New York Contractor License Courses, Classes & Exam Prep

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Overview & Benefits

Obtaining a Contractor’s License in the State of New York

Not just anyone can work as a general contractor in New York. Like with all of the other states, New York has certain guidelines in place. These requirements are unavoidable if you want to work on major projects or start a legitimate business. Before beginning any work or taking on any liabilities, you need to have the proper licensure. 

Some contractors choose to forgo the licensing process. Without this documentation, they often find small-scale jobs that are few and far between. However, a general contractor’s license will let you legally and safely perform large-scale jobs. You will establish your business and gain more loyal, higher-paying clients. 

Obtaining your general contractor’s license may seem intimidating at first:

Where do I begin?
What requirements do I need to meet?
What if I don’t pass the exams? 

Here at Contractor Training Center, we have all of the resources you need to do so. We offer extensive courses and materials you can use to help you pass the required exams. Below, our experts will outline everything you need to know. We will cover all of the pertinent New York rules, laws, and regulations about general contractor’s licenses. 

In New York, the only contractors that are licensed at the state level are crane operators and contractors who handle asbestos. Otherwise, general contractors in New York will need to apply for a license at the local level. Depending on where you live, you will need to abide by certain city or county regulations.

The Benefits of Having a Contractor’s License in New York

Upon receiving your general contractor’s license in New York, you can start working. Some of the benefits you will experience include:

Higher Earning Potential

Without a license, the type of work you can take on is severely limited. When you get one, you can start taking on bigger jobs that pay more. Increase your workload and profits by getting a New York general contractor’s license. 


Your customers will feel at ease hiring you to perform a job knowing that you have the credentials. When you invest your own money and time into getting your license, customers will know that you take your trade seriously. 

Trust with clients: Obtaining your license isn’t something that can be done overnight. With a license in hand, clients will feel confident that you have the skills necessary to perform potentially dangerous construction jobs. They’ll know that you’ll follow all applicable regulations and laws. This will help you become established in your area, and a growing number of clients will turn to you to complete their large-scale projects.

What's on the Exam?

What You Can Expect from Us

We are here to help you through every step of the process. In New York, there are three major steps you have to take to start working as a general contractor:

Submit an application and pass the appropriate contractor’s license exam
Obtain proper business licensing
Obtain a surety bond

This process can sometimes be confusing, especially if it’s your first time applying as a general contractor. Our team will help you understand every step. We ensure that you know what documentation to submit to help expedite your application’s turnaround. 

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License Requirements

How To Get A Contractor's License In New York

Unfortunately, you can’t get your contractor’s license overnight. There are several steps involved. These include submitting your license application and establishing your company as a legitimate business. Learn more about the process below:

Step 1: Submit An Application For Your Contractor’s License

During the application process, you will need to submit the appropriate fee as well as documentation like proof of identity, proof of liability coverage, and worker’s compensation insurance. Some cities will require you to complete a criminal background check. 

Step 2: Obtain Business Licensing

To operate as a contracting business, you will need to obtain proper business licensing. Oftentimes, you will need to abide by New York’s and your local jurisdiction’s requirements. This way, you will be legally allowed to perform your services in your area.

Step 3: Decide What Type Of License Your Business Needs

Think about the type of work you want to perform as a general contractor. Not every worker can perform the same type of work without first seeking some specialization. The specific steps you will need to take will vary depending on your city and county. 

However, these are some examples of the specific categorizations you may need to seek as part of your general contractor’s license:

New Buildings
You can work on 1-, 2-, or 3-family homes and all other new buildings with certain regulations in place. 

You can make certain alterations, including:
Adding three or more stories
Adding more than 25% to a building’s floor area
Removing more than 50% of the floor area
Removing one or more story
Working in a 1-, 2-, 3-, or 4-story family home or condo

You can perform both partial and full demolitions. 

You can perform all excavation and foundation work. 

You can place more than 2,000 yards of concrete. 

Step 4: Study For Your Exam

Once you’ve completed the lengthy paperwork process, you can start studying for your exam. 

Step 5: Take The Exam

Once you’ve studied and prepared, you can take your exam! 

Overview Of Application Steps In Major Cities

Not every city in New York has the same application process. Below, you can read a brief overview of how to apply for a general contractor’s license in some of New York’s major cities:

New York City, NY

In New York City, the general contractor’s licenses are most commonly referred to as home improvement contractor licenses. 

The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs is the body that reviews contractors’ applications. It is also responsible for issuing licenses to contractors who they deem eligible. 

Some contractors hope to negotiate contracts as part of their line of work. If they choose to do this, they must obtain a Home Improvement Salesperson license from the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. 

New York City home improvement contractor licenses are valid for two years. After that period, they must be renewed. 

Buffalo, NY

A general contractor in Buffalo, New York must hold a General Contractor (GNC) grade license. With this license, you can perform construction work on residential and commercial buildings.

The licenses are regulated by the Permit and Inspection Services Offices of Licenses within the Buffalo Department of Economic Development. They offer various types of licenses that focus on anything from handyman services to demolition. 

Yonkers, NY

In Yonkers, a general contractor must apply for a Home Improvement license. You will need to turn in a notarized application to the city and the $300 accompanying fee. You will also need to turn in proof of insurance and any other supporting documents.

Like in New York City, general contractor’s licenses in Yonkers are good for two years after they’re issued.

Rochester, NY

Licensing in Rochester occurs on a project-by-project basis. Before you begin any work, you need to prove that the work meets the city’s safety codes and guidelines. 

You must hold a building permit from the Bureau of Planning & Zoning. In most cases, you will also need a zoning permit.

The costs of these permits will vary depending on the materials and labor required for the project.

Syracuse, NY

In Syracuse, general contractors need to go through a zoning review. They also need to go through a building code review before any work begins. These steps ensure the health and safety of the Syracuse population. 

Albany, NY

General contractors in Albany are regulated by the Division of Building & Codes. Before you begin any construction work in Albany, you must apply for both a building and zoning permit.

For every job, you must apply for these permits and report the following information:

The type of work
The job location
The estimated cost you’re seeking

You begin working once the planning and zoning department gives you approval. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about the licensing process

Does New York State offer reciprocity with other states?

No. Regulations vary from city to city, so New York does not offer reciprocity with other states. 

Do I need to renew my license?

Yes. In some areas, your license is valid for up to two years. In other areas, you will need to get a new one after just one year. 

How old do I need to be to get a contractor's license?

Any applicant for a contractor’s license in New York must be at least 18 years old.

Do I need to partake in continuing education?

Continuing education is not required at the state level. You need to check with your city or county to determine if continuing education is mandated at the local level. 

Contact Contractor Training Today

Are you ready to start working as a contractor in New York? Our team is here to help you build a name for yourself as a general contractor. We offer the support you need to understand the licensing process in New York. We also help you prepare for and pass the required exams. 

With our exam preparatory services, you can begin your dream career as a general contractor in no time. Contact our team to get the training and preparation you need! 

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