General Contractor Licensing Qualifications

A licensed general contractor will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to your construction project. This is due in part to the strict licensing requirements that a general contractor must meet before he or she can obtain a state license and bid on work. While licensing qualifications for general contractors vary by state, there are some general qualifications required by most states.

In order to become a state-licensed general contractor, an applicant must:

  • Be 18 years of older.
  • Show proof that he or she is a U.S. citizen.
  • Have a high school diploma or the equivalent.
  • Provide two passport-size photographs.
  • Have certifications of any business licenses currently held in that state.
  • Get fingerprinted.
  • Pass a background check. 
  • Pass the contractor’s exam.
  • Pay a bond or cash deposit to cover the amount of the license classification.
  • Explain any violations, citations or liens that occurred while doing construction.
  • Have a few years of work experience in construction. 
  • Produce references from previous customers, employers and business associates.

These qualifications are similar across the United States, but each state has its own specific criteria that must be met. If you plan to hire a general contractor, you should look into the licensing requirements for your state. This will give you a better idea of the qualifications that your general contractor has.

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