Getting your general contractors license in Virginia is not the same as becoming a general contractor in West Virginia. The West Virginia Division of Labor has a process for obtaining a contractors license that includes going through several agencies, scheduling exams, and registering your business — all of which include associated fees, on top of the cost of general liability insurance. You will want to make sure you have everything in line before submitting your application to become a licensed general contractor in West Virginia.
West Virginia General Contractor License Requirements
According to the West Virginia Department of Labor, a “general building contractor” is defined as “a person whose principal business is in connection with any structures built, being built or to be built for the support, shelter and enclosure of persons, animals, chattels or movable property of any kind, requiring in the construction the use of more than two contractor classifications, or a person who supervises the whole or any part of the construction.”
A general contractors license in the state of West Virginia will be more specifically named a “general building contractor license” and will have its own licensing procedure. Additionally, if you plan on having a contractor business, you will need to obtain a business registration tax number through the West Virginia State Tax Department, as well as receive a certificate of authority through the West Virginia Secretary of State. If you are hiring employees, you will also need proof of workers’ and unemployment compensation.
Who Needs a Contractors License in WV?
West Virginia offers licenses for various contracting work. This includes specialty trades, such as electrical and plumbing, but it also provides a general building contractor’s license which is required for projects over $1000. Depending on your contracting work your process for applying for and obtaining your contractors license will vary slightly, and this includes exams and fees.
If you are going to be performing general building contract work alongside specialty trades, you will need to acquire those licenses and take the associated exams as well. For a full list of contracting work that requires testing and licensing, visit the West Virginia Division of Labor contractor license page.
What Do You Need To Become a General Contractor in West Virginia?
To obtain any contractors license in the state of West Virginia, you will have to go through a similar process. Although exam agencies, fees, and material may differ, your licensing procedure will look close to this:
- Contact the West Virginia Division of Labor. Notifying them of your scope of work you are applying for — in this case, a general building contractors license (and any other specialty trade). The board will then verify the classifications and exams required for the license(s).
- Register for & take the necessary exams: Business & Law exam, and the Trade exam. Not all contractors have to take the trade exam. For a list of tested classifications, refer to the West Virginia Department of Labor site.
- Every business must register with the West Virginia Tax Department to get your business registration tax number.
- Acquire workers compensation and unemployment insurance along with documentation to provide proof to submit with your application. Unlike other states, you are not required to obtain liability insurance in West Virginia (although you should seriously consider doing so before operating as a business to protect yourself).
- Post a wage bond. Though not required, you may also want to consider posting a surety bond to better protect yourself, your clients, and your projects.
- Fill out the printable PDF application/affidavit and send it to the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board with your supporting documentation.