What do you need to do to get a general contractor license? This will help you navigate the licensing process and understand what's required.

How To Get a General Contractor License in the US? A General Guide

Becoming a general contractor can be a successful and rewarding career for those looking to run their own brand. But before you can hang your shingle, you’ll need to obtain a general contractor license in your state. 

Becoming a general contractor also comes with several risks. That’s why many states require certain criteria before one can start working as a general contractor. 

This guide will provide an overview of what you need to do to get a general contractor license in your state. We’ll also discuss some of the benefits and risks of becoming a general contractor. So whether you’re just starting or are already working in the field, this guide will help you navigate the licensing process and understand what’s required of you.

What is a General Contractor?

A general contractor is a professional responsible for the day-to-day supervision of a construction site, managing vendors and trades, and coordinating workers. In some states, a general contractor must also be licensed to perform work on a variety of different project types, such as electrical, plumbing, or HVAC. To become a general contractor, you will need to have experience working in your chosen industry and a general contractor license.

General Contractor License Requirements by State

Every state has different requirements for general contractor licenses. However, in general, you will need to meet the following criteria:

Be of Legal Age (18+)

In most states, you must be 18 years or older to obtain a general contractor license. In addition, some states require that you be a US citizen or legal resident. Being of legal age to work in the US is a general requirement for all contractor licenses.

Have a High School Diploma or Equivalent

While not required in all states, having a high school diploma or equivalent can be helpful when applying for a general contractor license. In some cases, you can substitute experience for education. 

Complete an Application

All states require you to complete an application to obtain a general contractor license. The application will ask for basic personal information, your chosen industry, and the type of work you plan to do as a general contractor. You may also be asked to provide proof of experience and/or education and pass a background check.

Pay the Application Fee

Most states charge a fee to process your general contractor license application. The fee is generally around $100 but can vary depending on the state where you apply. Check with your state’s licensing board for the most up-to-date fee information.

Pass the General Contractor Exam

You will need to pass an exam to obtain a general contractor license. The exam covers general construction knowledge and practices and specific information about your chosen industry. You can find study materials online or through your state’s licensing board.

Complete an Approved Apprenticeship Program

Many states require that you complete an approved apprenticeship program before obtaining a general contractor license. The length of the apprenticeship program varies by state but is typically around two years. You will gain hands-on experience working in the construction industry during the apprenticeship.

Meet Continuing Education Requirements

Some states require you to complete continuing education courses to renew your general contractor license. The courses generally relate to your chosen industry and help you stay up-to-date on the latest construction methods and practices.

Benefits of Becoming a General Contractor

Becoming a general contractor isn’t for everyone. But for those that aspire to become one, there’s a plethora of benefits and advantages that await, such as:

Become Your Own Boss

You will be in charge of your business as a general contractor. This means that you can set your own hours, choose your own projects, and work as little or as much as you want.

Enjoy a Flexible Schedule

Another advantage of being a general contractor is having a flexible schedule. This perk can be useful especially if you have external obligations. For example, you can work around your schedule if you need to take a day off.

Make a Good Living

It’s not the most popular profession, but general contractors can make a good living. In fact, the median salary for general contractors is around $60,000 to $85,000 per year. With experience, you can easily crack six figures.

Help Others Realize Their Dreams

Finally, you can help others realize their dreams as a general contractor. Whether you’re helping someone build their forever home or renovate their kitchen, you will positively impact their lives. That’s something you can be proud of.

Why Use ReliaBills?

You must get paid for your work when you’re offering general contractor services. That’s where ReliaBills comes in. We help general contractors get paid faster and easier by offering online invoicing automatic payments, and so much more.

ReliaBills is an invoicing and payment processing platform that provides solutions to your billing needs. Whether invoicing for a one-time project or recurring services, we can help you get paid quickly and easily.

With ReliaBills, you get access to features like:

Online Invoicing

Send professional invoices to your clicks with the simple click of a button. Our online invoicing system is fast, easy, and convenient.

Automatic Payments

Get paid automatically with our recurring payments feature. Set up automatic payments, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Online Billing

Keep track of all your invoices and payments in one place with our online billing system. Check your account anytime, anywhere.

Recurring Billing

Save time with our recurring billing feature. Set up your recurring services, and we’ll automatically bill your customers regularly.

Installment Plans

Offer your customers the option to pay for their projects in installments. Installments will help you improve cash flow by getting paid faster.


With AutoPay, you can automatically charge your customers’ credit or debit cards regularly. This is a great way to get paid on time, every time.

Contract Management

Keep track of your contracts and projects with our contract management feature. This can help you stay organized and on top of your work.

ReliaBills is the perfect solution for general contractors looking to streamline their billing and payments. We offer all the features you need to get paid quickly and easily. 

The best part about ReliaBills is that it’s available for FREE! Once you create an account, you can instantly use all of our core features. If you want more features, you can upgrade to ReliaBills PLUS for only $24.95 per month. Cancel any time! That means there’s no commitment and no contract. 

Get started today and see how easy it is to get paid with ReliaBills!

Wrapping Up

General contractors can be a worthwhile career for those looking to take full control over their professional life. With a general contractor license, you can set your own hours, choose your own projects, and work as little or as much as you want. 

If you’re considering becoming a general contractor, use this guide to know what requirements you’ll need to comply with to get your general contractor license for your respective state. And when you’re ready to start billing your customers, sign up for ReliaBills! We offer all the features.

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