You’re handy and you’ve always wanted to own a business. Being a contractor seems like a natural fit.
But how do you get started in the Ocean State? Fortunately, I’ve done the research for you. Take a look at this helpful guide, and you’ll be official before you know it.
Rhode Island is unique (but you probably already knew that). It’s one of the few states that doesn’t require a license. Instead, you need to register as a contractor.
According to the State of Rhode Island Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board, “anyone who is in the business of commercial construction, home construction, alterations, remodeling, or repair to residents to be registered with the State of Rhode Island Contractors' Registration and Licensing Board.”
The process is similar to getting a license, but less stringent. And, just like a license, it has many benefits for contractors:
This is a good thing. Business insurance protects you, your employees, and your business’s property if there’s an accident, injury, or loss. In the construction industry, anything can happen. You want to expect the best, but be prepared in the event of the worst.
Get an affordable & customized policy in just minutes. So you can get back to what matters: Your business.Start My Quote
Now you know the benefits, let’s talk about how to register as a contractor.
If you’re a new contractor and have never registered in Rhode Island, the state requires you to take five hours of pre-education courses before you start the application. You can check out the list of approved classes here.
Then when you’re ready to register, you’ll need:
You can get a business certificate with the Rhode Island Secretary of State by filling out an online form.
Before you fill out the application form, investigate getting business insurance. Rhode Island requires that you carry at least \$500,000 in general liability insurance. This is a good thing—insurance will help protect you and your employees if there’s an accident or injury.
If you have employees, consider buying workers’ compensation insurance too. It’s important to protect your team if they’re injured on the job. With the right plan, they can heal and get back to work sooner.
If you’re an underground utility contractor, Rhode Island requires that you get an official license—not a registration.
First, you’ll need to fill out the pre-license application form. Then, you’ll receive a “pending” license number so you can obtain a bond for two years. In addition, you’ll need:
Before you know it, you’ll have your Rhode Island contractor’s license in your hands!
You’ve proofread your paperwork and you’re ready to send it in. Get a large mailer and address your packet to:
Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board
560 Jefferson Blvd, Suite 204
Warwick, RI 02886-1371
Next up? Get ready to advertise your new registration status. Once you’re official in Rhode Island, you can promote it on your website, business cards, contracts, and other marketing materials. It’s attractive to homeowners.
You can also advertise your new business insurance plan. It’ll give homeowners peace of mind knowing you have insurance in case anything goes wrong. If you’re not happy with your plan now, it’s never too late to make a change. Get a quote and make sure you have the right insurance for your business.
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.
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