Interested in becoming a licensed contractor in Virginia, but aren't sure where to start?
Ready to make things official with your contracting career and get your license? You’ve come to the right place!
I’ve created this comprehensive guide that details everything you need to know about how to apply for your contractor’s license in Virginia. There are quite a few boxes to check, but I’ve got you covered each step of the way.
Let’s get started.
Before you can apply for your Virginia contractor’s license, there are a couple of items to check off your list first.
Because contractor licenses are given to businesses, not individuals, you must create a business!
There are several types of businesses you can file for:
If you aren’t sure which one fits for your business, consult a CPA. Also, the Business One Stop is a super helpful resource that can provide you with additional information or answer any questions you might have.
If you’re filing your business as a sole proprietor, you can typically use the name you registered as the name of your business. Usually, a “trading as” name is used by business owners. You can choose whatever name you want, as long as you register that name the right way.
If you’re filing your company as a corporation or an LLC, you must register both your company and any associated names with the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
Lastly, if you’re filing as a sole proprietor, you must register any “trading as” names with the local court where your company operates.
It’s important to note that though you can choose whatever name you like, it must not suggest that you do work that is not covered under your license. For example, if your business name is Bob Inc. and you’ve applied to obtain an electrician license, you couldn't call it Bob’s Roofs, Inc. as your license would not cover the roofing classification.
Because the licensing process is run on a first-come, first-served basis, applications can take 30+ days to go through.
Of course, if you have all of your materials in, the process will go much quicker. If your application is incomplete, a letter will be sent to you in the mail that outlines what you still need to submit.
In the state of Virginia, licenses are classified into A, B, and C. The class determines the monetary restrictions placed on the size of the contracts or projects.
Below is the class breakdown:
The idea is to select the class for the amount of work you think you’ll take on because exceeding your class amount is a violation.
Once you’ve determined how much work you want to take on, then you decide what type of work you’re going to do. The classification and specialties of the contractor’s licenses correspond with the kind of work you can do.
To hold a specialty license, the Qualified Individual (QI) must meet all the requirements. In other words, your QI must have experience in that specialty and demonstrate that experience either through another individual license, certification, or exam. We’ll talk more about QIs later on.
Responsible management, or the individuals responsible for ensuring that all regulations and statutes are followed, must be selected as part of the application process.
Depending on how your company is registered will determine the number of people that must be identified. For example, sole proprietors only have to identify the person who owns the business.
The following information must be disclosed about the individuals:
Next, you must identify your QIs (as I mentioned above) for each of the specialties you want on your license. The QI must be a bona fide full-time employee or one of the responsible management members.
Just like the responsible management members, all QIs must have experience in the specialty they will be linked to, which is determined by the class of license:
For more details on QIs, visit the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.
It’s required that Class A and Class B contractors have a designated employee who has passed the exam. There is no designated employee for Class C licenses.
Both Class A and Class B designated employees should be members of responsible management or a full-time employee. All Class B designated employees must complete the General and Virginia portions of the examination, and the Class A designated employees must complete the general, Virginia, and the advanced parts of the test.
Just like identifying your responsible management, the following information must be submitted for each designated employee:
For more information, visit the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.
No matter the class, you must have either a Responsible Management member or a designated employee—for Class A and Class B only, of course—complete a pre-license board-approved education course.
There are many board-approved courses that can be taken to meet this requirement. These courses are typically administered in a classroom, but some may be offered online or even via correspondence.
Though these courses are board-approved, the providers are allowed to set their own fees, schedules, and locations. So make sure you’re choosing the provider that works best for you.
Lastly, make sure you send in your completed application with the corresponding fee. If your application is deemed incomplete, it will be delayed. On the flip side, some of the answers you provide may warrant additional responses or documentation, so be aware of that.
In terms of the application fee, every form lists the fee that must be submitted on the first page of the said form. Applications without the attached fee will be sent back—and you don’t want that!
It’s important to note that all fees are non-refundable. If you don’t meet any number of requirements for the contractor’s license, you will not be issued a refund. However, you may be able to receive a refund of your recovery fund assessment.
As a business owner, you want to protect every aspect of your business. Business insurance, liability insurance, and construction bonds ensure you’re prepared for the worst.
Business insurance is the coverage a business owner can purchase to protect themselves from losses, liability, and other unforeseen events.
Liability insurance covers any costs that come with any third-party accidents, damage, or bodily injury.
Construction bonds act like a safeguard if a project fails or if there is an issue that results in a cost to the customer. The company that issued the bond will cover the expenses, and then ask the party that took out the bond for reimbursement.
If you have more questions about contractor licensing, the process, or the requirements, leave a comment below! After you get your license, make sure you get your contractor’s insurance quote.
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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.
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