Getting a Contractor’s License in Tennessee

By checking out this page, you are one step closer to obtaining your Tennessee contractor’s license. You have begun a journey that will lead to larger projects, higher credibility, and a successful contracting future!

At Contractor Training Center, we do everything in our power to ensure this outcome. With seminars and educational resources, we will guide you on your journey to a Tennessee contractor license.

This page will cover the specific steps of how to get a contractor’s license in Tennessee. It explores state-specific exam requirements, the application process, and all other contractors license Tennessee requisites!


Contracting Terminology

When applying for your Tennessee contractor license, you may find yourself overwhelmed by jargon. This is understandable, especially due to how broadly the state of Tennessee defines ‘contracting.’

According to the state, a contractor is “someone who performs or offers a price, or bid to construct, supervise, superintend, oversee, schedule, direct, or in any manner assume charge of the construction, alteration, repair, improvement, movement, demolition, putting up, tearing down, or furnishing labor to install material or equipment; highway, road, railroad, sewer, grading, excavation, pipeline, public utility structure, project development, etc.”

In simpler terms, if you perform any of the aforementioned services, you are a contractor. Thusly, you need to undergo the contractor license Tennessee application process.

If your goal is to work on large scale projects, you need a Tennessee general contractor license. This is because the general contractor license Tennessee provides is needed for all projects beyond a certain bidding price. To be precise, you must hold a Tennessee contractor’s license for bidding projects at $25,000 or more!


What You Can Expect from Us

At the Contractor Training Center, we help you navigate the Tennessee contractor license system. We’ll guide you through the right tests to take and reveal how to get a contractor’s license in Tennessee. We do everything in our power to make certain you pass your test on the first try.

We’ve helped over 30,000 contractors get their license. We would love to help you get your Tennessee general contractor license!


Steps to Getting Your License

We can walk you through the process of obtaining a contractor’s license in Tennessee. There are three main steps that are the same in almost every state. These steps are to submit an application, pass a Business Law exam, and pass a Technical exam.

  • The application ensures you are registered in the state properly. That way, they can tax you and confirm that you have verifiable experience.
  • The Business Law exam ensures you understand the laws of operating a business in the state of Tennessee.
  • The Technical exam verifies you have the skills and knowledge to do the types of work that you want to perform.

We supply the prep classes, books, and the tabs necessary to pass the OPEN BOOK EXAMS. Tabbing and highlighting the books is allowed and part of our curriculum. This process has proven successful for the general contractor license Tennessee application and for others as well!

We have an extremely high first-time pass rate on our exams. If you do not pass, we will give you the class again for free. Our mission is to help you obtain the contractor’s license Tennessee requires!


The Courses We Offer

For the Tennessee contractor license, we teach exam prep courses for the NASCLA, which is a commercial licensing exam accepted in the state of Tennessee and is transferable to 14+ other states and the USVI. This is the most popular for the Tennessee general contractor license because of its acceptance and flexibility - If you wanted to, you could build a skyscraper with this license!


Deciding Which Contractor Trade Exams Apply

Before you begin studying, it’s best to determine what trade exam you need to take. This choice will determine your field and what form of contractor’s license Tennessee will give you.

All applicants who want a Tennessee contractor’s license must take the business and law exam. This is an open book test and based on the NASCLA reference manual. You can find the manual online through the PSI Online Store as well as NASCLA.

Tennessee accepts NASCLA licenses for commercial use only. Here is a complete list of the states that accept it as well.

  • Alabama - Commercial only
  • Arizona - Commercial only
  • Arkansas - Commercial and Residential - No Business Law exam required
  • Florida - Commercial and Residential
  • Georgia - Commercial and Residential
  • Louisiana - Commercial and Residential
  • Mississippi - Commercial and Residential
  • Nevada - Commercial only
  • North Carolina - Commercial and Residential - No Business Law exam required
  • Oregon - Commercial and Residential
  • South Carolina - Commercial and Residential
  • Tennessee - Commercial only
  • US Virgin Islands - Commercial and Residential
  • Utah - Commercial and Residential
  • Virginia - Commercial only
  • West Virginia - Commercial and Residential

The second exam differs based on your specialty. This is your trade exam, and it is specific to your skillset. All exams are open book and will cover all forms of the contractor license that Tennessee provides.

To know how to get a contractor’s license in Tennessee, you need to know your specialty and the corresponding test.  Workers can specialize in residential work, plumbing, small commercial, industrial, and countless other fields.

In order to accommodate this diversity, there are exams for all possible forms of the Tennessee contractor license. Here are some common specialties and their corresponding exam:

  • If you intend to only build residential houses, then you need to take the Residential (BC-A) exam.
  • For a construction manager, the state requires you to take the Full Residential/Commercial/Industrial (BC) exam.
  • For homes and commercial projects, you’ll need the BC-A and BC- b(sm) exams. You can also take the combined BC-A,b(sm).

Deciding the right test will reveal how to get a contractor’s license in Tennessee that works for you! If you are unsure of what test is best, feel free to contact us! We’ll help you find your test and the corresponding study materials. Ultimately, we will guide you towards your Tennessee general contractor license!

 

Taking the Exam

Once you are ready for your specific test, it’s time to schedule your exam. The general contractor license Tennessee exams are crucial for your career, so prepare accordingly!

As with other states, the contractor’s license Tennessee test will take place at a PSI facility. You can find their offices in:

  • Chattanooga
  • Jackson
  • Johnson City
  • Knoxville
  • Memphis
  • Nashville

Note that you need to schedule an appointment; walk-ins will not be honored. Making an appointment is easy, and some applicants have been able to schedule for the same day!

You can schedule an appointment through PSI, either through PSI's website or by contacting them at (800) 733 9267.

After scheduling the exam, you will need a passing grade to receive the Tennessee general contractor license. With the Contract Training Center, there’s a high chance you only will have to take this test once!

 

Trade Exam Waiver

If you already hold a license in another state, the state of Tennessee will waive the trade exam for the general contractor license. This is because they have a reciprocity agreement with certain areas. They will honor specific licenses from other states. That way, you do not have to retake your trade exam to get the Tennessee contractor’s license. These states include:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • South Carolina

You must consider any of the above states as your domicile to qualify for the waiver. The waiver will not apply if you do not officially live in one of these states.

If you do live in one of these states and are licensed, then you qualify for the trade exam waiver! Simply attach a copy of your license and your previous score to the contractor’s license Tennessee application.


Supplemental Application Material

Once you’ve passed your exams, it’s time to move further into the application process. This step includes filling out the Tennessee contractor’s license application and submitting additional paperwork. The supplemental materials will vary based on your own qualifications.

The Tennessee general contractor license requires the following documents:

  • A prepared financial statement
  • Certificate of insurance
  • Letter of reference
  • A felony conviction disclosure (if applicable)

Preparing Your Finances

One of the main components of how to get a contractor’s license in Tennessee is to include a prepared financial statement. This is because the Tennessee general contractor license allows you to perform services for a monetary rate.

For this step, you will need the help of a certified public accountant (CPA).  If you have a monetary limit of more than $3,000,001, your CPA will need to audit your financial statement. If your limit is less than this number, the Tennessee contractor license will require a reviewed financial statement.

Do not be tempted to avoid hiring a CPA! This step is mandated in the contractor’s license Tennessee process.  You must use a CPA if you intend to work on commercial homes that will bid more than $150,000.


Determining Monetary Limit

As a contracted individual, you will be exchanging money for services. Thus, to regulate the economy, you will be assigned a monetary limit. This number is the threshold for how much you may bid and contract on projects. It is calculated by on your own net worth and working capital.

The general contractor license Tennessee requires a monetary limit ten times the amount of your net worth or working capital. Use whichever value is less. This equation looks like:

10 x (working capital); if working capital < net worth

10 x (net worth); if net worth < working capital

So, let’s say your net worth is $150,000 and your working capital is $20,000. Working capital is the lesser number, so the monetary limit would be:

10(20,000) = $200,000

This limit would allow you to bid and contract on projects that are equal to or less than that value! Memorize this rule; it will help you in the future. By understanding the limit process, you have a better grasp on how to get a contractor’s license in Tennessee!


Submitting the Application

After compiling all relevant paperwork, it’s time to put the finishing touches on your Tennessee contractor’s license application. Make certain that you have accurately answered all questions. The state will not honor the application if it’s unfinished!

Also, make sure everything is notarized and all supplemental material is attached. This includes:

  • The one-time Tennessee contractor license fee of $250. This should be a check or money order written out to ‘The State of Tennessee’
  • A copy of your passing exam scores
  • The financial statement prepared by your CPA
  • A Certificate of Insurance

You need to send your application into the contractor’s license Tennessee board prior to the 20th of the month that they are meeting. These meetings fall on the months of January, March, May, July, September, and November. If the 20th falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline for the Tennessee contractor’s license extends to the next business day.

You can find their schedule here on the public meetings calendar. You can send the Tennessee general contractor license application to this address:

Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors
500 James Robertson Pkwy.
Nashville, TN 37243-1150

Telephone: (615) 741-8307 or

Email: [email protected]

If you’d rather not apply by snail mail, the contractor license Tennessee application will allow you to apply online! All you need to do is create a profile through their website and fill out all questions. Attach copies of your paperwork and pay the general contractor license Tennessee fee online. You can pay by credit, debit, or e-check. This option is perfect if you would rather not wait the 5-7 days for your application to travel by mail.


Getting Board Confirmation

One final step of how to get a contractor’s license in Tennessee is an in-person interview. This is not mandatory for everyone. Sometimes it can be easily waived, if applicable. You will not be able to waive the contractor’s license Tennessee based interview if:

  • You have a restricted residential BC-A/r.
  • You did not provide evidence of at least three years of experience
  • You have a complaint or felony conviction

For those that cannot get their interview waived, you will be sent a letter with your date and details. This interview is the last step for achieving a Tennessee general contractor license, so prepare accordingly!

Once you’ve finished this step, the board will decide whether or not to grant you the Tennessee contractor license.


Final Thoughts

Getting a Tennessee general contractor license doesn’t need to be overly complicated. At Contractor Training Center, we are equipped with countless guides just like this one. Our team will show you the ins and outs of how to get a contractor’s license in Tennessee.

We have helped over 30,000 contractors get their license, and we look forward to helping you!

Ready to learn more? Don’t hesitate to call us. Your Tennessee contractor’s license is just one phone call away at 804-556-5518!


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