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2023 North Carolina General Contractor License Requirements

Find the North Carolina general contractor licensing requirements for 2023 and let Houzz Pro help you navigate the confusing waters of becoming a general contractor.

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What Are The General Contractor License Requirements in North Carolina?

Want to know all the North Carolina general contractor license requirements, but not sure where to start? With requirements and regulations varying from state to state, it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed. We’ve broken down everything you need to know about how to become a general contractor in North Carolina.

Who issues a general contractor license in North Carolina ?

The North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors is responsible for administering general contractor licenses in North Carolina. 

Do you need a contractor’s license in North Carolina?

Under North Carolina law, all contractors who wish to perform work on projects worth $30,000 or more must obtain contractors’ licenses.

What are the different general contractor license types in North Carolina? 

The North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors issues various licenses to contractors, which are categorized based on limitations and classifications.

There are three license limitations for general contractors:

  • Limited license – Authorized to  work on projects worth up to $500,000; Must have at least $17,000 in working capital, a net worth of $80,000, or a contractor license bond of $350,000
  • Intermediate license – Authorized to  work on projects worth up to $1 million; Must have at least $75,000 in working capital or a $1 million surety bond
  • Unlimited license – Authorized to perform work on all projects; Must have at least $150,000 in working capital or a $2 million surety bond

There are five classifications of contractor licenses:

  • Building contractor: Specializing in building construction and demolition projects.
  • Residential contractor: Specializing in residential building construction and demolition projects.
  • Highway contractor: Specializing in highway construction projects.
  • Public utilities contractor: Specializing in water and wastewater projects.
  • Specialty contractor: Specializing in specific trade areas such as roofing or other specialized fields.

How to get your general contractor’s license in North Carolina step-by-step

1. Meet the basic North Carolina general contractor requirements.

If you’ve made it this far, you’re wondering, “how do I get a general contractor’s license in NC?”. Luckily, this first step is fairly straightforward:

  • Age: You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Good moral character: You’ll answer questions about your background.

2. Apply for the  North Carolina general contractor’s license exam

To become a certified or registered contractor in North Carolina, you must download and fill out the application on the website of the NCLGBC. A non-refundable fee for the application must also be paid. As of 2023, the fees are $75 for a limited license, $100 for an intermediate license, and $125 for an unlimited license.

3. Take the exam

After you submit your application, the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors will provide you with information on how to sign up for the appropriate contractor exams based on the type of license you are seeking. In order to fulfill the requirements for a North Carolina general contractor license, you must pass the National Accredited Building Examination offered by the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA). Depending on the license you are applying for, you may need to pass multiple NASCLA exams.

4. Show financial responsibility 

To meet the North Carolina general contractor requirements, you must demonstrate financial stability by meeting the minimum financial requirements for the specific license you are applying for, in case any issues arise during the completion of the services you have been contracted to provide.

5. Register your business license with the state of North Carolina 

If you are a small business, you must register your business through the North Carolina Department of Revenue Corporations, nonprofits, LLCs and partnerships are required to register through the North Carolina Secretary of State .

6. Insurance requirements 

North Carolina does not have a mandatory business insurance requirement for obtaining a general contractor license, but some localities may have their own requirements. However, it is recommended that general contractors in North Carolina have the following types of insurance:

General liability insurance: This protects the business from costs associated with accidents or mistakes, such as property damage or customer injury. Most commercial or residential contractors in North Carolina need at least $1 million in general liability coverage.

Workers’ Compensation insurance: Although not required for a general contractor license in NC, this insurance is mandatory by state law for businesses with three or more employees, including corporations, sole proprietorships, partnerships and limited liability companies.

Tools and Equipment insurance: This type of insurance covers the repair or replacement of tools and equipment used by the contractor in case of theft or damage.

How much does licensing cost in North Carolina ?

At minimum, it will cost ~$300- 700” to become a general contractor in North Carolina.

Tips for passing the North Carolina general contractor licensing exam

Passing the exam is a key step for meeting the general contractor licensing requirements in North Carolina. Here are some tips to pass with flying colors. 

  • Plan your visit to a testing center ahead of time so you know where to go and aren’t rushed 
  • Find an exam study guide to complete practice test questions and familiarize yourself with the material covered on the test
  • Take an online practice test or a class to prepare
  • Set aside some time each day for studying 

Penalties for unlicensed contractors in North Carolina 

Practicing without a general contractor’s license in North Carolina can result in jail time for up to 30 days, as well as a fine of $500, for each violation of its order. 

Leveraging your license on Houzz

Now that you know how to get a general contractor's license in North Carolina, it's time to start thinking about how you can promote your license to potential clients.

Everyone who’s anyone knows the value of a blue checkmark on social media. That’s what the green Verified License Badge is for businesses on Houzz Pro. With one glance, this Badge helps you:

  • Let homeowners know that your business is licensed by state industry experts.
  • Stand out from the competition while homeowners consider who to hire
  • Add credibility to your company name, providing peace of mind to future clients

Here are the steps you can take to add a verified license to your Houzz profile. If you haven’t created a free profile on Houzz, sign up today and get ready to make a bigger impact with your business’ online presence. 

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