Georgia requires a thorough, yet painless application process be fulfilled to become a licensed general contractor. General contractors are required to be licensed by the state of Georgia when doing work amounting over $2,500. To become licensed, it is mandatory that you meet educational expectations, exam requirements, provide additional documents such as general liability insurance, and pay all associated fees and insurance premiums for several licenses that fall under general contractor work offered through the Georgia State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors.
In addition, if you plan on operating a contracting business, you will need to register and meet tax obligations for your new business before operating. An examination of what license you need to apply for, the application process, proof of education, and additional documents and requirements can make the procedure of becoming a licensed general contractor in Georgia go off without a hitch.
Georgia General Contractor License Requirements
According to Georgia state legislature, a contractor is one who “ offers to undertake or undertakes to, submits a bid or a proposal to, or personally or by others performs the construction or the management of the construction for an owner of any building, bridge, or other structure, including a person who installs industrialized buildings.“
In concordance with the State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors, licenses are separated into residential and general contracting work. In most cases, your license will fall under one, or both, of these categories. If you are aspiring to build a structure or remodeling an existing structure whether residential or commercial, you must obtain a license through the board. Additionally, the State Board requires a $25,000 surety bond for contractors. Contractors must obtain a bond as a condition of the license or permit by various counties and local municipalities as well, so it’s important to research individual requirements.
Who Needs a Contractors License?
Your starting decision in becoming a general contractor in the state of Georgia will be what license to apply for. According to your work parameters and contract amount, you will be applying for one of four licenses:
General Contractor: Unlimited in the type of work you can do or contract for, a general contractor can develop, remodel, or perform any other general contracting duties on residential or commercial properties.
Limited Tier General Contractor: The same as a general contractor, however, limited to contracts $500,000 and under.
Residential Basic Contractor: Performs work on family homes with a two-family residence or townhouse maximum.
Residential Light Contractor: Performs the same work as a residential basic contractor, however, restricted to multifamily and multi-residential properties.
What Do You Need To Become a General Contractor in Georgia?
Your application process will include having to show proof of education and/or experience. Applicants for a Georgia General Contractor License must also meet one of the following for education:
- A four-year degree from an accredited university or college in architecture, engineering, building construction, or project management. A similar field may be acceptable. Also, one year of relevant work experience in the construction trades is required. This employment must be under the supervision of a licensed contractor.
- College-level academic courses from an accredited institution plus provable experience that would be deemed significantly similar to at least four years of university work.
- A minimum of four years of provable work experience in the construction trades. At least two must be working for a general contractor. One year must also be in the field of engineering, administration, supervision, project management, accounting, or marketing.
- To prove education, applicants must submit an official diploma, transcript, or certificate issued by the school in a sealed envelope for the first two choices above. In addition to these records, several more will be needed throughout the application.
Georgia Contractors License Application
Before applying for a license, applicants are highly encouraged to read and become familiar with the laws regulating the general contractor industry. This information can be found on the Georgia Secretary of State website. Once you are ready to apply, your application process will look similar to the following:
- Contact any universities, trade schools, community colleges, etc. to obtain a transcript of required educational achievements (see above). This should be done in enough time to receive them prior to submitting the application packet. Do not open the envelope, as it must be sealed when received by the licensing board.
- Download and carefully complete the PDF application packet. The online application can be found through the professional licensing page on the Georgia Secretary of State website. Note that the packet includes an application affidavit, which must be notarized. Applications with un-notarized affidavits cannot be processed.
- Make copies of any insurance certificates (general liability for $500,000 and workers’ compensation, if required).
- Write a check or obtain a money order for $200 for the required application fee.
- Place the application packet, college/university/trade-school transcripts, insurance certificates, and the check or money order into a single large envelope.
- Mail the envelope to the following address:
State Licensing Board For Residential and General Contractors
General Contractor Division
237 Coliseum Drive
Macon, GA 31217
Before starting work, you must also acquire a Georgia Residential and General Contractors License Bond for $25,000 or more. This bond protects both you and the client for any project, so it’s important to research how much bond a certain project requires. Additionally, be sure to research local construction bond companies to ensure you are getting the best rates.
Licensing and Registration Fee Summary
For any application, there will be a $200 non-refundable fee. Another fee you must include in your application is proof of workers compensation and liability insurance — which is different for each license, and will go as follows:
General Contractors and Limited Tier Contractors – $500,000
Residential Basic Contractors – $300,000
Residential Light Contractors – $500,000
Georgia Contractors Exam
You will need to pass the Business and Law exam as well as a construction exam as part of your licensing process. Specialty trades will need to take a combined Business and Law and trade exam. Applicants must first complete the application packet. After the application packet is approved, the Board will notify the applicant to contact the exam administrator, PSI Exams Online, to register for the exam. The Board’s office will notify PSI of the applicant’s eligibility for testing. Then, it will also notify individual applicants of eligibility. Applicants may take exams at a PSI location in Atlanta, Tifton, or Macon or in a state neighboring Georgia.
Georgia State Business Licenses and Registration
Businesses operating in Georgia will need to register annually with the Georgia Tax Center. For a step by step guide on registering your business, visit the Georgia Department of Revenue website.
Georgia Tax Identification Numbers and Registration
Businesses that operate within Georgia are required to register for one or more tax-specific identification numbers, licenses, or permits, including income tax withholding, sales and use tax (seller’s permit), and unemployment insurance tax. Contact the Georgia Department of Revenue for more information about business registration and your tax obligations.
Georgia Workers’ Compensation Insurance Requirements and Forms
Businesses with employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage through a commercial carrier, on a self-insured basis, or through the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation site.
Georgia Contractor License Lookup and Verification
To search for a professional license, visit the Professional Licensing page of the Georgia Secretary of State website. Here, you can look up and verify by profession, license type, license number, and name.