How to Become a Contractor in Virginia: A Basic Guide
Contractor Tips , Posted by Nicole Zemaitis on
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 General Contractor 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.
Different Types 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 main types of contractor licenses go 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 job training.
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 job training.
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 job training.
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 General Contractor Licensing and Registration Fees
A Virginia general 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 General Contractor License Application
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 what to expect on the Virginia general contractor license application:
- The type of license you're applying for (Class A, B, C)
- Name of your business
- Trade name (Name you're doing business as)
- Business entity type
- Appropriate identification number (Business Federal Employer Identification Number FEIN, Social Security Number, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Control Number)
- Business mailing address
- Email address
- Information about expired contractor licenses
- Names of all members of Responsible Management and information
- Proof of minimal net worth requirements
- Signatures of all relevant team members
How to Become a General Contractor in Virginia
From the surface, becoming a general 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:
Step 1) 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.
Step 2) Decide Which License You'll Need
Above, you can see that there are three main types of contractor licenses in Virginia. You'll need to consider each option and its requirements. Most people who are just starting typically go with Class B or C since they have a lower barrier of entry.
Step 3) Start Your Official Training/Education
After you set up all the administrative requirements, you can start your pre-licensing training and education. The kind of education you pursue depends on the license.
Various third-party programs offer educational materials and online training to help you obtain your certificate. At Contractor Training Center, we have Virginia licensing books to help you prepare for the Class A/B exams and Virginia licensing courses guaranteed to improve your chances of passing the first time you take the exam.
Once you complete the required training and education, you'll need to provide proof on your licensing application.
Step 4) Pass Your Exam
Virginia requires that all applicants pass an exam to obtain a Class A or B general contractors license. The exam consists of a wide variety of technical and business-related questions that prove you know how to conduct business as a general contractor and fulfill the services you'll offer.
The exam can be rigorous, but anyone can pass if they study properly and have a clear mind.
Step 5) Submit Your 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.
The processing time for an application is around 30 days, so be patient and wait at least a month before checking in on your application status. If everything checks out, the DPOR will mail your license to your given address, and you can finally relax and celebrate your success.
Tips for Passing Your Exam
Passing your exam is one of the most vital steps toward becoming a licensed general contractor in Virginia. If you're nervous about passing your test, try your best to relax and stay focused on the end goal. While the test can be challenging, there's no reason why you can't pass if you study all the essential materials.
Some ways you can increase your chances of passing the Virginia licensing exam are:
- Start with the Easy Questions. Take time to read through the entire exam and find the questions you're sure you know how to answer. Not only will this give you a boost of confidence, but it will also help you not waste time getting hung up on questions you don't know.
- Skip Questions You Don't Know. To maximize your time when taking the exam, skip questions you aren't sure about and save them for the end. For example, let's say you aren't the best at math. You can skip the math questions and tackle all the other ones you know.
- Don't Be Afraid to Guess. It doesn't hurt to guess if you're entirely sure you don't know the answer to a question. Since many are multiple-choice, you still have a 25% chance of guessing correctly. Not the best odds, but still better than leaving it blank.
No doubt, getting your Virginia general contractor license won't be easy. That said, you can increase the chances of getting it the first time around by being well prepared. Follow all the tips above, 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.