In order to become a general contractor in North Dakota, multiple requirements must be met and verified by the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office. In addition, North Dakota law requires every proprietor, contractor or otherwise, to register to do business with the state, to get fully bonded and insured, and to adhere to state tax law.
In some instances, additional fees and paperwork may be required. For example, in addition to a contractor’s license, you may need to obtain licenses or permits from the State Electrical Board or the State Plumbing board. Check below to see what’s required of those seeking a North Dakota contractor’s license.
North Dakota General Contractor License Requirements
In comparison to other states, North Dakota’s general contractor license requirements are pretty relaxed. This includes the number of fees that must be paid at the state level, as well as exam requirements (of which there are none). Below is a comprehensive description of the licensing requirements for aspiring general contractors in North Dakota.
Who Needs a Contractors License?
According to the North Dakota Secretary of State’s website, a “contractor” is any person engaged in the business of construction, repair, alteration, dismantling, or demolition of any number of structures projects. This definition includes subcontractors, public contractors, and nonresidential contractors.
So when do contractors need to get a license? The same website states that “no person may engage in the business nor act in the capacity of a contractor within North Dakota if the cost, value, or price per job exceeds the sum of $4,000 without first having a license.”
From here, you’ll determine whether you need a Class A, B, C, or D license.
Class A License: With a Class A License, there is no limitation to the value of any single contract project. The fee for this license is $450 for an initial application, while the renewal cost is $90.
Class B License: With a Class B, the limit of the value of any single contract project is $500,000. The fee for this license is $300 for an initial application, while a renewal would cost $60.
Class C License: Class C Licenses limit the value of any single contract project to $300,000. The fee for this license is $225 for an initial application, while the renewal cost is $45.
Class D License: A Class D License limits the value of any single contract project to $100,000. The fee for this license is $100 for an initial application, while the renewal cost is $30.
Additionally, electricians, plumbers, asbestos abatement contractors, and transient merchants will be required to obtain licenses and permits specific to these fields on top of their contractors licenses. Licenses for electricians and plumbers in North Dakota are issued by:
State Electrical Board
PO Box 7335
Bismarck ND 58507
Phone: (701) 328-9522
State Plumbing Board
1110 College Drive, Suite 210
Bismarck ND 58501
Phone: (701) 328-9977
Remember: The license issued on an original application entitles the licensee to act as a contractor only until the expiration of the then-current fiscal year ending March first, at which time it must be renewed. The only exception is when an initial license is issued in January or February, which will instead be valid until March first of the subsequent year.
What Do You Need To Become a General Contractor in North Dakota?
What North Dakota requires of contractors is relatively little, compared to other states. There is no required exam, and all contractor’s bond requirements were repealed by S.L. 1995, ch. 397, § 9. With that in consideration, here’s a brief outline of what you’ll need to become a contractor in North Dakota:
- Make sure you’ve registered your business entity with the Secretary of State.
- Complete a Contractor’s Application (SFN 12012) using the exact name your business is registered under. The application requires a statement of the applicant’s experience and qualifications as a contractor, which will be signed under oath. You must be 18 years of age or older to sign this certificate.
- A certificate serving as proof of liability insurance, also using the exact name the business is registered under. The certificate should list the North Dakota Secretary of State, 600 E Blvd. Ave. Dept 108, Bismarck, ND 58505 as the certificate holder. Costs of liability insurance can vary by your exact location, level of coverage, and other factors.
- Proof of workmans’ comp is required as well. You must provide a statement from:
Workforce Safety & Insurance
1600 East Century Avenue, Suite 1, Bismarck ND 58506.
(701) 328-3800 or 800-777-5033
- Depending on which license you’re seeking, you’ll have to pay a fee between $100 and $450. Decide whether you need a Class A, B, C, or D, and make a check payable to the Secretary of State. Visa, MasterCard and Discover are also accepted (255kb pdf).
- If you have employees and you’re required to withhold North Dakota income tax from their wages, you’ll need to complete and submit an Application to Register for Income Tax Withholding and Use Tax Permit from the Office of State Tax Commissioner. You may also have to register for a sales tax permit.
- Finally, if you’re a plumber, electrician, asbestos contractor, or transient merchant contractor, you’ll need to obtain further licenses and permits.
For a more in-depth look at everything you need to become a contractor in North Dakota, take a look at the State of North Dakota’s Contractor Compliance Checklist.
Licensing and Registration Fee Summary
The only fee that general contractors have to pay in North Dakota at the state level is the license fee:
- Class A — $450
- Class B — $300
- Class C — $225
- Class D — $100
There may be additional fees at local and county levels. For example, the City of Grand Forks requires contractors obtain an additional $5,000 License & Permit Bond as well as a $60 annual City License Fee.
North Dakota Contractors Exam
North Dakota currently doesn’t require applicants take or pass an exam to become general contractors. Plumbers and electricians will be required to pass trade-specific classes to obtain their credentials, but not to obtain a North Dakota contractor’s license.
North Dakota Contractors License Application
The North Dakota Contractor License Application (SFN 12012) can be found here. This application is pretty simple and straightforward — but don’t forget that it must be verified by and signed in front of an official notary. You’ll choose which license class you need and provide the fee of up to $450, payable by check to the Secretary of State, or by credit card.
Everything after that is straightforward enough. You’ll need to indicate whether or not you have a North Dakota Sales and Use tax permit — and be ready to provide the number if you do.
Additionally, a statement from North Dakota Workforce Safety & Insurance that the applicant has secured satisfactory workers’ compensation is required. You’ll also want to provide proof of liability insurance in the form of a certificate of insurance.
Though you may not be legally required to post a surety bond, you may want to consider doing so before you submit your application — or, at the very least, before you begin working as a contractor. Surety bonds are a useful way to protect your business and projects in case something goes wrong, and customers may be hesitant to hire a contractor who isn’t covered. You can find a surety bond by shopping around at different bonding companies.
A couple of other things to keep in mind:
- If you, any officer, or any partner of your company has ever had a license denied, suspended or revoked — or if you’ve ever been associated with an entity who has — you’ll have to divulge that information in writing.
- If you’ve been either a plaintiff or defendant in a fraud or misrepresentation case in the past year, you’ll have to divulge this information in writing as well.
- If you’ve been involved in bankruptcy proceedings in the past five years, you’ll be required to relay this information, also in writing.
- You’ll also have to divulge in detail whether there are currently any judgments, arbitration awards, mechanics liens, or federal or state tax liens against you or your partners.
- Lastly, you’ll be required to indicate whether you’ve been charged with or convicted of a felony or misdemeanor within the last five years.
Once you’ve completed the application, print it out (if using a PDF) seek out a notary, sign it, and send it with all attached documents and fees to:
Secretary of State
State of North Dakota
600 East Boulevard Avenue Dept. 108
Bismarck, ND 58505-0500
Fax: (701) 328-1690
North Dakota Contractor Registration and Permitting Requirements
North Dakota contractors that are covered by the state are still generally required to get construction permits at the city and county level.
Because of this, applications vary throughout the state — nevertheless, you will usually need to give the same basic information regarding the proposed project and the property in question, which generally includes:
- Name of the owner
- Name of the contractor
- Type of application you are applying for
- Description of the project
- Estimated cost of construction
You’ll likely also need to submit blueprints to show that the finished structure will comply with local zoning laws.
The cost of these permits vary from city to city, and county to county. For example, the City of Grand Forks requires contractors obtain a $5,000 License & Permit Bond as well as a $60 annual City License Fee, while Ward County charges $4.50 for every $1,000 of construction/alteration.
Though the state may not require additional forms of bond insurance, keep in mind that certain cities may require some kind of surety or performance bond before you can work in that municipality..Check with your local city, county, or municipal government for additional registration, permitting, and insurance requirements.
North Dakota State Business Licenses and Registration
You can find contact information for applicable state agencies, such as North Dakota’s Secretary of State or Workforce Safety & Insurance, in the state Agency Licensing Contacts page.
North Dakota Business Registration
All new businesses in North Dakota must register their business name, as well as adhere to other compliance regulations. New business registration information can be found here.
North Dakota Tax Identification Numbers and Registration
North Dakota Workers’ Compensation Insurance Requirements and Forms
North Dakota law requires all employers to secure workers’ compensation insurance for all full-time, part-time, seasonal, and occasional employees prior to hiring. The cost of this insurance will vary depending on your business; you can either request a quote or apply online at www.workforcesafety.com.
North Dakota Workforce Safety & Insurance
1600 East Century Avenue, Suite 1
Bismarck ND 58506.
North Dakota Contractor License Lookup and Verification
The North Dakota Business Records Search can help you look up contractors by city, county, owner name, and license number.