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A general contractor’s license is basically a permit that authorizes you to carry out construction works such as foundation, framing, plumbing, electrical wiring, and many more for a client. This article will assist you in understanding how to get a general contractor’s license in North Carolina.
Eligibility Requirements for General Contractor’s License in North Carolina
Before you proceed with the application process, it is important that you know whether you are qualified to get a license. So, first, you must be 18 years of age or older. Second, you must have a valid driver’s license and insurance for your vehicle (if driving to different construction sites). Third, you should be physically fit since most construction sites are far from the city. Finally, you should also have at least four years of experience in construction.
Most people have no idea about the documents required to present when applying for this license. So, here is the list:
- A valid driver’s license and insurance on your vehicle if driving to different construction sites. If not, then be sure to provide the names of three people who drive to the construction sites on your behalf.
- You should also have a certificate showing that you passed the state’s criminal background check and a certificate proving you are free from communicable diseases like tuberculosis, leprosy, or AIDS. If you currently live in another state, then you must submit proof that you will be permitted to work in North Carolina.
- You should have a certificate that you passed the state’s basic math test and at least completed high school or hold an accredited contractor’s license. If not, then you must take the NC Residential Construction Math Placement Test before submitting your application.
- You must provide a letter of authorization from your employer if you are working for someone. Basically, the letter should state that he/she has given full permission to carry out any construction work on his/her behalf even if you are using company equipment and materials.
- You should also have an official statement showing that no criminal charges are pending against you.
- You must also have 4-5 recent photographs of yourself measuring 3 inches by 3 inches in size taken within the last six months. The photos should be taken directly facing the camera with a plain light blue, light gray, white, or off-white background.
Applying for the North Carolina General Contractor’s License
In order to apply for the license, you will have to visit the official website of North Carolina Licensing Board and download the application form. You can also request one by mailing an application fee at least two weeks before your deadline to become eligible in time. The application form must be filled in and the required fee must be sent together with your supporting documents to the authority. The documents you will need when applying for a general contractor’s license include:
- A valid ID that shows your name, birth date, and picture
- Proof of residence/mailing address – voter registration or driving license are good examples
- Social security number
- Two years’ work experience in the construction field or one year each if you are a member of the contracting board
- Education/training certifications- attested and stamped by National Council Licensing Exam and local government officials
- A current driver's license is also required
After submitting the required documents, you will be contacted by the North Carolina Licensing Board for an interview. When they contact you, you have to take a test that is important for the board to ascertain if you are fit to practice as a general contractor or not.
The test has two sections. The first section comprises questions about the building codes, employment, and safety. The second test will be about the state rules and regulations regarding contracting. These tests are very crucial for you to pass as they will determine your chances of getting a general contractor’s license in North Carolina.
After Passing your Tests
Once you have passed your test, the licensing board will inform you of the next step. They may ask you to wait for a while before giving you your results or they might notify you immediately after taking the tests. It is then up to you whether to accept the offer or not. By accepting it, you will be given your license on site and required to pay a fee of $75 for the license and $10 for the annual renewal. Note that after getting your general contractor’s license in North Carolina, you are not allowed to practice until you have been certified by the building commission and passed their tests too.
The Permit Process
As an applicant, you will be issued with a provisional permit if:
- You don’t have a felony conviction or pending criminal charges
- Your license is not in question due to a lawsuit being filed against you
- You passed the contractor’s exam and showed reasonable proficiency as an employee.
You will have to renew your permit annually through submission of a new application form, fees, proof of insurance coverage, driver license confirmation letter, training certificates, and copies of tax returns. If you pass this renewal process, you will have your permit extended for a period of two years.
In case you fail the renewal process, then most likely you will have to retake the exam and get recertified again before your 2-year license expires in order to continue practicing as a contractor in North Carolina.
Renewing your North Carolina General Contractor’s License
The state requires general contractors to renew their licenses once a year within the 30-day period before it expires. When that time comes, you can submit an application for renewal along with the required documents.
When applying to renew your license, you must follow the same procedure as when applying for one. The only difference is that you will not need to take any test or pay an application fee but only a renewal fee of $10.
To renew your contractor’s license, you will need the following;
- A renewal form which you can get from the North Carolina Licensing Board website. This is a form that will require you to report any changes in your business, address, or ownership and sign the section confirming its accuracy. You must also mail copies of your ID and social security card.
- Official transcripts showing graduation from an accredited school/college in the state or an out-of-state license with a letter stating that it is valid.
- Two years’ work experience or one year for each if you are a member of your state contracting board.
- A certificate of initial registration from the North Carolina Department of Revenue License office to show active licensure.
After you have successfully passed the test and been issued with the permit, your next step is to file for a business license. You should fill out an application form and visit the North Carolina Department of Revenue License office for proper registration as a contractor. Once your business has been registered, you can now practice as a general contractor in North Carolina. If you intend to begin your construction business, ensure that you have all the necessary licensing and permits before setting up your shop.