How To Get Your General Contractor’s License in South 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.

South Carolina, known as the Palmetto State for its famous palmetto trees, contains plenty of diverse regions. Oceans, forested peaks, and coastal plains make up this beautiful state.

Therefore, if you’re hoping to work in the construction industry, South Carolina is ideal.

Fortunately, South Carolina’s registration and licensing process for general contractors is pretty straightforward. The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulations runs the application process for general contractors in the state, including the required business and law exam.

At OnePointe Solutions, we’ve been working with general contractors across the country for years. With their direction, we’ve designed and manufactured high quality laboratory, industrial and commercial furniture, from custom stainless steel tables, superior laboratory workbenches and sleek, yet durable laboratory cabinets and plastic laminate cabinets for various applications.

Here, at our company, we strive to deliver amazing solutions to modern problems.

For more information about general contracting in South Carolina, continue reading this guide.

Job Description: General Contractor

General contractors, also known as construction managers, manage an overall construction project. Before managing any project, general contractors collaborate with construction estimators to compile an itemized bid.

Bids include a detailed list of any project necessities, including materials, tools, equipment, labor, and more. 

The bidding process is essential because construction managers must be able to navigate any possible issues during a construction project, such as additional financing. After a bid is accepted, construction managers will coordinate scheduling, purchase and rent materials, and hire subcontractors for the job site. 

Let’s say a bid was accepted  for a convenience store and the general contractor came to us to purchase the necessary furniture. For this find of job we would manufacture plastic laminate cabinets made into a island to house equipment to go on top as well as be a storage area for supplies.

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For countertops we would do either plastic laminate, stainless steel, quartz, or granite. Convenience stores need an elegant yet non-porous surface so that liquids and food particles can’t seep into the countertop.

Last but not least convenience stores need carts to help transport materials and supplies back and forth in the space. We can design and manufacture custom mobile carts or stainless steel tables which would be easy to maintain, clean and can handle the day to day tasks.

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Moving on to work preferences, some general contractors like to work on-site, while others hire on-site managers for daily tasks. Regardless of their decision, however, general contractors need to monitor safety and efficiency on 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

Each state has unique licensing requirements within the construction industry, but having special skills proves beneficial in any industry. Although special skills are often innate, it’s possible to acquire more skills through 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 South Carolina

To become a general contractor in South Carolina, you will need to take and pass a business and law exam, as well as a trade exam. The exam is handled by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulations.

For those applying under a company, you may need to obtain a business license either at the local level or under the Secretary of State. 

Education

Currently, there is not a formal education requirement to be considered for general contracting in the State of South Carolina. However, you must be at least over 18 and obtain your high school degree or equivalent to be considered.

Experience

As you acquire entry-level experience, you’ll gain more knowledge of the construction industry. For instance, if you can shadow a general contractor, take advantage of the opportunity.

Since construction managers have to confront countless obstacles on a job site, you will want to be prepared before diving into the application process. By exposing yourself to different areas in the construction field, you’ll soon discover that entry-level experience is crucial for the learning process.

Licensing

In South Carolina, all aspiring general contractors must apply for any (or a combination) of the following licenses: 

  • General and Mechanical Contractor: License needed for general contractors bidding on commercial, general, or mechanical work over $5000
  • Residential Home Builder and Manufactured Housing Contractor: License needed for the construction, or supervision of construction, repair, and improvement of one, two, or multi-family residences. Furthermore, a manufactured housing contractor application will need to be filled out for the installation and repair of manufactured homes
  • Residential Specialty Contractor: License needed for the independent contracting work for performing specialty trades such as plumbing, electrician, and HVAC; this type of contractor will be contracted with licensed residential builders, general contractors, or property owners

Please note that electrical and plumbing contractors in the State will have a separate licensing and application process.

Requirements

Before you apply as a general contractor in South Carolina, here are some important requirements to note:

Exam

The most crucial part of the South Carolina general contractor licensing process will be the exam. You will be required to take and pass a business and law exam, as well as a technical exam, if applicable.

The South Carolina Contractors Licensing Board runs the exam through PSI Exams. For more information on PSI Exams, visit the Commercial Contractor Candidate Information Bulletin

Required Documents

Besides the necessary exams, you will be required to provide documents alongside your license application. Each contractor’s license contains its own detailed list of requirements for the application.

See below:

  • General and Mechanical Contractors License Application: 
    • Provide business and law and technical exam score sheet
    • Follow the financial statement option – you will submit a notarized financial statement in your business name
    • OR follow the surety bond option – acquire a contractor bond for the benefit of any person damaged or for the breaching of the construction contract; must be two times the net worth of the applicant licensing group for renewal and can be obtained through bonding companies or business insurance policy
    • Register business locally or with the South Carolina Secretary of State
    • Pay licensing application fees
  • Residential Home Builders and Specialty Contractors License Application:
    • Copy of driver’s license (or another secure and verifiable document) and social security card
    • Notarized verification of Lawful Presence Form
    • Copy of necessary W-2s and 1099s from the employer who fills out your affidavit of experience
    • Provide transcripts, resumes, and certifications showing proof of work experience of trade you’re applying for
    • Written explanations if you answered yes under the General Information section of your application
    • If you answered yes to any arrests or convictions, submit a Statewide Background Check from the state where the incident occurred
    • Must pass a credit check
    • Include exam scores
    • Pay licensing application fees
  • Manufactured Housing Contractor License Application:
    • Copy of driver’s license, state-issued ID, or passport, and social security card
    • Must pass a SLED background check
    • Clear a Statewide Criminal Background check of states resided in for the past seven years
    • Provide a credit card report or financial statement prepared by a Certified Public Accountant
    • Show proof of registration with the South Carolina Department of Revenue
    • For businesses, show proof of registration with the Secretary of State
    • Provide proof of completion for repair, installer, or contractor training, and business and law exam score
    • Pay licensing application fees

South Carolina General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview

Depending on the type of license you need, licensing and application fees will vary. The cost also depends on the required technical exams per license, as well as the possibility of late renewal.

Here is a breakdown of licensing and application fees per license type:

  • General and Mechanical Contractor:
    • $350 biannual licensing fee
    • $135 biennial renewal fee
    • $100+ late renewal fee
  • Residential Home Builders Contractor AND Specialty Trade Contractors:
    • $100 application fee
    • $160 licensing fee (if issued on or between July 1 even year – June 30 odd year)
    • $80 licensing fee (if issued on or between July 1 odd year – June 30 even year)
  • Manufactured Housing Contractor:
    • $300 licensing fee for a manufacturer
    • $100 licensing fee for a contractor, installer, or repairer
    • $10 license update

 

Additionally, you will pay fees to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. Send payment via money order or certified check and mail to:

For General and Specialty Contractor Licenses:

South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

P.O. Box 11329

Columbia, S.C. 29211

For Manufactured Housing Contractor License:

Residential Builders Commission

PO Box 11329

Columbia, S.C. 29211

Average South Carolina General Contractor Salary & Benefits

If you’re looking to become a licensed general contractor in the State of South Carolina, you can expect to make $107,867, but the salary range falls between $93,282 and $123,251.

The Path to Become a General Contractor in South Carolina

Do you want to become a general contractor in the State of South Carolina? Let’s review the path to becoming a general contractor in the State:

1. Determine Which License You’ll Need

The intricacies of your specific application process in the State of South Carolina will depend upon which contractor’s license you will need. 

Here are the licensing options:

  • General and Mechanical Contractor
  • Residential Home Builders Contractor and Specialty Trade Contractor
  • Manufactured Housing Contractor

2. Study and Schedule Your Required Exams

Now that you’ve picked which license you’ll be applying for, it’s time to schedule your exam. Again, depending on your specific license, your business and law exam might be different. You may also have to take more than one exam, such as a technical exam. Regardless, once you take and pass your exam, you’ll be one step closer to obtaining a general contractor’s license in the State of South Carolina.

3. Gather Essential Documents

To reiterate, each license application requires different documents. Here are the documentation requirements for each license application in South Carolina:

  • General and Mechanical Contractors License Application: 
    • Business and law and technical exam score sheet
    • Financial statement option OR surety bond option
    • Local (or with the South Carolina Secretary of State) business registration
    • Licensing application fees
  • Residential Home Builders and Specialty Contractors License Application:
    • Copy of driver’s license (or another secure and verifiable document) and social security card
    • Notarized verification of Lawful Presence Form
    • Copy of necessary W-2s and 1099s from the employer who fills out your affidavit of experience
    • Transcripts, resumes, and certifications showing proof of work experience
    • Written explanations if you answered yes under the General Information section of your application
    • If you answered yes to any arrests or convictions, submit a Statewide Background Check from the state where the incident occurred
    • A passed credit check
    • Exam scores
    • Licensing application fees
  • Manufactured Housing Contractor License Application:
    • Copy of driver’s license, state-issued ID, or passport, and social security card
    • A passed SLED background check
    • A cleared Statewide Criminal Background check of states resided in for the past seven years
    • A credit card report or financial statement prepared by a Certified Public Accountant
    • Proof of registration with the South Carolina Department of Revenue
    • For businesses, proof of registration with the Secretary of State
    • Proof of completion for repair, installer, or contractor training, and business and law exam score
    • Licensing application fees

4. Pay Necessary Fees

Finally, you must pay the associated fees for your license. Please note that fees will vary by exam and license type. However, all fees must be sent to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Registration.

You will mail a check or money order to:

For General and Specialty Contractor Licenses:

South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

P.O. Box 11329

Columbia, S.C. 29211

For Manufactured Housing Contractor License:

Residential Builders Commission

PO Box 11329

Columbia, S.C. 29211

Need Help with Your Project?

If you’re a general contractor in South Carolina or another state in the U.S., we can bring the best products and solutions to you. If you need stainless steel countertops, plastic laminate cabinets or something else, we can make a solution for you. Our capabilities are at your disposal.

To get started, fill out our simple online contact form or call us, at (866) 222-7494, to schedule a free consultation today!

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

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