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2024 Ohio General Contractor License Requirements

Find the Ohio general contractor licensing requirements for 2024 and let Houzz Pro help you navigate the confusing waters of becoming a general contractor.

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Are you an Ohio-based contractor looking for information on Ohio general contractor license requirements? If so, you’re in the right place. As of 2024, all general contractors in Ohio are required to be licensed and must meet certain criteria in order to practice. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the requirements for obtaining an Ohio general contractor license in 2024.

Who Needs a General Contractor License in Ohio?

In Ohio, the requirement for a contractor license primarily applies to specific types of contractors, and this regulation is primarily managed at the state level. The categories of contractors obligated to possess contractor licenses encompass plumbers, electricians, HVAC contractors, hydronic technicians, and refrigeration installers. Other general contractors may not be subject to such state-level licensure requirements. 

Who Issues a General Contractor License in Ohio?

To obtain a license in Ohio, the mentioned contractors must apply through the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board. Conversely, general contractors and subcontractors not falling within these categories are exempt from seeking state-level licensure; however, certain cities and municipalities will require licensing. To provide you with a general sense of what to anticipate in your locality, here are the fundamental requirements from three Ohio cities.

How To Get a Contractor's License in Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio, adopts a registration system for contractors within city limits. Most contractors must register, excluding property owners working on their one, two, or three-family dwellings, family members or volunteers aiding property owners, and qualified architects or engineers, as well as those engaged in general maintenance work.


1. Application: Complete the provided form.

2. Assignment of Registration (For Businesses): Use the included form if registering a business entity.

3. Income Tax Contractor Application: Submit the application included in the packet.

4. Liability Insurance: Provide proof of liability insurance with minimum coverage of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence.

5. Workers' Compensation: Present evidence of Ohio's Workers' Compensation Coverage.

Fees: Registration costs $131.25 per year for up to three years, covering base fees, technology fees, financial recovery fees, and training surcharges. Pay by check to the City of Cincinnati.

Submission: Mail your application and fees to: Department of Buildings and Inspections Contractor Registration 805 Central Avenue, Suite 500 Cincinnati, OH 45202

How To Get a General Contractor's License in Columbus, Ohio

Navigating the regulations for general contractor licensing in Columbus, Ohio, is a straightforward process. To assist you, here's a concise guide outlining the necessary steps.


1. Application Submission:

2. Proof of Bond:

  • Provide evidence of a bond valued at $25,000.

3. Certificate of Liability Insurance:

  • Submit a certificate of liability insurance, listing the following entity as the certificate holder: City of Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services 111 N Front Street Columbus, Ohio 43215
  • Ensure that your liability insurance coverage amounts to no less than $300,000 for damages to a single person and $500,000 for a single occurrence.

4. Application Fee:

  • The application fee for general contractor licensing is $350.

How To Get a General Contractor's License in Cleveland, Ohio

Contractors operating in Cleveland must complete the specified application, which covers general contractors, plumbing and electrical contractors, as well as residential and unlimited work.


1. Completed and Notarized Application: Fill out the application form completely and ensure it is notarized.

2. Proof of Bond Coverage: Provide evidence of bond coverage with a minimum value of $25,000.

3. Power-of-Attorney Form: Attach the Power-of-Attorney Form to the bond.

4. Certificate of Insurance: Include a certificate of insurance designating the City of Cleveland as both "additional insured" and "certificate holder."

5. Insurance Endorsement: Submit the necessary insurance endorsement.

6. Articles of Incorporation (if applicable): If your business is incorporated, include a copy of the Articles of Incorporation.

7. Application Fee: Pay a non-refundable application fee of $150.

Penalties for Unlicensed Contractors in Ohio

In Ohio, each city possesses the authority to impose fines or penalties on contractors who fail to meet their specific licensing criteria, and the extent of these fines is determined by the individual municipalities.

While unlicensed contractors typically maintain the ability to file a mechanics lien in cases of non-payment, the potential fines associated with being discovered without proper licensing far outweigh any advantages gained from bypassing the licensing requirements. Therefore, it is prudent for contractors to prioritize compliance with licensing regulations to avoid these costly repercussions.

Leveraging your license on Houzz

Now that you know the Ohio general contractor license requirements, 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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