Working in construction can provide you with a consistent, successful career. Construction is always in demand, and if you have the skills and dedication, you could enjoy bountiful work opportunities.
In Connecticut, winter prevents year-round construction, but during on-months, there is lots of work to go around. If you’re a general contractor in Connecticut, at OnePointe Solutions, we can work with you around the season to provide you with custom laboratory furniture, industrial furniture, and commercial cabinets.
With enough experience, you could even become a general contractor, and begin overseeing projects and taking control of the jobs you take on.
As a general contractor, you’ll be surrounded by constant action, requiring you to enjoy a fast-paced lifestyle and jam-packed workdays. If you are organized, enjoy management, and have a passion for construction, work as a general contractor could be perfect for you!
Typically, contractors have an extensive background in construction and are strong collaborators.
In Connecticut, there is no specific license for general contractors. Instead, licenses are awarded based on the type of work performed by the individual or business.
While some contractors may hold multiple licenses, some are reserved for specialty trades like electrical and plumbing. For general contractors, there are three main licenses that you may wish to apply for:
- Major Contractor License: for contractors performing commercial and residential masonry, structural framework, roofing, etc.
- New Home Construction Contractor License: for contractors constructing new homes
- Home Improvement Contractor License: for contractors making improvements to a property i.e. installing a driveway, garage, or pool
To become licensed in Connecticut, you will need to meet several qualifications as required by the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection. If you live in Connecticut and want to start a career as a general contractor, keep reading to learn everything you need to know.
Job Description: General Contractor
General contractors have lots of responsibilities and oversee an enormous amount of work and planning throughout the construction process. GCs take on the role of manager throughout a project, working with both clients and crew to communicate design details, legal requirements, timelines, and more.
Responsible for everything from the very beginning of a project to the details of completion, general contractors must be highly knowledgeable and organized to find success.
When a contractor decides they want a job, their first step is to create a bid for that project. A bid includes a detailed list of all anticipated expenses based on the proposed plans/blueprints.
Bids include details on anticipated material costs, labor, equipment, etc., to create a general estimate of the total cost of the project. Contractors create these bids in collaboration with a construction estimator.
To do this successfully, contractors must be intimately familiar with the various elements of construction to accurately anticipate all potential costs.
If a client accepts the bid, the next step a general contractor takes is to begin organizing the resources and labor required to start the project. Once construction begins, some general contractors spend their time on-site with their teams, while others delegate to on-site managers. At OnePointe Solutions, we’ve become one of the leading sources for general contractors when it comes to industrial furniture, custom workbenches as well as commercial cabinets, and laboratory furniture too.
For example, if a bid is created for a commercial project i.e. hospital reception area, we can provide them with a range of commercial countertops: solid surface, maple block, plastic laminate, quartz, and even granite! In addition, we offer laminate casework or metal casework for cabinet options and provide seating options too.
Many general contractors prefer to be on-site since they are in charge of the safety and efficiency of the process.
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
We’re about to dive into the specifics of what it takes to become a general contractor in Connecticut, but before we do, let’s talk about special skills. These are things that you might already be good at or skills you’ll develop after years of experience, but without these essential qualities, you won’t make a very good GC.
No matter what area of construction you end up specializing in, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate these skills:
- 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 Connecticut
In Connecticut, there is no specific ‘general contractor’ license, but rather several licenses that allow you to perform different types of work. Applicants must apply through the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection, and anyone doing commercial or residential construction should consider applying.
Depending on the specific parameters you plan to work within, your exact requirements may vary; in general, here’s what you’ll need to qualify for a contractor license in Connecticut:
Unless you want to go to college and pursue higher education, you don’t need to have a college degree to become a general contractor. There are no majors that are specific to general contractor work, and many contractors start their careers fresh outta high school.
If you want to go to college and are certain you want to work in construction, consider a degree in construction management, engineering, or architecture.
To begin working in construction you will need to be at least 18 years old, and many employers show preference for applicants who have completed their basic education. Completing a high school diploma or GED will help you to be more prepared for a professional career, but once you finish you can start applying to entry-level construction jobs.
Experience is one of the most important things you can have when applying for a license to become a contractor since you’ll need to know as much about construction as possible. A career as a general contractor requires you to be intimately familiar with every step of the construction process.
You will need to be able to identify problems before they happen, anticipate special needs, get the right materials, and hire the right people. To do this, you need enough experience.
Additionally, the licensing process in Connecticut requires you to submit several references to the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection. References will need to be able to vouch for your skill and experience, so the more jobs you can take the better for your career.
As a general contractor in Connecticut, you are not required to take any exams. However, if you are applying for a specialty license (electrician, plumber, HVAC technician), you may be required to take the Business and Law Exam. In most cases, Connecticut general contractors do not need to take this exam.
Once you have the necessary experience and are ready to begin the licensing process, you will have three types of licenses to choose between; see details on each license above. Most contractors will apply for a ‘Major Contractor’ license, and some may choose to add on the ‘New Home’ and ‘Home Improvement’ licenses to expand the scope of their business opportunities.
Each license type is accompanied by its own application, specific documentation requirements, and a non-refundable fee. Here’s what you’ll need to include in each different type of contractor license:
- Major Contractor requirements:
- Completed application
- (1) reference letter from a supplier or non-affiliated contractor
- (1) reference letter from a financial institution
- (3) reference letters from individuals able to vouch for your experience – i.e. former employer or coworker
- Proof of general liability insurance
- Relevant business documentation
- Notarized affidavit
- $500 application fee
- New Home Construction Contractor:
- Completed application
- Notarized signature
- $210 application fee
- Home Improvement Contractor:
- Completed application
- Notarized signature
- $220 application fee
If you are applying as a sole proprietor, you do not need to worry about business registration. If you operate a business, you will need to be registered with the Connecticut State Department of Revenue Services.
Business registration includes applying for tax ID numbers, licenses, permits, and more. Visit the Revenue Services website to see specific requirements for new business applications.
In addition to proof of liability insurance, contractor applicants that own businesses will need to provide proof of worker’s compensation insurance. In some cities, contractors may also be required to obtain a surety bond before beginning work.
Connecticut General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview
Depending on which licenses you apply for, you may end up paying slightly less or more than other contractors in your area. In general, here are the fees associated with the application process:
- Major Contractor License fee – $500 (1 year)
- New Home Construction License fee – $210 + $720 two-year renewal fee
- Home Improvement Contractor License fee – $220 + two-year renewal fee
In some cases, you may be required to submit a surety bond or make a guaranteed fund deposit.
Average Connecticut General Contractor Salary & Benefits
Base salaries for general contractors in Connecticut typically start at around 15% higher than the national average. Most general contractors can expect to make between $50,000-$130,000 per year.
Because Connecticut weather does not allow for year-round construction, many contractors can take advantage of the time off to enjoy family vacations and longer break periods.
The Path to Become a General Contractor in Connecticut
Now that we have covered the details of the application process, let’s review: while your exact path will vary, these are the basic steps you’ll need to take to apply for and receive your Connecticut general contractor license(s):
1. Finish Basic Schooling
Before you can work in construction, you will need to be 18 years of age and complete basic schooling. A high school diploma or GED is all it takes to start working jobs in construction, though some individuals choose to pursue higher education before beginning their professional careers.
2. Gain Construction Experience
Apply for jobs in construction and take as many as possible. As a general contractor, you will need to be familiar with everything that happens on a job site, so the more experience you have the better. As you gain experience, be sure to make connections and become friends with other professionals in the industry, since they will help you by becoming references later down the line.
3. Form a Business
This step isn’t strictly necessary, but many contractors find it beneficial to form a business rather than operating as a sole proprietorship. The paths to becoming licensed are slightly different depending on your business status, so be sure to be fully registered if you plan to operate as a business before you begin to apply.
4. Complete Specific Applications
Once you feel that you have the necessary experience and skills to start working as a general contractor, you can begin the application process. Most contractors will apply for a Major Contractor license, while some will also apply for additional licenses. Be sure to have all required documents prepared before you submit your application.
5. Sign Application In-Front-Of Notary
Finished applications must be signed in front of a notary. Once this is completed, the application can be submitted along with financial documents, references, etc.
6. Provide Proof of Insurance
Submit proof of liability insurance or an equivalent surety bond. Exact insurance requirements may vary depending on your business status.
7. Pay Fees
Fees are paid at the time of application submission and are non-refundable regardless of the outcome of your application. If accepted, your license will be granted for a period of one or two years, at which time additional fees will be required for you to retain your license.