Kentucky only offers electrical, HVAC, and plumbing contractor licenses at the state level through the Kentucky Department of Housing, Building, and Construction. For all others, including construction and general contracting, licenses will be governed by the city/county level. As a result, requirements to obtain your general contractor license will differ from city to city — or county to county. Understanding the requirements of your specific city/county can help to expedite your licensing process.
Additionally, you will have to meet state and federal business and tax requirements, as well as obtain contractors liability insurance if you aspire to own a contracting business. To ensure you are operating within your local rules and regulations to perform general contracting work, observe the following general contracting requirements, license definitions, and associated fees for the major cities and counties in Kentucky, and research liability insurance rates for the specific areas where you will work.
General Contractor License Requirements in Louisville, KY
Your Louisville general contractors application and licensure will be managed through the Louisville Metro Department of Codes and Regulations, and you will have to meet their requirements to become licensed in Jefferson County/Louisville to perform any general contracting work. The Louisville Metro Department of Codes and Regulations will insist that you become bonded and insured, and meet the following conditions to become a general contractor in Louisville:
- Acquire an occupational license number through the Louisville-Jefferson County Revenue Commission.
- Provide proof of unemployment and workers’ compensation insurance, or sign an affidavit declaring that your company has no employees.
- Provide proof of a certificate of insurance for a commercial general liability insurance policy with a minimum of $250,000 per person, or $500,000 aggregate, including products and completed operations coverage. (with the Louisville Metro Department of Codes and Regulations as the certificate holder.)
- Some contractors may be required to apply for a surety bond with a bonding company for specific types of projects. Costs of bonds may vary by project and is not included in the cost of licensure.
- Fill out an application.
- Pay all application and licensing fees.
Who Needs a Contractors License in Louisville, KY?
The Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government offers many different licenses. If you are looking to perform general contracting work, you’ll likely apply for one, or both, of the following licenses:
Building Type A: For contractors with the objective of acquiring multiple permits for single or multi-family dwellings. Contractors applying for a Building Type A license must complete 6 credit hours of continuing education.
Building Type B: For contractors whose goal is only to obtain a single building permit.
There are many more licenses offered by the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government, such as specialty trades, fire detection, and wrecking licenses. For any license, there is only one application form. Refer to the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government contractor application for license definitions and requirements.
Licensing and Registration Fee Summary
Your licensure process will come with associated fees. For the licenses above, you will have to pay the following:
- Building Type A: $125 annual fee
- Building Type B: $50 annual fee
General Contractor License Requirements in Lexington, KY
Getting your contractors license in Fayette County or Lexington, Ky will be done through the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government. Besides specifying what license you are applying for, your application for contractor registration must contain the following items for you to obtain a valid license:
- Your business name.
- Disclosure of business structure and information — Individual, Partnership, or Corporation.
- A list of any current Kentucky Licenses you may hold for trades you perform.
- Proof of general liability with the necessary coverage for the license type.
- Proof of workers’ compensation insurance, or an exemption affidavit from the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Act.
- Certificate of current business license.
- Participation in mediation selection and certification.
- A Signed and notarized application.
- Payment for application and licensing fees.
Who Needs a Contractors License in Lexington/Fayette County, KY?
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government contractor registration and application process is relatively straightforward, and only requires you to register and apply for one — or more — of three licenses:
General Contractor: For the commercial, industrial, public works, and residential construction of homes larger than 4-family dwellings. General contractors may supervise, arrange, and either perform partial or complete work on more than two unrelated building trades or crafts. General Contractors must provide proof of premises, product, and completed operations liability insurance coverage of at least $500,000 for each occurrence.
General Contractor, Residential Only: For the construction of homes up to 4-family dwellings. May perform remodeling and supervise, arrange, and either perform partial or complete work on more than two unrelated building trades or crafts. Residential Only General Contractors must provide proof of premises, product, and completed operations liability insurance coverage of at least $250,000 for each occurrence.
Specialty Contractor: For commercial, industrial, public works, and residential work, and those specializing in no more than two unrelated building trades or crafts. Specialty contractor trades including demolition, electrical, HVAC, framing, and more. Specialty Contractors must provide proof of premises, product, and completed operations liability insurance coverage of at least $100,000 for each occurrence.
Licensing and Registration Fee Summary
Every contractors license will have an initial and annual fee to be paid to the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government. For each license offered, you’ll need to pay:
- General Contractor: $40 initial fee, $200 annual fee
- General Contractor, Residential Only: $40 initial fee, $75 annual fee
- Specialty Contractor: $40 initial fee, $30 annual fee
General Contractor License Requirements in Bowling Green, KY
The Bowling Green/Warren County Contractors Licensing Board will authorize and issue all contractors licenses throughout their jurisdiction. Before obtaining any building permits for construction, remodeling, or construction management, you will need to adhere to the rules and regulations of the licensing board. Your Contractor License Application must be accompanied by:
- Your company information — name, business structure, partners, etc.
- Any contractors licenses you may currently hold in Kentucky.
- Proof of general liability insurance with a minimum of $100,000 in coverage, and workers compensation insurance. If you do not have employees, you may sign and notarize an Affidavit of Exemption instead of workers compensation.
- A completed and signed application.
- All necessary application and licensing fees.
Who Needs a Contractors License in Bowling Green/Warren County, KY?
The Bowling Green/Warren County Contractors Licensing Board offers two licenses:
General Contractor: For the authority to pull permits for building or remodeling, construction management. Any contractor who has two or more subcontractors must apply for a general contractors license.
Specialty Contractor: For performing specialty trade work such as HVAC, masonry, plumbing, and more. Specialty contractors can only employ one subcontractor per project.
Your Bowling Green/Warren County contractors license application will be the same for each license. Take a look at your application before applying for a comprehensive understanding of requirements and license parameters.
Licensing and Registration Fee Summary
Along with your application, the Bowling Green/Warren County Contractors Licensing Board will also request payment for your license. Expect to pay the following when applying for each license:
- General Contractor: $250
- Specialty Contractor: $100
Kentucky Contractors Exam
As most licenses in Kentucky are regulated at the city/county level, examinations and education requirements are determined by your local governing agency. Contact your local licensing agency to understand what contractor licenses need an exam.
Kentucky State Business Licenses and Registration
The state of Kentucky requires that all plumbers become licensed to do business. Additionally, if you plan on owning a contracting company, you can register your business, obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number and complete all other tax requirements through Kentucky’s One Stop Business Portal.
Kentucky Tax Identification Numbers and Registration
Businesses that operate within Kentucky 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 Kentucky Department of Revenue for more information about business registration and your tax obligations.
Kentucky Unemployment Tax Requirements and Forms
Businesses with employees are required to pay unemployment insurance taxes under certain conditions. If your business is required to pay these taxes, you must register your business with the Kentucky Career Center, Office of Employment and Training.
Kentucky 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 Workers’ Compensation page of the Commonwealth of Kentucky Labor Cabinet website.
Kentucky Contractor License Lookup and Verification
To look up and verify a contractor permit in Louisville/Jefferson County by license number, address, or name, visit the Online Permit Search on the Louisville-Jefferson Government website.
To find active contractors by business name, license type, or contractor name in Bowling Green/Warren County visit the Official Municipal Website of Bowling Green, Kentucky contractor search database.