Get Your General Contractor’s License the Easy Way!
Ready to start taking on larger projects, building your credibility and making more money? It’s easier than you might think. While getting your contractor’s license may seem like an intimidating process at first glance, the seminars and other educational resources offered by Contractors Institute can help you breeze through it. If you’re tired of limiting yourself to small-scale handyman jobs and ready to go for your general contractor’s license, trust our qualified team of seminar instructors to teach you everything you need to know to pass the test on your first try.
Pass Your Exam the First Time
There’s only one thing worse than taking a test – taking the same test more than once. Luckily, all our exam prep seminars come with a no-fail guarantee. While we’re confident in our material and most of our students go on to succeed on their first try, we never give up on the ones who don’t. In the unlikely event that you don’t get your contractor’s license the first time around after taking part in our seminar sessions, we will work one on one with you to strengthen your specific weaknesses.
No Cramming or Flashcards Required
You might have poured over flashcards and memorized endless lists to prepare for tests in school, but you won’t need to do any of that to pass your state’s contractor exam. No, you can’t expect to wing it, but our exam prep seminars are tailored to each test, from the NASCLA Exam to the Business Law Exam, so you don’t waste your time studying material you don’t need for the test.
We realize that you probably already have a lot of experience in home repair and rehab, but test taking can stress and frustrate even the most qualified in the field. The tone of our seminars is never patronizing – we aim to make it as interesting and engaging as possible so that the material sticks with you and is easy to recall come exam time.
Types of Seminars We Offer
We know that depending on what state you live in, the requirements for a general contractor’s license may vary, or maybe you’d like to specialize. That’s why we offer you a variety of seminars aimed at helping you succeed on the following exams and more:
- National NASCLA Accredited Contractor Exam
- General Contractor License Exam
- Business Law Exam
- Home Builders Exam
Seminars Taught by Experienced Instructors
Our seminar instructors are the real deal, with extensive backgrounds in the construction industry and years of experience. They also have a wealth of experience teaching, making seminars as easy to follow and as easy to retain information from as possible. Our A rating with the Better Business Bureau isn’t for nothing!
Live Seminars, Distance Webinars, PreRecorded Classes and Practice Tests
We teach live classes weekly. All of our classes are streamed live so that if you are distant, you can join via your computer and interact with the instructor just like you are in class. We also have online material for each of our classes. This will help you practice and prepare before or after the class. The online material includes: class presentation, guides you through what to tab and highlight. We also have a practice test for each of our classes. You have unlimited access to our online material so that you can practice as much as you want.
What are You Waiting For?
The sooner you get your contractor’s license, the sooner you can turn your hobby into a lucrative career in contracting. There’s no need to be nervous about taking your licensing exam when you know that Contractors Institute guarantees your first-time success when you sign up for our seminars and take advantage of our exam prep materials.
So why are you still on the fence? The license you need is within your reach, and we can be the nudge that helps you grab it. By signing up for one of our seminars today, we guarantee you’ll be impressed with our knowledgeable instructors and most importantly, be ready to conquer that exam.
General Guidelines for Acquiring a Contractor License
Why a Contractor’s License?
Pursuing a contractor’s license is a worthy aspiration. While there are many individuals out there who do a variety of construction work without a license, choosing to acquire your license will not only ensure you have right standing with the law but will also put you ahead of your unlicensed competition.
Homeowners especially are becoming savvier on why they should choose a licensed contractor and on how to find them. It is in your best interest if you desire to work in a construction related field, to secure a license as quickly as possible. This will ensure you more business and help you avoid fines and even potential jail time, depending on the state you wish to work in.
However, the process is neither simple nor intuitive. Furthermore, every state has different legislation regulating contractors, and even each county and municipality can have its own additional regulations as well.
To help you navigate this process, we have developed a general guide that will help you learn the basics of how to prepare for and apply for a general contractor’s license, as well as what resources you should tap into.
Important to Know:
First, it is important to know that, as mentioned briefly above, each state will have its own requirements.
This means that while you may earn a license in one state, that license does not automatically mean you can take work in another state. If you wish to do work out of your state, there may be temporary licenses or permits that will allow you to work in the desired state, but you will need to make sure you learn your options and are prepared for the potential extra expense of purchasing a temporary license.
The NASCLA exam is accepted in 12 states (and more coming online). This is a very popular exam as it will allow you to do work in multiple states. Some of the states that accept NASCLA for commercial construction also accept NASCLA for residential work. States such as North Carolina, Georgia and Oregon allow you to use the NASCLA license for residential projects.
Some state requires that you also get the contractors business law license and pass the PSI exam, in addition to the NASCLA exam. Virginia and Oregon also have a Contractor Pre-License course requirement. We offer all of these classes and can help you get prepared to take all of these exams.
Every state will have its own qualifications, some requiring that you pass exams and have proof of relevant experience and education to get licensed, while others, will not require a license at all.
To find out your state’s specific requirements, you will want to contact your planning and development board, registrar of contractors, or contractors’ state license board (whichever your state has). You can also use online resources such as the Contractor’s License Reference Site to look up the requirements of your state.
Preliminary Steps to Complete Before Applying:
While each state does indeed have different requirements, there are still some basics that apply to almost all states.
Before you actually apply for your contractor’s license, there are a number of preliminary steps you should/must take, as well as materials you will want to gather:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent
- Must be a U.S. citizen or have legal residency status
- Likely must take/pass a criminal background check
- Relevant experience in the field
- Documentation of other occupational licenses you may hold
- Explanation/justification for any citations, violations or liens resulting from previous construction work you have performed
Choose your specialty
If you plan to have a specialty, this is also the point that you need to choose it, especially as it may impact the class of license you seek, as discussed below. However, if you want, you can seek a general contractor’s license and do not have to pursue a specialty.
Again, though, you will want to check your specific state’s requirements to help you determine whether you should seek a specialty license.
Identify the license class you want/need
Each state will have its own classification system for contractor licenses. Some create classifications based on the type of work that will be done, while others base their classification on the monetary value of the type of work to be done.
For example, in some areas, a Class A contractor may be permitted to take on jobs of any value, while a Class B contractor may be restricted to projects of $500,000 or less.
In other areas, as in California, Class A licenses could be for General Engineering Contractor while Class B is for General Building Contractor and Class C is a Specialty Contractor license that encompasses many specialty areas.
Once you identify the class of license you need, you will be better equipped to move forward.
Do be aware that fees and required insurance will be determined by the class of license you seek. Also, be aware that once you secure your license, accepting work that falls outside of the class you acquired is against regulations in most states.
Name and register your business
You will need to register your business with the appropriate state and/or local authorities. This will require that you name it and that the name you choose has not already been taken.
If you intend to have employees, you will also need to get an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS.
This process will require registration fees, so be prepared to pay those up front.
Pass a background check
Not all states require this, but it is a common enough requirement that you should plan on having it completed before submitting your application.
The next step in the process, if required by your state, is an examination. For some regions, you will have to submit the application just to be allowed to take the licensing exam. For others, you must take the examination first, and then submit your results, along with all the other required information, in the application for the license itself.
While not all states require that you take an exam to become a licensed contractor, most do. The exam you take, if required, will depend on the class of general contractor licenses you are pursuing, the specialty (if any), and potentially levels of licensing depending on the state you are in.
Most of the states that we serve require a two-part license: Business Law and Technical. You must pass the Contractor Business Law and Project Management exam and a technical exam.
Some states do not regulate contractors. To help learn what exams, if any, you need to prepare for and take, contact the International Code Council (ICC) to find out the specific exams needed for your area.
The Contractor’s License Reference Site also goes into detail about each state’s examination requirements and provides lists of resources to study with.
Submitting the Application:
In most cases, after you pass the examination, you are then ready to proceed with submitting your application for the license and fulfilling all remaining requirements to obtain it.
Be prepared to do the following steps to complete the licensing process:
Complete the required application
Through the resources already listed, identify the appropriate contractor license
application and complete it. The contractors’ state licensing board (or its equivalent in your state) should be able to direct you where to find the application and the instructions for completing it.
Again, remember that it may not only be determined by the state you are in, but by the county and even city as well.
You will want to gather all the materials that prove you meet basic requirements, as well as any additional materials required by your area. You will submit the application and supporting documents together in most instances.
Common information that you will need to input and/or include in your application includes:
- Company name, EIN (if relevant) and address
- Contracting class and specialty (if relevant)
- Company’s incorporation papers
- Certification from the approved agency that you have passed the required contracting exam(s)
- Copies of personal identification
- Proof of citizenship or residency
- Documentation about any prior contracting license you have operated under
- Proof of completed and passed background check
- Summary and proof of education, training, and experience
- Proof of your insurance and/or bond (you may be permitted to complete this step after applying for the license and being approved dependent upon insurance/bond)
Submit application along with required fees
Once your application is complete, submit it to the agency directed along with the required fees. Often, you can submit it electronically via online or fax, as well as hard copy by mail or in person.
Be sure to also pay attention to whether the application must be notarized or not prior to submitting it.
Once approved, purchase required insurance and/or bond
Almost all that is left now is to wait. Once you are approved, you will then need to satisfy the insurance and/or bond requirements.
The insurance is to protect you from any liabilities and any damages or losses that you may incur during day to day business. You will also have to supply worker’s compensation insurance for your employees.
Some states will also require that you have a surety bond in addition to (or in place of) insurance. This is essentially to protect your clients from loss should you fail to complete a project or do it poorly.
The amount of insurance or bond that you will need will be determined by the location and by the class of your license and type of projects you will do.
Some states will require that you have already purchased the insurance and/or bond and submit proof of coverage as a part of the application process, while others may approve your application on the contingency that you then acquire the insurance within a certain time frame of being approved. Again, be sure to check your specific state’s requirements.
If wanting to work in multiple states, acquire license for each state or get the NASCLA license which is accepted in 12+ states!
As has been mentioned throughout, each state requires different things for contractors. If you intend to work multiple states, be aware of each state’s requirements and meet the requirements for each to avoid fines and potential jail time.
- We offer Exam Prep for the PSI Contractor Tests
- Let us teach you how to navigate the books to prepare you for the exams
- State colleges approved credit programs
To thoroughly prepare you to take a general contractor license exams. Our guaranteed goal is to make sure that you pass the tests on the first attempt.
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