How To Get Your General Contractor’s License in New Jersey

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.

If you have an eye for detail and you love building things, you might be a perfect fit for a career as a general contractor. General contractors are responsible for project management from start to finish.

They do work from site administration to hard labor and everything in between. General contractors need to be experienced and highly qualified, but the career will yield amazing benefits if you like this type of work.

New Jersey is an excellent state to work in if construction is your industry. The state has seen steady growth in recent years and new development is occurring regularly.

At OnePointe Solutions, we have worked with countless general contractors across the country to aid them with their various projects. We have become the go-to vendor when it comes to providing high-quality laboratory cabinets, durable workbenches, stainless steel, and even plastic laminate casework as well.

For virtually any project, we can be your solution. 

New Jersey has a prime location along the Northeast corridor with easy access to major metropolitan areas and has considerable growth in many industries. New Jersey is also home to numerous ongoing construction projects, such as casino and entertainment development in Atlantic City, pipeline construction throughout the state, and industrial construction along the state’s turnpike. 

In this guide, we’ll be covering all the details of what it takes to become a general contractor and how you can get licensed in the state of New Jersey. Please notice that this guide will help you get a license in New Jersey, not through New Jersey.

New Jersey does not have a state licensing procedure. Instead, you will register with different agencies to be allowed to work as a general contractor. 

Job Description: General Contractor

General contractors are one of the most important members of any construction project. They take a managerial role and oversee the entire project from start to finish. This means that before construction even begins, they must first outline all of the potential costs and create a detailed bid for their client.

If this bid is accepted, general contractors must then coordinate scheduling, hire tradesmen and subcontractors, purchase materials, and rent tools and equipment. In reference to a bid, let’s say one was created and accepted for a commercial kitchen.

For this kind of job, the general contractor needs either stainless steel cabinets, metal cabinets, plastic laminate cabinets, or maybe even a combination of the three.  These options are easy to maintain, come in a variety of configurations, and can stand up to the demanding tasks of the kitchen as well.

For work surfaces, we can provide maple block countertops, solid surface countertops, stainless steel tabletops, and even HDPE working tops. They are widely used in the food industry, add elegance to a commercial kitchen, and are equipped for such an environment as well.

Last but not least, we can also manufacture custom food carts and mobile stainless steel work tables to help prep and serve food easily and efficiently. Bon appétit!

Once preparations for the job are complete, the general contractor must be familiar with every aspect of the construction process and anticipate possible issues and costs before they arise.

Some general contractors work on-site as the site foreman, while others supervise other managers who handle the on-site tasks. General contractors are also responsible for the safety of everyone and everything on the job site, and must also ensure that the construction is completed according to plan.

This may mean site visits and inspections if the general contractor is off-site. 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

Every state has specific qualifications and licensing requirements for its general contractors, but some skills will serve you no matter where you work. Special skills can sometimes be learned, but are often innate, so no amount of training or extra experience can compensate.

Some special skills and qualifications all general contractors need to meet include: 

  • 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 New Jersey

If you think working as a general contractor could be a fit for your skills and professional goals, there are also some specific state requirements you’ll need to meet. In New Jersey, general contractors are typically called “home repair contractors,” which is the language more frequently used in the official documentation.

New Jersey has lower barriers to entry than many other states do for general contractors. Because New Jersey does not have a state contractor’s board, there are no state-wide requirements for education or examination.

However, the “Contractors’ Registration Act” requires any person or business who participates in selling or making “home improvements” in New Jersey to register with the Division Of Consumer Affairs. Plumbers and electricians are also licensed separately.

According to the state of New Jersey, businesses and individuals who engage in the following actions are considered contractors and must be registered:  

  • Construction
  • Installation
  • Remodeling
  • Altering
  • Painting
  • Repairing
  • Renovating
  • Restoring
  • Moving
  • Demolishing
  • Modernizing

Education

There are no formal education requirements for general contractors in New Jersey. However, a GED or high school diploma will make putting bids together much easier.

Most colleges do not offer programs that develop the manual skills required for construction, but if you do want to pursue higher education and work in the construction industry, a degree in engineering, construction management, architecture, or a similar field may help you meet your goals.

Experience

General contractors oversee the entire construction process. This means that they must be familiar with the various types of work within that process.

They need to be able to anticipate problems in all elements of the construction job. There are no explicit state requirements for experience or proof of experience in New Jersey, but you cannot be a successful contractor without experience.

You should aim to take as many types of construction jobs as you can before you attempt to become a general contractor. 

Licensing

New Jersey does not have a state licensing board for general contractors. Instead, anybody who wishes to become a general contractor must first register with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and with the Department of Banking and Insurance.

Depending on your plans, you will fill out either one or two applications. If you plan on offering any kind of financing to consumers over 90 days or greater, you must fill out both applications.

If you will not be offering to finance, you only need to fill out the Department of Consumer Affairs application. Both applications have an associated fee. The Department of Consumer Affairs has a fee of $110, while the Department of Banking and Insurance requires a $300 fee.

References

The state of New Jersey does not require any references for a general contractor application. If you fill out an application with the Department of Banking and Insurance, you will need to provide references for the last five years of employment.

Background Check

A disclosure statement is part of the application for a general contractor. This statement requires you to provide specific information about any first, second, or third-degree crimes, as well as any criminal activity related to home improvement.

This is required for sole proprietors or for anybody who will own more than 10% of the business. 

Exam

There is no general contractor industry knowledge or state law exam in New Jersey.

Financial Documents

New Jersey requires two kinds of insurance, but no state-level contractor’s bond. Additionally, there is a financial statement requirement for contractors who offer to finance.

Financial Statement

New Jersey requires general contractors who plan on offering financing to attach a financial statement as prepared by a CPA, office accountant, or bookkeeper demonstrating net worth. For new companies, a startup balance sheet is acceptable. 

Contractor’s Bond

New Jersey does not have a statewide requirement for all contractors to be bonded. Bonding is based on municipal jurisdiction: Jersey City, Ventnor City, and Burlington do require contractors to be bonded. Additionally, all plumbers in New Jersey must post a surety bond. 

Insurance

Finally, general contractors wishing to obtain a license must file proof of general liability insurance up to $500,000 per occurrence. Additionally, any New Jersey employer not covered by federal programs must file proof of workers’ compensation coverage.

New Jersey General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview

While the exact amount you will spend applying for your general contractor license may vary, all applicants can expect to cover these basic fees: 

  • New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Registration Fee: $110
  • New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Registration fee: $300

Average New Jersey General Contractor Salary & Benefits

The average salary for a general contractor in New Jersey is around $50,000 per year or an average of $27.59 an hour. Senior contractors can expect to earn more, between $150,000 and $200,000. However, this greatly depends on the municipality and experience. 

The Path to Become a General Contractor in New Jersey

Do you think that being a general contractor in the Garden State is the career for you? Follow this basic path to start your career: 

1. Complete Education

While New Jersey has no education requirements for general contractors, a GED or high school diploma will be extremely helpful in the long run. Having this educational experience can help with the complexities of creating bids.

If you want to get some college experience, engineering or architecture classes can help with on-the-job adjustments, while business, management, or specialized construction management classes can be very useful for managing your job site.

2. Get Work Experience

Just because New Jersey does not have experience requirements for general contractors, that does not mean you don’t need this experience! Take as many construction jobs as you can in different areas of expertise so that you will be familiar with the whole construction process. You cannot be a good contractor without experience!

3. Determine Your Necessary Applications

Ask yourself: How big will your business be, and will you offer financing past a 90 day period? If you are planning to keep things small, you only need to fill out the Division of Consumer Affairs registration.

If you are going to offer to finance, you must also fill out the Department of Banking and Insurance registration application. 

4. Choose A Location

Because New Jersey does not have state licensure, some municipalities have additional licensing requirements. Find out if your city or township requires any additional documentation.

5. Obtain Insurance

You need both liability and workers’ compensation insurance. If you are planning on operating in certain municipalities, you will also need to acquire surety bonding.

6. Submit Application Packet

You must mail your completed application packet or packets and the associated application fee to the following location(s):  

Division of Consumer Affairs

State of New Jersey

Division of Consumer Affairs

Regulated Business Section

Home Improvement Unit

124 Halsey Street, 7th Floor

P.O. Box 46016

Newark, NJ 07101  

Department of Banking and Insurance

NJDOBI License Services, Banking

PO Box 473

Trenton, NJ 08625

Need Commerical Furniture?

If you’re a general contractor in New Jersey or another state in the U.S. and have a commercial project coming up, we can help. From plastic laminate casework and stainless steel cabinets to metal casework, maple block countertops, and more, our range is limitless. Give us a call at (866) 222-7494  to get help today.

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

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