How To Get Your General Contractor’s License in North Carolina

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.

The regions of North Carolina are historical and diverse, producing a magnificent landscape. If you’re considering a role in construction, perhaps you should register to become a general contractor. General contractors oversee construction projects, managing employees and construction materials.

When it comes to the various projects a general contractor comes across, at OnePointe Solutions, we have become a viable vendor for them. Our expertise ranges from high-quality stainless steel, laboratory cabinetscustom workbenches, plastic laminate casework, and more to make sure you can virtually find all you need in one place. 

General contractors in the State of North Carolina are required to register for their license via the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors. The board handles all licensing requirements, including the associated fees and documents.

In this particular guide, we’ll discuss more details surrounding the general contractor’s application process in North Carolina.

Job Description: General Contractor

General contractors, otherwise referred to as construction managers, run the ongoings of a construction site from beginning to end. Before general contractors are able to manage any project, they need to compile bids.

A bid will include an itemized list including items like materials, tools, equipment, labor, and more. 

The bidding process is a bit complex, but since various issues are possible during construction on a site, you will want to be prepared for potential obstacles, such as additional financing. Once a bid gets accepted, construction managers coordinate schedules, purchase and rent materials, and hire subcontractors for the job site. 

In reference to a bid, let’s say one was created and accepted for a children’s museum science area. We would design and manufacture either plastic laminate cabinets, metal cabinets, stainless steel cabinets, phenolic resin cabinets, or a combination of the four, depending on the needs of the project, to hold materials, tools, and equipment for the activities.

We would also provide work surfaces for the kids to do experiments and activities on. We carry a variety of options including epoxy resin countertops, phenolic resin table tops, stainless steel tops, maple block tops, solid surface, and even special surfaces like HDPE and solicor-cr too.

In addition, we can make student stations and custom workbenches to promote collaborations among the kids as well supply seating and stools to incase they want to do activities while sitting.

Coming back to a general contractor’s work preferences,  some may choose to work on or off a job site. While some work on-site during a project to oversee what occurs daily, others prefer to hire on-site managers.

Regardless of the decision, general contractors always monitor the safety and efficiency of a construction site.

General contractors manage 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

As it pertains to the construction industry, each state has unique requirements. In any field, however, special skills are worthwhile. Though often innate, it’s possible to acquire special skills by having more experience.

Some ideal skills and qualifications for general contractors may 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 North Carolina

To become a general contractor in North Carolina, you must register through the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors and wait to be approved. It’s also recommended that general contractors in North Carolina become bonded or insured.

To clarify, the North Carolina Secretary of State does require that all businesses register and obtain a business license to work in the state. Before applying, let’s go through all the information you’ll need to know. 

Education

North Carolina does not require formal education for general contractors. However, you must be over 18 and have a high school degree or equivalent.

Upon meeting those requirements, you may then apply to be a general contractor. If you still want to attend college or trade school, focus your studies in an area that will support a career in construction.

Obtaining formal degrees in architecture, engineering, mechanics, and construction management may be helpful but are not necessary. 

Experience

Learn as much about the construction industry as you can. The more experienced, the better.

If you’re able, shadow a general contractor. General contractors manage projects, but they also know how to confront plenty of obstacles on a job site.

As you gain exposure to different areas of construction, you will become more successful in general contracting, since getting any kind of entry-level experience is crucial for the learning process.

Licensing

North Carolina has three different limitations of licenses, which are based on the financial information and project value that you provide to the board. Note that electricians, plumbers, and specialty trades require different licenses.

General contractors must apply for one of the following:

  • Limited License:
    • For individual projects not exceeding $500,000
    • Must have a minimum working capital of $17,000, $80,000 net worth, or $350,000 surety bond
  • Intermediate License:
    • For individual projects not to exceed $1,000,000
    • Must have a minimum of $75,000 working capital shown through an audited financial statement, or a $1,000,000 surety bond
  • Unlimited License:
    • For projects of any size
    • Must have a minimum of $150,000 working capital shown through an audited financial statement, or a $2,000,000 surety bond

Requirements

Before applying to become a general contractor in North Carolina, here are some important requirements to know.

Exam

Following approval by the board, those applying to be a general contractor in the State of North Carolina will need to take and pass an exam by PSI. However, you can transfer your exam if you’ve already completed the NASCLA exam or have had an active license over the last four years.

For more information, visit the State of North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors Candidate Information Bulletin

Financial Documents

All companies operating in North Carolina will need to register for a business license, which may also include showing copies of the following documents: Articles of Organization, Articles of Incorporation, and Certificate of Authority. All business registration must be handled by the North Carolina Secretary of State.

Find more information, including which cities and counties may require a certificate of insurance, here.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Any business with employees in the State of North Carolina will need to pay unemployment insurance taxes, pending conditions. If required to pay unemployment taxes, you must register with the NC Industrial Commission.

For businesses with more than one employed contractor, workers’ compensation insurance will be beneficial.

North Carolina General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview

Payments are non-refundable, mailed by check, and payable to the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors. Any necessary payment should accompany the application. 

Here are the fees, per limitation:

  • Limited – $75
  • Intermediate – $100
  • Unlimited – $125

Average North Carolina General Contractor Salary & Benefits

If you’re looking to become a licensed general contractor in the State of North Carolina, you can expect to make $119,819 or $58 per hour. This is 3% lower than the national average. An entry-level general contractor earns an average salary of $83,619.

A senior-level general contractor earns an average salary of $148,955.

The Path to Become a General Contractor in North Carolina

So, you want to become a general contractor in North Carolina? Before you submit your application to the NC Licensing Board of General Contractors, let’s review:

1. Identify License Limitation/Classification 

Since North Carolina has three different types of limitations (Limited, Intermediate, and Unlimited), you will need to understand the requirements of each one before applying.

  • Limited License:
    • For individual projects not exceeding $500,000
    • Must have a minimum working capital of $17,000, $80,000 net worth, or $350,000 surety bond
  • Intermediate License:
    • For individual projects not to exceed $1,000,000
    • Must have a minimum of $75,000 working capital shown through an audited financial statement, or a $1,000,000 surety bond
  • Unlimited License:
    • For projects of any size
    • Must have a minimum of $150,000 working capital shown through an audited financial statement, or a $2,000,000 surety bond

2. Complete Basic Education

Complete your high school education or equivalent. After finishing your basic education, you will be able to start the application process for general contracting. 

3. Acquire Experience

Network and gain ample exposure by applying and working in relevant positions. As you obtain experience, you’ll feel better prepared when it comes time to apply for a general contracting role.

4. Pass Exam

If you qualify for a license under the NC Licensing Board of General Contractors, you will first have to take and pass the required exam. The general contractor’s exam is administered by PSI and different exams are associated with the varying license classifications.

5. Acquire Financial Statement

Make sure you have the necessary documents, including a financial statement, before applying. You may contact the NC Department of Revenue for important information regarding business registration, tax obligations, licenses, permits, and more. 

6. Obtain Surety Bond

Bond insurance may be recommended municipally for both project and client protection. A contractor’s liability insurance isn’t required at the state level, but check your city or county to make certain of whether or not it’s required.

7. Register Business

Businesses must register with the NC Secretary of State. Check to see if your specific city or county requires a certificate of insurance for businesses.

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

Need Help With Your Project?

If you’re a general contractor in North Carolina or another state in the U.S. and have a job that requires metal cabinets, plastic laminate caseworkstainless steel, or even custom workbenches, we can help. 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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