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How to Become a General Contractor in Colorado
Colorado is an excellent place to start your contracting business. Not only is it beautiful land, but also the state laws provide unique opportunities for new contractors. However, the requirements you need to meet before you can legally work in Colorado can be daunting.
Colorado is unlike other states in that there is no statewide general contractor's license. Instead, municipalities administer all licenses. This local licensing means requirements for a license in your city can be different than another's. Therefore, you will need to determine your cities' local licensing requirements to make sure you take the appropriate licensing exam. Yet, many cities in Colorado require that you pass an ICC exam before the city processes the application for your license.
Contractor Training Center assists anyone in need of a contractor's license. Our team of professionals understands all the material and prep you'll need for the exam and to start a successful business. With us to fall back on, there's no need to doubt your ability to obtain your Colorado contractor license as soon as possible.
What You Can Expect From Us
Submitting a contracting license application and passing the exam are the two main steps to obtaining your license. No matter what state you're in, you can expect to need some level of preparation before you can get one. We provide the resources to help you through every step of the way, no matter the state or municipal requirements.
We have exam prep available for all the ICC Standard General Building Contractor Exams, A, B, and C.
We provide all prep classes, books, and tabs you'll need to pass the open book exams. We encourage tabbing and highlighting all your materials as an essential part of our curriculum. We also provide permanent study tabs inside the learning material, a vital resource you can use during the test.
We have a high first-time pass rate on all exams. However, if you do not pass, we offer resources for that as well. You will be able to review study tips on the sections you missed. We'll even give you the class again for free until you pass the exam!Contact us
The Benefits of Having a Contractor's License in Colorado
Every state will have different laws surrounding the contractor's license. Specific projects on your home or public buildings will require you to have a license. Before you begin renovations or any other building project, it's crucial to know which license you'll need in your state.
Obtaining your license means you'll immediately have a higher earning potential for contracting jobs. This increased potential is because you can only perform smaller repair jobs without a license legally, such as grouting, caulking, and door framing. With a contractor's license, you can build things, renovate, and even earn specialty licenses for plumbing and electrician work. Clients are likely to pay more money for a licensed professional over an unlicensed handyman, letting you make more profits.
A license in Colorado will automatically give you credibility in your municipality. The license is there to prove you have the right qualifications and experience to complete a professional job. Clients will be able to view your license and see you have put the necessary time, money, and effort into doing the job right. This credibility will make your business easier to trust and recommend to others!
You won't be able to complete projects without a license if the project exceeds a certain financial threshold. These more significant financial projects mean more effort, profits, and community credibility. The faster you're able to pass your local license exam, the quicker you'll be able to receive a license and grow your business accordingly. The Contractor Training Center recognizes the exam is an essential step in your career, and we want to guide you through the things you'll need to succeed
Gives You Credibility
Having a license increases your credibility, allowing you to build trust with your clients. There are other ways you can gain their trust, but this is a big part of establishing yourself and your business, especially if you're working with new customers.
Getting a contractor's license isn't done overnight, and the process of obtaining a license can be considered a significant investment. Customers often feel at ease knowing a contractor has invested their own time and money working to back up their skills with a license to prove it.
Gives You a Higher Earning Potential
Consequently, there are larger projects that you can't perform without a contractor's license. With one, you can take on big assignments, get more jobs, and increase your profit. More times than not, clients will pay a higher price to a licensed contractor as opposed to unlicensed handymen.
With a license, your clients can trust that you have the knowledge and skills to do what they need. It’s an assurance that you’ll follow all applicable laws and regulations. You can build a relationship with your customers and establish trust in other ways, of course. However, a licensed contractor will stand out far more and attract customers easier.
Additionally, many states legally require businesses to hold a contractor's license to work on projects over a certain financial threshold. If you take the initiative and earn your license now, you can get more business, increase profits, and take on more significant assignments right away. Clients will typically pay a higher fee for licensed contractors because they can trust that the contractor knows what to do and how to do it well.
How to Get a Contractor's License in Colorado
Getting a Contractor's License in any Colorado Municipality is a fairly similar process. Most Colorado cities require applicants to provide proof of education and experience, list any previous licenses/certificates, obtain or supply a Tax ID number, adequate insurance, and Workers' Compensation.
Some localities also require applicants to pass a licensing exam, such as the ICC National Standard Building Contractor Exams.
Some municipalities including Denver, Jefferson County, Fort Collins, and Thornton, accept ICC National Standard Building Contractor exams.
We offer exam prep courses and materials for the following exams:
General Contractor Class A: For the alteration, addition, repair, demolition, or construction of any structure or building.
Building Contractor Class B: For the alteration, addition, repair, demolition, or construction on buildings and structures classified as less than a high rise by the International Building Code.
Residential Contractor Class C: For the alteration, addition, repair, demolition, or construction on one- and two-family dwellings.
Before applying for a contractor's license in Colorado, you will need to research the requirements in the area where you'd like to work. As there is no statewide contractor's license in Colorado, many cities will have separate steps to obtaining your license. Use these steps as a general guide to what you should have prepared to get a contractor's license in Colorado.
Provide Proof of Experience and Education
As part of the initial application process for your license, you may need to provide background information. Be ready to furnish proof of your education and work experience as a handyman or contractor in another area.
List Any Previous Licenses and Certifications
Your municipality in Colorado may also ask for previous certifications or licenses you have already earned. If you worked as a contractor in a different city in Colorado or state, you must provide that information.
Whether or not you have certifications in other places will not guarantee your application will get approved. You must follow through all the required steps to obtain your license.
Check Other Prerequisites
There are other specific prerequisites some areas may implement and not others. For example, the City of Denver requires you to have a supervisor certificate, employ a person who holds a supervisor certificate or hold a Colorado plumbing or electrical license.
Other municipalities may or may not follow Denver's lead. Therefore, you should be careful to have these types of documentation on hand as well.
Obtain Tax ID number
This step counts for businesses all over the United States. No matter what your company will be, you must file for an Employee Identification Number (EIN) with the federal government.
The IRS provides your EIN for free after you fill out an application online. You should receive the number immediately afterward.
Obtain Worker's Compensation
Colorado is unique in that all part-time and full-time workers require worker's compensation insurance to conduct business. This insurance will cover any injury that happens on the job, regardless of who is at fault. This coverage helps to prevent workers from being able to sue their employers for compensation.
Many handypersons begin as independent contractors, so they may not have worker's compensation. It's essential to file for it and follow the correct guidelines to protect yourself and your future employees.
Decide What Type of License Your Business Needs
There are different contracting licenses, depending on the type of work you'd like to do. The three classes that the Contractor Training Center focuses its expertise on in Colorado include:
- Class A (General Contractor): For the addition, alteration, demolition, repair, or construction of any building or structure.
- Class B (Building Contractor): For the addition, alteration, demolition, repair, or construction of any building or structure which the International Building Code classifies as less than a high rise.
- Class C (Residential Contractor): For the addition, alteration, demolition, repair, or construction of any building of one to two-family buildings.
Your local licensing agency will be able to tell you which licenses will require an exam.
Apply for Your License
After you've gathered your materials, you can submit your application. Again, where you file will depend on your municipality.
Most offices will take your application either in person, online or through the mail. Most of the time, these applications will include a fee you can write to the agency.
No matter how long you wait, your application won't go through processing until after you pass the appropriate license exam.
Decide Which Exam to Take
Some municipalities in Colorado accept the National Standard Building Contractor Exams validated by the ICC. These municipalities include Denver, Fort Collins, Thornton, and Jefferson County. Which one you take depends on the type of work you'd like your business to complete and where it will reside. Of course, you must also know which exam corresponds to which license you'd like to earn.
Any of these tests will require reading and reviewing study materials. It's essential to take the test seriously for the state of Colorado to approve your license application. Order any of our valuable resources and online classes from the Contractor Training Center website to get started today.
We offer the materials and exam prep courses for the following exams:
National Standard General Building Contractor A (ICC G11) Exam
This exam corresponds with the Class A General Building Contractor license for the addition, alteration, demolition, repair, or construction of any building or structure.
National Standard Building Contractor B (ICC G12) Exam
This exam corresponds with the Class B Building Contractor license for the addition, alteration, demolition, repair, or construction of any building or structure that the International Building Code classifies as less than a high rise.See More
National Standard Residential Building Contractor C (ICC G13) Exam
This exam corresponds with the Class C Residential Building Contractor license for the addition, alteration, demolition, repair, or construction of any building of one to two-family buildings.See More
Take the Exam
The last step in this equation is to take your contractor's license exam. The ICC encourages contractors to register for their exams through the ICC website. The ICC's PRONTO online testing system allows it to proctor exams 24/7 in the comfort of your own home.
Receive Your License
When you pass the exam, and your application has processed, you will be ready to obtain your contractor's license! Most offices will require that you or a designated individual pick up your license. Only individuals listed on the submitted documentation will be able to pick up the license card.
Additional Certifications and Requirements
Many cities require the ICC National Standard Builders exams for not only contractor licenses, but other certifications as well. Listed below are some common requirements for Colorado municipalities, but please note this is not an exhaustive list. Please contact your local regulatory authority to review the most up-to-date licensing requirements.
Arapahoe County, CO
The Public Works and Development Building Division requires all companies and individuals doing work that requires a building permit in the area of Arapahoe County to obtain a contractor's license. You must mail the application to the Arapahoe County Building Department, with a check, proof of your passing ICC certification, and your general liability insurance. You must also submit proof of workers' compensation insurance if the business will have any employees.
Licenses issued for the City of Boulder are for work being performed inside city limits. You must first obtain a contractor's license before applying for a single trade permit. You are required to submit along with the license application, a copy of your photo ID, passing ICC scores for Class A, B, and C contractors, general liability and workers compensation insurance, and all applicable licensing fees.
Denver, CO requires contractor applicants to hold a supervisor certificate or state electrical/plumbing license. A supervisor certificate holder is a qualified individual who has been issued a supervisor certificate by the Denver office. In order to obtain a supervisor certificate, you must meet the minimum experience requirements for the class of license you are applying for (Class A: 7 years, Class B: 4 years, Class C: 2 years). You will also need to pass an ICC exam for the related class you are applying for. After you have been approved for a supervisor certificate, you can then apply for a contractor's license. You can see more about the Denver Supervisor Certificate application and requirements here.
Jefferson County, CO
In Jefferson County, a contractor is anyone who engages in any type of work for compensation for which a building or mechanical permit is required. All contractors must submit proof that you passed an ICC exam within the last 3 years OR provide a copy of a valid license issued from an ICC participating jurisdiction.
Adams County, CO
All contractors doing work in Adams County are required to be registered as a contractor before pulling a permit. Adams County has released an E-Permit Center, to receive applications for contractor registration online. Adams County will require applicants to show proof of a passing ICC certification or licensure from any Colorado municipality. Applicants will also have to show proof of general liability issuance, listing Adams County Building Safety as the certificate holder.
Arvada City, CO
To obtain permits for building permits or right-of-way permits in the City of Arvada Contractors must first obtain a license. Any work that is construction, erection, addition, alteration, repaint, equipping, moving, removal, conversion, or demolition of any building or structure within the City of Arvada individuals needs to apply for a Building Contractor License. General public improvements, consisting of construction, reconstruction and remodeling of storm drains, irrigation, ditches, fire lines, sewer and water lines, sewer and water mains, curb and gutters, sidewalks, streets, potholing, boring, traffic control devices and similar improvements which are constructed on public right of way easements and other public property, and utility services, on private property between the property line and the building, will need to obtain a Municipal Contractors license.
To work in the city of Aurora as a contractor, you will need to obtain the appropriate license to build, construct, alter, repair, add to, demolish, or move any building or structure. Commercial building contractors in the city of Aurora are required to pass the ICC F11 or F12 (A or B) exams as well as provide proof of insurance. Residential contractors in the city of Aurora are required to pass the ICC F13 C exam and provide proof of insurance.
Town of Basalt, CO
Construction contracting within the Town of Basalt requires a valid license. Applications are required to submit a certificate of contractors liability insurance, workers compensation insurance (if the contractor has no employees a waiver of workers compensation insurance may be filed with the town), and a copy of passing ICC examination results within the past 3 years. There is a continuing education requirement for general contractor pulling permits subject to the Sustainable Building Regulations (SBRs). The town council updated the SBRs and included a continuing education requirement for 2 hours of SBR related training within 18 months prior to permit approval.
Town of Bennett, CO
The Town of Bennett issues 7 types of licenses: Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, ROW, Plumbing and Electrical. Plumbing and Electrical are registrations, not licenses. All licenses are required to submit proof of general liability insurance for $600,000 general aggregate, and $300,000 for each occurrence, as well as workers' compensation insurance. The Town of Bennett must be listed as a Certificate Holder.
City of Englewood, CO
A contractor's license or certificate of registration is required to perform construction work within Englewood city limits. Any person, firm, partnership, association, or organization who undertakes to perform construction for compensation must obtain a Contractor License and provide an affidavit of legal residency or presence in the US. Anyone submitting an application for a Class A, B, C, or HVAC license shall be required to complete an exam. The building division only accepts licensing with the ICC.
Fort Collins, CO
Fort Collins accepts the ICC exams for all 3 classes of licenses Class A, B, and C. You are also required to submit proof of 3 project verifications. Each project must fit the scope of work in which you will be applying for, and can be verified by the homeowner, business owner, or a contractor. You must also submit proof of insurance with the application.
Grand Junction, CO (Mesa County)
In Grand Junction, there are financial levels to licenses, and a net worth of 25% of the amount of the license you are applying for must be established through a financial statement. Unlimited licenses are based on the $750,000 financial level. You will also be required to submit proof of a passing ICC exam for the license you are applying for. You will need to submit proof of insurance with the City of Grand Junction as the certificate holder.
Larimer County, CO
In Larimer county, you must submit proof of a passing grade on an ICC exam or a current applicable license issued by another county or municipality in the state of Colorado with a letter from that jurisdiction on their letterhead stating the passing grade, type of license, year and model of code tested under. You must also provide 3 construction projects verified by building permit number on the applicant form and attach copies of the permit and Certificate of Occupancy or final inspection documents if in another jurisdiction. You can also submit either 3 completed contractor project verification forms signed by the owners, or provide proof of 2 years of experience in your trade by submitting a letter from your previous employer.
A license is required to obtain building permits to do work within the city limits of Littleton. You are required to submit proof of liability and workers compensation insurance. You are also required to submit proof of a passing exam for Class A, B, C, HVAC, and Roofing with ICC. You can also submit proof of a current license in another Colorado municipality in which an ICC exam was passed. If you apply for a Class D license you must submit 2 years of experience in the trade, with two notarized letters of experience from past or present employers. If you are self-employed, you can submit letters from clients or customers.
City of Longmont, CO
The City of Longmont requires a test for all General and Mechanical contractors. The city does not have any reciprocal licensing agreements with any other jurisdiction. The City also honors current test result certificates from the ICC. Contractors must also submit proof of general liability and workers' compensation insurance.
A valid license from a reciprocal jurisdiction or an ICC examination must be submitted with any new applicants. Examinations are conducted by the ICC and are required for Class A, B, C, and Roofing contractors. You must also submit a copy of your photo ID.
Any professional contractors doing work in Northglenn require a contractor's license. New applicants must complete all pages of the application and provide two equivalent licenses from Colorado cities. Northglenn will accept only one license from the following cities: Denver, Aurora, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins. Northglenn will also accept an ICC exam, instead of the two equivalent licenses.
Park County, CO
Park County requires all general contractors to have an appropriate contractor's license issued by Park County to contract for construction work in the area. There are 2 ways to obtain a Park County Contractors license. The first method is to take and pass an ICC exam. The second method is to take a test offered in the Fairplay office, issued by Park County. You also must submit general liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance.
Contractor A, B, C, and Roofing licenses are required to take the ICC exams. The qualified individual passing the exam must also have 3 references submitted with the application. You must submit proof of liability and workers compensation insurance. You will also need to submit a City Use Tax License to do work in the City of Pueblo.
Teller County, CO
Teller County accepts ICC exams for the Class A, B, and C licenses. Teller county requires letters of reference for the examinee. You also must submit financial letters of reference 1 from the bank, and one from a major building supplier. You need to have your business registered with the CO secretary of state. If the examinee holds an equivalent license in El Paso county or from Pikes Peak Regional Building Department a copy of that license can be provided in lieu of proof of an ICC exam.
Contractors in Trinidad are required to show proof of a passing ICC exam for the Class A, B, C, Mechanical, and Roofing exams. You are also required to submit proof of general liability and workers' compensation insurance, with the City of Trinidad as the certificate holder. You also must submit a $5,000 license and permit bond with the application.
The City of Thornton requires licensing for all contractors involved in the construction alteration remodeling, repairing, and equipping of buildings and structures. Applicants for Class A, B, C, D, and Roofing licenses are required to provide proof that they are qualified to perform the work under that license class. Applicants must submit proof of passing test scores or a reciprocal license from another Colorado municipality. The City of Thornton accepts Arvada, Aurora, Boulder, Centennial, Commerce City, Craig, Denver, Englewood, Fort Collins, Littleton, Longmont, Loveland, Mesa County (Grand Junction), Park Count, Pikes Peak (Colorado Springs) Sterling, and Wheat Ridge W11,12, and 13 exams.
Wheat Ridge, CO
You must hold a current contractor's license if you will be doing work for compensation on private property in Wheat Ridge. Evidence of qualification will be required to perform work in Wheat Ridge and can be proven by an ICC passing score, or an active license from one of the following municipalities: Aurora, City of Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins, Pikes Peak, and Park County.
How Much Does ICC Certification Cost?
Each exam has an exam fee of $115. You can purchase your exam by visiting the Pearson VUE website.
How Long Does it Take to Get an ICC Certification?
Once you register for the exam, you can take it at any time. Your exam is valid for one year from the date of purchase. Each exam is open-book and has a four-hour time limit.
ICC offers Proctored Remote Online Testing (PRONTO) so you can take the exam from the comfort of your own home or office. There is also Computer-Based Testing (CBT) offered at over 350 sites across the nation to take the exam at a testing location.
Results for examinations taken electronically will be available immediately after completion of the exam and a pass letter will be mailed to you.
Preparing for the Contractors Exam
Most people know exams from their days in school. Preparing for the contractor's exam is much the same as studying for the SAT or other standardized tests. There are many methods to absorbing the material in your way at your own pace. But no matter which way you cut it, you'll need to work on exam prep if you want to receive a passing grade!
Contractor Training Center provides classes on exams from most Colorado municipalities. Any course you purchase will include pre-recorded lectures for you to review as much as you'd like throughout your session. Highlighting instructions and practice questions comes with the pre-recorded content as well. Students can watch, read, and review any of this material at their own pace.
Another valuable resource we offer at the Contractor Training Center is reference manuals and texts. On our website, we sell the acceptable, official materials that you can to bring into the open book exam. We'll ship your book bundle in 1-2 business days so that you can complete your licensing application as soon as possible!
You may use the specified books and permanent tabs on your respective exam. We provide both on our website, so you'll have them available to you. You can even purchase your book bundle pre-tabbed and pre-highlighted to save time and effort while you study. Bundles of the exam prep books are available for all of the National ICC exams required in the state of Colorado.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ICC exams are proctored by Pearson VUE. Exams are also administered online through PRONTO Proctored Remote Online Testing. You can find more information about taking the exam at ICC's site linked here.