Contractors in North Carolina (NC) will need to get their general contractors license through the NC Licensing Board for General Contractors. All regulations and requirements to become licensed will be handled by the board, including having financial statements audited, examinations, and paying all the associated fees. North Carolina contractors may also want to become bonded and insured at the time of licensing, so they can work across all municipalities.
Additionally, the NC Secretary of State requires that all businesses must register and obtain a business license to operate in North Carolina. As with most states, getting your general contractors license in NC will have a few hoops to jump through. However, with the right information, you can minimize the complications during your process of becoming a North Carolina general contractor.
NC General Contractor License Requirements
Your NC general contractors license and application process will be handled under the supervision of the NC Licensing Board for General Contractors. As part of your application to the board, you will be required to provide specific information, gather the necessary documents, and pass an exam. Be prepared to check the following tasks off your list before submitting your NC Licensing Board of General Contractors application:
- Identify your license limitation and classification.
- Appoint a qualifier.
- Qualifiers will have to pass the exam associated with the license classification.
- Acquire a financial statement.
- Obtain a surety bond.
- Businesses will have to register with the NC Secretary of State.
- Pay all associated application and licensing fees.
Your NC general license application will take between 2-3 weeks to be reviewed and approved, provided you meet all requirements and include all necessary documents with your submission. It’s important to note that while contractor’s liability insurance isn’t required at the state level, it may be required at the city or county level. Additionally, bond insurance may be recommended at the municipal level before construction begins, to protect your project as well as your client. You can obtain contractor bonds from bonding companies, and liability insurance through business insurance firms.
NC General Contractor License Classes
The NC Licensing Board for General Contractors separates their general contractors licenses into three different limitations. These limitations are based on the financial information you provide the board, as well as the value of the project. Electricians, plumbers, and other specialty trades will require separate licenses to begin work. An NC general contractor will apply for one of the following limitations:
- Limited License:
- For individual projects not exceeding $500,000.
- Must have a minimum working capital of $17,000, $80,000 net worth, or $350,000 surety bond.
- Intermediate License:
- For individual projects not to exceed $1,000,000.
- Must have a minimum of $75,000 working capital shown through an audited financial statement, or a $1,000,000 surety bond.
- Unlimited License:
- For projects of any size.
- Must have a minimum of $150,000 working capital shown through an audited financial statement, or a $2,000,000 surety bond.
NC Contractor Licensing and Registration Fee Summary
Non-Refundable payments should be made in the form of a check payable to the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors and should accompany your application. Your NC general contractor fees will go as follows:
Application and Renewal Fee:
- Limited – $75
- Intermediate – $100
- Unlimited – $125
NC General Contractors License Exam
Once the board approves you, qualifying individuals must take an exam administered by PSI Exams. Exams may be transferred if the qualifying individual has completed the NASCLA exam or has been on an active license in the past four years. For more information on exams including exam waivers, testing locations, materials accepted, and fees visit the State of North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors Candidate Information Bulletin.
NC Business License
Companies applying for an NC general contractors license will also have to obtain a business license as well to operate within North Carolina. This may also include getting copies of the following documents:
- Articles of Organization
- Articles of Incorporation
- Certificate of Authority
Business registration will be done through the NC Secretary of State. Here you can find more details on registering your business, maintaining registration, choosing a business structure, and more. Certain cities or counties may also require a certificate of insurance before starting work — you can find out if this applies to you from your local city planning department.
North Carolina State Tax Identification Number
Businesses that operate within North Carolina 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 NC Department of Revenue for more information about business registration and your tax obligations.
Workers Compensation NC
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 NC Industrial Commission. If you employ multiple contractors, you may also consider getting workers’ compensation insurance as well.
NC Contractor License Lookup
To conduct an NC general contractor search, and to verify a contractor by license number or name, visit the NC Licensing Board for General Contractors license search database.