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General Contractor Licensing in West Virginia

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The State of West Virginia regulates its construction industry by requiring all General Contractors to hold a license from the West Virginia Division of Labor’s Contractor Licensing Board.  Licenses protect the safety and well-being of consumers in the state by making sure that all contractors hired to perform construction work have met the proper requirements and have the skills necessary to get the job done.

Before a General Contractor may qualify to receive their license, they must first pass an exam and hold the proper forms of insurance.  The person who passes the exam is known as the “qualifier.”  Contractors have the option of acting as their own qualifier, or choosing someone within their company to represent the business and pass the exam.  This person may be an officer, member or full-time employee of the contractor’s business.

 

Process to Obtain a General Contractor License in West Virginia

  1. All contractors/qualifiers must register for, take and pass the West Virginia Business and Law Exam, as well as any applicable trade exams
  2. If the contractor is operating a Corporation, Limited Liability Company, Limited Liability Partnership or Limited Partnership, they must register their business and obtain a certificate of authority/good standing from the West Virginia Secretary of State
  3. All contractors must register their business with the WV State Tax Department
  4. If the contractor plans to employ workers, they must obtain Worker’s Compensation and Unemployment Insurance
  5. All contractors must fill out and complete the Contractor License Application/Affidavit 
  6. All contractors must submit the completed, signed and notarized application, along with all documents and fees to the Contractors Licensing Board
*Some businesses are also required to obtain a wage bond. Regardless if a wage bond is required or not, all contractors are required to fill out, sign and notarize the wage bond affidavit and submit it along with their completed license application.

 

The Examination

The first step in obtaining a General Contractor license in WV is to take and pass the qualifying exam.  The State of West Virginia holds a contract with Prov Inc. to administer the exam.  All contractors/qualifiers are required to take and pass the West Virginia Business and Law exam.  Depending on the contractor’s trade or specialty, they may also be required to take and pass a Trade exam.  To determine if a Trade exam is needed, please visit the link below, or contact the Contractors Licensing Board at:

304-558-7890 (Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm)

WV Contractors Licensing Board

All contractors have the option of choosing someone within their company to take and pass the exam on their behalf.  The following people may act as a qualifier:

  • Owner of the business
  • Member or Officer of the business
  • Full-Time Employee of the business- with proof that the employee has been on the payroll for at least 2 months before the exam date
*A single qualifier may use their exam scores up to 3 times to help a business or general contractor obtain a license.

 

The Prov Inc. Candidate Information Bulletin contains all the information needed to register for, prepare for and study for the exam.  The bulletin includes helpful information such as sample test questions and study/reference materials.  For a copy of the bulletin, please visit:

WV Contractor Candidate Information Bulletin

 

Contractors/qualifiers may register to take the exam, ONE of the following ways:

    • Online registration- please visit:http://www.provexam.com/
    • By Phone- Monday through Friday between the hours of 8am and 4pm, please call:304-414-0190
      OR
      Toll free: 1-866-720-7768
    • By Fax- fill out a physical copy of the exam registration form and fax it to:877-228-3926
    • By Mail: fill out a physical copy of the exam registration form and mail it to:

Prov Inc.
200 Association Drive
Suite 190
Charleston, WV 25311

 

The cost to take the exam is $42 per test.  If the contractor/qualifier is required to take BOTH the Business and Law and Trade Exams, the cost to take the exam is $84.  The examination fee is due at the time the contractor/qualifier registers to take the test.

Prov accepts payments in the form of cashier’s check or money order, made payable to “Prov Inc.” Cash, personal checks and company checks are not accepted.

Prov offers both a computer-based version and a paper and pencil version of the exam.  Both versions are open-book.  Please refer to the Candidate Information Bulletin to determine what reference materials are and are not allowed into the testing center on the day of the exam.

Prov Inc. will send all examinees an admission notice approximately 7 to 10 days before their scheduled test.  Be sure to bring this notice to the testing center on the day of the exam.  It is the contractor/qualifier’s responsibility to schedule their exam at one of the available testing centers.  Allow plenty of time to schedule the exam, as seats fill up quickly.

Testing centers are located in:

  • Morgantown
  • Charleston
  • Wheeling
  • Martinsburg

 

On the day of the exam, be sure to arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes before the scheduled exam to allow time for check-in.  The contractor/qualifier will be required to bring a government-issued photo ID with them on the day of the test.  Acceptable forms of identification include:

  • Driver’s License
  • Photo ID card
  • Passport
  • Military ID

 

The contractor/qualifier will receive their test scores on the day of the exam, before they leave the testing center.  When the contractor/qualifier passes the exam, their scores will be sent to the Contractor Licensing Board within 2 business days.  Once the Contractor Licensing Board receives a passing score, the contractor may proceed with the license application process.

Exam scores do not expire.  The qualifier may use their exam scores up to 3 separate times to help secure a General Contractor License.

If the contractor/qualifier does not pass the exam on the first attempt, they have an unlimited number of exam re-takes.  Prov does not require a waiting period in between each exam re-take.  The contractor may register and re-take the exam, including paying the exam fee, on the next available test date.

 

For questions and concerns about the examination process, please call Prov Inc. at:

866-720-7768

OR

304-414-0190

 

Preparing to Submit an Application

Once the Contractor Licensing Board has received a passing exam score for the contractor/qualifier, it is time to begin the license application process.  For a copy of the Contractor License Application/Affidavit, please visit:

WV Contractor License Application/Affidavit

Before filling out the application, the contractor must complete the following steps and obtain the following documents:

  • If the contractor is operating one of the following business entities, they must register their business with the West Virginia Secretary of State and submit a certificate of authority along with their license application:
    • Corporation
    • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
    • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
    • Limited Partnership (LP)
      For more information, please contact the WV Secretary of State at: 304-558-8000
      WV Secretary of State Website
  • All businesses are required to obtain the proper tax identification numbers from the WV State Tax Department.  For more information, please call: 304-558-3333
  • If the contractor plans to employ workers, other than themselves, partners, member and officers within their business; they must hold Worker’s Compensation and Unemployment Insurance and submit their policy numbers along with the license application.For Worker’s Compensation Insurance, please contact the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s Employee Coverage Unit at:304-558-6279
    http://www.wvinsurance.gov/WorkersCompensation.aspxFor Unemployment Insurance, please contact Workforce West Virginia at:304-558-2451

    http://www.wvcommerce.org/business/workforcewv/unemployment_compensation/employers/default.aspx

  • If the contractor has been engaged in the business of construction for 5 consecutive years before filling out the application, they are required to obtain and submit a wage bond.  Wage bonds must be in the amount equal to the contractor’s total gross payroll for 4 weeks when operating at full capacity, plus 15% for benefits.  If the contractor has worked on single-family residences or worked for a firm in WV for 5 consecutive years before applying for their license, they are NOT required to submit a wage bond. However, all license applicants are required to fill out, sign and notarize the bonding affidavit in Section 3 of the application.  If the contractor is not required to submit a bond, they should simply write “N/A” (not applicable) in the wage bond section.  Applications will not be processed without this affidavit.  For more information about Wage Bonding, please call:304-558-7890 Ext. 10475

 

Be sure to read and follow all the instructions in the application packet.  For a checklist of additional instructions, please visit:
WV Application Packet Checklist

All answers on the application should be printed or typed using blue or black ink.  Be sure to answer all questions on the application.  The Contractor Licensing Board does not accept applications with missing or incomplete information.  Be sure to complete all sections of the application:

  • Section 1- asks for basic information about the contractor’s business entity/business structure:
    • Business Name/Address/Phone Number/Email
    • Type of Business, i.e. Corporation, LLC, LLP, LP, Sole Proprietor
    • Number of Employees
    • Anticipated Business Start Date
  • Section 2- asks for information from other state government agencies, such as:
    • WV Business Registration Tax Number
    • Federal Taxpayer ID or Social Security Number
    • Worker’s Compensation Policy Number (if applicable)
    • Unemployment Compensation Insurance Policy Number (if applicable)
*If the contractor does not have employees, and is not required to carry Unemployment or Worker’s Compensation Insurance, they must write, “No Employees” in the space provided in Section 2.
  • Section 3- asks for wage bond information (if applicable).  All contractors are required to fill out this portion of the application or write “N/A” (not applicable).  The Wage Bond section must be signed by the contractor and a notary public.

 

The remaining portion of the application applies to specific business entities.  If the contractor is using a qualifier to submit passing exam scores, they must provide the qualifier’s information, along with a notarized statement from the qualifier, authorizing the contractor to use their scores.

All contractors must sign the application/affidavit and have it notarized before submitting to the Contractor Licensing Board.

 

Submitting an Application

Once the contractor has gathered all the required documents and filled out the application completely, including signing and notarizing the affidavit portions of the application, it is time to submit the application to the Contractor Licensing Board.

There is a $90 license fee, which must be submitted along with the application.

The Contractor Licensing Board accepts payments in the form of a cashier’s check or money order, made payable to “West Virginia Contractors Licensing Board.” The Board does not accept payments in the form of cash, personal or company checks.

Mail the completed application, along with all the required documents and fees to:

West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board
State Capitol Complex
Building 6, Room B-749
Charleston, WV 25305

It takes the Board approximately 10 to 15 business days from the time the application is received to process and issue the license.  Licenses are issued to the person who passed the examination (qualifier).  Be sure to respond immediately if the Board requires any further information, to avoid delays in the licensing process.

In some cases, the contractor may be able to obtain their license same-day if they submit their application at the Contractor Licensing Board office, in-person.  However, to receive a same-day license, all the required documents must be in order and verifiable.  The Contractors Licensing Board does not accept license fee payments in the form of cash, even if the contractor is submitting their application in-person.

Once the contractor receives their license, they may begin contracting work on construction projects in the State of West Virginia.  Contractors must also obtain the proper building permits needed for their projects.  The contractor will be required to provide their license number when applying for a building permit.

Once licensed, contractors are required to print their license number on all contracts, advertising and promotional materials related to their business.  On the job, all contractors are required to post their license in a highly visible area of the job site.

Contractors are required to provide their clients with a written contract, for all jobs valued at $10,000 or more, including labor and materials.  Contracts must provide a written description of the work the contractor intends to perform, as well as the cost of the job.  The contract must be signed by both the contractor and the client.

For any additional questions or concerns about obtaining a General Contractor License in the State of West Virginia, contact the Contractors Licensing Board:

Phone: 304-558-7890

Email: licensing@wv.gov

Website: http://www.wvlabor.com/newwebsite/Pages/Contractor_licensing_obtain_license.html

Additional License Contacts: http://www.wvlabor.com/newwebsite/Pages/Licensing_contractorlinks.html

How Long is a West Virginia General Contractor License Valid?

General Contractor licenses are good for a period of one year in the State of West Virginia.  All contractors are required to renew once a year before the expiration printed on the license.  The Contractors Licensing Board will mail out a renewal reminder approximately 30 days before the license is set to expire.

Contractors will not be able to renew their license until 45 days before the expiration date.  However, be sure to renew the license well in advance to allow time for processing.  Licenses may be renewed with a paper application, by-mail or online.

For more information about online renewal, please visit the link below and scroll down to the blue text that reads, “Start Renewal”:
http://www.wvlabor.com/newwebsite/Pages/Contractor_licensing_renew_license.html

The cost to renew a General Contractor license is $90.  The Contractors Licensing Board accepts payments in the form of:

  • Cashier’s Check
  • Money Order
  • Major Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express (when renewing online)

 

If the contractor allows their license to expire 15 or more days without going through the renewal process, there is a $25 late fee, which is added to the $90 renewal fee.  Any licensed allowed past expiration 90 days or more must re-apply for a General Contractor License.  If the qualifier has used their exam score more than 3 times, they will have to re-take and pass the exam.

At renewal time, all businesses are required to provide the following:

  • Certificate of Good Standing from the West Virginia Secretary of State
  • Proof of good standing with the West Virginia State Tax Department
  • Proof of current, up-to-date Worker’s Compensation Insurance (if applicable)
  • Proof of current, up-to-date Unemployment Compensation Insurance (if applicable)
*The Board accepts these documents via fax when renewing online.  Fax the information to: 304-558-5174

 

Table of Fees

Fee What is it For? When is it Due?
$42 Fee to take each portion of the exam ($84) when both portions are required Upon registering for the examination
$90 License Fee Upon submitting the license application/affidavit
$90 Cost to renew a license Upon submitting the renewal application
$25 Late fee for any license expired 15 days or more (paid in addition to the renewal fee) At the time the contractor renews their expired license