Construction is a consistently stable industry, with new projects available every season. In Colorado, outdoor construction season is limited due to snowy conditions, meaning construction teams often take the season off.
During warm seasons, construction work is in ample supply, making it possible for contractors to work shorter seasons for higher profits. At OnePointe Solutions, we’ve helped many general contractors in the state of Colorado for various jobs that called for custom laboratory furniture, industrial workbenches, and commercial cabinets.
As a general contractor in Colorado, you’ll experience a fast-paced working environment that while sometimes intense, can be highly rewarding.
Think you’d like a career as a general contractor? General contractors are highly knowledgeable construction professionals, typically with a background working various construction projects as a member of the construction team.
Acting as managers and overseeing every aspect of the construction process, general contractors are organized and great at delegating tasks.
*Important Note: there is no state-wide general contractor’s license in Colorado – instead, contractors must apply via their municipal governments. Because of this, a contractor based in Denver and a contractor based in Boulder will have slightly different application processes.
In this guide, we’re covering all the basics of getting your general contractor’s license, using specifics from Denver’s municipal licensing policies.
Job Description: General Contractor
The work of a general contractor requires excellent attention to detail and superior organizational skills since they are in charge of a lot of moving parts. General contractors take the lead during every step of the construction process, working closely with both clients and the construction team to stay on track.
Before a contractor can begin working on a project, however, they must go through a bidding process.
To create a bid, general contractors work with a construction estimator. Together, they create an itemized list of anticipated costs based on the proposed project plans. Estimates include material costs, equipment rentals, and labor. At OnePointe Solutions, we work with your budget to provide you with quality materials and industrial furniture, meeting the requirements of virtually any job without breaking the bank.
Contractors must be familiar with every step of the construction process to create accurate bids since they will need to stay on budget should their bids be accepted.
Once the construction process begins, many general contractors spend the majority of their time on-site, ensuring the safety of everyone on the project and stopping issues from happening by anticipating the needs of the project. Safety, budget, scheduling, hiring, and the execution of a project are all the responsibilities of the GC.
When it comes time to purchase items, OnePointe Solutions has been a staple manufacturer for general contractors for materials and laboratory furniture along with industrial and commercial options as well. For example, if your project is to design a lab for a university, we can provide you with epoxy resin or phenolic resin for countertops, metal cabinets, or laminate casework for storage, and even custom student workstations to encourage collaboration and productivity. Our expertise and range of products we offer are at your disposal.
While on-site, general contractors are in charge of the following:
- Crew safety
- Equipment and site safety
- Permits and street closures
- Anticipating weather conditions and scheduling accordingly
- Enforcing quality and safety standards
Special Skills & Qualifications
In Colorado, the specific requirements needed by general contractors to meet licensing qualifications are created by municipalities. As such, the exact requirements vary depending on your city of residence.
However, there are some skills that you’ll need to be able to demonstrate no matter where you live and certain qualities that all general contractors need. Many of these skills are natural, and can’t be taught or learned, but are vital for performing work as a general contractor:
- Ability to read building plans and blueprints
- Building/construction skills
- Excellent time management and organizational skills
- Attention to detail
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills
- Budget and purchasing experience
- Comfortable working with new people
- Able to learn quickly and in stressful situations
- Concern for the wellbeing of others and a touch of perfectionism
Qualifications to Become a General Contractor in Colorado
Since we can’t cover every city in Colorado, we’ll be sharing the basics of what you’ll need in Denver. In Denver, general contractors will apply through Denver Community Planning and Development. Individuals seeking contracts for building or renovation projects must hold appropriate licenses and certifications. To become a general contractor in Denver you will need to do the following:
General contractors are not required to have any specific formal education, but attending college for a related field can be beneficial for your future career. Studying a field like engineering, construction management, or architecture can give you a solid foundation before you enter the workforce – but it isn’t necessary.
If you dream of a job in construction, you can get started at 18 once you finish high school. In most cases, construction companies prefer to hire new employees that hold at least a high school diploma or GED.
Professional experience isn’t just important for giving you the skills you’ll need to become a successful general contractor, it is necessary for the licensing process as well. To become a licensed general contractor, you will need to meet a minimum number of years of experience, and be able to show that you have worked a sufficient variety of jobs to have a strong understanding of the entire construction process. Depending on which license class you apply for (we’ll cover this in more detail later in the article), you will need a different amount of experience.
- General Contractor Class A: Minimum 7-years construction experience
- General Contractor Class B: Minimum 4-years construction experience
- Residential Contractor Class C: Minimum 2-years construction experience
When you are just getting started, take as many opportunities as possible to get the widest scope of experience. As you begin to get deeper into your career, you may begin to specialize in one area over the others. By gaining diverse experience, there will be less learning to do later in your career as a general contractor.
Supervisor Certificate Application
Once you have the experience and knowledge you’ll need to oversee construction projects, you can begin the application process. Before licensing can begin, you’ll first need to fill out a Supervisor Certificate Application, wherein you will include information and proof of prior experience. Additionally, you will need to disclose previous licenses and certifications and sign an affidavit relating to your residency. Documents can be submitted in person, or online.
General contractors wishing to obtain their license must take and pass an ICC exam. The specific exam you’ll take will depend on the type of license you are applying for, but all contractors must achieve a 70% or above to pass.
- General Contractor Class A: ICC Exam #F11 – National Standard General Building Contractor (A)
- General Contractor Class B: ICC Exam #F12 – National Building Contractor (B)
- Residential Contractor Class C: ICC Exam #F13 – National Standard Residential Building Contractor (C)
If you run a construction company, you will need to ensure that it is properly registered with the state of Colorado before you can apply for your general contractor’s license. Your business will need to be registered with the Colorado Secretary of State, the Colorado Department of Revenue, and the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. Visit these sites for exact registration requirements.
To apply for a general contractor’s license, you will need to have several financial documents prepared. First, you’ll need to supply proof of liability and worker’s compensation insurance. In some cases, a surety bond may be substituted. Along with these basic insurance documents, you will also need to acquire a Colorado State Tax Number.
The Denver Community Planning and Development department offers a variety of contractor licenses including:
- Fire Protection
For a general contractor, you will likely apply for a construction license. Denver breaks up it’s contracting licenses in three categories:
- General Contractor Class A: alteration, addition, repair, demolition, or construction of any project.
- General Contractor Class B: alteration, addition, repair, demolition, or construction of any project classified as “less than a high rise.”
- Residential Contractor Class C: alteration, addition, repair, demolition, or construction of single and two-family dwellings.
Licenses should be submitted with a $250 fee, which covers a three-year license if you are accepted. Once you have completed this step, you can begin to bid on local construction projects!
Colorado General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview
Applying for a Colorado general contractor’s license is a semi-involved process, but if you are worried about high fees you are in luck. The only basic fee associated with all general contractor applications in Denver is the licensing fee, which is $250 and covers a valid license period of three years.
You can pay online to the Denver Community Planning and Development agency by credit card or electronic check. Or if you prefer to pay by mail, send it to:
Community Planning and Development
201 W. Colfax Ave. #205
Denver, CO 80202
Average Colorado General Contractor Salary & Benefits
Working in Colorado’s unique environmental conditions and high elevation can be a challenge, but if you make it in a career as a general contractor, you will be rewarded with an annual salary of between $50,000 and $110,000. Because Colorado has a cold, snowy season, Colorado general contractors often only work part of the year, leaving the rest open to take time off and recoup.
The Path to Become a General Contractor in Colorado
Now that you understand the details of Colorado’s general contractor licensing process, let’s go over a simple explanation of the steps you’ll take to get certified. Remember, this is specific to Denver, but most municipalities will have similar requirements. Here’s your path to becoming a general contractor in Colorado:
1. Complete Basic Education
Once you turn 18, you can begin working jobs in construction. To qualify for entry-level positions, complete a high school diploma or GED.
2. Gain Professional Experience
Work various jobs in construction both to gain valuable knowledge and to meet minimum experience requirements. Class A applicants are required to have 7+ years of relevant experience, class B applicants are required to have 4+ years of relevant experience, and class C applicants must fulfill at least 2 years of formal experience.
3. Complete Supervisor Certificate Application
Fill out and submit the Complete Supervisor Certificate application. This submission should include your signed affidavit and disclosure of previous licenses/certifications.
4. Pass ICC Exam
Take and pass the appropriate ICC exam with a score of at least 70%.
5. Register Your Business
If not already, register your business with the state of Colorado and begin taking care of business tax obligations. Businesses in all municipalities can register with the state via the links listed above.
6. Provide Proof of Insurance
Submit proof of liability insurance or an equivalent surety bond. Additional proof of workers’ compensation will be required before being allowed to fill out an application.
7. Pay Fees
Before you can submit your final licensing application, you will need to pay the licensing fee. 3-year licenses are offered for a non-refundable $250 fee – this exact amount will vary depending on your municipality.
8. Submit License Application
Finally, you will be able to submit your final license application. After submission, processing typically takes between 7-10 business days. Once your application is accepted and your license has been approved, you can begin the bidding process for future projects.