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General Contractor Licensing in New York

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New York does not require general contractors to have a license on the state level. Instead, the construction industry is regulated by individual cities and municipalities in the State of New York. In most cases, general contractors are required to apply for a permit or license from the city.

Regulations vary from city-to-city, so it is important that New York contractors check their local regulations before they begin work on commercial or residential buildings and structures.

*In addition to obtaining a permit from the city, general contracting businesses in the State of New York are also required to register with the Secretary of State.

Below is a brief explanation of the licensing process for some of the larger cities in New York State.

New York, NY

General contractors are required to hold a license if they plan to work on buildings and surrounding land in New York City. This includes working on garages, basements, terraces, patios, pools and driveways, as well as other areas.

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs is responsible for reviewing applications and issuing Home Improvement Contractor licenses to eligible contractors. If the contractor also plans to negotiate contracts and sell their work to property owners, they must also hold a Home Improvement Salesperson license.

Home Improvement Contractor licenses in the City of New York are valid for a period of two years.

For more information on Home Improvement Contractor licenses and Home Improvement Salesperson licenses, please visit:


Buffalo, NY

As a general contractor in the City of Buffalo, NY, you must have a General Contractor (GNC) grade license. Holding a GNC license allows general contractors to perform work, without restriction, on residential and commercial buildings and structures.

Contracting licenses are regulated by the Buffalo Department of Economic Development, Permit and Inspection Services Office of Licenses. They also offer many other types of contracting licenses, from handyman to demolition grade licenses, which are specific to the type of work the contractor intends to perform.

For more information, and to view an instruction sheet for application, please visit:


Rochester, NY

Before construction work begins in Rochester, NY, general contractors must prove that their project stands up to the city’s safety codes and guidelines. Rochester requires general contractors to hold a building permit from the Bureau of Planning & Zoning. Permits are issued by the city permit office, in city hall. In many cases, general contractors also need to apply for a zoning permit to go with their building permit.

The cost of a building or zoning permit in the City of Rochester is based on the price of labor and materials for the project.

For more information or to download an application, please visit:


Yonkers, NY

The City of Yonkers, NY requires general contractors to apply for a Home Improvement license.  A notarized application must be submitted to the city, along with proof of insurance and other supporting documents. There is also an application fee of $300.

Once issued, a Home Improvement license is good for 2 years.

To obtain a copy of the application, go to:



Call: (914) 377-6808.

Syracuse, NY

The City of Syracuse, NY requires general contractors to go through a zoning review, as well as a building codes review before work on a project begins. This is to make sure that the project stands up to the city’s codes and regulations, which are put in place to protect the health and safety of the people of Syracuse.

General contractors must go through a zoning review and building codes review if they plan to work on both residential and commercial properties.

For more information, please go to:


Albany, NY

General contractors in the City of Albany, NY are regulated by the Division of Building & Codes. Before construction work begins, general contractors must apply for a zoning and building permit.

The application requires general contractors to report the location, estimated cost and type of work they intend to perform. Work is authorized to begin once the general contractor receives approval from the zoning and planning department.

For a copy of the application, go to: