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General Contractor Licensing in Virginia

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Individuals and general contracting businesses in the Commonwealth of Virginia are required to hold a license from the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation’s Board for Contractors.  A license is needed for anyone performing construction, demolition, improvements or repair work on projects of $1,000 or more.

The Board for Contractors asks all businesses to choose a representative within their company to complete the education and exam requirements.  The Board also looks at experience and the business’ net worth to determine if the applicant is eligible.  The license classification that the contractor chooses determines the amount of experience needed, and the type of exam required.  The contractor’s license classification also places a cap on the size of the project.

In addition to state laws, many cities, counties and municipalities in Virginia have local laws and regulations for contracting work.  It is important that contractors always check the local laws in their community before beginning work on a project.

For more information about local laws and regulations contact the local Commissioner of Revenue or Building Official in the area the contractor plans to operate their business.

License and Specialty Classifications in Virginia

Virginia offers three different license classifications for general contractors.  The license classification that the contractor chooses sets a monetary limit, net worth, experience requirement and exam requirement:

License Classification Monetary Limit Net Worth Experience Requirement Exam Requirement
Class A Projects over $120,000 OR annual earnings over $750,000 Business must have a net worth of $45,000 or more 5-Years’ Experience Must pass the Virginia, General and Advanced portions of the exam
Class B Projects between $10,000 and $120,000 OR annual earnings between $150,000 and $750,000 Business must have a net worth of $15,000 or more 3-Years’ Experience Must pass the Virginia and General portions of the exam
Class C Projects between $1,000 and $10,000 OR annual earnings under $150,000 There is no net worth limit for contractors applying for a Class C license 2-Years’ Experience There is no exam requirement for a Class C license

In addition to choosing a license classification, contractors are also required to choose one or more specialty classifications.  The specialty classification/classifications that the contractor chooses, specifies the type of work that the business plans to do.  For example, contractors may choose from specialties such as roofing, HVAC or electrical.  There are many different specialties to choose from.  A complete list of specialties, including a description of the types of work each specialty is allowed to perform is found in the Board for Contractor Regulations:

http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/uploadedFiles/MainSite/Content/Boards/Contractors/A501-27REGS.pdf

Process to Obtain a General Contractor’s License in Virginia

  1. Applicants must decide which license classification and specialty they wish to apply for.
  2. Applicants must choose a name for their business and register that name with the appropriate entity (i.e. Virginia State Corporation Commission or the local Clerk of Court)
  3. Applicants must choose a full-time employee or manager within their business to act as a responsible managing individual and complete the education and exam requirement. (Class A and Class B license ONLY)
  4. The responsible managing individual must complete an 8 hour, Board-approved education course (Class A and Class B licenses ONLY)
  5. The responsible managing individual must register for, take and pass the Designated Employee Examination. (Class A and Class B licenses ONLY)
  6. Applicants must also choose someone within their company who qualifies and meets the experience requirement for their license classification and specialty.  All responsible parties and qualifying individuals must be at least 18 years old.
  7. Applicants must complete and submit the Board for Contractors License Application, along with any required documents and fees.

Preparing to Submit an Application

For a copy of the Board for Contractors License Application, click the link below:

http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/uploadedFiles/MainSite/Content/Boards/Contractors/A501-27LIC.pdf

It is important to note that to view the forms on the Board for Contractors website, the latest version of Adobe Reader is needed.  To download the latest version of Reader, or for troubleshooting and download information, please visit:

http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/FormsAndApplications/#a2

Before beginning the application process, it is important that all contractors read and become familiar with Virginia laws and regulations for contracting.  Click the link below for a copy of the Board for Contractors Regulations booklet:

http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/uploadedFiles/MainSite/Content/Boards/Contractors/A501-27REGS.pdf

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, general contracting licenses are issued to the business entity, rather than the individual.  Contractors must identify their business type:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • General Partnership
  • Limited Partnership (LP)
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Corporation

Next, the business needs to choose a name.  Sole proprietors have the option of using their legal name as their business name.  Contractors must register their business name with the appropriate entity:

  • Sole Proprietors and General Partnerships- must file a certificate with the Circuit Court in the area where they plan to conduct business if they choose to use a fictitious or “doing business as” name.  They must attach a copy of the certificate along with the application.

 

  • LLCs, LPs and Corporations- must register with the Virginia State Corporation Commission.  This registration authorizes the business to work in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  For information on registration, visit:

www.scc.gov

OR

Call: (804)-371-9733

All businesses must identify a responsible managing individual within their company.  Sole proprietors may choose themselves.  This person must be a full-time employee, owner or someone in a management or supervisory role.  The responsible managing individual must complete the education requirement and take the exam.

Additionally, each business needs to choose a qualifying individual (QI) to meet the experience requirement for the license classification and specialty they are applying for.  The QI and the responsible managing individual can be the same person if they meet all the Board requirements:

The QI must have work experience as a general contractor, or in the specialty trade that the business is applying for, such as electrical or roofing:

  • Class A License- 5 years’ experience
  • Class B License- 3 years’ experience
  • Class C License- 2 years’ experience
*A qualifying individual is needed for each specialty license classification that the business applies for.

For more information about qualifying individuals and requirements, please visit:

http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/uploadedFiles/MainSite/Content/Boards/Contractors/A501-27EXINFO.pdf

Businesses that want to apply for a Class A or Class B license must complete the financial statement form to prove their net worth.  The financial statement form is located on Page 6 of the Board for Contractors License Application:

  • Class A applicants must have a net worth of $45,000
  • Class B applicants must have a net worth of $15,000

Because Class C applicants do not have to prove their business’ net worth, they are not required to fill out the financial statement.

*In place of the financial statement form, Class A and B applicants have the option of submiting an annual report or CPA reviewed/audited statement.  

General partnerships, LPs, LLCs and corporations are required to obtain and provide a Federal Employer Identification Number on the application (FEIN).  Sole proprietors may provide their Social Security Number (SSN) or their Virginia DMV number.

For additional help or questions with the application, contact the Board for Contractors licensing staff:

By Phone: (804)-367-8511

OR

By email: contractor@dpor.virginia.gov

Education Requirement

In August of 2006 the Board for Contractors decided that any General Contractor applying for a Class A or Blass B license must choose a responsible managing or qualifying individual to complete an 8-hour Board-approved pre-license education course.  This course helps the individual prepare for and pass the license exam.

Pre-license education courses are offered by multiple providers in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  However, it is important that the course be approved by the Board for Contractors in order for it to count toward the education requirement.  Each training course offered varies in price, style and length; therefore it is important to choose a class that fits the needs of the business and responsible individual.

When the individual completes the course, the course provider will notify the Board electronically.

Call the Board for Contractor’s Licensing Staff for more information on approved pre-license courses and a list of approved classes: (804)-367-8511

 

The Examination

Any business applying for a Class A or Class B license is required to take and pass the Designated Employee Examination. There is no exam requirement for businesses that are applying for a Class C license.

The responsible managing individual that the business elects is in charge of registering for and taking the exam.  The exam is administered by PSI Examination Services.

The Designated Employee Exam covers the following topics:

Exam Topics Covered Length Required For
Virginia Portion Virginia Laws and Regulations for General Contractors 48 minutes Class A and B licenses
General Portion General Business Knowledge for General Contractors 100 minutes Class A and B licenses
Advanced Portion Advanced Business Administration and General Contracting Practices 60 minutes Class A ONLY
Specialty Portion Trade Practices and Knowledge Based on the Business’ Specialty N/A Class A and B licenses depending on the license specialty that they choose

Each computer-based test is open-book.  There is a list of suggested references and study materials in the Candidate Information Bulletin, created by PSI.  The Candidate Information Bulletin also contains information about how to register for and schedule the exam.  For a copy of the Bulletin, click the link below:

https://candidate.psiexams.com/bulletin/display_bulletin.jsp?ro=yes&actionname=83&bulletinid=111&bulletinurl=.pdf

Inside the PSI Candidate Information Bulletin is a copy of the exam registration form.  Applicants may register for the exam ONE of the following ways:

  • Online- go to the PSI website and follow the link for new user registration: www.psiexams.com
  • By Phone- call PSI and use their automated system 24 hours a day.  Representative are standing by to assist callers during regular business hours:
    (800) 733-9267
  • Fax- when registering by fax, allow 4 business days for processing.  Fax the registration form and payment information to:
    (702) 932-2666.
  • By mail: allow approximately 2 weeks for processing when submitting the exam registration form by mail.  Complete the exam registration form found inside the Candidate Information Bulletin.  Mail the registration form and payment to:

PSI Licensure: Certification
3210 E Tropicana
Las Vegas, NV 89121

The exam fees are non-refundable, and are broken down as follows:

  • $40- when taking only 1 portion of the exam
  • $72- when taking 2 portions of the exam
  • $85- when taking all 3 portions of the exam
*Each specialty trade exam costs approximately $85.  

PSI accepts payments in the form of:

  • Cashier’s Check or Money Order may payable to “PSI.”
  • Visa or Mastercard when applying online or by phone or fax

Once PSI accepts the exam registration, it is the applicant’s responsibility to call PSI to schedule their exam once they have registered.   To schedule an exam, call PSI at:  (800) 733-9267

Testing Centers are located in:

  • Falls Church
  • McLean
  • Richmond
  • Virginia Beach
  • Roanoke
  • Charlottesville
  • Johnson City
  • Salisbury, MD

On the day of the exam, examinees should arrive at least 30 minutes for before their scheduled test to allow time for check-in.  They are also required to bring 2 forms of identification:

  1. A government issued photo id with the examinee’s signature; such as a driver’s license or passport
  2. Another form of identification with the examinee’s name and signature; such as a credit card or debit card.

Examinees are notified if they pass or fail on the day of the exam before they leave the testing center.  Exam scores are good for one year.  If the examinee does not pass, and needs to re-take a portion of the exam, they must re-register and pay the appropriate fee.  After the examinee passes all required portions of the test, PSI will notify the Board for Contractors.

Submitting an Application

Once the responsible managing individual and qualifying individual have met the experience requirement, attended the pre-license education and passed the appropriate examination, it is time for the business to submit their license application.

All information provided on the application must be accurate and truthful.  Be sure to include all requested information and documents to avoid delays in the application process.  If the Board requires additional information, they will mail a letter requesting the additional or missing info.

There is a non-refundable license fee of:

  • $385- Class A License
  • $370- Class B License
  • $235- Class C License
*Fees are valid for one year

The Board for Contractors accepts payments in the form of check or money order made payable to “Treasurer of Virginia.” Businesses also have the option of completing and submitting a credit card insert with their application.

Mail the license application, any additional documents and fees to:

Commonwealth of Virginia
Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
9960 Maryland Drive, Suite 400
Richmond, VA 23233-1485

It takes approximately 30 days for the Board for Contractors to process license applications and fees.  The Board processes applications in the order that they are received.  Once the Board approves the business’ application, they send the license in the mail.

How Long is a Virginia General Contractor’s License Valid?

General contractor’s licenses are good for 2 years in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Licenses expire on the month that they were originally issued.  It is the contractor’s responsibility to keep their license current and up to date.

Licenses may be renewed using the Board for Contrator’s online services.  For more information, click the link below, go to the bottom of the page and click the active link that reads “Enter Online Services” to create a secure online account:

http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/Boards/Contractors/

Table of Fees

FEE WHAT IS IT FOR? WHEN IS IT DUE?
$40 Cost to take 1 portion of the Designated Employee Exam Upon registering for the exam
$72 Cost to take 2 portions of the Designated Employee Exam Upon registering for the exam
$85 Cost to take all 3 portions of the Designated Employee Exam (Class A applicants ONLY) Upon registering for the exam
$385 Class A License Fee Upon submitting the license application
$370 Class B License Fee Upon submitting the license application
$235 Class C License Fee Upon submitting the license application