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.
Construction is a stable, lucrative, and rewarding industry to work in. Aside from the fulfillment of building something from nothing, workers in the field are constantly engaged in new projects and tackling unique challenges.
For individuals who want a fast-paced, exciting, and stable career, the construction industry is the perfect place to be!
While most people think of construction work as being relegated to safety vests and hands-on challenges, there are plenty of things happening behind the scenes to bring plans into existence. One of the most important roles in construction is that of the general contractor.
If you’re in Rhode Island, and you’re interested in becoming a general contractor, you’ll be legally required to obtain a license from the state’s Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board (CRLB).
At OnePointe Solutions, we’ve been working with certified, skilled general contractors for years. With their guidance, we’ve crafted amazing things, from epoxy resin countertops and high-quality fume hoods to fully customized PLAM cabinets and commercial-grade kitchens, our company has delivered fantastic solutions to modern problems.
If this sounds like a thrilling career path for you, then scroll on to learn more about becoming a general contractor in Rhode Island!
Job Description: General Contractor
The role of a general contractor is flexible, varied, and never dull. On-site, a general contractor will often survey the progress of projects and help layout plans.
Overseeing the safety of workers and ensuring that appropriate safety protocols are followed is a key part of a general contractor’s duties.
In the office, general contractors lend a hand when paperwork is needed. Working alongside a construction estimator, the general contractor considers the project and crafts budget-friendly plans.
Eventually, these will be compiled into a workable document, which lays out the necessary materials, estimated costs, and what sort of work will be required.
After obtaining multiple bids for the project, the general contractor picks the right company and begins working. Some general contractors prefer to be more engaged with their workers and will personally oversee worksites.
Other contractors prefer to hire additional help for the on-site work.
To get a general understanding of the duties of a general contractor, let’s assume that you’ve been hired to create a new office space. As a general contractor, your timeline would look something like this:
- Understand the project and determine the correct solutions. This includes planning the space and determining the best, most cost-effective materials and supplies to use.
- Alongside the construction estimation, you would create a plan. This would then be submitted as a proposal.
- Review the bids, then choose the best offer to perform the work.
- The remainder of the project will be spent bouncing between paperwork, labor management, and job oversight.
What does all of that mean for you?
Between the physical demands of the job and the office work, general contractors can expect the following duties:
- Ensuring workplace safety
- Guiding the execution of a project
- Ensuring the quality of a project
- Scheduling workers
- Contractual negotiations
- Managing and maintaining the necessary certifications and insurance documents
As an example, for this bid let’s say the general contractor won it and came to us with the job.
For the project we would provide high quality cabinet solutions. The general contractor can choose from metal, stainless steel or plastic laminate cabinets for a sleek and elegant storage design around the office.
We can design and manufacture standard and custom solutions dependent on the needs of the job. In addition, since this is an office we would also provide custom cubicles, office chairs, and cabinet solutions for a breakroom too.
Every office needs a space where employees can unwind a bit.
Last but not least the whole project comes together with countertops. For worksurfaces we offer: epoxy resin, stainless steel, maple block, phenolic resin, and solid surface. We even carry specialty surfaces too like granite and quartz.
No matter the job, at OnePointe Solutions, we can help.
Special Skills and Qualifications
Like all jobs, the best general contractors are a mix of personal attributes, skills, and experience.
In general terms, an ideal general contractor will possess specific personal traits. The best qualities for a general contractor to have include:
- An ability to handle high-stress, high-stake situations
- Superb communication skills
- A detail-oriented mindset
- Compassion and empathy
- Good time management skills
Outside of these traits, general contractors should also have practical knowledge. Much of this will be obtained through experience or ongoing education.
If you’re looking to become a general contractor, you should start brushing up on the following skills:
- Reading, drafting, and editing technical blueprints and documents
- Understanding common construction industry jargon
- Knowledge of safety requirements and regulations
- Budgeting expertise
Qualifications to Become a General Contractor in Rhode Island
The licensing and certification of all general contractors in Rhode Island are handled by the state’s Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board (CRLB). To be considered as an applicant, all of the necessary forms and documentation must be mailed to the office along with a $150 fee for yearly renewal; a two-year renewal can be obtained for $200.
In addition to the general contractor’s license, Rhode Island also has a separate license for individuals who handle pipes and underground utilities. To engage in this sort of work, you will need to obtain an Underground Utility Contractor license.
If you have never held a general contractor license in Rhode Island, then you may need to complete at least five hours of pre-registration courses to qualify; if you plan to only work on commercial structures, you do not have to take these courses.
The courses cover topics such as introductory construction concepts and codes, regulatory guidelines, and safety laws.
As of 2021, there are currently two providers offering these approved courses: Titan Lead Testing, LLC and the Rhode Island Builders Association.
For anyone looking to work on residential structures, an additional 2.5 hours of ongoing pre-registration education must be completed each time your license is renewed. If you only plan to work on commercial buildings, this additional education is not necessary.
Underground utility licenses require no prior education.
No preexisting experience is required to apply for a general contractor license in Rhode Island; applicants for underground utility licenses need no prior experience.
While there is no exam to become a general contractor in Rhode Island, anyone planning on working on underground utilities must complete an exam. Issued by PSI Services, LLC, this examination can be taken by anyone.
Each time the exam is taken, there is a $180 fee. To pass, individuals must get at least 28 answers correct, obtaining a score of at least 70%.
Rhode Island General Contractor Fee Licensing Overview
While the cost of taking the required courses to obtain your license will vary, there is a set price to becoming a general contractor in Rhode Island. Regardless of prior registration, obtaining a license is $200 for a two-year license or $150 for one year.
To obtain a license for underground utility work, you will need to spend a bit extra. In addition to the test fees, the initial registration for a new underground utility license applicant is about $420.
The cost breaks down as follows:
- $50 pre-licensing fee
- $180 for testing
- $200 for a two year license
Average Rhode Island General Contractor Salary & Benefits
In addition to the job security a general contractor position offers, the standard pay is fairly high. Income will vary based upon your employment and experience.
Newer contractors and those working for a company will likely receive slightly less than experienced, self-employed contractors. The frequency with which you work will also dictate your pay.
You’ll make less money doing small, infrequent projects than you will if you constantly tackle large projects.
In general, a general contractor in Rhode Island can expect to make between $27,000 and $100,000 per year!
The Path to Become a General Contractor in Rhode Island
If this sounds exciting to you, then it’s time to start laying out a plan! Obtaining a license in Rhode Island is easier than in other states, and it requires a relatively low time investment.
1. Complete Training & Education
This step may be skipped for general contractors who plan on limiting themselves to commercial work and returning underground utility license applicants.
If you plan on obtaining an underground utility license, you’ll need to study for the PSI exam. The examination covers topics such as safety, standard practice, and terminology.
For contractors expecting to do residential work, study should revolve around the topics covered in the required pre-registration education. When you renew your residential license, you will need to re-take these courses.
2. Complete & Pass Exam
This step can be skipped if you are only applying for a general contractor license.
After paying the $180 fee, underground utility license applicants must pass the PSI-issued exam. To pass, a score of 70% must be obtained. Once you have passed, you will receive the necessary paperwork.
3. Obtain Necessary Insurance & Documentation
Proof of $500,000 of liability insurance, as issued by the Rhode Island Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board is required for all applicants, regardless of their desired license type. In addition to this, some contractors may have workers serving them.
In this case, additional proof of insurance and compensation for each worker is required.
Residents of Rhode Island will need to provide proof of residence, such as their photo ID. If you are applying from out of state, you will need an agent of service.
Additional documentation will be necessary if you are registering as a company rather than an individual.
4. Complete & Send Application
Once you have gathered the necessary documents, enclose them within your application. Your fee should also be enclosed; it may be paid by cash, check, or debit.
Rhode Island’s CRB website offers a convenient online submission portal for your application.
Alternatively, applicants can mail their documents to the appropriate address:
560 Jefferson Blvd. Ste. 100
Warwick, RI 02886
Need Help with Your Project?
If all of this seems a bit overwhelming, that’s okay! OnePointe Solutions can help.
We’ve worked with certified, licensed contractors across the nation to bring the best products and solutions to you. If you need epoxy resin countertops, metal casework, plastic laminate cabinets or something in between, our capabilities are at your disposal.