In order to become a general contractor in Oregon, you’ll need to seek out proper licensing and education as provided by the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB). In addition, Oregon law requires anybody working for compensation in any construction activity to register to do business with the state, provide proof of workers’ compensation (if you are employing any contractors) and general liability insurance, and to comply with state tax regulations.
In certain instances, additional fees and paperwork may be required. Contractors applying for a license are required to obtain CCB surety bonds, the value of which will depend on their type of contractor endorsement. CCB Licenses are good for two (2) years.
Oregon CCB License Requirements
Oregon’s general contractor licensing requirements are varied, and it is imperative to make sure you know and have met all of them before applying. Below is a comprehensive outline of the CCB’s licensing requirements for Oregon general contractors.
Who Needs a Contractors License?
The Oregon Construction Contractors Board states specifically that “anyone who works for compensation in any construction activity involving improvements to real property needs a license.” Common construction roles include:
- Floor covering
- Air conditioning
- Tree servicing
- Repair of attached appliances (ORS 701.005 (5)(a))
- Manufactured dwelling installation
- Land development
- Home inspection
- Most construction and repair services
Specifically mentioned as well are various types of work that do not require a license from the CCB. These examples include:
- Gutter cleaning
- Power and pressure washing for the purpose of cleaning (siding, sidewalks, etc.)
- Debris clean up (yard or construction site)
- Qualified real estate property managers managing a building under a property management agreement.
Oregon.gov also mentions that certain tradework necessitates further licensing and permitting beyond and sometimes instead of CCB general contracting licenses. For example, electrical work that requires a licensed electrician and an electrical permit includes, but is not limited to, installing (or repairing):
- Electrical outlets
- Lighting fixtures
Plumbing work that requires a licensed plumber and a plumbing permit includes, but is not limited to, installing (or repairing):
- Plumbing fixtures (toilets, sinks, showers, tubs or dishwashers)
- Water heaters
As you can see, Oregon’s CCB is pretty clear on which trades are regulated and need licensing to operate legally. Separate from residential or commercial contracting licenses, other restricted residential endorsements are required for locksmith services, home inspector services, and others, and can be found by visiting this page.
What Do You Need To Become a General Contractor in Oregon?
Most construction and repair services require a general contractor’s license issued by the CCB. Here’s a brief outline of what you’ll need to do to become a general contractor in Oregon:
- Determine the types of structures you’ll be working on. Whether you’re working on residential structures, commercial structures, or both, will determine which type of endorsement is right for you. If you work on both residential and small or large commercial structures, you’ll be required to purchase two bonds instead of one (one for each endorsement), and one liability insurance policy in the higher amount required between the two endorsements. There are nine residential endorsement types, and five commercial endorsement types:
- Residential endorsements
- Residential general contractor (RGC): These contractors may supervise, arrange for, or perform (partly or completely) an unlimited number of unrelated building trades involving any residential or small commercial structure or project.
- Residential specialty contractor (RSC): These contractors perform work involving one or two unrelated building trades for residential or small commercial projects.
- Residential limited contractor (RLC): This is for part-time contractors who, for example, build for a hobby, for retirees, or for maintenance type of services
- Residential developer (RD): This classification is for residential developers who arrange for the construction of structures, or development of property, that they intend to sell.
- Home services contractor (HSC): Contractors with an HSC endorsement may operate a business offering service, repair or replacement under a home services (warranty) agreement.
- Residential locksmith services contractor (RLSC): Contractors with an RLSC endorsement may operate a business offering locksmith services.
- Home inspector services contractor (HISC): Contractors with a HISC endorsement may operate a business offering home inspection services.
- Home energy performance score contractor (HEPSC): Contractors with a HEPSC endorsement may operate a business issuing home energy performance scores.
- Residential restoration contractor (RRC): Contractors with an RRC endorsement may operate a business offering restoration services for residential and small commercial structures.
- Commercial endorsements
- Commercial General Contractor Level 1 & 2 (CGC1, CGC2): These contractors may supervise, arrange for, or perform (partly or completely) an unlimited number of unrelated building trades involving any small or large commercial structure or project. A Level 1 contractor must have 8 years of construction experience, while a Level 2 contractor must have 4.
- Commercial Specialty Contractor Level 1 & 2 (CSC1, CSC2): These contractors perform work involving one or two unrelated building trades for small or large commercial projects. A Level 1 contractor must have 8 years of construction experience, while a Level 2 contractor must have 4.
- Commercial Developer: This classification is for commercial developers who arrange for the construction of structures, or the development of property, that they intend to sell.
- Residential endorsements
These are just summary descriptions of each type of endorsement. The HSC, RLSC, HISC, HEPSC, and RRC are restricted residential endorsements, separate from other residential endorsements. More information on endorsement types can be found on the Oregon CCB Endorsement Chart.
- Complete your pre-license training and pass the test. If you’re at least 18 years old and have completed at least 16 hours of training on law and business practices from an approved education provider in Oregon, you’re able to take the Oregon exam. This 16-hour training can be supplemented by the NASCLA Accredited Examination for Commercial General Building Contractors. More information on pre-license training in Oregon can be found here.
- File your business with the Oregon Secretary of State. You’ll need to file as a corporation, LLC, or assumed business name with the Oregon Secretary of State, Corporation Division, or call 503-986-2200. More information on starting a business in the state of Oregon can be found here.
- Obtain a CCB surety bond in the amount required by your endorsement type. Becoming bonded and insured varies depending on your endorsement type, and it must be accompanied by the application. Surety bond costs vary from $10,000 to $75,000. More information on CCB surety bonds can be found online.
- Residential bonds
- Residential general contractor: $20,000
- Residential specialty contractor: $15,000
- Residential limited contractor: $10,000
- Residential developer: $20,000
- All restricted residential endorsements: $10,000
- Commercial bonds
- Commercial General Contractor Level 1: $75,000
- Commercial General Contractor Level 2: $20,000
- Commercial Specialty Contractor Level 1: $50,000
- Commercial Specialty Contractor Level 2: $20,000
- Commercial Developer: $20,000
- Residential bonds
If you are unsure of how to choose a bond company, be sure to shop around rates and check bond qualifications. Aim to use a bond company, rather than your personal banking establishment to ensure the proper coverage.
- Provide proof of general liability insurance. These Certificates of Insurance must accompany the application, and must name the Construction Contractors Board as the Certificate Holder. The amount of liability insurance that you will need depends on your endorsement type. More information on liability insurance can be found here.
- Residential liability insurance
- Residential general contractor: $500,000 per occurrence
- Residential specialty contractor: $300,000 per occurrence
- Residential limited contractor: $100,000 per occurrence
- Residential developer: $500,000 per occurrence
- All restricted residential endorsements: $100,000 per occurrence
- Commercial liability insurance
- Commercial General Contractor Level 1: $2,000,000 aggregate
- Commercial General Contractor Level 2: $1,000,000 aggregate
- Commercial Specialty Contractor Level 1: $1,000,000 aggregate
- Commercial Specialty Contractor Level 2: $500,000 per occurrence
- Commercial Developer: $500,000 per occurrence
- Residential liability insurance
- Provide proof of workers’ compensation insurance if you’ll be hiring employees. The Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division can provide more information on workers’ compensation insurance. You can visit the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division website here, or call 503-947-7810. Exemption information can be found on the CCB’s official workers’ compensation page.
- Obtain other employer accounts and tax numbers. Businesses operating in Oregon are required to register at the state level with the Oregon Department of Revenue (503-378-4988), as well as at the federal level with the Internal Revenue Service (1-800-356-4222).
- Complete and submit an application. Select the residential only, commercial only, or both residential and commercial (dual) application as it applies to you. Fill out the full application and submit with your original bond, your insurance certificate, and a $250 application fee by Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or by check.
Licensing and Registration Fee Summary
The amount that Oregon general contractors will have to pay overall is dependent on the type of licensing that they apply for. However, certain things remain constant:
- General Contractor Application Fee: $250.00
- CCB License Exam Fee: $60.00
- 16 hour pre-license training: $49.00 – $550.00
- Surety Bond: Cost varies
- Proof of Insurance: Cost varies
It’s worth it to note that there may be additional fees incurred at local and county levels. Check with local municipalities and county codes for further information.
Oregon Contractors Exam
The CCB license exam can be administered to those who are at least 18 years old and have completed at least 16 hours of training on law and business practices from an approved education provider. A list of approved pre-license educators You can review this list of approved pre-license educators, along with whether they offer courses online, in Spanish or English, and how much the course will cost.
This 16 hours of pre-license training is not necessary for applicants who have passed the NASCLA Accredited Examination for Commercial General Building Contractors. Proof of passage of the NASCLA Accredited exam can be emailed to the CCB at [email protected].
Once you complete pre-license training, you’ll schedule your test through your course provider, who will alert PSI Services, the test administrator, that you are ready to take the exam. Test locations and procedures are provided via the PSI candidate bulletin, and you can register to take your test here. The CCB exam:
- Is an open-book exam
- Loose paper prohibited
- Writing in the manual during the exam is prohibited
- Make changes or corrections to the manual before testing
- Contains 80 multiple choice questions on business practices and law
- Requires a passing score of 70 percent (56 correct answers)
- Allows you three hours to complete
- Costs $60.00
- Can be taken again if it is failed a first time
Those who take the training and pass the test are referred to as Responsible Managing Individuals (RMI), and must be an owner or employee of the business, and must manage or supervise the business’s construction activities. An RMI must apply for their CCB license within 24 months of passing the test.
Oregon Contractors License Application
The Oregon CCB License comes in three different types; residential, commercial, and dual:
- Application for Residential CCB License
- Application for Commercial CCB License
- Application for Residential and Commercial (dual) CCB License
These applications must be printed off and completed in either black or dark blue ink. The application itself will ask you to specify whether you’re a sole proprietor, corporation, LLC, trust, partnership, or joint venture.
From there, you’ll skip to a specific set of pages in the application pursuant to your business type, where you’ll provide your state BIN and your federal EIN numbers, as well as information about workers’ compensation. You may be required to provide your driver’s license number or other form of picture identification.
Additionally, the license application asks for information on arbitration and unpaid debts, as well as whether or not the applicant has a criminal background. The CCB has the authority to do criminal history checks on all applicants, so only provide accurate information.
After completing the full application, you’ll sign and date the form, and then submit it with your Surety Bond information, Certificate of Liability Insurance, and the non-refundable $250.00 fee (payable via Visa, Mastercard, and Discover, or by check) to:
Oregon Contractor Registration and Permitting Requirements
Oregon has a variety of planning, zoning, and construction permits that need to be obtained based on where the construction is going to take place. These requirements vary from location to location.
More information on statewide permit and inspection services is also available online.
Oregon State Business Licenses and Registration
All contractors wishing to do business in the State of Oregon must file their corporation, LLC, or assumed business name with the Oregon Secretary of State, Corporation Division. Call 503-986-2200 for more information, or visit the Oregon START A BUSINESS Guide.
Oregon Business Registration
All new businesses in Oregon must register their business name with the Secretary of State’s office. You can print out your Oregon business registration forms, while those wishing to apply online can visit the Oregon Online Business Registration Page.
Oregon Tax Identification Numbers and Registration
Any in-state or out-of-state employer with employees who are working in Oregon are required to obtain a Business Identification Number (BIN). Visit the Oregon Department of Revenue’s website for more information on obtaining your BIN.
Oregon Workers’ Compensation Insurance Requirements and Forms
Oregon law requires all employers to secure workers’ compensation insurance for your employees prior to hiring. More information is on the Workers’ Compensation Division website.
Oregon CCB License Lookup and Verification
The Oregon CCB State Licensed Contractor Search can help you look up qualified contractors in Oregon.