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PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS

How to Get Your Nevada Contractors License

8-minute read

Contractor working on outdoor structure, wearing orange glasses and safety gloves
Kat Ambrose

Kat Ambrose

4 December 2019

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Do you want to get your Nevada contractor’s license, but you aren’t sure how? Whether you’re a general contractor, handyman, or an electrician, this guide will help you navigate the process.

There are fees to pay and exams to take. Not to mention, there are several classes of contractor licenses to choose from. Figuring out where you fall into the mix can seem overwhelming.

But don't worry. We got you! In this guide, we're going to cover everything you need to know about becoming a licensed contractor in Nevada—from start to finish.

Let's get started.

Who Needs a Contractor’s License in Nevada?

According to the Nevada State Contractors Board, "All businesses or individuals who construct or alter any building, highway, road, parking facility, railroad, excavation, or other structure in Nevada must be licensed by the Nevada State Contractors Board."

To be eligible to apply for a contractor's license in Nevada, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be 18+ years old
  • Have at least four years of work experience as a journeyman, foreman, contractor, or supervisor that falls within the last ten years of the date you apply

Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Well, there's more to it than that. The State of Nevada splits contractor licenses into three different classes depending on the trade or specialty.

The class types are as follows:

  • Class A (General Engineering Contractor License): This classification is on the technical side—more so for those with specific engineering training. If you plan to work on any projects that involve infrastructure (such as waterways), then you may want to consider this type of classification. There are also 25 sub-classifications--to check to see if the work you plan to do requires a Class A sub-classification, check the Nevada State Contractors' Board Handbook.

  • Class B (General Building Contractor License): When you think of what a general contractor encompasses, this is the license that covers those jobs. This includes construction, altering, repairs, and more.

Keep in mind that if you plan to do any type of electrical, HVAC, or plumbing work, you'll need a different speciality license.

Unlike Class A and it's large amount of sub-classifications, a Class B license has the following six:

  • Premanufactured housing
  • Residential and small commercial
  • Speculative building
  • Service stations
  • Prefabricated steel structures
  • Commercial remodeling

Note: You can choose to apply for a AB Class license, which combines licensure for the work described in both classes above.

  • Class C (Specialty Contractor License): For specialty skills like pool repairs, recycling asphalt, and industrial piping, your license falls under this class. Nevada recognizes 35+ different specialties.

The Class C licenses are different from Class A and B licenses because there is no general Class C license. Instead, each Class C license corresponds directly to a specialty. For example, one Class C license may pertain to roofing, while another licenses a specific type of electrical contracting.

For the full list of the specialty skills, check out the complete list from the Nevada Administrative Code, and to read more about the scope of work per classification reference the Nevada Administrative Code 624.140 - 642.574.

This is a lot of information to wade through, so make sure to take your time when considering which type of Nevada contractors license may be best for you. If you need clarification, there's always the option to contact the Nevada State Contractors Board here.

What Are the Requirements to Becoming a Licensed Contractor in Nevada?

Now that we know what kinds of contractor's licenses Nevada offers let's take a look at the qualifications to apply for one.

  • All applicants must take and pass a CMS exam in addition to a trade exam. The CMS exam essentially verifies that you understand the basics of general business and law that's necessary to run your business.

The results of this exam will be passed along to the Nevada Contractors Board in a letter of eligibility once you apply for your license.

  • You must provide a financial statement that proves you're capable of handling any financial matters associated with running a contracting business. The financial statement will help to give the contractors board an idea of how prepared you are to take on projects. You can learn more about what's required and how to prepare your financial statement here.

  • You'll need to submit four certificates, one for each documented year of work experience you need to prove. You may also choose to provide a government-issued masters certification or proof of transferable military training.

  • You may decide to apply for your license with the endorsement of an existing contractor who has at least 4 years of experience within the last 15 years. If you choose to apply for your Nevada contractors license with an endorsement, you'll need to fill out this form with your application.

  • Part of the application process involves a background check, complete with fingerprinting.

  • If you plan on working on residential properties, you'll need to contribute money to a Residential Recovery Fund. The Residential Recovery Fund is a fund that exists to protect homeowners, or your potential clients.

This protection is something Nevada deemed necessary because homeowners can often be jeopardized by damage caused by contractors.

The amount you're required to add will depend on the monetary limit you pick. The payment is required of contractors on a semi-annual basis.

In addition to these requirements, there are a few fees to note:

  • A non-refundable $300 application fee upon submission
  • Once your application is approved, you'll have to pay another fee of $600 every two years.
  • Lastly, because your business needs to be bonded to operate, that additional expense will depend on the limit you pick.

Hearing about these additional fees may cause a bit of mental sticker shock, but don't worry. We have a FREE cash flow guide you can use to determine how to make sure that you're financially prepared for these costs.

Other Important Details You Need to Know

In addition to the requirements, there are a few other components to the application process you need to know. Let's take a look at each in more detail.

1. Get the proper insurance coverage.

Part of the license issuing process is to get the necessary coverage for your business. In the state of Nevada, all licensed contractors must be bonded and have workers compensation insurance.

According to the NSCB, "The Board determines the amount of the bond at the time of license approval. The bond can vary in amount from $1,000 to $500,000 based on the type of license, monetary limit, past, present or future financial responsibility, experience, and character of the applicant." In other words, the classification of licenses you apply for (like the Class A, B, etc. we discussed earlier) will determine how much you'll pay for your bond.

In order to get a bond, there's a good chance that you may need business insurance. There are different types of bonds, and the reason that business insurance is often required is to ensure the contractor can be financially responsible for the risks they assume.

While there are different types of business insurance, one policy type that can benefit contractors is general liability insurance. General liability insurance can help protect a business in the case of property damage, personal injury, third party accidents, and more.

All contractors who have at least one employee must have a workers compensation insurance policy in place. And unless subcontractors, independent contractors, and their employees are considered separate entities, those individuals must also be covered under your policy.

Because Nevada doesn't have a state-funded workers compensation fund, contractors will need to purchase coverage from a provider.

There's so much that can go into choosing a business insurance policy that's right for you. If you're curious to see your options, you can compare quotes for free using our free quote comparison tool. This way, you'll be able to make the best decision for your business.

Applying for a NV Contractor’s License?

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 >

2. Submit a complete contractor’s license application.

Before you can schedule your exam, you must submit your application along with the corresponding documents.

The amount of time it takes to fill out your Nevada contractors license application may vary depending on what information you have one hand. We suggest giving yourself time to complete this step.

The application will ask you to provide information like:

  • The license classification you wish to apply for
  • The names of your employees if you have any
  • Any criminal history
  • A financial statement

Because you'll need to include things such as your financial assessment, experience documentation and endorsement, background disclosure statement, and more, it's fair to say the process for filling out the application will be time consuming.

If you have any questions about the Nevada contractor's license application or need more information, visit the Nevada State Contractors Board website.

3. Prepare for and schedule your contractor’s exam.

To receive your contractor's license, you must take and pass the Business and Law exam and the trade exam for your classification of license. You'll schedule your test date after you submit your application and get approval from the Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB).

You are responsible for scheduling your exam, but there are multiple testing centers, so you have a few options. All Nevada contractor's license exams are distributed through PSI Online. The Business and Law exam costs $140 when you take it with a trade exam. But if you take them separately, they cost $95 each.

If you know other licensed contractors in Nevada, it may be a good idea to ask about their experiences with their exams to see what they recommend.

For more information about the exams, visit the Nevada State Contractors Board website.

4. Register your business with the Nevada Secretary of State.

Not only are all Nevada contractors required to maintain a contractor's license, but you must also have a current business license as well. But don't stress—there are plenty of resources available to you at your disposal.

The Nevada Secretary of State offers a free business service called SilverFlume that makes it easy to register. You'll need to secure your Nevada business ID to apply for your contractor's license. You can register as an LLC, LLP, corporation, or a sole proprietor.

But how will a Nevada business license benefit you, beyond checking off a box? In many ways! Having a business license can help to:

  • Build trust with potential & existing customers
  • Fulfill requirements of clients or vendors
  • Secure financial assistance
  • And more!

Spread Word About Your Nevada Contractor's License

At this point, you've done a lot of work to cover all the steps and get your Nevada contractor's license. But don't put your feet up just yet--there's more you can do.

Similarly to how having a business license can benefit you, having a contractor's license can help establish your business as one that's trustworthy.

Don't be afraid to spread the word that you've got your Nevada contractor's license, business license, and that you've covered by business insurance. Whether you let people know by hanging a sign in your storefront, painting it onto your work vehicle, or posting it on your website--let people know.

Being open about the work you've done to protect your business and the work you do for your clients is just one way that you can set yourself apart from competition.

You're Ready for Your Nevada Contractor License!

A lot of work goes into the process of applying for your Nevada contractor license, but the arguably most important step you've taken is the one towards making sure you've done your due diligence and understand what's required.

But remember--there's a lot of information available to you and we're only one of the resources out there.

If you have more questions about contractor licensing, the process, or the requirements, contact the Nevada State Contractors Board here.

In the meantime, we're here to help with your questions about starting, growing, and protecting your business. Check out Simply U, our blog for business owners!

* 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.

Kat Ambrose

Written by

Kat Ambrose

I’m a writer who specializes in creating value-packed blog content for eCommerce and SaaS companies and small businesses. When I'm not writing, I’m probably out running, checking out a thriller novel—or two—from the library, or trying to pet the nearest dog.

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

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