How to Get Your General Contractor’s License in Michigan

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Interested in breaking into general contract work as a Michigan resident? Construction can be a lucrative industry.

General contracting provides all the essential services, including specialized labor and equipment, for a project’s construction. As a general contractor, you coordinate the complicated process of building a project from the ground up.

For most aspiring to work and collaborate in construction, general contracting is the ideal role. Perform extensive research, apply to the right agency, meet all requirements of the agency you choose, pay any necessary licensing fees and liability insurance, and you will land that dream construction job in the State of Michigan.

In Michigan, becoming a general contractor is not an easy feat, but if you endure the extensive application process, you’ll be one step closer to becoming a general contractor. By estimating the value of your project and researching all the necessary licensing fees, you will also be able to determine which contracting license is suitable for you. 

At OnePointe Solutions, we have worked with countless general contractors around the country to supply them with high-quality commercial cabinets, custom workbenches, and laboratory cabinets to fit the needs of their various projects and jobs.

Depending on the scope of your work and future construction based projects, you may apply for any of Michigan’s three main licenses in general contracting:

  • Builders License: for contractors performing work on residential structures, or a combination of residential and commercial structures
  • Maintenance and Alteration Contractors License: for contractors who need a license to perform any of the following tasks: carpentry, concrete, excavation, insulation work, masonry, painting and decorating, siding, roofing, screen and storm sash, gutters, tile and marble, house wrecking, swimming pools, and basement waterproofing
  • Commercial Builders License: strictly for contractors working on schools, offices, factories, and other commercial buildings

To obtain a general contracting license in Michigan, either for residential builders or maintenance and alteration, you will apply to the same form here. Commercial builders require a different application, as it is not a state-regulated license.

Keep reading to learn more about how you may begin doing the work to become a general contractor in Michigan.

Job Description: General Contractor

General contractors have plenty to oversee daily. From providing all materials and labor for a project to applying for building permits, general contractors serve as the manager for any construction project.

Expert knowledge of the construction industry and general organization are key to handling this position. 

As a general contractor, you must be familiar with the entire construction process, since you will be in charge of placing a bid for any desired project. In collaborating with a construction estimator, you must anticipate all potential costs before hopefully landing the project.

As unexpected possible issues may arise during construction, you’ll need to account for those estimates as well.

Once the client accepts the bid offer, you’ll then work on organizing all labor and resources for the beginnings of a project, such as attending regular site visits, securing permits, hiring subcontractors, and purchasing the proper equipment for the site. Some general contractors work on-site throughout the majority of a project’s construction, while others prefer to leave on-site managers in charge.

Regardless, monitoring the safety and efficiency of a construction site remains a general contractor’s highest priority.

For the basis of this guide, let’s say a bid was accepted for a cannabis laboratory. We would supply the general contractor with quality lab tables and workbenches from fully welded, bolt together, and microscope tables to stainless steel tables, and even a custom workbench configuration as well.

For countertops and work surfaces, epoxy resin, phenolic resin, and stainless steel countertops are ideal options since they each can stand up to most chemicals, moisture and are easy to maintain and clean. And last but not least, we also can design and manufacture lab casework solutions for the storage and organization of materials and provide instrumentation for mass spectrometry for the daily testing and experiments that will be performed in the lab too.

For virtually any project, at OnePointe Solutions, we’ve got you covered!

In summary, general contractors take care 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

Before discussing the specific requirements for landing a job as a general contractor in Michigan, let’s focus on innate skills. General contractors have stressful jobs and must remain calm and competent while staying on top of their numerous tasks.

Special skills can’t often be taught but will help you no matter what line of work you’re in. As a general contractor, it’s important to demonstrate the following 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 Michigan

In Michigan, a Michigan Builders License is state-regulated. However, a Michigan Commercial Construction License is not regulated by the state and is instead on a local level. Both licenses pertain to general contractors, but obtaining a license for general contracting involves a different application process.

A contracting company will also need to register with the Michigan Department of Treasury, gathering all the proper taxes, employee IDs, and insurance for legal purposes. 

An important thing to note: before obtaining a permit for any project, the State of Michigan usually requires a certificate of insurance or bond insurance from the homeowner or municipality. Both will financially protect the general contractor and the client if a project does not occur as planned, or unexpected circumstances occur during work on the project. 

Here’s what you’ll need to apply for a general contractor’s license in the State of Michigan.

Education

To become a residential builder and/or maintenance and alteration contractor in Michigan, you must complete at least 60 hours of approved pre-licensure courses before taking the exam and submitting the application. You must also be at least 18 years old, maintain a Michigan driver’s license, pass your residential or maintenance and alteration contractor exam, and pay all application and licensing fees. 

Complete at least six hours of each of the following courses:

  • Business Management, Estimating, and Job Costing
  • Design and Building Science
  • Contracts, Liability, and Risk Management
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Project Management and Scheduling
  • The Michigan Residential Code
  • MIOSHA Construction Safety Standards
  • 18 hours of other courses here

While you don’t need a formal college education to become a general contractor in Michigan, you need to complete the above to ensure full preparation for a successful career in construction.

Experience

Learn the ins and outs of construction early, perhaps before applying for a license. Experience is vital when pursuing any career, particularly one in construction.

Be prepared to tackle any problem as it happens, as you’ll be dealing with that daily as a general contractor. The most experienced entry-level construction workers will gain initial exposure, perhaps shadowing a licensed general contractor before undergoing the rigorous application and licensing process.

Most general contractors have to work their way up in the construction industry while networking and developing their skill set. Gain as much experience as you can to be trusted and respected once you land your first project as a general contractor.

Exam

Michigan requires a contractor’s exam, which will be conducted through PSI Exams. Create your PSI Exams account for more information about scheduling, test center locations, and payment instructions.

Licensing

Michigan offers three types of licenses for general contractors, although two of them go through the same application process. Therefore, the fees for a licensed residential builder and a maintenance and alteration contractor are the same: $195 license fee, and $185 renewal fee. Any checks or money orders must be submitted with your application and made payable to the State of Michigan.

Armed Forces Veterans may have their fees waived. 

Business Registration

Complete a registration through the Michigan Department of Treasury to register your business. The department’s Michigan Treasury Online services will provide further registration details and instructions.

Financial Documents

Michigan businesses must register for one or more tax ID numbers, licenses, or permits, including income tax withholding, sales and use tax (seller’s permit), and unemployment insurance tax. Visit the Michigan Department of Treasury Business Taxes website for more information about business registration and tax requirements.

Michigan General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview

The only fees associated with Michigan’s general contracting license are for residential builders and maintenance and alteration contractors, which will remain the same: a $195 license fee, and a $185 renewal fee. 

Average Michigan General Contractor Salary & Benefits

The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity manages any worker’s compensation for Michigan. Some employers in construction are self-insured and self-employed, responsible for their insurance and worker’s compensation.

The average general contractor salary in Michigan is $122,728, or $59 at an hourly rate. This rate is 1% higher than the national average. An entry-level general contractor earns an average salary of $85,650. A senior-level general contractor (with 8+ years of experience) earns an average salary of $152,572.

The Path to Become a General Contractor in Michigan

After diving into the details behind what it takes to become a general contractor in the State of Michigan, let’s do a final review. Here is the basic path for obtaining your general contractor’s license in Michigan.

1. Gain Construction Knowledge and Experience 

Obtain as much professional experience as you can in the field of construction before undergoing Michigan’s application process. Shadow senior-level general contractors and network with construction professionals to have future references. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with everything that could happen while working on a job site.

2. Complete Required Pre-Licensure Courses

Michigan requires that you take many pre-licensure courses before taking the general contractor exam and submitting an application. Be sure to complete all 60 hours of the approved pre-licensure courses before the exam.

3. Take (and Pass) the Contractors License Test

PSI Exams will conduct your general contractors’ exam. Pass the exam, and you’ll be one step closer to becoming a residential builder and/or maintenance and alteration contractor in the State of Michigan.

4. Pay Licensing and Registration Fees

Send in the fees for a licensed residential builder and a maintenance and alteration contractor, which are the same: $195 license fee, and $185 renewal fee. Any checks or money orders must be submitted with your application and made payable to the State of Michigan.

5. Register Your Business

Register through the Michigan Department of Treasury for your contracting business. The department’s Michigan Treasury Online website will provide registration details and instructions.

If you’re interested in starting a general contracting business, check out our guide below:

6. Get Insurance and Workers’ Compensation

Navigate the details of the workers’ compensation in Michigan to see if you, your business, and your employees are included or exempt from The Workers’ Disability Compensation Act. Self-employed general contractors are not covered by the act. Consider contractor liability insurance as a preventative measure if something unplanned occurs during a project’s construction. 

7. Search and Verify Your License 

Register an account through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ Citizen Portal. The LARA license lookup performs a search on any type of license in Michigan, including searches on a builders license and business license.

Need Lab Furniture for Your Project?

If you’re a general contractor in Michigan or another state in the U.S. and need laboratory furniture for your next job, from lab casework to custom workbenches and things in between, give us a call at (866) 222-7494 to speak to a lab consultant today.

Questions? Concerns? Want to start today? Get in touch. 866.612.7312

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