To become a licensed contractor in Louisiana, you will have to be approved by the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors (LSLBC). To be authorized to perform contractor work you will need to fulfill the board’s requirements, including providing necessary documents such as financial statements, general liability insurance, and taking the required exams. As a matter of course, there will be fees associated with many elements of your application process.
On top of the application process, if you are planning to launch a construction business, you will need to provide business entity documents — business structure, business and tax registration, and workers compensation insurance — through the Louisiana Secretary of State. There are four primary categories of contracting work you can either register or apply for state licensure in which you will have to determine first and foremost. Whichever license you will be applying for will determine which exams you need to take, and which information you must provide alongside your application.
Louisiana General Contractor License Requirements
The term “contractor,” as defined by the Louisiana Contractors Licensing Laws, “includes general contractors, subcontractors, architects, and engineers who receive an
additional fee for the employment or direction of labor, or any other work beyond the normal architectural or engineering services.”
Falling under the above definition is a broad spectrum of contracting work. Your work parameters and the field of activities you wish to perform will determine which license, or licenses, you will need to apply for. It may also determine what documentation you need to provide with your application, exams you must complete, as well as all associated fees.
Who Needs a Contractors License in LA?
Since the LSLBC divides contracting work into several categories, you will need to apply for one of the following depending on which license your scope of work falls under. In some cases, you may need to apply for more than one license.
Commercial License: You will need to apply for a commercial license in Louisiana to work on commercial projects over $50,000, including materials and labor. Subcontractors and specialty trade contractors will need to be licensed as well, with the exception of:
- Electrical, plumbing, and mechanical trades will only need a license on projects over $10,000.
- If you are working with lead and paint abatement or removal, hazardous waste, asbestos, or underground storage tanks, a license will be needed for projects with a value exceeding $1.00.
Residential License: You must apply for a Louisiana residential license for work on any home improvement projects, new single-family dwelling, duplex, triplex, or fourplex, and any project that surpasses $75,000. Subcontractors and specialty trade contractors need only be licensed when labor and materials are more than $7,500. Note: Some residential projects may fall under commercial license parameters. Visit La. R.S. 2150.1 (2) and (4a) in the Contractors Licensing Law and Rules and Regulations.
Mold Remediation License: Similar to a commercial license stipulation above, if you will be working with hazardous materials, it will be required that you apply for a mold remediation license for mold remediation projects over $1.00.
Home Improvement Registration: For home improvement projects that go over $7,500, but fall under $75,000, a home improvement registration application is necessary.
To receive a Louisiana contractors license, the contractor will need to complete and submit an application form, pass the required exams, and pay all of the relevant fees.
What Do You Need To Become a General Contractor in Louisiana?
Each license type has specific requirements that a contractor needs to comply with. In general, you will need to follow these steps:
- Fill out an application form and submit any required documentation
- Provide proof of sound financial standing, demonstrating at least $10,000 net worth
- Pass all relevant exams and/or complete mandatory training
- For all but the commercial license, provide proof of insurance
- Be approved by the Board
While Louisiana does not have state requirements for surety bonds, certain locations and contractors do. The following locations require a surety bond from contractors:
- Ascension Parish;
- City of Lake Charles;
Additionally, home improvement contractors in Louisiana must obtain a bond regardless of their location. Louisiana requires contractors to get a surety bond minimum of $5,000, however the amount can vary based on location. This bond is intended to protect both the contractor and the client, so it’s important to research local construction bond companies to ensure you are getting the best rates and enough coverage.
LA Contractor Licensing and Registration Fee Summary
Visit the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors website to calculate fees associated with licensing, exams, an unfair trade practices seminar, background financial investigations, and out-of-state surcharges.
Louisiana Contractors Exam
After you submit your application, LSBLC will mail you information about the examination that you have to take to become licensed. All contractors will need to complete the Business and Law exam, but trade examinations will vary depending on the specific area you are looking to obtain a Louisiana contractor license in.
A general overview of your Louisiana contractors exam process will look similar to the following:
- The Business and Law exam is open book and completed online, while classification exams are done at testing centers.
- Approved testing centers are located in Baton Rouge, Bossier City, New Orleans, Alexandria, and Lake Charles.
- You will need to bring your ID, SSN, approval letter, and registration confirmation to the testing center on the day of your exam.
- Exams take between 2.5 and 4 hours to complete depending on the classification.
- Exams are completed on a computer, so you will know if you passed or failed right away.
- You need a score of over 70 to pass.
- If you fail the exam, you must wait at least 30 days to retake and will have to pay the exam fee in full.
Contractors Exam Fees
For more information, and to understand which exam(s) are attached to each license, visit the Louisiana State Licensing Board exams and classifications list. Here, you can find registration instructions, what to expect, scores needed to pass, location of testing centers, and specific procedures and materials to prepare for the exam.
Louisiana Contractors License Application
It is essential to gather all relevant documents before you decide to submit your license application. This is especially true because an incomplete or incorrectly filled application will only delay the licensing process.
Here is a list of specific documentation that you need to gather before submitting your application:
- Depending on if you are applying as a corporation, general partnership, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, sole proprietor, limited partnership or joint venture, you will need to submit the relevant legal paperwork (e.g., articles of incorporation, operating agreement, etc.)
- If designating a qualifying party or parties, the applicant must provide additional documentation.
- A financial statement that indicates a net worth of at least $10,000 (e.g., a balance sheet, statement of financial position, or statement of net worth). The document must be notarized and signed by an independent auditor and the applicant.
- A check, money order or credit card information to cover all relevant fees. The LSLBC fee schedule webpage can help you calculate all of your payments.
- General Liability and Worker’s Compensation insurance certificates ($100,000 for residential and $50,000 for mold remediation licenses)
There may still be additional documentation to be prepared, so it is essential to check the
LCLBC website for the most up-to-date information.
Note: for out-of-state contractors: LA has reciprocity agreements with a number of states, which means that an out-of-state contractor may be able to get credit for their trade exam completed in another state. He or she will still need to submit an application form and finish the rest of the steps in the licensing procedures. For more information, visit the LSLBC reciprocity and examination endorsement agreement page.
Louisiana General Contractors License Application
Once you have all of your paperwork in order, you are ready to submit the application.
The process for Home Improvement Registration is slightly different and requires a separate registration application process. It is important to remember that you must submit a separate application for each license type. Other specific application requirements include:
- Do not leave any question blank — if it does not apply, indicate “NA”
- Include all fees with your application — make the check or money order payable to the Louisiana State Board for Licensing Contractors
- Make sure you provide your SSN and Taxpayer ID — otherwise, the application may be rejected
- Attach additional sheets of paper if you need to provide more detail on any question
- Get your application notarized before submitting it and all relevant documents
Once you are sure that the application is complete, signed, notarized and includes all supporting documentation, you are ready to mail it to the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors at:
2525 Quail Drive,
Baton Rouge, LA 70808.
Once the Board receives, reviews, and approves your application, they will mail you a notice with information regarding the exam. This process typically takes 4-8 weeks.
Renewing and Maintaining A Louisiana Contractors License
Once you have obtained a Louisiana contractors license, it will be valid for one year. You will need to begin the renewal process at least 30 days in advance to make sure there is no gap in your licensing. At this time, a contractor has the option of soliciting a one-, two- or three-year renewal. The process is quite simple and can be done online through the LSLBC web portal.
Keep in mind that if documents are submitted 15 days after the license expires, you will need to pay a penalty. Additionally, licenses are no longer eligible for renewal after one year, and the contractor must complete the entire application process again.
Louisiana State Business Licenses and Registration
Depending on your business, you may need to register and be licensed to provide goods and services in the state of Louisiana. Especially, if you are a corporation, non-profit, LLC or partnership, you will need to register your business with the Louisiana Secretary of State.
Louisiana Tax Identification Numbers and Registration
Businesses that operate within Louisiana 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 Louisiana Department of Revenue for more information about business registration and your tax obligations.
Louisiana 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 Louisiana Workforce Commission, under the Department of Labor website.
Louisiana Contractor License Lookup and Verification
To lookup and verify a contractors license by name, license number, city, parish, qualifying party, or type of contractor, visit the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors search database.