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Licenses and Requirements Necessary For General Contractors

By Ryan Corey

Many different home improvement contractors are available to help with everything from home maintenance to interior remodeling to exterior work. Then, there are the types of contractors-known as general contractors-responsible for an entire construction project. It is important to follow and look for contractor qualifications if you are an independent home improvement contractor or are hiring someone to work on a construction project. Below are license and other requirements specifically for general contractors:

Specific requirements for general contractors can vary slightly by state, but here are the requirements that are most common for general contractors:

  • Have at least 2 years experience in home improvement, construction, or related education.
  • Must fill out credit report application form providing proof of credit to pay debts and long-term expenses as they become due in the course of business.

  • Must submit articles of incorporation and certificate of good standing from the Assessments & Taxation Department in one's state if representing a corporation.
  • Must check with state's department of licensing if they want to use a trade name to make sure the name is available to use. If so, register the name with their state's assessments and taxation department. Submit trade name registration certificate with license application.
  • Proof of $50,000 liability insurance in effect at all times.
  • Renew license every 2 years.

General contractors also need to follow the requirements that all contractors must follow in the United States. That is, to be a legitimate contractor in the United States one needs to:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Give proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency.

  • Have liability insurance and workers' compensation coverage. A certificate of insurance should also be ready to show customers. Contractors can get certificates of insurance that show policy limits and coverage dates from insurance carriers.

Note that a general contractor is responsible for the entire construction project and accepts full responsibility for the construction process and final results. Subcontractors may be hired by a general contractor to work on various aspects of a project. A subcontractor is an individual or business that enters into a legally binding agreement to complete some or all of a contractor's work. The general contractor may hire electrical, plumbing, and roofing subcontractors as well as subcontractors for the various other construction specialties. The general contractor coordinates the work and pays the subcontractors.

Contractors exist in many construction fields including basement waterproofing, remodeling, and more. It may seem that anyone with construction knowledge can call themselves a contractor, but this is not necessarily the case. Contractors and subcontractors in the various construction fields like plumbing, electrical, and hvac all have certain requirements they must meet.

Read more about contractor licenses and requirements and find general contractors for all types of home improvement and repair projects at All Around the Home ( , a national home improvement contractor directory.

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