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General Contractor Licensing in Arkansas

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The Contractor’s Licensing Board regulates the construction industry in the State of Arkansas by requiring general contractors to apply for and hold a license.  A license is required for any project of $2,000 or more, including labor and materials.  The Arkansas Contractor’s Licensing Board oversees the licensing of Commercial General Contractors.   A Residential Committee was developed in the late 1990s to oversee the licensing process for Residential General Contractors.

The Board and Committee protect the safety and well-being of the public in the State of Arkansas by setting standards and requirements for all contractors wanting to obtain a license.  Contractors must prove they have the skills and experience, character and financial stability to operate within their classification.  Applicants are also required to pass a qualifying examination.

*People exempt from holding a license include owner-builders and subcontractors who work under a licensed general contractor.  

License Types and Classifications in Arkansas

The State of Arkansas offers multiple license types and classifications for general contractors, including specialty classifications for contractors who want to specialize in a certain type of work, such as plumbing, electrical, roofing, etc.  The major license types include:

  • Commercial Contractor License – This license type is issued by the Contractor’s Licensing Board.  It allows contractors to construct, demolish or work on any building when the cost of the project is $20,000 or more, including labor and materials.  Commercial contractors may work on apartment buildings, condominiums, utilities, sewer, highway and grading in both public and private sections.  A Commercial license also permits contractors to work on residential projects that fit the classifications that they choose.  Classifications include:
    • Heavy Construction
    • Building
    • Light Building
    • Highway
    • Municipal & Utility Construction
    • Railroad & Airport Construction
    • Mechanical
    • Electrical
    • Specialty
  • Residential Builder License – This license type is issued by the Residential Committee.  It allows individuals and businesses to manage and participate in the construction/building of single-family residences with 4 units or less.
  • Residential Remodeler License – This license type is issued by the Residential Committee.  It allows individuals and businesses to perform repairs, additions and structural improvements or changes to any single-family residence of 4 units or less.  The Committee offers both limited and unlimited classifications for this license type.  Contractors with a limited Residential Remodelers License are only able to work on projects of $20,000 or less, including labor and materials.  Those with an unlimited license may work on residential projects of any value within the specialties that they choose.
*Commercial Contractors, Residential Builders and Residential Remodelers are considered to be General Contractors under Arkansas law; therefore, this article will focus primarily on these license types.  A Home Improvement Contractor License is considered a specialty license.   
  • Home Improvement Contractor Specialty License – This license type is issued by the Residential Committee.  It is for contractors who wish to work on single-family residences doing specialty work, such as roofing, carpentry, concrete, kitchen installations, etc.  This license is required to work on home improvements projects of $2,000 or more, including labor and materials.  This license type also offers limited and unlimited classifications.  Those applying for a limited license are only able to work on projects of $20,000 or less; while those with an unlimited license are able to work on home improvements of any size, within their specialty.  Home Improvement Contractors must also prove experience in their area of specialty.
For more information on applying for a Home Improvement Contractor Specialty License, please visit the following links:

http://aclb.arkansas.gov/Pages/FAQs.aspx

http://aclb.arkansas.gov/Documents/Act1208.pdf

http://aclb.arkansas.gov/forms/Documents/HomeImprovementSpecialtyNewApp2014.pdf

Process to Obtain a General Contractor License in Arkansas

  1. Contractors must meet the minimum work experience requirement for their license type and specialty.  Commercial contractors must have 5 years of experience, Residential Builders must have 4 years of experience and Residential Remodelers must have 2 years of verifiable work experience
  2. Contractors must register for, take and pass the Business and Law Exam through Prometic Inc.
  3. Contractors must obtain the appropriate forms of insurance and bonding for their license type.  Anyone applying for an unlimited license must also submit a financial statement showing a positive net worth.
  4. Contractors must complete an application for a Commercial or Residential Builder/ Remodeler license.
  5. Applicants must submit their completed application, along with all required documents, exam scores and the license fee to the Arkansas Contractors License Board.

Work Experience Requirement

Before a contractor may apply to receive their license in the State of Arkansas, they must first complete the work experience requirement for their license type or classification.  All work experiences must be verifiable.  Contractors must be able to prove work experience as follows:

  • Commercial Contractor License- 5 years of work experience in commercial contracting in the classification that the contractor is applying for, such as Heavy Construction, Building, Light Building, Highway, Municipal & Utility or Railroad & Airport Construction, etc.
  • Residential Builder License – 4 years of work experience in the commercial or residential building industry
  • Residential Remodelers License- 2 years of work experience in the commercial or residential remodeling industry

All applicants are required to provide 3 written references along with their application.  The reference portion of the application must be filled out by someone who has direct knowledge and observed the contractor’s work first-hand.

Any contractor choosing to work in a specialty field, such as painting, roofing, plumbing, etc. must have work experience within that field in order to apply.

The Examination

The next step in obtaining a General Contractor License in Arkansas is to register for and take the Business and Law exam.  The State of Arkansas has a contract with Prometric Inc. to administer the exam.  The Business and Law exam is an open-book, computer-based multiple choice test, covering business practices and laws in the state.

All businesses have the option of choosing an individual within their company to take and pass the exam on their behalf.  The person the business chooses is known as the “qualifying party.”   People who may act as the qualifying party for a business include:

  • Owner of the Company
  • Partner in a Partnership
  • Partner in an LLP
  • Member of an LLC
  • Officer within a Corporation
  • Full-time Employee within the Company (this person may not be an independent contractor)
*All qualifying parties must serve an active role in the day-to-day activities of the business.  If an employee is chosen, they must work 30 or more hours per week and receive a W2.  

Before contacting Prometric to register for the exam, download the Candidate Information Bulletin, which contains all the information necessary for registering for and preparing for the exam.  For a copy of the Bulletin, please visit:

https://www.prometric.com/en-us/clients/Arkansas/Documents/AR04ContractorCIB_20130701.pdf

The Candidate Information Bulletin breaks down the information on the exam, provides sample test questions, as well as a list of references and resources allowed into the testing center on the day of the exam.

Prometric prefers that contractors register for their exam online, by visiting:

www.prometric.com/arkansas/construction

If online registration is not possible, call Prometric, Monday through Friday from 7am to 7pm, Central Time, to register for the exam:

(888)-763-0131

There is an $80 examination fee, which must be paid upon registration.  Prometric accepts payments in the form of Visa or Mastercard when registering online or by phone.  When registering by phone, Prometric also accepts payments in the form of a drafted check.

Once the registration is completed, Prometric will provide a confirmation number, as well as instructions for scheduling the exam.  Be sure to keep the confirmation number provided, as it is needed on the day of the test.

To view the various exam locations in the State of Arkansas, please visit:

www.prometric.com/arkansas

To pass the exam, contractors need a minimum score of 70%.  The exam score will appear on the computer screen at the end of test.  A printed version of the contractor’s score is also provided.  The printed exam score is needed at the time the contractor submits their license application.  If the contractor does not pass the exam, they must go through the registration process, pay the fee and take the exam over again.

Preparing to Submit an Application

For a copy of the license application, please click below and follow the links for a Commercial, Residential Builder or Residential Remodeler’s new application:

http://aclb.arkansas.gov/applyContractorsLicense/Pages/default.aspx

Before filling out the application, be sure to read and follow all the instructions.  Complete the application, typing or printing in blue or black ink.  Be sure to answer all questions.  For any questions that do not apply, write, “N/A” (not applicable).

Licenses are issued to the name and address listed on the front of the application.  Therefore, be sure to enter the exact legal or business name of the contractor, including punctuation.

All contractors must indicate the license classification that they intend to apply for, as well as their business type/style on the application.  Contractors have the option of applying as:

  • Sole Proprietor
  • Partnership
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Corporation

If the license type offers a limited and unlimited version, the contractor must indicate on the application which classification they intend to apply for.

All contractors must submit a copy of their exam scores from Prometric along with the completed application, documents and fee, indicating that they have passed the Business and Law Exam.

Other documents and forms that must be filed along with the application vary, depending on the license type and classification that the contractor is applying for.  Follow the checklists below for the intended license type:

Commercial Contractor License

Commercial Contractors are required to submit the following with a new license application:

  • A surety bond in the amount of $10,000, made payable to the “State of Arkansas”
  • Proof of worker’s compensation insurance if the contractor plans to employ workers
  • 3 written references showing that the contractor has 5 years of experience in their license classification.  Written references must be from someone who directly observed the contractor’s work.  The contractor may not fill out their own references.  References from a bank or supplier are not accepted.
  • Signed and notarized bidding affidavit (found in the application packet)
  • Signed and notarized business style affidavit (found in the application packet)
  • If the contractor’s business is a Corporation, LLP or LLC they must file and submit a copy of their registration with the Arkansas Secretary of State as well as a copy of their Articles of Incorporation/Organization.  For more information on registering with the Secretary of State, please visit:http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/Pages/default.aspx
  • If the contractor is doing business under an assumed business name or fictitious name (other than the contractor’s legal name) they must submit a copy of their fictitious business name registration from the Arkansas Secretary of State
  • Contractors must submit a reviewed or audited financial statement, no more than 1 year old, from a Certified Public Accountant.  Compiled financial statements are not accepted.  One half of the contractor’s net worth must be in cash in the bank.  The contractor must also prove a positive working capital.  Property unrelated to the contractor’s business is not counted toward net worth.  The Contractors Licensing Board sets net worth based on the contractor’s license classification.  Net worth requirements are as follows:
    • Heavy Construction, Building, Municipal & Utility, Highway and Railroad & Airport Construction Contractors must prove a net worth of $50,000 or more
    • Light Building, Mechanical and Electrical Contractors must prove a net worth of $20,000 or more
    • All Specialty Contractors must prove a net worth of $5,000 or more
  • There is a $100 license filing fee that Commercial Contractors must also submit with their completed application and documents.  Make checks payable to the “State of Arkansas.”

Residential Building Contractor License

Residential Building Contractors are required to submit the following with a new license application:

  • Proof of worker’s compensation insurance if the contractor plans to employ workers
  • 3 written references proving that the contractor has at least 4 years of experience in the commercial or residential building industry.  The references provided must be filled out by someone other than the applicant.  All references must have directly observed the contractor’s work.  References from a bank or supplier are not accepted.
  • Signed and notarized bidding affidavit (found inside the application packet) as well the signed and notarized business style affidavit, indicating the type of organization the contractor plans to operate.
  • If the contractor’s business is a Corporation, LLP or LLC they must file and submit a copy of their registration with the Arkansas Secretary of State as well as a copy of their Articles of Incorporation/Organization.  For more information on registering with the Secretary of State, please visit:http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/Pages/default.aspx
  • If the contractor is doing business under an assumed business name or fictitious name (other than the contractor’s legal name) they must submit a copy of their fictitious business name registration from the Arkansas Secretary of State
  • Contractors must submit a compiled balance sheet financial statement that is no more than 1 year old.  Sole Proprietors may send a personal balance sheet.  Income statements are not accepted.  The balance sheet must be in the name of the applicant and signed by an owner, partner, member or officer within the company.  There is no net worth requirement for Residential Builders; however, the balance sheet must indicate a positive net worth.  Personal homes and retirement accounts are not counted toward the contractor’s net worth.
  • There is a $100 filing fee that Residential Builders must submit along with their application.  Make checks payable to “State of Arkansas.”

Residential Remodeler Limited and Unlimited License

Residential Remodelers applying for both a limited or unlimited license must submit the following with a new license application:

  • Proof of worker’s compensation insurance if the contractor plans to employ workers- Unlimited Licenses ONLY.  If the contractor is applying for a limited Residential Remodelers license, they do not need to submit proof of worker’s compensation insurance.
  • 3 written references proving that the contractor has at least 2 years of work experience in the commercial or residential remodeling industry.
  • If the contractor’s business is a Corporation, LLP or LLC they must file and submit a copy of their registration with the Arkansas Secretary of State as well as a copy of their Articles of Incorporation/Organization.  For more information on registering with the Secretary of State, please visit:http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/Pages/default.aspx
  • If the contractor is doing business under an assumed business name or fictitious name (other than the contractor’s legal name) they must submit a copy of their fictitious business name registration from the Arkansas Secretary of State
  • Contractors applying for an unlimited license must submit a balance sheet financial statement that is no more than 1 year old.  Sole Proprietors may send a personal balance sheet.  Income statements are not accepted.  The balance sheet must be in the name of the applicant and signed by an owner, partner, member or officer within the company.  There is no net worth requirement for Residential Remodelers; however, the balance sheet must indicate a positive net worth.  Personal homes and retirement accounts are not counted toward the contractor’s net worth.  Contractors applying for a limited license are not required to submit a financial statement.
  • There is a $50 filing fee for both limited and unlimited Residential Remodelers that must be submitted along with the application.  Make checks payable to the “State of Arkansas”

Submitting an Application

Once the contractor has gathered all the appropriate documents and filing fees for their license application, they must submit the application to the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board.  The Residential Committee will review all residential applications.  All applications must be mailed and on file 10 days prior to the monthly Board or Committee meeting.  For more information on the scheduled meeting dates, please visit:

http://aclb.arkansas.gov/Pages/events.aspx

Mail the completed application, exam scores, additional documents and filing fees to:

Contractors Licensing Board
4100 Richards Road
North Little Rock, Arkansas 72117

To avoid delays in the licensing process, respond to any additional requests of information from the Board or Committee immediately.  All information must be on file within 90 days of the application being submitted; otherwise the application and fees are void.  All fees are non-refundable.

Once the contractor’s application has been approved, the Arkansas Contractor’s Licensing Board will mail the contractor their license.  Contractors are required to prominently display their license number and the name under which they are licensed on all signs, letterheads, business cards and advertisements concerning their business.

For any additional questions or information about the licensing process in the State of Arkansas, call the Contractors Licensing Board at:

(501)-372-4661

How Long is an Arkansas General Contractors License Valid?

Commercial and Residential General Contractors licenses are good for a period of one year in the State of Arkansas.  Licenses expire one year from the date that they were originally issued.

The Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board and Residential Committee will mail renewal reminders to contractors approximately 60 days before the license is set to expire.  Only one renewal reminder will be mailed.  It is the responsibility of the contractor to renew their license before it expires.  Be sure to send in the renewal application well before the expiration date to allow time for processing.

At renewal time, contractors are also required to provide proof of worker’s compensation insurance (if applicable) and submit an updated financial statement, if required.

The cost to renew a general contractors license depends on the license type:

  • Commercial Contractors License- $50
  • Residential Builders License- $100
  • Residential Remodelers License- $50

For more information on license renewal with the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board, call:

(501)-372-4661

OR

Visit: http://aclb.arkansas.gov/renewLicense/Pages/default.aspx

Table of Fees

FEE WHAT IS IT FOR? WHEN IS IT DUE?
$80 Exam fee to take the Business and Law Exam Upon registering for the exam
$100 Filing Fee to receive a Commercial Contractor or Residential Builders License Upon submitting the license application
$50 Filing Fee to receive a Residential Remodelers License Upon submitting the license application
$100 Cost to renew a Residential Builders License Upon submitting the renewal application
$50 Cost to renew a Commercial Contractors License Upon submitting the renewal application
$50 Cost to renew a Residential Remodelers License Upon submitting the renewal application