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How to Get a Contractor’s License in South Carolina

3-minute read

Getting a contractor’s license in South Carolina lets you work on customer properties, like this contractor building a porch.
Emily Thompson

Emily Thompson

9 December 2019

Have you been thinking about getting your contractor’s license in South Carolina? Whether you’re a handyman now or new to the construction industry, you need to investigate licensing before starting work.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of information out there, especially online, and it can be pretty confusing. To help sort through all of the information, I put together this easy-to-follow guide on how to get your South Carolina contractor license. It explains why you should get a license—and how.

Ready to get started?

Why Do I Need to Become Licensed in South Carolina?

First, if you want to do contracting work in South Carolina, it’s the law to get a license. That’s right, the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation requires you to go through the licensing process before doing construction work.

Unlike other states, South Carolina makes the licensing process very simple. It’s also easy to find the application online. Although the process for filling out the application can be time-consuming, don’t put it off; it’s the right thing to do and can help you grow your business faster.

For example, a license will help you:

  • Get bigger projects and higher-paying work. Once you carry a license, you can take on bigger projects that pay more. Say goodbye to small, under-the-table handyman projects and get excited—there’s a lot of work available for general contractors in South Carolina.
  • Appear credible, reliable, and trustworthy. Not everyone can get a contractor’s license. After all, it takes time and dedication. But if you go through the process, your customers will trust you and feel peace of mind. They’ll probably refer you to other homeowners too.
  • Safeguard your business and its assets. Applying for a license is a great time to buy business insurance, including general liability insurance and workers’ compensation (if you have employees). A good business insurance plan will protect you and your employees in case there’s an unexpected accident, injury, or loss. In the construction industry, you never know what can happen, so you need to be prepared.

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Sold on getting your license yet? I hope so! Next, let’s talk about how you can get a license quickly so you can get back to work faster.

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

Throughout this process, you may want to bookmark the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s website. It’s your go-to resource for anything related to licensing, so if you have any follow-up questions or want to double-check something, that’s a great place to start.

According to the website, to apply for a license you’ll need:

  • A completed application form.
  • A license fee payable to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (the amount varies based on the time of year).
  • A notarized financial statement or surety bond.
  • Proof of registering your business with the South Carolina Secretary of State.
  • Proof of passing a technical exam and the South Carolina Business Management and Law for Commercial Contractor's exam.

If your business is an LLC or corporation, you can register it with the state by calling 803-734-2158 or by visiting the South Carolina Secretary of State website. If you’re a sole proprietor or if your business is a partnership, you don’t have to register.

Once you send in your application, wait 10 business days. Then you can check the status of your application online.

Apply to Take the License Exam

South Carolina makes it simple to search for a test site and sign up online. To schedule your exam, go to the PSI website or call 800-733-9267. You can check the PSI Candidate Information Bulletin to learn about the exam and help prepare. Remember, it’s important to pass your exam(s) before sending in your license application.

Get Business Insurance

As you prepare for the exam and gather your application materials, don’t forget to shop for a general liability insurance plan and workers’ compensation (if you have employees). It’s one of the best things you can do for your business.

Insurance helps protect you, your employees, and your company’s assets if there’s an accident, injury, or unexpected loss. Just imagine if you were injured and unable to work—or if your tools and equipment got stolen. I know—it’s not fun to imagine the worst-case scenario. But it’s important to be prepared. Get insurance now so you don’t have to think about it later.

Start Advertising Your Contractor’s License Status

Once you get your license, take the time to celebrate! It took a lot of time and effort on your part.

Then start advertising your new credentials. You can feature your license number on your website, business cards, contracts, and other marketing materials. It’s a huge selling point for your business and makes you appear trustworthy and official.

While you’re at it, feature your new business insurance plan, too. It’ll give homeowners peace of mind and confidence as you kick off their projects.

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.

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