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.
Licensing and Registration Fee Summary
Depending on what licensing you are applying for, your exam and licensing fee will vary. However, for your general building contractors license, you will have to pay $90.00.
Payment can be paid by check, money order, or credit card to:
West Virginia Division of Labor
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East State Capitol Complex — Building 3, Room 200 Charleston, WV 25305
West Virginia Contractors Exam
Every applicant must take the Business and Law exam. For a general builders contractor, you must also take the general building contractor exam. Scheduling, locations, and payments will be made through Prov.
The West Virginia Business and Law exam will be 50 questions and will test knowledge over:
- Business Organization
- Estimating and Bidding
- Financial Management
- Labor Law
- Lien Law
- Project Management
- Risk Management
- Tax Law
The West Virginia General Building Contractor exam will be 80 questions and will test knowledge over:
- Plan Reading and Estimating
- Structural Steel
- Doors, Windows, and Stairs
- Interior and Exterior Finish
For more information on exam scheduling, locations, material, and fees, visit the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board Examinations Candidate Information Bulletin.
WV Contractors Exam Fees
Each exam will cost $51.95, and it will be a total of $103.90 to take the Business and Law, and the general building contractors exam. Payments will be made to Prov in the form of money orders, cashier’s and certified checks, or credit card. Prov will not accept personal or company checks.
West Virginia State Business Licenses and Registration
West Virginia requires every business entity to obtain a business registration tax number. For more details, contact the West Virginia Tax Department. Additionally, contact the West Virginia Secretary of State to establish if you are required to get a Certificate of Authority. You can register your business through the West Virginia One Stop Business Portal.
West Virginia Tax Identification Numbers and Registration
Businesses that operate within West Virginia 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. Visit the West Virginia State Tax Department for more information about business registration and your tax obligations
West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance Requirements and Forms
Businesses with employees are required to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage through a commercial carrier, on a self-insured basis, or through the state Workers’ Compensation Insurance program. You must obtain worker’s compensation insurance before you can begin work as a general contractor. The cost of coverage varies depending on which carrier insures your business. If you are an out-of-state company and none of your employees reside in West Virginia, you need to provide a certificate of insurance. For more information, check out the West Virginia Offices of The Insurance Commissioner website.
West Virginia Unemployment Compensation Requirements and Forms
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 West Virginia Workforce agency.
West Virginia Wage Bond Requirements
Businesses in the construction industry are required to post a wage bond to prove they are fully bonded and insured. The amount of the bond is based on your gross payroll over the span of four weeks, plus an additional 15%. You must complete the Wage Bond Status Affidavit and submit it with the rest of your license application materials.
West Virginia Contractor License Lookup and Verification
Visit the West Virginia Division of Labor contractor licensing database to lookup and verify contractors by name, business, or license number.