As with most states, there are different Texas contractor license requirements, which depend on your specific profession. Texas will also have different requirements to be met depending on where you live. In Texas, specialty contractors such as plumbers, electricians, and HVAC workers will require a state license, while general contractors will get their license through their local jurisdiction.
You will need to determine where to register your business if you are planning to own a contracting company in Texas as well. As with any contractors license, Texas will require you to go through the right agency, meet that agency’s requirements, and pay the necessary fees to become licensed or registered. It is also common for contractors to need to find liability insurance coverage before getting licensed or bidding on projects. The information below will detail how to become a general contractor in some major cities of Texas.
Austin General Contractor License
The City of Austin Development Services Department requires general contractors to obtain a permit to do contracting work. If you are looking to perform contracting work in Austin, take a look at these few steps that are necessary for getting your general contractor license in Austin, Texas.
Steps to Applying for a General Contractor Permit in Austin, Texas
For your general permit request application, you will have to provide the Austin Development Services Department with specific information. To facilitate your permitting process, be prepared to:
- Download and print the official application form.
- Provide the General Contractor and Authorized Agent Name.
- Determine your usage (scope of work);
- Commercial Usage: For triplex structures and higher;
- Provide the project address.
- Describe the work you will be doing in detail.
- Give your building permit number(s).
- Fax the completed form to the Permit Center at (512) 974-1226.
- Pay all application and permit fees.
- Residential Usage: For single-family and duplex structures;
You should be contacted by the Permit Center within 24 hours. After the request for a permit has been approved, the contractor should then:
- Check the current fee schedule for the applicable “residential review,” which is essentially a pre-work inspection of the property.
- Pay the fee through an escrow account. (See below.)
After the residential review is conducted with no issues to correct, then a building permit may be requested.
Austin Contractor Registration Fees
The most convenient way to pay for permitting fees is to establish an escrow account with the city.
General contractors can pay for the inspection fees online via an escrow account. In addition, permits for electrical, plumbing, and mechanical work can be issued and paid for through this account.
An escrow account can be established by signing up on the Austin Development Services Department’s secure portal.
Up to six agents may be appointed to conduct business on behalf of the general contractor and use the escrow account.
One of the main advantages of using an escrow account to conduct business is that the applicant can fax permit request forms to the Permit Center and then instantly pay the fees via the account.
Dallas General Contractor License
Registering to become a contractor in Dallas will be slightly different than doing so in Austin. However, the basics will be the same — meet the requirements, fill out the form, and pay the fees. Although, during these basic steps you will have to make decisions such as specifying your license type and establishing a place of business.
Steps to Registering for a Contractor in Dallas, Texas
Your Dallas contractor registration application will request particular information as part of your registration process. For any license type, there will be only one form. For your application, you will need to:
- Select if you are a new contractor or renewing.
- Determine your license type:
- Gas Well Provider;
- Energy Code Provider;
- Green Building Provider;
- General Contractor – Commercial, Residential, Roofing, Fence, Foundation, Demolition, and/or Pool Contractor;
- Provide Applicant, Responsible Party, and Company information.
- List authorized (by you) personnel who can sign permit applications for your company.
- Sign the Contractor Registration Affidavit.
- Declare if your home is your place of residence, if applicable, via a Home Occupation Declaration.
- Sign, notarize, and submit application.
- Pay all application and registration fees.
Dallas Contractor Registration Fees
Your Dallas contractor registration will cost you $120 with an annual renewal fee at the same price. To pay, set up an account through the Dallas Online Applications and Inspections webpage. For more information on how to pay, set up an account, and more, visit the City of Dallas Permits and Inspections Online how-to instructions for a trade contractor page.
San Antonio General Contractor License
The City of San Antonio’s Development Services Department requires one of two types of registration for general contractors: home improvement contractor, for limited repair work, and residential building contractor, for more extensive construction work. Registration for either option requires a criminal history background check through the San Antonio Police Department. There is a separate fee required for the background check.
Home Improvement Contractor Registration
The home improvement contractor registration application allows general contractors to oversee repairs, replacement work, non-structural remodeling, and modernizations on existing structures. Examples of work permitted would be window and door repairs or replacements, re-roofing, fence or deck installation, painting, and non-structural carpentry.
Items needed to register as a home improvement contractor include the following:
- Complete and notarize application, including the criminal history background check form and the Criminal Background Check Form (attached to the end of the application).
- Government-issued photo ID.
- Letter of Authorized Agents (if applicable).
- Pay all application, registration, and background check fees.
Residential Building Contractor Registration
The home or residential builder contractor registration application for general contractors wishing to engage in new residential construction or for remodeling or altering existing homes involving structural changes or foundation repairs.
To register as a residential building contractor, the following items must be submitted:
- Completed and notarized Residential Building Contractor Registration Application.
- Criminal Background Check Form (attached to the end of the application).
- Government-issued ID card.
- Letter of Authorized Agents (if applicable).
- Certificate of liability insurance with “The City of San Antonio” as the certificate holder. The following coverages are required:
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- Property damage and bodily injury: $400.00 per occurrence;
- Total for property damage and bodily injury: $1 million;
- Total liability for products and completed operations: $400,000;
Use of Authorized Agents
For both home improvement contractor and residential building contractor registration, in cases where the general contractor will authorize any other person to secure building permits, in addition to the respective registration application, an authorization letter written on company letterhead, fully naming the agent, must be submitted. If no letterhead exists, a notarized letter is an appropriate substitute.
San Antonio Contractor Registration Fees
Applicants will be required to pay a registration fee as well as a background check application fee. Payments can be made by check or money order. Expect to pay the following for each registration type below:
Home Improvement Contractor:
- $75.00 check or money order for the fee (required for both initial and renewal of registration);
- $25 check or money order for the background check (must be separate);
Residential Building Contractor:
- $170.00 check or money order for the fee (required for both initial and renewal of registration);
- $25 for the background check (must be separate);
Registration applications and fees can be sent to:
Cliff Morton Development and Business Services Center
1901 South Alamo Street
San Antonio, TX 78204
Hours: 7:45 am – 4:30 pm (Monday – Friday). The office is closed on city holidays.
However, the background check application and fee must be brought directly to the San Antonio Police Department at:
San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) Identification/Latent Prints
315 S. Santa Rosa
San Antonio, Texas 78207
Phone: (210) 207-7605
Texas Business License Registration
Businesses, even contracting companies, will have to register and become licensed to operate in the state of Texas. During your registration process, you will have to determine your business structure, fulfill your business tax responsibilities, gain all permits according to your business type, and meet employer requirements. Small businesses will need to register with their local county clerk’s office. However, corporations must register with the Texas Secretary of State.
It’s common for most cities in Texas to require construction contractors to obtain a surety bond prior to beginning work on any type of project. The exact amount required varies widely by city, so it is important to investigate the local rules for bonding before commencing a construction project.It would be in the company’s best interest to research local construction bond companies before getting a bond to help ensure they’re getting the best deal.
Tax ID Number Texas
Businesses that operate within Texas 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 Texas Comptroller for more information about business registration and your tax obligations.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Texas
Texas Contractor License Lookup and Verification
To look up and verify an active license in Texas, visit the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation TDLR License Search database.
See General Contractor Licensing Information in Nearby States
For More License and Career Guides
To find out how to become a General Contractor in another state, start here.
For information on other trades in Texas, click on a link below to learn more about the licensing requirements: