A license can help you gain credibility and potentially bring in more business. It also allows you to take on projects above a certain threshold, making them more profitable in the long run.
However, the licensing process varies by state. Before you dive in, make sure to do your research.
Know the Requirements
Whether you are trying to get your home improvement license or want to become licensed to do construction work on commercial and public projects, each state has its requirements. In most cases, you will need to submit a written application and pay a fee, and you will likely need to take an exam.
A contractors state license board or license can help you establish customer credibility and attract more business by showing that you take your work seriously. It can also help you win the trust of larger clients looking for someone they can count on to complete large-scale projects safely and adequately.
Most states will require contractors to carry workers’ compensation and liability insurance, and some may require bonding. You must also register your business and file incorporation or formation documents, while firms outside their home state must qualify as foreigners. The qualifying party is typically the firm’s owner, but it can be any person who meets the eligibility requirements.
Know the Fees
There are several fees associated with getting your license. To start with, you’ll have to get your fingerprints electronically documented. Then there’s the fee to take the exam. Afterwards, there will be a licensing fee. Finally, a bond will need to be purchased.
A home improvement contractor license allows you to work on anything related to building, construction, repairing, wrecking, or altering residential buildings. This license type is beneficial if you want to add a pool or deck to your property.
This license type is required in Boulder and entitles you to contract for any home improvement projects exceeding $500. This is a great way to increase earning potential and build client trust. In addition, having a license can give you access to lower insurance rates. This is a big benefit for any new construction business. Ultimately, your clients will appreciate your investing in your professional growth.
Know the Process
For most contractors, getting a license means meeting many standards, including verifying work experience and financial stability and passing a contractor’s licensing exam. Many states have exams that cover both trade knowledge and business law.
Most states have licenses for general contractors, specialty contractors like electricians and plumbers, and subcontractors who work under a licensed general contractor. Contractors also must choose a legal structure for their firm, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company.
The process may include filing incorporation or formation documents and registering the firm with the secretary of state. Contractors operating outside their home state may need to foreign qualify their business. Applicants should have at least three reference letters from past employers and clients to submit with their applications. Some states require a background check to assess an applicant’s risk. Then, the applicant must secure a contractor license bond. The bond protects the public from loss if the contractor fails to follow licensing laws on every project.
Know the Options
Getting a contractor’s license can vary depending on the jurisdiction. It may include taking an exam and meeting experience requirements. It also often involves obtaining liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance.
A contractor’s license can give you more credibility and help you win more jobs. It can also let customers know you follow best practices and are a reputable business. Additionally, it may allow you to write off expenses like a home office, fuel, trucks, and tools, saving you money at tax time.
Some states only require a license for commercial projects worth over $50,000 or swimming pool construction. Some, like Alabama, don’t need any specialty or trade contractors to be licensed. In addition, most states have reciprocity agreements with other states to allow for easier licensing in those locations. There are also exemptions for part-time and small job contractors. Some states have additional requirements like certification, registration, or a business privilege license.