Becoming a licensed contractor can take time, but numerous benefits make it worthwhile. If you're interested in pursuing a career as a contractor in Virginia, you'll need to obtain a valid license and proper training to be successful.
While the licensing process might seem intimidating, it's a lot easier once you break it down into smaller tasks. Continue reading below for a step-by-step guide on getting your license and becoming a certified contractor in Virginia.
Why Do You Need a Contractor's License in Virginia?
People rely on contractors to have the skills and education needed to perform a vast array of tasks. The licensing process showcases that anyone who gets licensed knows how to deliver the services they are marketing.
Some of the top reasons why general contractors need a license are:
Think back to a time when you needed work done on your home. You probably wanted the best person for the job. A contractor's license is a way to verify who has the essential skills to complete a project and who doesn't.
General contractors with licenses have gone through a rigorous training and testing cycle. The license exam tests for knowledge related to construction, business, and laws. Ultimately, it ensures they know the ins and outs of the services they offer.
Better Job Opportunities
When you're a licensed contractor, you're essentially your own boss. As a result, you can have an extremely high earning potential. Once you get your license, you can take on higher-paying jobs and gain valuable experience in the field.
You may even eventually start your own business and have other contractors working under you. Getting licensed is the first step toward a lucrative career in the construction industry.
More Freedom on the Job
Getting licensed gives you more wiggle room regarding who you work with and the projects you accept. You have the freedom to hand-select your clients to ensure you're always working on jobs that excite you.
What's more, you'll have the freedom to create your own schedule and can take vacations whenever needed.
Classifications of Virginia Contractor Licenses
Not all Virginia contractor licenses cover the same type of project. Each one serves a different purpose and has its unique requirements.
The three classes of contractor licenses are as follows:
Class A License
The Virginia Class A contractor license is essentially the most valuable. For this license, the applicant needs proof of a minimum net worth of at least $45,000 and five years of relevant work experience.
The benefits of having a Class A license are that your maximum project size and maximum revenue are unlimited. In other words, you can take on projects of all sizes and budgets. Typically, highly-experienced contractors carry this type of license.
Class B License
The Virginia Class B is a step below the Class A license. It requires a minimum net worth of $15,000 and three years of relevant work experience.
The maximum project size you can take on with this license is anything less than $120,000. The license permits a maximum annual revenue of $750,000.
While it may not be as prestigious as a Class A license, you can still earn a decent living and work on some high-level projects.
Class C License
The Class C license is the more entry-level option of the three. It doesn't have a minimum net worth requirement, but you still need at least two years of relevant work experience.
With a Class C license, you can take on projects of up to $10,000 and generate an annual revenue of under $150,000.
Virginia Contractor Licensing and Registration Fees
A Virginia contractor license demands a modest investment of time and money. You will need to pay the appropriate licensing and registration fees to the Treasurer or state of Virginia.
Here's a breakdown of the fees:
- $385.00 – Class A License application fee
- $370.00 – Class B License application fee
- $235.00 – Class C License application fee
- $50.00 – Annual business registration fee
Virginia Contractor License Application Overview
The Virginia general contractor license application process consists of numerous parts. You can find the official application on the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) website.
Here's a brief overview of you'll need to gather before submitting your Virginia contractor license application:
- The class of license you're applying for (Class A, B, C)
- The specialty of license(s) you're applying for
- Your Business Registration, entity type, and Identification Number
- Names and contact information of all members of Responsible Management
- Proof of minimal net worth requirements
- Signatures of all relevant team members
- Verification of Relevant Experience
How to Become a Licensed Contractor in Virginia
From the surface, becoming a licensed contractor in Virginia can seem daunting. However, the process is pretty straightforward if you're well prepared.
Here's a breakdown of the steps it takes to become a qualified general contractor in Virginia:
Set Up Your Virginia Contractor Business
If you want to become a general contractor in Virginia, you'll need to make your idea a reality by setting up an official business. This process includes registering your company and creating a business entity (LLC, sole proprietor, etc.), business name, declaring responsible management.
If you're the only one involved in the business, setting up all the above is incredibly simple.
Decide Which License You'll Need
In Virginia, contractor licenses have a class and specialty. There are three classes of licenses available to contractors: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Each class has different requirements to apply and each class has different limitations to the scope of projects the contractor can bid on. While many people who are just starting typically apply for a Class B or Class C license since they have a lower barrier of entry, if you meet the requirements for a Class A license you can still apply for one as a first-time applicant!
Each license must have a specialization as well. Common specialties of licenses include:
- Commercial Building Contractor (CBC)
- Residential Building Contractor (RBC)
- Commercial Improvement Contractor (CIC)
- Home Improvement Contractor (HIC)
- Highway Heavy Contractor (H/H)
There are many more license specialties specific to other types of work, such as Roofing, Painting, and Asphalt Paving for example. If you aren't sure where to begin, you can speak with a Licensing Expert on a Start-Up Consultation Call to find out what license specialty is best for your business!
Complete the 8-Hour Pre-License Course
All Virginia Contractor License Applicants are required to complete an 8-Hour training course discussing contractor license requirements, laws and regulations for the construction industry, and the basics of running a business in Virginia. We offer a Board-Approved 8-Hour Pre-License Course at the link here.
Fulfill Your Virginia Business Law Requirements
Virginia requires that all Class A or Class B contractors license applicants take and pass a Business Law exam. All Class A and Class B license applicants must pass the 'Virginia' and 'General' portions of the exam. The 'Advanced' portion of the exam is optional for Class B license applicants, but it is mandatory for Class A applicants. To see more and sign up for our Virginia Class A/B Exam Prep Course, you can visit the course page here.
Submit Your DPOR License Application
After completing all the requirements and passing your exam, you can submit your application to the Virginia DPOR. Make sure you read everything carefully and double-check you've included all necessary information before sending in your application. DPOR requires an assortment of supporting documents to be submitted with the application, and discrepancies in any of them can cause the entire application to be denied. Our license specialists can walk you through the application process and ensure you aren't one of the 60% of first-time applicants that receives a rejection notice by DPOR with our Contractor License Application Processing Service!
Pass Your Technical Licensing Exam
Once DPOR approves your license application, the final step to obtaining a license is to take and pass a technical licensing exam. This exam will have content specific to the type of work you applied to perform. At Contractor Training Center, we offer exam prep courses and materials for nearly every Virginia specialty! From Commercial Building Contractor (CBC) and Residential Building Contractor (RBC) to Highway Heavy (H/H) and Roofing Contractor (ROC) licenses, we offer exam prep backed by a No-Pass, No-Pay Guarantee for them all!
No doubt, getting your Virginia contractor's license won't be easy. That said, you can increase the chances of getting it the first time around by being well prepared. Consult the experts at Contractor Training Center, and you'll have more comfort and confidence when applying.
If you need help with the licensing process, contact our team here at Contractor Training Center for expert advice and guidance.