Businesses in the state of Virginia need to obtain licenses to be able to operate. The Virginia Department of Occupational and Professional Regulations (DPOR) specifies the following steps to achieve a general contractor license:
- Setting up a contractor business
- Determining the class of license and type of work
- Participating in pre-license education courses
- Passing the general portion and Virginia portion exam
- Submitting a complete application to get a license.
Virginia contractor licenses are divided into two classes: the class of licenses (Class A, B, and C) related to the monetary value of the license, and the classification or specialty, which specifies what kind of work the licensed contraction is permitted to do. The license is issued to businesses, not individuals.
How to Get a General Contractor License in Virginia?
Set Up Virginia Contractor Business
Setting up a contracting business is the first step toward getting a license in Virginia. It includes creating a business entity, registering the business's name with the state, and identifying the management’s responsibility, designated employee, and qualified individual.
Specify Type of Contractor License in Virginia
There are three classes of contractor licenses in Virginia, and a business owner needs to choose one of them. Generally, the value or contract price of the projects a business is engaged in is a base for selecting a particular type of contractor license.
So, the class of contractor is associated with the monetary side of a contract. The specialty of the contract needs to be determined after choosing the class of license. The specialty of a license specifies the type of work that is allowed to be carried out.
Class A License
The total value of a single project or contract is $120,000 or more. The total value of the whole construction, removal, improvement, or repair works carried out by such individuals within any twelve months is $750,000 or higher. A precondition for gaining a Class A license is a five-year experience.
Class B license
The total value of a single contract or project is greater than $10,000 and lower than $120,000. The value of the entire construction, repair, removal, or improvements conducted by such a person within a time frame of twelve months is $150,000 but less than $750,000. A prerequisite for the Class B license is three years of experience.
Class C License
The total value of a single project or contract is $1,000 and no more than $10,000, or the total value of the whole construction, removal, improvement, or repair works carried out by such a person within any twelve months is no more than $150,000. A precondition for gaining a Class A license is a two-year experience.
Complete Virginia Contractor Pre-license Education Course
The pre-license education course is taken after setting up the business and determining the class of license. The type of license specifies the number of hours required to be taken. The DPOR has contracted with several organizations to provide pre-license education courses.
Individuals who seek a contractor license can choose one of them and take the course. However, the finishing date and name of the course provider should be recorded since the application form requires this information.
Clear Virginia Contractor Exam
After the pre-license education course, an employee of the business needs to participate and pass the general portion (rules and regulations), Virginia portion, and advanced portion exam to obtain a class A license. However, the designated employee has to pass the general portion and the Virginia portion of the exam for a class B license.
The exam tests the designated employee to ensure that they have met the minimum level of knowledge concerning the principles, practices, statutes, and regulations. The DPOR has made a contract with PSI to administer examinations. In addition, the PSI publishes a bulletin that helps participants in preparing for the exams. For more details on the exams, fees, references, and bulletin, please click here.
Submit Application to the DPOR
After passing the exams, submit a complete application (all required documents and license fee) to the DPOR for the license. The DPOR issues the license soon after verifying that all requirements have been met. Processing of an application may take a month or slightly more.
A contractor is defined as “any individual, that for a specified price, commission, fee, or percentage commences bidding upon, or accepts, or offers to accept, orders or contracts for carrying out, managing, or superintending in whole or in part, the construction, repair, improvement, or removal of any building or structure permanently annexed to real property owned, controlled, or leased by him or another person or any other improvements to such real property.”
A penalty for working without a contractor license in Virginia for the first time is a maximum of six months imprisonment and/or a fine of a maximum of $5,000, in addition to the potential for additional administrative penalties.
1. Setting up your business
2. Take a pre-license education course
3. Pass general and Virginia contractor license exam
4. Submit a complete application to get your license
1. Online: visit the PSI website register for the exam after login. You do not have to wait to schedule your exam if you register online.
2. Standard mail: fill out the PSI registration form and mail it with the registration fee to PSI. After processing registration, the applicant will receive a registration confirmation notice via mail.
3. Fax: fill out the PSI registration form and fax it to PSI at (702) 932-2666. The applicants have to wait for four days before calling to schedule the exam.
4. Telephone: call PSI at (800) 733-9267, 24 hours a day, and schedule using your exam using the automated registration system 7:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Alternatively, make a call between Monday through Friday and between 11:00 A.M to 5:00 P.M. ET on Saturday to schedule an appointment for the contractor’s license test with a registrar.
Yes, the exams are an open book, and references are permitted to be used. The applicant needs to bring their books to the exam. However, sticky notes are not allowed, and you will be obliged to remove them.