Want to become a general contractor in Arizona — but have no idea how to get started? It’s easier than you might think.
If you’re passionate about home improvement and ready to make it your career, here’s your step-by-step guide.
First, let’s talk about the benefits of getting a license. You can do handyman work without one, but getting an official contractor’s license in Arizona helps you earn more. The state requires licensed contractors to handle jobs totaling over $1,000. And in the construction industry, that’s most of them. Without a license, you’re limited to smaller, lower-paying jobs.
Getting a license also sets you up for success. A license will:
A license also requires that you carry general liability and business insurance, such as workers compensation. These policies protect you, your company’s assets (like tools, equipment, and vehicles), and your employees in case something goes wrong.
Does getting a license sound like a no-brainer? We think so. Now, here’s how to do it.
Anyone can apply for a contractor’s license, whether you’re an individual working as a sole proprietor, or if you work in a partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation.
But how do you know if you’re actually required to get a license?
Arizona is pretty clear on this front. You’re required to get a contractor license if:
You’re working on any project that exceeds $1,000 - and that’s with labor and materials combined. So even a “small” project could require a license if you’re using materials that hit that $1,000 threshold.
You’re working on any project where a permit or license is required. You will encounter this a lot, as Arizona is encountering a building boom thanks to an increasing population.
To summarize, if you don’t have a contractor’s license, you could be cutting yourself off from some pretty high-paying projects. Plus, without the license, you could be putting yourself at legal risk if a customer ever sues you over your work.
So let’s take a closer look at how to get your Arizona contractor license.
First, download the application online at roc.az.gov, or get a hard copy by calling 877-692-9762, or emailing [email protected]. If you prefer an in-person visit, stop by one of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors offices to get an application. Bonus: their onsite staff can walk you through the process there.
1700 W. Washington St. Suite 105
Phoenix, Arizona 85007-2812
Telephone: (602) 542-1525
Fax: (602) 542-1599
400 W. Congress St., Ste. 212
Tucson, Arizona 85701-1353
Fax: (602) 542-1599
Flagstaff Office (by appointment only)
2501 N 4th Street #22
Flagstaff, Arizona 86004-3701
As you gather your paperwork (which we'll talk about in a bit), sign up take the licensing exam. First, find out which exams are required in your business. Then, sign up for an exam online and find a testing center nearby.
You’ve completed and signed the paperwork. Check! You’ve passed the test. Another check! Great job. It’s time to send in your application.
To send it in the mail:
Registrar of Contractors
P.O. Box 6748
Phoenix, AZ 85005-6748
To deliver it in person:
1700 W. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2812
As you navigate the licensing process, don’t forget to get business insurance, including general liability. A business insurance plan will help protect you, your employees, and your business if there’s an accident or loss of property.
Plus, it adds a level of professionalism that complements your brand-new state license.
Some Arizona contractor industries may be legally required to carry a minimum level of business insurance in order to get approved for a license. One of the most common requirements is around general liability insurance, which provides financial coverage in case your work causes an accident or damages property.
If you don't yet have general liability insurance, no worries - just check out our free quote comparison tool to find affordable policies from the nation's top insurance companies.
You may need to show proof of business insurance to get your license.
That’s where we come in. Compare free insurance quotes for policies as low as $25.95/month.*Start Here >
First, you’ll need to identify your “qualifying party.” This is a person, and most likely you, who is over 18 and ready to apply for a license. Check out Arizona’s license classification requirements to make sure you have the years of experience required.
Arizona requires a criminal background check for any person applying for a state license. Once you complete the background check, the Arizona Registrar of Contractors receives the results.
If you have a criminal record, it could affect your ability to secure a state license. Your best bet is to read the state’s policy on licensing background checks and call 877-692-9762 with questions.
There is a test involved. You’ll need to pass the Arizona SRE Statutes and Rules Exam and your specific trade exam by at least 70% — and send in the results.
If you haven’t done so already, register your business in Arizona — whether you’re a sole proprietor (an individual working on your own), or you work in a partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. You can use eCorp, the state’s web-based application to file your business with the state. Need a business license? Follow the steps in our Arizona business license guide today!
You’ll also need to send in proof of a license bond. This bond can be a surety bond or a cash bond. You can also provide your bond in cash or as a certificate of deposit from any Arizona bank.
The bond must be continuous, meaning it doesn’t have a termination date. The amount varies based on your license type and the estimated gross volume of work. You can learn more about how construction bonds work here.
To get your state license, you also need to pay a fee. You can see what fees you'll be expected to pay based on the license you apply for.
Gather your government-issued identification and make copies to send in. Your identification can be a valid driver’s license or a passport.
Once you have all of your paperwork together, sign it and add any supporting documents that are needed. Here are a few documents you might need to add in:
* Monthly payment calculations (i) do not include initial premium down payment and (ii) may vary by state, insurance provider, and nature of your business. Averages based on January - December 2020 data of 10% of our total policies sold.
I earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (go Bucky). After realizing my first job might involve carrying a police scanner at 2 am in pursuit of “newsworthy” crimes, I decided I was better suited for freelance blogging and marketing writing. Since 2010, I’ve owned my freelance writing business, EST Creative. When I’m not penning, doodling ideas, or chatting with clients, you’ll find me hiking with my husband, baby boy, and 2 mischievous mutts.
This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer
*Harborway Insurance policies are underwritten by Spinnaker Insurance Company and reinsured by Munich Re, an A+ (Superior) rated reinsurance carrier by A.M. Best. Harborway Insurance is a trade name of Simply Business, Inc., which is a licensed insurance producer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.