How to Get Your General Contractor License in Minnesota

Disclaimer Note: The content in is blog is just for informational purposes ONLY. We ARE NOT licensed, certified, or a party/entity to provide licensing. Please refer to your state’s board on current processes for where and how to get your license.

For Minnesota residents vying to work in construction, getting your license can be a tough process to endure at first. With a general contracting role in the industry, you must go through many proper channels before receiving your license.

General contractors coordinate the intricate process of building a project from scratch. For many aspiring to work in construction, general contracting is an ideal way to get established in the industry. 

However, there are many requirements to receiving a general contractor’s license in Minnesota. If you take examinations for competency, get fully bonded and insured, complete the entire application process including any additional paperwork, and pay all necessary fees, you’ll be one step closer to obtaining a general contracting job in the State of Minnesota.

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

Planning on working in residential or commercial construction, including general improvements on buildings? Here’s who needs to apply for a Minnesota General Contractor’s license:

  • Residential Builders/Remodelers License: for contractors who contract with an owner to construct or improve dwellings for habitation by 1 to 4 families (including detached garages) and demonstrate two or more special skills
  • Trade License: required for contractors working in two or more of the following fields: carpentry, drywall, exterior/interior finishing, excavation, roofing, masonry; not required unless you’re working in two or more fields, except roofing (all contractors must get a trade license if performing roofing services)

For residential or commercial builders obtaining a general contracting license in Minnesota, register with Minnesota’s Department of Labor and Industry. Read more to find out how to become a general contractor in Minnesota.

Job Description: General Contractor

General contractors are the backbone of any construction site, serving as the manager for any project by providing all materials and labor. Expert knowledge of the construction industry and general organizational skills are essential for this position. 

Before getting your general contractor’s license, familiarize yourself with the entire construction process and industry. You will likely be tasked with placing bids on any desired project and must anticipate all potential costs before collaborating with a construction estimator on a project.

Unexpected circumstances may arise during construction. You’ll want to prepare for those estimates in the most efficient way possible.

Pending a bid offer, you’ll organize a project by attending regular site visits, securing permits, hiring subcontractors, and purchasing equipment for the site. Every general contractor has their preference.

For this guide let’s say a bid was created and accepted for an office and reception area. We would supply the project with plastic laminate cabinets, commercial countertops, worktables, and even seating. We also can help design and supply furniture for a breakroom for employees to relax and collaborate with each other as well.

Some choose to work on-site during a project’s construction, while others leave on-site managers in charge. Regardless of how a general contractor works, monitoring the safety and efficiency of a construction site is the highest priority.

General contractors handle 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 specific requirements for landing a job as a general contractor in Minnesota, let’s look at some innate special skills. General contractors juggle many tasks daily and must be comfortable managing a large team. Regardless of your industry, special skills are beneficial. If you’re an aspiring general contractor, try 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 Minnesota

In Minnesota, a general contractor’s license will be either a residential builders license or a remodelers license. If performing two or more special skills, i.e. carpentry, drywall, roofing, etc., you will likely have to apply for a trade license as well.

Registrations and applications are all available through Minnesota’s Department of Labor and Industry.

Electricians and plumbers must also have a contractor’s license in Minnesota. Finding the right insurance and bonding policy is important for protecting your business and projects.

Consider getting bonded to make your clients feel safe and if you plan to work in a neighboring state. There’s a thorough process to obtaining a license in the State of Minnesota, which we will discuss further in this guide.

Education

There are no formal education requirements for general contractors, but those wishing to get into construction should finish high school. Professionals in construction must be at least 18 years old, so new high school graduates may qualify for entry-level positions.

If you plan on going to college, consider a degree in a relevant field such as engineering, construction management, architecture, or something similar. Although additional education can often be helpful on the path to success, many successful general contractors lack college degrees. 

Experience

Before applying for a contractor’s license, get as much experience as you can. Experience is vital in construction. By getting plenty of initial exposure, you’ll better understand Minnesota’s rigorous application, exam, and licensing process. You’ll also be more prepared to tackle potential issues as they happen, as you’ll be dealing with plenty of obstacles once you’re a general contractor. 

General contractors have to earn their way in the construction industry. Network and develop your special skillset, so that once you land your first project as a licensed general contractor, you’ll be trusted and respected.

Exam

Minnesota requires a contractor’s exam for residential builders and remodelers, which is given by Minnesota’s Department of Labor and Industry. Both the business and law exams are required. You must also complete a trade exam for whichever trade you’re pursuing.

Here are the exam guidelines:

  • You have four hours to complete 110 questions
  • You need a score of 70 percent or higher to pass
  • If you do not pass, you have to wait 30 days to try taking the exam again and must submit an additional application and fee

Study before taking the exams and utilize the available seminars and study guides. Pay the standard exam fee of $50. Depending on the industry, trade, and how many exams/licenses to apply for, your specific fees may vary. Pay any fee online through the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website, or mail by check or money order to:  

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

Construction Codes and Licensing Division

Licensing and Certification Services

PO Box 64227

St. Paul, MN 55164-0227

Licensing

The standard licensing fee in Minnesota is $120. The application or renewal fee is $128. Again, you may submit fees online through the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry or by mail to the address listed above. 

Business Registration

Register your business before applying for a license by visiting the Minnesota Secretary of State website. You will be required to disclose your business name, address, and any associated partners/business owners who share more than 10 percent of your company.

You must receive and present certificates for each responsible licensed individual and for liability insurance, which will be worth at least $100,000 per occurrence and $300,000 for bodily injury, and property damage insurance worth at least $25,000.

If you live in Minnesota and are interested in learning more about starting a general contracting business, check out our guide below:

Financial Documents

Minnesota 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 Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development website for more information about business registration and tax requirements. Under certain conditions, businesses with employees may also have to pay unemployment insurance taxes, due to Minnesota Workers’ Compensation. 

Minnesota General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview

The following fees are associated with Minnesota’s general contracting license: $128 for application or renewal, $120 for licensing, $50 for the exam, and $8 for the board. Fees will vary based on industry, trade, and how many exams and licenses to which you are applying.

Average Minnesota General Contractor Salary & Benefits

The average Minnesota general contractor salary is $123,238, or an hourly rate of $59. This is 0% lower than the national average. An entry-level general contractor may earn an average salary of $86,005. A senior-level general contractor may earn an average salary of $153,206. 

The Path to Become a General Contractor in Minnesota

We’ve now discussed the details of what it takes to become a general contractor in the State of Minnesota. Let’s do a final review. Here is the basic path for obtaining your general contractor’s license in Minnesota.

1. Gain Construction Knowledge and Experience 

Obtain ample professional experience in the field of construction before applying for a license in Minnesota. Shadow senior-level general contractors and network with other construction professionals. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the day-to-day work schedule on a job site. 

2. Register Your Business

In Minnesota, the first official step to getting your contractor’s license is business registration. Refer to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development website before applying for your state license.

3. Determine Applicable Registration 

If applicable, register with the Minnesota Secretary of State. Visit Minnesota’s Department of Labor and Industry website to view requirements.

4. Supply Documentation 

A Federal Employment ID Number and state tax ID number, and occasionally, your Social Security Number, is required upon registration. 

5. Prove Liability Insurance

You need to prove that you have liability insurance, as you may be ineligible to perform contract work without it. Get a certificate of compliance form for Minnesota Workers’ Compensation as well.

6. Take (and Pass) Required Exams

For the Minnesota general contractor’s license, you are required to take two exams, the business and law exam. If you’re pursuing two or more trades, there will be an additional exam.

7. Fill Out and Submit Application 

The license application must be submitted by mail, or online through Minnesota’s Department of Labor and Industry website.

Need Help With Your Upcoming Project?

If you’re a general contractor in Minnesota or another state in the U.S. and need commercial furniture from laminate casework, commercial countertops, and other things in between, give us a call at (866) 222-7494 to speak to a project consultant today.

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

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