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How to Get a North Carolina Contractors License

4-minute read

Getting an NC contractors license means working on larger projects, like this contractor building a frame.
Emily Thompson

Emily Thompson

9 December 2019

Did you know that getting an NC contractors license can open up a world of higher-paying projects to you?

That's right. Whether you're a handyman or working on the side as a general contractor, a North Carolina contractors license makes it easier to work on bigger projects, plus it can help keep you on the right side of the law (more on that in a bit).

That's why we put together a simple how-to guide to get you through the contractor application process fast - so you can start putting your NC contractors license to hard work.

Let’s get started!

Why Do I Need to Become Licensed in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors requires that anyone doing business contracting work get a license first. And there’s a good reason why. The state is protecting homeowners from scams and unsafe work practices. A license helps weed out the good from the bad, and it helps protect people.

But a license benefits contractors too. It adds a level of professionalism to your business and is an asset that you can market to customers. With a license, you’ll:

  • Access bigger and higher-paying jobs. Say goodbye to small handy projects. Once you have your license, you can work on bigger jobs with higher pay. There are a lot of employment opportunities for contractors in North Carolina, so the opportunity is right around the corner.

  • Establish credibility and trustworthiness. Simply put, people want to hire licensed contractors over those who are unlicensed. Not only is it legal, but it also makes them feel safe and secure in the work performed. A license will help you land more customers.

  • Secure your business and its employees. Before you get a license, it’s a good idea to get business insurance, including general liability insurance and workers’ compensation if you have employees. Business insurance helps protect you in the event of an accident, injury, or loss.

Ready to get your North Carolina contractors license? Let's walk through exactly how to do that.

Applying for a NC 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.*

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Getting a Contractor License in North Carolina: What You Need to Know

The North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors has a ton of information online about the licensing process, as well as the state’s laws. They even have a Facebook page where you can go for news and updates.

To apply for a license, you’ll need:

  • To be at least 18 years old.
  • Be of good moral character, as determined by the Board
  • Provide evidence of financial responsibility, as determined by the Board.
  • Send in the application fee.

If you meet these requirements, you can fill out the application form. There are three types of licenses to apply for in North Carolina:

  • Limited License: Lets you work on individual projects up to $500K each.
  • Intermediate License: Lets you work on individual projects up to $1M each.
  • Unlimited License: Lets you work on projects of any value.

The requirements vary for each of these licenses, but they’re all listed on the application form. Once you choose your license type, you’ll need to:

  • Prove that you’re a registered business with the North Carolina Secretary of State.

  • Appoint a qualifier who will need to pass the licensing exam.

  • Get a financial statement to prove you’re in good standing.

  • Obtain a surety bond.

  • Pay the application and licensing fees:

  • Limited License: $75

  • Intermediate License: $100

  • Unlimited License: $125

When you’re ready, you can send your application packet to:

North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors
5400 Creedmoor Rd
Raleigh, NC 27612

Apply to Take the License Exam

To get your North Carolina contractor’s license, you’ll also need to pass an exam through PSI. To learn about upcoming exam dates, as well as sign up, you can check out the State of North Carolina Candidate Information Bulletin.

Getting Additional NC Contractors Licenses

Specialized contractors, like electricians and plumbers, need to follow a different process. Fortunately, it’s all outlined online. Here’s where you need to go:

Electrical licenses

Apply for your North Carolina electrical license through the:

North Carolina State of Examiners of Electrical Contractors
3101 Industrial Drive, Suite 206
Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: 919-733-9042
Fax: 800-691-8399

You can find the application online and schedule an exam.

Plumbing licenses

The North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors handles licenses for plumbers. You can contact them directly to get the application form and any instructions:

North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors
1109 Dresser Court
Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: 919-875-3612
Fax: 919-875-3616

Start Advertising Your Contractor’s License Status

If you’ve made it this far, give yourself a big pat on the back. Getting a contractor’s license takes a lot of effort.

Now it’s time to advertise your new license on your website, business cards, contracts, and other materials. Make sure to include your license number too. Your customers will love seeing that you have North Carolina’s official stamp of approval.

You can also advertise your business insurance plan. You’ll give customers peace of mind when you show you have coverage. And if you’re not happy with your current coverage, you can find a new plan today.

Don't forget that if you're starting your business from scratch, you may also need to get a North Carolina business license as well, so check out our guide on that too.

* 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.

Emily Thompson

Written by

Emily Thompson

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

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