Want to visit tropical islands, have a dream to open your resort, or have a vision of building a house on one of them? You might need to become a general contractor if you want these things to come true.
Below, you will learn how to become a general contractor in the U.S. Virgin Islands. You will also find out what the certification requirements, getting a construction license, and the skills needed are.
Read this article, and you will learn how to become a general contractor in the U.S. Virgin Islands in no time at all.
What Is a General Contractor?
In the USVI, general contractors manage a project from start to finish. To be a contractor in the Virgin Islands, you are responsible for ensuring that the quality of the work meets the client's standards. Still, they do not perform any labor themselves—they hire subcontractors and manage them.
A general contractor may be hired to complete a project from start to finish, or they can be hired for individual elements of the project. The latter is more common, as many people find hiring a GC for specific tasks more manageable and less expensive than hiring one for the entire job.
Why Become a General Contractor in the USVI?
Becoming a GC is ideal for people who like variety in their workday because many different things need to be done on any given project site:
- Signing contracts with clients
- Taking care of any necessary paperwork
- Scheduling meetings between contractors and subcontractors
It's also a rewarding way to pursue a career. As a U.S. Virgin Islands general contractor, you can work for yourself and be your boss while helping people with their construction projects.
You can also choose to work in the field of construction if you have no interest in owning your own business or working with clients on the job site. This may be beneficial if you prefer to stay behind the scenes and do not want to deal with customer complaints and issues regarding their home improvement projects.
Life in the USVI
One of the perks of becoming a general contractor in paradise is that life in the USVI is a laid-back vacation. If you're from a big city, you'll feel like you're on another planet when you get here. It's not uncommon to see locals wearing flip-flops and shorts, even if it's cold outside. People are friendly, and they want to make sure you feel comfortable.
If you're looking for excitement and adventure, the USVI has plenty of that too! There are beaches that will take your breath away, hotels with amazing views of the water and mountains, and hiking trails that will take your mind off of your job when it gets stressful.
What Is the Market Like for General Contractors in the U.S. Virgin Islands?
The U.S. Virgin Islands is a great place to be a general contractor because it's experiencing steady growth, has a lot of construction projects in the pipeline, and is home to many high-earning corporations.
The U.S. Virgin Islands is one of only three tax havens for corporations in America (the others are Delaware and Puerto Rico). However, you'll still need to remember to factor in contractor's insurance when considering your taxes and expenses.
The market for general contractors in the U.S. Virgin Islands has been growing steadily over the past decade due to increased tourism dollars from cruise ships sailing through their waters. Each vessel has thousands of tourists onboard when they dock here while traveling between Key West, Florida and St. Thomas and St. John.
How Much Money Do General Contractors in the USVI Earn?
The median annual wage for general contractors was $62,000 on the U.S. mainland. However, the lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,000, while the top 10 percent earned well over $90,000.
These are still relevant figures when comparing U.S. mainland salaries to those in the U.S. Virgin Islands. For example, the USVI median salary for a similar position is more than $100,000 per year!
Once you've become familiar with how much money general contractors earn then you'll want to know you obtain your license.
Steps to Obtaining a General Contractor's License in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Get Your High School Diploma or Ged
So, do you think you are eligible for a general contractor's license? Then you must be prepared to submit several important documents. Your bundle of papers should be addressed to the U.S. Virgin Islands Construction Board (USCIB).
The necessary documents include the following:
- Your high school diploma or GED
- Proof of U.S. Virgin Islands residency status (such as an ID card)
- Two passport photos
- A check for $300 was made out to the USCIB
You don't have to be a U.S. citizen to get a license as a general contractor. But you need valid documentation that proves your residency status in the U.S. Virgin Islands (such as an ID card).
Obtain Work Experience
One of the most important requirements to become a general contractor is to gain experience by working in the field. By working as an apprentice, you'll learn the ins and outs of construction from someone who has been in the business for a long time. Make sure that you are working for a licensed contractor.
That way, your experience will be legitimate. Also, ensure you learn all about different building materials, how they're used, and which ones are most commonly used for different jobs.
As an apprentice on a construction site, try to learn as much as possible about different construction methods, such as drywall installation or roofing installation—getting familiar with these types of projects will help when it comes time to apply for your license later on down the road!
Apply for a Contractor's License With the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Licenses and Consumer Affairs
Once you meet the necessary qualifications, you can apply for a contractor's license with the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Licenses & Consumer Affairs. Each island has its own licensing requirements, so check with your local government to learn more about how you can join the ranks of building trades professionals in this beautiful archipelago.
After You Have Obtained Your License
When you have obtained a license there are some steps you need to make sure you implement every year to maintain your license.
Be On Top of Regulations
As a general contractor, you have to stay on top of your game in order to maintain your license. You have to be sure that you're following all of the rules and regulations set by the USVI Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs (DLCA).
The DLCA monitors your company's finances, making sure that the money coming in from clients matches up with the work orders that are being completed. They also make sure that your employees are licensed and insured so that no one gets hurt on site.
They also make sure that you're following all of the regulations set forth by the United States Department of Labor (DOL), including paying workers' compensation insurance premiums and paying into an unemployment compensation fund for any employees who lose their jobs due to economic conditions.
Take at Least 15 Hours of Credit Towards Continuing Education
To remain licensed as a general contractor in the U.S. Virgin Islands, you must take at least 15 hours of continuing education credits over your licensing year.
Renew Your Contractor's License Each Year
Renew your contractor's license each year by submitting 15 hours of continuing education credits to the Department of Licenses & Consumer Affairs. The renewal fee is $50 and must be paid when you submit your continuing education credits.
The continuing education credits must be related to the license type and submitted within 90 days of the license expiration date. The credits must also be presented in a format approved by the Department of Licenses & Consumer Affairs.
If you do not renew your license within 90 days of its expiration date, you will be required to complete the entire licensing process and pay all applicable fees again. Your license must be renewed every two years. The renewal fee is $50 and must be paid when you submit your continuing education credits.
The Unique Challenges of Being a Contractor in the U.S. Virgin Islands
There are a few challenges that make becoming a contractor in the U.S. Virgin Islands uniquely challenging:
The weather on most of the islands is generally warm, but it can be unpredictable and damaging. Hurricanes are common, and they can strike at any time of year.
You need to be prepared for this possibility, particularly if you want to make your living as an independent contractor.
Cost of Living
Living costs in the USVI are higher than average because everything must be imported or shipped in by boat or air freight due to their location (some islands have no motor vehicles).
This also makes it difficult for contractors who work on larger projects like hotels or resorts because they may be unable to afford materials due to their costs being inflated by shipping expenses.
Job Market Size
The number of jobs available for general contractors is small compared with other places like Florida. However, here there are still a lot of exciting opportunities available.
Competition is, therefore, fierce because there aren't many local opportunities. The competition also gets pretty intense when securing contracts with clients if you have your own company.
The Licensing Process Is Difficult
The process itself takes some time. This is because applicants must pass exams before receiving their licenses. This adds another barrier when trying to become a general contractor in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Because of these unique challenges, we recommend booking an initial consultation with us to discuss your licensing options. Our experts can walk you through every step of the contractor licensing process: from initial exam prep from our knowledgable instructors to application assistance by our state licensing specialists, Contractor Training Center is here to make it as easy as possible to obtain a license in the U.S. Virgin Islands!
General Contractor in the U.S. Virgin Islands—Know What to Expect
Becoming a general contractor in the U.S. Virgin Islands is a great way to start your own business and make money, mainly as you help people improve their homes and businesses.
You'll need to get your education and experience first. However, once you've got those two things under your belt, it's just a matter of passing the contractor's exams and applying for your contractor's license with the Department of Licenses & Consumer Affairs. At Contractor Training Center, we can help you through this part of the licensing process with ease!
If you're interested in obtaining a general contractor's license in the U.S. Virgin Islands, request a quote from one of our agents to help you prepare for the National NASCLA Commercial Builder exam today!