’ compensation insurance – Covers medical care and lost wages for employees injured on the job. This is mandated for contractors with any employees. Sole proprietors with no employees can opt out.

Other recommended policies like builder’s risk insurance are not legally required, but help cover exposures for property damage. Consult your insurance broker to ensure adequate coverage.


Operating as a licensed general contractor enables you take on residential construction projects like home building, renovations, and remodeling in Michigan.

Follow the application steps to complete your prelicensure education, pass the exam, and obtain your residential builder or maintenance and alteration contractor license. Renew your license every 3 years and maintain the appropriate bonding and insurance.

General contractors licensed in other states still need to apply for a Michigan license – no reciprocity is offered. Following the licensing rules helps ensure you have the skills and financial means to safely operate and protects Michigan consumers.