Do you want to own a construction or handyman business? A lot of people do.
After all, licensed contractors can make a lot of money. And the profession allows you to enjoy flexible hours, choose your customers, see tangible results, and avoid a desk job.
Sounds like the dream, huh?
But before you take the leap, you need to get a contractor’s license. As you start the process, you’ll notice there’s a ton of confusing information out there. To help, we’ve done the research. All you need to do is follow these steps.
Do you work as an electrician or plumber? If so, it’s the law for you to get a license before doing any work in Colorado. If you don’t, you could risk time in jail or a hefty fine. Yikes.
To avoid criminal penalties, head over to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). You’ll need to pass an exam, provide proof of experience, and fill out the required paperwork.
It’s worth the effort. Pretty soon, you’ll carry an official title and get the high-paying work to boot. Plus, getting a license in Colorado has a ton of other benefits:
Not an electrician or plumber? Other trades, including general contractors, can get their licenses through local municipal departments. The process is a little different in every city and county in Colorado.
But don’t worry. We’ll walk you through the details, so you can jump into it right away.
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 off, it’s not as overwhelming as it appears. We’ll talk about getting a state license for electrical and plumbing professions. Then, we’ll cover getting a general contractor’s license in Colorado’s largest city, Denver.
1. What you'll need to get licensed as an electrician:**
There are different kinds of electrical experience that will dictate how you apply for your Colorado contractor's license.
The requirements are different depending on if you’re a:
Start the application process by applying online here. You’ll also need:
2. If you're a plumber applying for a license, you'll need to consider this:**
The type of work you do will be specified on your application. The types of plumbing work experience and list of items needed to apply for your contractor's license are below:
Keep in mind: 1 month of full-time experience is 163 hours.
It’s fairly simple to apply online here. In your application, you’ll also need:
3. You may need to register for a business license**
If you’re planning on working for yourself (and let’s face it, for many that’s the dream), then there's a chance you may need to get a Colorado business license, too. You would apply for a business license with Colorado’s Secretary of State.
Be prepared to share proof of insurance, a tax ID, and to complete other necessary paperwork with the state.
4. Your trade may require you to have business insurance coverage**
You may have noticed during the application process for your Colorado contractor's license, that business insurance is required--and for good reason. General liability and other business insurance plans, like workers’ compensation, can protect your company in case there’s an accident or loss.
Take time to research carriers and find a top-notch plan that will support you if anything goes wrong. You can always use our free quote comparison tool to see what coverage may look like for you.
After securing your contractor's license, business license, and business insurance, it's likely you'll also need an additional Colorado contractor's license. But it all depends on where you work! Every city and county in Colorado handles the licensing process a little differently. When in doubt, check with your local municipal department before doing any work.
To help, we’ll cover how to get a general contractor’s license in Denver, as an example of how to get a local contractor's license. In this city, you’re required to carry a license before you can pull a permit — a basic requirement before doing any work.
Head to the Denver Community Planning and Development office, which handles all contractor’s licenses. Then:
Now it’s time to send it in! And Denver makes it pretty easy. You can send in the application:
Nice job. Now it’s time to wait for your license. If you sent your application online or in-person, it takes about 7 to 10 business days to review. If you mailed it in, it takes up to 14 business days to review. Have more questions about getting a contractor’s license in Colorado? Send us a comment! We’re here to help you out.
And, remember your first step to getting a license — shopping for a solid business insurance plan, such as general liability insurance. It’s typically a requirement, but it’s also one of the smartest things you can do for your business.
* 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 insurance carrier by AM Best. Harborway Insurance is a brand name of Harborway Insurance Agency, LLC, a licensed insurance producer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. California license #6004217.