New construction is booming all across the country. The U.S. Census Bureau reported 1,517,000 new building permits in August 2022 alone. The number of housing projects started is up, as well, about 12.2% higher than was estimated in July.
New construction isn't the only construction trend experiencing unexpected growth, either. There's been a massive rise in home improvement projects since 2020. Analysts project those numbers will hold steady well into 2023, as well.
With such a spike in demand, it's little wonder so many are considering becoming a general contractor. The wages are great. There's a steady supply of work. These are all good reasons why there's such a surge in interest in becoming a general contractor in Mississippi.
Many find the freedom and independence that comes with being a contractor appealing as well.
Who Needs a License to Become a General Contractor In Mississippi?
Not everyone doing construction work in Mississippi requires a license. Only construction professionals undertaking projects worth more than $10,000 need to apply to be a general contractor in Mississippi.
Different types of construction have specific rules, as well. Commercial contractors need a commercial license for commercial projects worth more than $50,000, for instance.
Contractors installing commercial fire protection need specific licensing, also. Fire protection works that cost more than $5,000 for public jobs, and $10,000 for private, need a specific contractor's license.
Residential building projects worth more than $50,000 require residential licensing. Residential remodeling projects that cost more than $10,000 require a remodeling license.
Residential roofing jobs worth more than $10,000 require a residential roofing license.
Certain cities and counties can have their own licensing requirements for different jobs. Failure to comply can result in heavy fines, so it's important to check with local offices before beginning any projects.
When applying for your Mississippi contractor's license, you'll likely come across some industry terminology. We're including some common terminology you might come across to help clear up any confusion.
Qualified party (QP) is the party who's responsible for taking the necessary exams. The QP must be the owner, officer, or employee who's responsible for managing a project.
The term Classification refers to the type of license you're applying for. Building construction would be one example of a classification. Heavy construction is another.
Electrical work, mechanical work, and bridgework are also all examples of different kinds of classifications you can get.
Finally, specialty classification is another term you might come across. Contractors can get classifications in specialty trades like drywalling or roofing, for example.
What's Needed for a Mississippi General Contractors License
The first step in becoming a Mississippi general contractor is to fill out the application and submit it either through the mail or online to the Mississippi State Board Of Contractors. Your general contractor's license will be valid for one year after it's been issued.
You'll be responsible for ensuring it's renewed, so make sure to set yourself a reminder somewhere.
You need to include the application fee for the general contractor license as well. It costs $300 for the application fee.
Each additional classification costs $50.
Once your application is approved, you'll receive information about the general contractor testing. This includes when the test takes place and what materials you're allowed to use.
Now you just need to pass your exams. You'll also have to take exams for any classifications you want licenses for. Once you've passed your exams, submit proof to the licensing board. You'll receive verification about your contractor license within seven to 10 days.
Licensing and Registration Fees
Each type of license and classification in Mississippi has its own fees. The application fee for the general contractor fee costs $200, for example. Each additional classification costs $50.
Taking the exam has an exam fee of $120. If you're exempt from needing to take the exam, you'll need to pay an exam waiver fee of $50.
Finally, the fee to become a commercial contractor in Mississippi is $400. This includes one classification. Each additional classification costs $100.
The fee for residential contractors is $50. This also includes one classification. Each additional classification costs $100.
Mississippi Contractors Exam
The next step in becoming a Mississippi general contractor is to pass the contractors exam. This includes the Mississippi Business and Law Exam. You also have to pass the exams for each classification you're seeking.
You can schedule your exam through the PSI website. You can also pay any necessary fees through that portal.
If you've had a similar exam or classification in another state, you may be exempt from having to pass the exams. To qualify, you need to have held that qualification for three consecutive years. Every waived exam requires a fee of $50, however.
The Mississippi Board of Contractors has reciprocity agreements with:
- Alabama General Contractors Board
- Alabama Electrical Board
- Alabama Board of Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors
- Arkansas Contractor Licensing Board
- Georgia Board of Residential and General Contractors
- Louisiana Licensing Board for Contractors
- North Carolina Electrical Contractors Board
- South Carolina Board for Licensing Contractors
- Tennessee Board for Licensing General Contractors
Mississippi General Contractors License Application
Whether you're applying to become a residential or commercial contractor in Mississippi, the application process will follow a similar process.
You'll start by watching a video before beginning the application process in earnest. This video delivers a lot of vital information that's intended to keep the rate of disqualified applications to the bare minimum.
Next, you'll fill out the application. Then you'll sign it and have it notarized in the appropriate places.
Register With the State
If you're operating a corporation or an LLC, you'll need to register with the state of Mississippi in order to become a general contractor. You'll also need a sales tax number or use tax number. These can be obtained through the Mississippi Department of Revenue.
You'll also need a Mississippi Income Tax Number or Federal Income Tax Number.
Next, you'll need to show proof of having a contractor's license bond. This can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $500,000 depending on what kind of work you're going to be doing.
When applying for your contractor's license bond, it's a better idea to work with a bond company. Generalized lenders or banks aren't as equipped to valuate coverage.
Finally, you'll need to provide proof that you have valid worker compensation insurance. This is only necessary if you're going to have five or more employees, however.
Show Proof of Experience
The next stage in the process is to prove you are eligible for licensing due to your work history.
First, you'll need to show that you've completed at least three jobs in any classification you're seeking a license in. Then you'll need to show proof of employment. This includes a paycheck stub, W-2, or proof of owning your own business from the Mississippi Secretary of State.
Next, you'll need an audited financial statement that's been done by a certified public accountant within the last 12 months. Most major classifications require you have a net worth of at least $50,000. Some more minor classifications only require $20,000, though.
Finally, you just have to pay the application fee of $400. Then, if you're eligible, you'll be able to take the business and law exam as well as any other exams for the classifications you're seeking.
Mississippi Licensing Requirements
In order to be eligible to hold a general contractors license in Mississippi, you'll need to show proof that you have valid general liability insurance. If you're operating as a business, you'll need to show proof of having a business license also.
Both of these licenses are obtained from local licensing organizations.
Different classifications have their own licensing requirements, as well. Plumbing and electrical classifications both have their own specifications that need to be met before you're eligible to hold a license in either. You can find those requirements on the Mississippi Board of Contractors website.
If your contracting practice is going to act as a business, you'll need to find out the specifics of obtaining a business license for your specific area. You can register online for any business taxes you'll need to pay, as well.
Finally, if you're going to have more than five employees you'll need to obtain workers' compensation insurance. You can visit the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission website to find out all necessary requirements and to locate any forms you may need.
Reasons to Become a General Contractor in Mississippi
There is nothing quite like being able to make your own destiny. It's also endlessly satisfying to do physical work that builds the homes and commercial spaces where people's dreams will come true.
Here are a few other wonderful reasons to become a general contractor in Mississippi.
No one likes being beholden to somebody else. The independence and feeling of freedom of being a general contractor in Mississippi are among its most appealing aspects. This is particularly valuable in today's business world, where the scope of work is constantly seeping into our home lives and the little free time we have.
Working as a general contractor gives you a choice about what jobs you want to take and who you want to work with. You have the power to make your own decisions about your clients, what kind of work you want to specialize in, and decide what your work is worth.
The experience you'll gain as a Mississippi contractor can be practiced anywhere in the world. You'll have to apply for the appropriate licensing, of course, if you end up working outside of Mississippi, but you could easily do construction and contracting work all over the South, for example.
You could even do contracting work in Central or South America, if you could figure out the local standards and general contractor requirements.
That kind of portability offers stability and peace of mind you won't find in very many other professions.
Helping People Realize Their Dreams
Being a general contractor means helping people while helping yourself at the exact time. You get a lucrative, dependable, stable career doing work you love. Your customers will get the home or business of their dreams to help them realize their life's goals and ambitions.
You won't believe how rich and rewarding this is. Your customer's eyes will light up as they watch their dreams begin to come to life right in front of their eyes over the course of the project. You get to work closely with new homeowners regarding specific details that will help them more fully enjoy their new lives in their new home.
They'll be spending decades there, hopefully, after all. They'll raise their kids there, if they have any. It might even get passed down to their children's children.
That level of meaningful work is difficult to find in today's money-hungry business world. Employment leaving a legacy that lasts is one of the best feelings imaginable. The fact that it's meaningful work that's also hugely lucrative is the definition of living the dream indeed!
Real estate and construction are never going to not be hugely in demand. People are always going to need places to live. There will always be moving in search of a more suitable location to realize their dreams.
Becoming a general contractor in Mississippi lets you help people realize their dream home while giving you a stable, well-paying, and in-demand career at the same time.
Are You Looking to Become a General Contractor in Mississippi?
You've come to the right place! It is our great passion to help construction workers and professionals obtain the knowledge and skills they need to advance their contracting careers.
If you're ready to take the exams to become a general contractor in Mississippi, get started with our Mississippi Exam Prep courses here or book a start-up consultation with a licensing expert today!