If you want to work as a general contractor in Virginia, you must obtain the proper state licensing. This ensures you meet all legal requirements and helps provide consumer protection.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to become a properly licensed general contractor in Virginia. We’ll cover:

  • Requirements for obtaining a new general contractor license
  • Steps to get your Virginia contractor license
  • Renewing your Virginia contractor license
  • Reciprocity with other states
  • License bond requirements
  • Insurance requirements

Requirements for Becoming a Licensed General Contractor in Virginia

To legally operate as a general contractor in Virginia, you must register your business with the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) and obtain a state-issued contractor license.

There are a few key steps:

  • Create a registered business entity
  • Choose your contractor license class
  • Select your license specialty/classification
  • Appoint responsible management
  • Identify qualified individuals
  • Appoint a designated employee (for Class A and B)
  • Complete pre-license education

Create a Registered Business Entity

Contractors licenses in Virginia are issued to registered business entities, not individuals. You must first create a legal Virginia business, which can be:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Corporation

Consult a business attorney or CPA to determine the best business structure for your company. You may also need to register your business with the State Corporation Commission.

Choose Your Contractor License Class

Virginia issues contractor licenses in three classes:

  • Class A – No limit on project size or revenue. Requires 5 years experience.
  • Class B – Up to $120,000 per project, up to $750,000 revenue per year. Requires 3 years experience.
  • Class C – Up to $10,000 per project, up to $150,000 revenue per year. Requires 2 years experience.

The license class dictates the size and dollar value of the projects and contracts you can take on. Make sure to choose one suitable for the scope of work you plan to perform.

Select Your Specialty/Classification

You must also select a classification that matches the type of contracting work you will do. Common classifications for general contractors include:

  • Commercial Building Contractor
  • Residential Building Contractor
  • Home Improvement Contractor

The allowed scopes of work are defined in the Board for Contractors regulations. Select a classification that aligns with your specialty.

Appoint Responsible Management

Your business must appoint individuals as responsible management – owners, officers, partners, etc. You’ll provide their names, contact info, and ID on your license application.

Identify Qualified Individuals

Every contractor license needs one or more qualified individuals (QIs) who will be responsible for each specialty classification on your license.

The QI must have the required years of experience for that specialty and class. They must also hold any necessary trade licenses or certifications, or pass the technical exams for that specialty.

Appoint a Designated Employee

For Class A and B licenses, you must appoint a designated employee who has passed the necessary license exams. They must be a W-2 employee or part of your responsible management.

Complete Pre-License Education

All new contractors must complete an 8-hour pre-license education course approved by the Board. For Class A and B licenses, your designated employee must take the course. For Class C, your QI must take it.

Once you’ve met all these requirements, you can apply for your contractor license!

Steps to Obtain Your Virginia Contractor License

Follow these steps to get licensed as a new contractor through the Virginia DPOR:

1. Establish Eligibility

Make sure you meet the experience, education, and exam requirements laid out above for the class and specialty licenses you need.

2. Prepare Your Application

Complete the License Application Form in full. You’ll need to provide:

  • Your business information and structure
  • Responsible management names and info
  • Qualified individual names and info
  • Designated employee name and info (Class A/B)
  • Pre-license education certificates

3. Submit Required Documentation

Gather all required supporting documents:

  • Government-issued ID for all individuals listed
  • SCC business registration info
  • Financial statement forms (Class A/B only)
  • Experience verification form(s)
  • Exam score reports
  • Pre-license education certificate

4. Pay the Fees

The application fees are:

  • Class C: $230
  • Class B: $345
  • Class A: $460

You must also pay a $500 or $1,500 recovery fund fee depending on your license class.

5. Pass the Exams

The designated employee must pass the general, Virginia, and advanced exams. Qualified individuals may need to pass technical specialty exams.

6. Submit Your Application

Mail the completed application, supporting documents, and fees to the Virginia DPOR at the address listed on the forms.

7. Allow Processing Time

It takes approximately 30 days to process complete applications. You’ll receive your license by mail if approved.

Renewing Your Virginia Contractor License

Your Virginia contractor license is valid for two years. To renew on time:

  • Licenses expire on the last day of the month in which they were originally issued.
  • Renewal notices are mailed 60 days prior to the expiration date.
  • Submit your renewal fees before the expiration date.
  • Firms can renew online up to 30 days after expiration.
  • Reinstatement fees apply if you renew more than 30 days late.

The renewal fees are:

  • Class C: $172
  • Class B: $257
  • Class A: $345

You must also submit a $250 or $750 recovery fund assessment depending on your class.

Virginia does not require continuing education for contractor license renewals at this time.

Reciprocity for Out-of-State Contractors

Virginia has contractor license reciprocity agreements with these nearby states:

  • Alabama
  • District of Columbia
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • North Carolina
  • West Virginia

Contractors properly licensed in those jurisdictions can have their license granted in Virginia without needing to take exams. You still must submit a full application with all required materials to DPOR.

Virginia also has a reciprocity agreement for master plumbers with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission in Maryland.

There is currently no general reciprocity for contractors outside those agreements. Out-of-state contractors will likely need to meet all Virginia licensing requirements.

Contractor License Bond Requirements

Licensed Class A and Class B contractors in Virginia must obtain a surety bond:

  • Class A – $50,000
  • Class B – $25,000

You can submit the bond with your initial license application. Or current licensees can use a Certificate of Deposit or letter of credit instead.

The purpose of the bond is to provide financial protection to consumers who suffer damages from poor work by a licensed contractor. It does not cover homeowners insurance claims.

Class C contractors do not need a license bond, but may need to provide a bond to a client for a specific job.

Insurance Requirements for Virginia Contractors

There are no statewide insurance requirements for contractors in Virginia. However, many localities and clients require general liability insurance and workers’ comp policies.

Typical recommended coverages are:

  • General liability – $500,000 to $1 million
  • Workers compensation – $100,000 per accident
  • Builder’s risk – Covers structure under construction
  • Surety bonds – For larger projects

Contact insurance brokers to find policies tailored for Virginia general contractors.


Becoming a licensed general contractor in Virginia involves registering your business, meeting experience and education requirements, passing exams, and submitting a complete application to the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

Key steps include:

  • Choosing your contractor license class and specialty
  • Appointing responsible management and qualified individuals
  • Taking pre-license training and exams
  • Submitting your application with all documentation and fees

Once approved, you must renew your Virginia contractor license every two years. There is no continuing education requirement currently. Reciprocity is available for contractors licensed in some nearby states.

Class A and B contractors must obtain a Virginia license bond. There are no statewide insurance requirements, but policies like general liability and workers compensation are highly recommended.

Following the licensing steps outlined here will help ensure your general contracting business meets all requirements to operate legally in Virginia. This helps provide important consumer protection and gives you credibility.