Requirements For A Contractor License

 
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Old 01-16-2008, 11:37 AM   #1
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Requirements For A Contractor License


Here in Philly it is a joke. You pay the city $250 for a business license. Once you have that you buy insurance and pay $150 for a contractor license. There is absolutely no test or any kind or requirements to show that you actually know anything. Basically all a contractor license means is "I gave the gov their cut".

Another thing stupid in PA is you have to get a contractor license for every municipality that you work in. It is the same deal as philly - they just want their money.

What is it like in other states ? Do you actually have to pass a test or something ?
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Old 01-16-2008, 11:46 AM   #2
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


DC its the same.

You do a criminal background check, fill out the app, get bonding and insurance. It is a long process but worth if of course. They review of the documents takes several months. The only thing I have noticed is the insurance companies give you hell to get liability insurance and the bonding if you cant prove prior construction experience. I know a lot of guys that could not come up with the bonding and insurance because of that. I had a prior license so I had a history of insurance and bonding in another state.

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Old 01-16-2008, 11:51 AM   #3
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


In California:

1. Four years verified journey-level experience in the specific trade (references to be provided on application with detailed description of experience).
2. Fingerprinting and background check (FBI and California DoJ).
3. Two-part examination on trade and construction law.
4. Surety bond.
5. Workman's Comp insurance for any contractor with at least one employee and all roofing contractors regardless of employees.
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Old 01-16-2008, 11:56 AM   #4
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


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Originally Posted by Philly Dude View Post
What is it like in other states ?
Do you actually have to pass a test or something ?
Speaking on NJ only....

It would depend on the trade you intend to ply.
Electricians, plumbers (mostly the mechanical trades) REQUIRE a testing procedure.
Carpenter's, masons, painters, etc - pay your money and hang your shingle.
http://www.nj.gov/oag/ca/contractors/contractor.htm
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Old 01-16-2008, 12:37 PM   #5
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


Philly Dude,

what is the purpose of the business license and the contractors license?

Is the business license just a permit to collect sales tax on your work?

Here there are some towns which require a peddlers permit to sell stuff door to door. This is probably to reduce the amount of fraud inherent to asphalting driveways, storm repair, etc.

We don't have any business licensing in my city with exception of "liquor licenses". The county controls the restaurants, tanning booths, etc. Someone controls the manicure/pedicure and hair dressing industry, I'm not sure who.

I guess no one has ever convinced the majority of our city council that there was a need for such a thing. I could see a little old lady going to the council and telling about how she paid $10,000 up front for a lifetime subscription to Better Homes and Gardens/roof repair and never saw the guy again. Then they might introduce a business license/contractor's license.

Surely there are some areas in PA which are unincorporated and controlled by the county only? Someday you'll need a United Nations permit, then a US federal permit, a PA permit in your case, then the county permit and finally the city permit?
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Old 01-16-2008, 03:22 PM   #6
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


Here in Denver we need to register with state for business operating license, then, for a GC you need to test on IRC 2006, then submit references, verifiable work experience, then wait for building inpsector to call you to let you know you have met requirements then pay 75.00 per year renewal. Denver is the toughest in the state, I am from CT where it is a different story.
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Old 01-16-2008, 03:28 PM   #7
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


You need a separate license for each county on Long Island, and some towns and villages require their own as well. Sparky's and plumbers need to show 5 years of pay stubs and take a test. The county I live in gives a 20 question joke of a test for a general home improvement license. $400 later, you're licensed. The next county over doesnt test you at all. When I asked about it, the woman replied, "If you can handle all our paperwork, you can handle anything."
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Old 01-16-2008, 03:39 PM   #8
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


I should add that the CSLB (Contractors State License Board) is the only entity empowered to license builders here and it issues the actual California contractor license which is required state-wide. This is the actual license to perform work as a contractor here in California. Regardless of any other "license" (business, fishing, drivers, whatever) you may hold, if you don't have the CSLB license, you can't contract for work over $500.00 here in the Golden State.

Each city, town, or county you do business in usually also requires a business license as well (just like any other company doing business within their limits/boundaries). This is a license designed to collect taxes on commerce occurring within the municipality.
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Old 01-16-2008, 03:46 PM   #9
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRoadie View Post
I should add ....
I should add...
GC's and the like are NOT licensed here in NJ - they must simply register with the State (and pay the money)
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Old 01-16-2008, 06:03 PM   #10
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


Columbus, Ohio:

Home Improvement Contractor License - basically residential: pass test, show workers comp, liability insurance, $25,000 bond, $405 annual fee all paperwork must be accurate to the letter, late fee $405.

General Contractor License - basically commercial: same requirements as above but NO TEST, same fee


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Old 01-20-2008, 09:08 PM   #11
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


Mass has two levels of operation. 1) HIC (Home Improvement Contractor) allows for basic non-structural stuff like siding,replacement windows,doors, etc. with no test. Pay the $$$ and presto your on board. 2) Construction Supervisor liscense allows for new construction (up to 35,000 sqft) and any and all structural changes/additions to residential. That one requires applicant to have previous experience and take a three hour test on current Massachusetts building code. Good through out the entire state not dictated by county or individual town. Both offer the HO access to the state Guarantee fund which covers contractor up to $100,000 as long as everything was done legaly. (that includes having all necessary information in original contract.)
Rhode Island one town(and state) away from me is completely different. All you have to do is show a picture of your pickup truck and pay the money.
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Old 01-20-2008, 10:21 PM   #12
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


In Alabama you have to take a test that is fairly long and has more to do with buisness and legal issues than with actual buildning know how. Pay $250 a year for contractor license and purchase a city license usally about $50. No issurance or bonding required unless your doing gov. work then they want your first born as collateral The only real BS is you also have to pay $50 for them to do a credit check and tell you where you have credit
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Old 01-21-2008, 10:34 PM   #13
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


Illinois sounds the same as PA. Maybe a few differences but same basic stuff
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Old 01-22-2008, 05:03 PM   #14
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


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Old 01-22-2008, 05:12 PM   #15
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


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One of the issues with the MA construction supervisor license process, is they rarely check on an applicant's experience. I know a neighbor who has zero construction experience, but was able to get his license by attending a class
where they will "guarantee you will pass!". I use the term "License Mills"when I come across these outfits.

Sounds like Minnesota, I took the test when it first came out and got an 80, a guy I know took the test and got 100. He had no experience and told me he thinks contractors charge way too, so he is going to change the way we do business.
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:01 PM   #16
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


Renaissance: I attended one of those classes too because the test is all code and how to find all of the stuff in the book. Its one thing to have experience but how are you supposed to know all of the code (some very arbitrary stuff) including steel, masonary, signage, wind & snow loads in different geographical areas ETC. They really should check on the experience of applicants but we all know how the state works..........SLOW!
Fortunately, guys with no experience will most likely not get far in this business unless they are being guided by someone with the experience. Go figure!
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Old 01-23-2008, 03:30 PM   #17
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


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Old 01-23-2008, 06:39 PM   #18
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


I agree. Money is always the driving force in ANY state.
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Old 01-23-2008, 07:25 PM   #19
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRoadie View Post
I should add that the CSLB (Contractors State License Board) is the only entity empowered to license builders here and it issues the actual California contractor license which is required state-wide. This is the actual license to perform work as a contractor here in California. Regardless of any other "license" (business, fishing, drivers, whatever) you may hold, if you don't have the CSLB license, you can't contract for work over $500.00 here in the Golden State.

Each city, town, or county you do business in usually also requires a business license as well (just like any other company doing business within their limits/boundaries). This is a license designed to collect taxes on commerce occurring within the municipality.
You got it down MacRoadie!!!!
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Old 01-24-2008, 05:43 AM   #20
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Re: Requirements For A Contractor License


Philly Dude;

It's a joke here in Colorado also! There's NO state contrator licensing!

Some of the local/city municipalities have a suedo-type contractor licensing proceedure; They're basically city/county business licenses, whereas anyone with a pulse can trot on down and become a "contractor"....which is what happens here......

It's very rough going for the legit outfit here....

On the other hand, it's a jackleg's paradise....

It's most definitely a "buyer beware" situation here in Colorado.

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