A career as a contractor promises a future full of creative problem-solving, team collaboration, and challenging projects. But before any aspiring contractor can jump into the action and begin accepting clients, there is a surprising amount of work to do and preparation required.
Daunting though the laundry list of certifications and exams may be, there are a number of essential components to keep in mind in order to set yourself up for success. Whether you’re embarking on a journey towards a new and exciting career or simply relocating your business to the state of Virginia, these simple tips for contractor licensing in Virginia can send you in the right direction with confidence and excitement for the future.
Create a Business Entity
In Virginia, contractor licenses are not issued to individuals. Instead, licenses can only be issued to registered businesses, regardless of how large or small that business may be. So the first logical in obtaining a contractor license is to create a business entity.
You’ll want to decide what type of business you want to establish, such as an LLC, corporation, or sole proprietorship. Then, you will want to seek legal counsel to ensure the proper steps are taken and your company is registered correctly.
Once you have completed this step, you are eligible for a contractor license and can focus on preparing for the necessary certifications.
Assess What Type of License You Need
Before you sign up for any courses or examinations, it’s important to know which type of license you are seeking. This is because each class has different requirements and enables contractors to pursue different levels of projects.
In Virginia, there are 3 primary classes of licensure that contractors seek. Simply put, different monetary restrictions for how much projects can cost are placed on each license class. Class A has no monetary cap, while Class B is restricted to contracts of $120,000 or less. Class C is restricted to projects below $10,000.
Once you decide what level of contracting work you are interested in doing, you will need to take the necessary courses to acquire that class of licensure.
Pass the Appropriate Exams
Depending on the class, you will need someone within your business to take on certain roles, such as that of the Designated Employee, and study for the required examinations. Both Class A and Class B require a Designated Employee. That individual is generally a full-time employee but can also be a member of Responsible Management.
For Class A, Designated Employees must successfully pass the General, Virginia, and Advanced sections of the licensure examination. For Class B, all Designated Employees must complete both the Virginia and General portions of the examination, but do not need to take the Advanced section.
At the Contractors Institute, we offer a variety of classes that can help Designated Employees prepare for the exams, and even provide textbook bundles at great prices for our students.
Take the Required Education Course
Once you decide which class of license you’re seeking and have designated the required roles, you will need to take the necessary courses for your specific level. Each class has unique requirements, but there are also underlying courses that all businesses seeking licensure need to take.
Regardless of class, all potential contractor license-holders must have their Designated Employee (if applicable for the class) or a member of Responsible Management take and pass an education course that has been pre-approved by the Board of Contractors. Many of these classes are available online, or you can choose to sit for the course in person.
Submit Your Application
The last—and usually most exciting—step for businesses, is to submit the complete application to The Board of Contractors. It is incredibly important that the entire application is compiled correctly and all essential information included, or else the process of being approved may be extended and a new application may have to be submitted entirely.
In Virginia, there are different fees required depending on the license you are seeking, and those fees must be submitted with the application.
The process of seeking a contractor license is not for the faint of heart and does require a good amount of effort and work. But with our help here at Contractors Institute guiding you along, as well as a hefty dose of dedication, your contractor business dream can become a successful reality.