How does a General Contractor get a General Contracting License?
Everyone (including NVS Kitchen and Bath) recommends hiring a licensed general contractor to perform remodel projects like kitchen renovations or bathroom remodels. But what does it mean to hire a licensed general contractor? What does it take to get a GC License? What does having a general contracting license mean versus not having one? To answer these questions, let’s talk about what it takes to get a general contractors license in Virginia.
What is a Licensed General Contractor?
Simply put – a licensed general contractor has the knowledge, training and experience required to obtain a general contractor’s license. Their purpose is often overseeing the entire project from start to finish. This includes pulling permits, understanding building codes, scheduling vendors, and supervision of remodeling work.
It also requires a written examination covering business management competency proving that they understand the management of the project inside and out. Less known about the General Contractor License – it also requires a criminal background check. According to the General Contractor License guide, “a licensed contractor has worker’s compensation and liability insurance for his or her employees and can get and also sign building permits.”
Why Should a Contractor Get a License?
Other than a cool signature in your footer – what’s the benefit to getting a contractor’s license? Because the contractor licensure does the vetting for homeowners, most homeowners (those that are smart) will only hire a licensed general contractor giving license holders a competitive advantage in the ever-crowded remodeling space. Holding a General Contracting License is proof that the contractor knows what they’re doing and you’re probably in good hands with your remodel.
How to Get a General Contracting License in Virginia
General Contracting Licenses vary by state meaning that Virginia’s GC License may be different from Maryland’s or Washington DC’s, so keep tabs on where you contractor is licensed before hiring them. The entire process of gaining a contractor license takes months to complete and as mentioned, covers two written tests, a background check, a bond against bankruptcy, and in-the-field experience.
A GC License in Virginia is based on past experience and the project size. The Class A, Class B, and Class C licenses are the three main types of contractor licensure with the Class C Licensed being the first a contractor will obtain. Contractors with a Class C can take on projects ranging in price between $1,000 to $10,000 with annual earnings staying under $150,000.
A Class B General Contractor’s License requires 3 years of experience in your trade as well as passing the Virginia and General portions of the exam. Under a Class B License, a contractor can take on larger projects ranging from $10,000 to $120,000.
The highest of the licenses also required the most experience. A Class A License requires 5 years of experience and the contractor must pass the Virginia, General, and Advanced exams. There are no limits on project size under this license.