Are you an aspiring contractor in North Caroline? Are you looking to get ahead in life by taking a leap of faith in your career? If you are looking for information on what to do, you have come to the right place.
There are several different categories of licenses that contractors may obtain in North Carolina. This includes general, electrical, HVAC and landscape. This article will focus on helping you understand what you need to do to get your North Carolina contractor license.
Keep reading to find information on the pricing for a contractor license, the overall application process, and so much more. We will provide you with the resources you need to get a jumpstart on your contracting career.
Who Needs a Contractor License in North Carolina?
The first question you may be asking yourself is why people need to get a license. The answer is simple. To be able to work on projects valued at $300,000 or more, you must have a contractor’s license. You may apply as a North Carolina general contractor license qualifier or licensee. If you apply as a “licensee,” you have met the stipulations needed, including the application’s financial requirements and having someone pass on behalf of the license.
The other type which you can apply as a “qualifier .”The qualifier is the individual who passes on behalf of the license. This individual can not apply as a licensee because they have not individually received their license.
What Type of License Do do You Need as a Contractor in North Carolina?
A contractor can obtain four different types of licenses in North Carolina. These include the following.
- Electrical Contractor license
- Landscape Contractor License
- HVAC License
- General Contractor License
Electrical Contractor License
There are ten various types of classifications that fall within this category. These limitations can include the value of a project, restrictions like swimming pools or electric signs, and even the type of dwelling where the work is being performed.
To start, a license can have three types that restrict the value of a project. These include limited, intermediate, and unlimited. A person with an unlimited license has no limit on the value of a project they can work. However, an individual with a limited license can contract projects up to $50,000, and an intermediate contractor can contract projects up to $130,000. Individuals within these three types can work on different commercial, residential, and industrial dwelling types.
NC also includes six unique classifications. These include
- Swimming pools
- Air conditioning, plumbing, and heating
- Fire alarms/low voltage
- Heating, plumbing, and air conditioners
- Ground pumps
- Electric signs
Another license classification is a landscape contractor license. This classification is required to perform any landscaping work over a given dollar amount. This amount is equal to $30,000 or more. If you are contracted as a landscaper, you are not allowed to perform other contractor functions like electrical or plumbing.
Landscape contractors are required to obtain seven hours of CEUs each year. This also includes 2 hours dedicated to business. This allows them to stay up to date on techniques and procedures for landscaping. If you are found to be an unlicensed contractor performing work over $30,000, using the Brady v. Fulghum court case, customers may not be required to pay you.
Any induvial looking to obtain an HVAC license must also check with their specific state or city to see if there are additional exams or requirements needed to become licensed. These licenses are renewed every year. You must also pay the associated fees for licensure.
There are different license types that a person can obtain. This includes a class 1 license for commercial, industrial, and residential products. This can also have a class II license which would be needed for working on single-family detached buildings.
The different HVAC licensing options include the following
- H3-I (Heating Group 3-Class I) Contractor
- H3-II (Heating Group 3-Class II) Contractor
- H2 (Heating Group 2) Contractor
- H2 Technician
- H1-I (Heating Group 1-Class I) Contractor
- H1-II (Heating Group 1-Class II) Contractor
- H1 Technician
- H3 (Heating Group 3) Technician
General Contractor License
To become a generally classified contractor, you must be 18 years old. You must have outstanding moral character; you must have supporting financial documents that provide information about your working capital and pass the NASCLA exam.
A general contractor license has six different classifications that you can choose from. These classifications can have up to 4 different limitation types. Much like the others, these are determined by the work which needs to be done. The classifications include the following:
- Residential Contractor license
- Highway contractor license
- Building contractor license
- Unclassified contractor license.
- Specialty contractor license
- Public utility contractor license
Different types of limitations can be placed on a license. However, before you can think about which qualification(s) to go for, you must register your business. Upon doing so, you can apply to receive multiple classifications with one single license.
Like an electrician, there are three types: limited, intermediate, and unlimited. Your limitation depends on how much working capital you can provide with a general license. A person with an unlimited license has no limit on the value of a project they can work. However, an individual with a limited license can contract projects up to $500,000, and an intermediate contractor can contract projects up to 1 million dollars.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a License?
When obtaining your license, there may be some fees that you will have to pay. These fees may vary by the license type that you have. This application feel will likely be between $60 and 180 dollars. In addition to this fee, contractors may be required to pay something known as a surety bond.
A surety bonds guarantee that all contracts will be completed on decided upon terms. The amount of your bond will vary by the limitation on your license. For example, a bond would cost $10,000 to have a bond limit of 1 million dollars.
If you are looking to get the HVAC classification, you will need a surety bond based on where you are located. In Greensboro, you are required to have a $2000 surety bond. In Winston Salem, that amount is $2500. You will need to look into this information based on your city.
What Is the Application Process?
If you are applying for a general license, the first step in the application process is to get a business registration. This would have to be done with the Secretary of state. This portion of the application may have a fee based on if you are applying solely or registering as a corporation.
Depending on the classification you are working for, you will need to apply to a specific licensing board. For example, if you are applying for a general contractor license, you will need to apply at the NCLBGC or the Licensing Board for General Contractors. If you are looking to become an electrical contractor, you will need to apply at the State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors or the NCBEEC. Lastly, if you are a landscaper, you will be applying to the NCLCLB or the Landscape Contractors Licensing Board.
When applying, you will be asked for an abundance of information, including your tax ID number, social security number, general contact information, and a background check. The application will also include information about your work history.
If you do have a criminal history, court documents may be needed in addition to your application. You will also need three reference letters. In addition to these administrative items, you will need to provide evidence of your working capital.
Once you have completed the application and successfully passed the exam, you will receive your license. This NC general contractor license has renewal requirements. These renewal requirements include obtaining CEUs or continuing education units. If these year stipulations are not met, you will lose your license and be forced to retest after a given period.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Get Your North Carolina Contractor License?
If you are looking to obtain a contracting license in North Carolina, several options are available to you. These options include different classifications like HVAC, general, and even landscape. There are several benefits that come with being licensed. These benefits include being taken more seriously as a professional and saving yourself the legal ramifications of working unlicensed.
Before you can become fully licensed, you must pay an application fee and, at times, a surety bond. The surety bond amount will be based on your license limitation, as determined by your working capital. You will need to apply at the board specific to your classification based on your intended classification.
Once you have completed the application and scheduled your exam, it will be time to hit the books. Your exam is only the first step in your career. Once you complete the exam, you will then need to make sure to keep up with it every year. Depending on the classification, you will need to maintain CEUs to ensure that you are always current and relevant.