How To Get Your General Contractor’s License in Ohio

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.

Known as the Buckeye state, buckeye trees are all over the State of Ohio, producing nuts that symbolize good luck and resemble the eye of a deer. Though it mostly consists of flat or gently rolling plains, Ohio is a land bustling with construction.

For those hoping to work in the construction industry, consider becoming a general contractor.

General contractors, otherwise known as construction managers, oversee construction projects throughout the entire building process. At OnePointe Solutions, we have worked with countless general contractors across the country to help fulfill the needs of their various construction projects from supplying custom laboratory casework and stainless steel countertops for a new lab build to plastic laminate cabinets and epoxy resin countertops for a pre-school.

For virtually any kind of project, we can help!

In the State of Ohio, any aspiring electrician, HVAC contractor, hydronic technician, plumber, and refrigeration installer must obtain an Ohio contractor’s license. According to the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board, the aforementioned trades are the only ones required to have a state license.

For further details surrounding the application process in Ohio, continue reading this guide. 

Job Description: General Contractor

General contractors manage the on goings of a construction site. Before managing a project, all general contractors must create a bid, an itemized list of materials, tools, equipment, labor, and more.

The goal of the bidding process is to prepare you for potential obstacles on a job site, such as additional financing.

As soon as a bid is accepted, construction managers may begin to coordinate scheduling, purchase and rent materials, and hire subcontractors for the job site. For this article let’s say a bid was created and accepted for a research and development (R&D) lab.

In this situation, we would provide custom laboratory cabinets for organization and storage options. We carry a range of materials for the cabinets to be made out of including: metal, stainless steel, phenolic resin, and even anti-microbial.

In addition, R&D labs need adequate worksurfaces to perform tests and experiments on. Out of our laboratory countertop selection, epoxy resin, phenolic resin or stainless steel would be ideal in these environments.

They are highly durable, easy to maintain and non-porous as well.

R&D labs also need certain accessories and fixtures for overall testing and efficiency in the lab. For instance, we can manufacture and supply mass spec benches, fume hoods, and acid and flammable cabinets for specific testing and to keep certain substances secure at all times.

We would also provide sinks and pegboards for beakers and glassware to be cleaned and dried instantly too.

Coming back to a general contractor’s work preferences, some choose to work on-site throughout a project, while others prefer to hire on-site construction managers for daily tasks. Regardless, general contractors must prioritize safety and efficiency on a construction site.

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

In any field, including construction, having special skills is important. Some special skills are innate but are still possible to acquire with more experience. 

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 Ohio

The Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board handles state-level licenses, particularly for businesses. However, it’s important to know that each city in Ohio has its own licensing requirements.

Specifically, this guide will focus on three major Ohio cities: Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. Before applying, let’s go through all the information you’ll need to know for each city.


Columbus, Ohio

In Columbus, you must be at least 18 years old, a US or national citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or authorized to work in the US. You must also have at least three full years of firsthand work experience in the construction industry for one-, two-, or three-family dwellings (unrestricted license), or one full year of firsthand experience (limited license). 

Cleveland, Ohio

You must be at least 18 or older in Cleveland to register for a contractor’s license. The registration application for Cleveland general contractors will require you to disclose information regarding whether or not you have the proper experience, training, qualifications, and certificates.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Refer to the Cincinnati general contractor registration application for more information on the city’s education requirements.


No matter the state, experience is crucial when applying for a contracting license. Try to familiarize yourself with as many areas in construction as possible, since general contractors account for issues as they arise.

To learn how to do this, you must gain experience in the field. 

Certain Ohio cities, such as Columbus, require already having firsthand experience upon applying. The more construction jobs you can take, the better for your career development.


Columbus, Ohio

The two types of licenses for building contractors in Columbus are home improvement contractors and general contractors. The contractor licensing process is run by the Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services.

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland’s general contracting process is run by the City of Cleveland Department of Building and Housing. The following licenses offered are:

  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • HVAC
  • Demo
  • General Contractor

Cincinnati, Ohio

The City of Cincinnati Department of Buildings and Inspections asks that contractors register as home improvement contractors or building construction contractors.


In the City of Columbus, you will need to take and pass an ICC accredited exam.

Financial Documents

Any business operating within Ohio is required to register for one or more tax documents, including IDs, licenses, or permits. Visit the Ohio Department of Taxation for more information on tax requirements.

Columbus, Ohio

A bond form will need to be filled out in the contractor’s application. You will also have to provide a $25,000 bond, as well as a certificate of liability insurance (minimum of $300,000 for single person damages, or a minimum of $500,000 for a single occurrence).

Cleveland, Ohio

A $25,000 bond is required, as well as a power-of-attorney form and certificate of insurance.

Cincinnati, Ohio

A certificate of liability insurance and proof of workers’ compensation insurance is required. If registering a business, you will need a signed Contractor Registration Assignment form under the business entity name.

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

Businesses will also need to provide a Federal Tax ID number. If registering individually, you will need to provide your social security number.

Ohio General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview

Columbus, Ohio

You will send a check for $350 to “Columbus City Treasurer.”

Cleveland, Ohio

For new applicants, the associated fee is $150. The renewal fee is $120.

Cincinnati, Ohio

The fee is $125, sent to “City of Cincinnati” by check or money order.

Average Ohio General Contractor Salary & Benefits

If you’re looking to become a licensed general contractor in the State of Ohio, you can expect to make $120,513 or $58 per hour. This is 2% lower than the national average.

An entry-level general contractor earns an average salary of $84,104. A senior-level general contractor earns an average salary of $149,818.

The Path to Apply as a General Contractor in Ohio

So, you want to become a general contractor in Ohio? Before submitting your application, let’s review the application requirements for Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.

Columbus, Ohio

  • Download and fill out a hard copy of the general contractor application
  • Have your application notarized. If not, your application won’t be processed
  • Send a check for $350 made payable to “Columbus City Treasurer”
  • Your notarized application, along with associated fees, may be mailed or delivered in-person to:

The Department of Building & Zoning Services

757 Carolyn Ave.

Columbus, OH 43224


  • Most importantly, your application will need to be sent no later than one week before the next Home Improvement Board meeting. The meetings occur on the first Wednesday of each month. The Board will also need to approve your application. Upon approval, you will need to prepare a bond of $25,000 and a certificate of liability insurance. 

Cleveland, Ohio

  • Unlike the City of Columbus, you will need to include a bond form with your initial application
  • Your application must be notarized and include the following:
    • Bond Form, with a minimum coverage of $25,000
    • Power-of-Attorney Form, attached to the contractor bond
    • Certificate of Insurance, listing the City of Cleveland as “additional insured” and certificate holder”
    • A copy of the Articles of Incorporation, including the State Seal of Ohio
    • Authorized Agents, names, and signatures included
  • Additional necessary documents and information include:
    • Whether you’re registered under a different company name
    • If you already hold a Cleveland license
    • Names of the officers of your company
    • Experience, training, qualifications, and certificates
    • Whether or not you’re 18 or older
    • Questions relating to misconduct, convictions, or fraud

Cincinnati, Ohio

  • You are required to have the following documents:
    • Certificate of Liability Insurance, with a policy written by a licensed Ohio insurance company and listing coverages as $100,000 for individual damages and $300,000 for a single occurrence of a contract
    • Workers’ Compensation Insurance
    • Business entities need a signed Contractor Registration Assignment form and Federal Tax ID number
    • Individuals need to provide a social security number
  • You must download and fill out the Cincinnati general contractor registration application to verify that you have all the correct information before paying the registration fee
  • Pay the fee of $125 via check or money order to the “City of Cincinnati” 

Mail to:

Buildings and Inspections Department

Contractor Registration

805 Central Avenue, Suite 500

Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Need Help With Your Project?

If you’re a general contractor in Ohio or another state in the U.S. and have laboratory job that requires laboratory casework, stainless steel, fume hoods or epoxy resin countertops, 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

Hit Enter to search or ESC to close