How To Get Your General Contractor’s License in Texas

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.

Texas, nicknamed The Lone Star State, is the second-largest state in the United States. Yet, it offers ample opportunities to get involved in general contracting.

If you live in Texas, now is a great time to consider obtaining a general contractor’s license in the construction industry. 

At OnePointe Solutions, we have worked with numerous general contractors, especially in Texas, with their jobs of various sizes. We have supplied them with classroom cabinets for schools, solid surface countertops for healthcare facilities, stainless steel casework and fume hoods for laboratories, and even custom workbenches for industrial and commercial settings alike.

For virtually any job, we strive to create custom solutions for modern situations.

In Texas, each area has its own requirements for licensing. Specialty trades, such as plumbers, electricians, and HVAC workers need a state license.

General contractors, however, will obtain their license at a local level. To learn more about general contracting requirements in Texas, specifically in some of the major cities, continue reading this guide.

Job Description: General Contractor

General contractors, also known as construction managers, manage an overall construction project. Before managing a project, general contractors must collaborate with construction estimators to compile a bid. Bids will include an itemized list of project necessities, including materials, tools, equipment, labor, and more. 

The bidding process teaches construction managers how to navigate possible issues during construction, such as additional financing. Once a bid is accepted, construction managers coordinate schedules, purchase and rent materials, and hire subcontractors for the job site. 

For this guide, let’s say a bid was created and accepted for a medical office and lab. In this scenario, for the contractor, we would design and manufacture plastic laminate cabinets for the office, along with solid surface countertops to add a pleasing aesthetic to the office.

We carry a wide range of colors of each to choose from, they’re both options are durable, long-lasting with proper care, and a step above traditional furnishings normally found in medical offices.

For the lab, we would design and provide microscope tables and custom worktables to handle the sensitivity of experiments and tasks, along with stainless steel cabinets for storage due to their anti-microbial properties, easy maintenance, and sleek look as well.

For your jobs, projects, and bids, at OnePointe Solutions, we’ve got you covered!

Moving on to general contractor work preferences, some like to work on-site, but others may hire on-site managers for daily tasks. Regardless, all general contractors 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, but special skills are beneficial in any industry. Although special skills are often innate, you can acquire more 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 Texas

If you’re hoping to become a general contractor in Texas and own a business, you will need to register your business. Texas requires you to go through an agency for registration and you will also need liability insurance coverage for licensing and bidding. 

Now, let’s discuss further qualifications for general contracting in the State of Texas, particularly in the cities of Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.

Education

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

Experience

If you’re able to acquire entry-level experience, you’ll gain further insight into the construction industry. For instance, shadow a general contractor to learn how to confront countless obstacles on a job site and prepare yourself for the application process.

By getting exposure to different areas in the construction field, you’ll soon discover that entry-level experience is key to the learning process.

Licensing

The permit request application and licensing process in the city of Austin are run by The City of Austin Development Services Department. The two types of general contracting licenses in Austin include commercial and residential licenses.

Additionally, you will need a permit to perform any kind of contracting work in Austin.

Dallas has a different registration process than Austin. You can find the registration application here. License types in Dallas include Gas Well Provider, Energy Code Provider, Green Building Provider, Concrete/Asphalt/Paving, and General Contractor (Commercial, Residential, Roofing, Fence, Foundation, Demolition, and/or Pool Contractor). 

San Antonio’s registration process is run through The City of San Antonio’s Development Services Department. General contractor licenses in this city include home improvement contractors and residential building contractors.

Requirements

Before you apply as a general contractor in Texas, here are the important requirements for registering in the cities of Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio:

Austin, TX

  • Download and print the application form
  • Fill out the general contractor and authorized agent name
  • Determine the scope of your work
  • Provide the project address
  • Describe the work in detail
  • Provide your building permit numbers
  • Fax the form to the Permit Center at (512) 974-1226
  • Pay all fees

Dallas, TX

  • Select if you are new or renewing your contractor’s license
  • Determine your license type
  • Provide applicant, responsible party, and company information
  • List authorized personnel who can sign permit applications
  • Sign the Contractor Registration Affidavit
  • Declare if your home is your place of residence via a Home Occupation Declaration
  • Sign, notarize and submit your application
  • Pay all fees

San Antonio, TX

  • For home improvement contractors:
    • Complete and notarize application, including the criminal history background check form
    • Provide Government-issued photo ID
    • Provide Letter of Authorized Agents, if applicable
    • Pay all fees
  • For residential builder contractors:
    • Complete and notarize Residential Building Contractor Registration Application
    • Fill out the Criminal Background Check Form
    • Provide Government-issued ID card
    • Provide Letter of Authorized Agents, if applicable
    • Provide Certificate of liability insurance with “The City of San Antonio” as the certificate holder

Exam

Currently, there are not any exam requirements for aspiring general contractors in the State of Texas. Compared to many other states’ general contracting requirements, not having a required exam is rare.

However, specialty trade licenses, such as plumber and electrician, may require trade classes to obtain certain credentials.

Texas General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview

Depending on the city you live in and the type of general contracting license you need, fees will vary. Here is a breakdown of licensing and application fees per license type in the cities of Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio:

Austin, TX

When it comes to fees, Austin’s process is unique. For residential builders, you’ll need to check the fee schedule for “residential review” and then pay the necessary fees through an escrow account.

Making an escrow account with the City of Austin is the easiest option for paying permitting and inspection fees. You can make an escrow account through the Austin Development Services Department portal.

Dallas, TX

The general contractor registration process in Dallas costs $120 with an annual renewal fee of $120 as well. You may pay by setting up an account through the Dallas Online Applications and Inspections website.

San Antonio, TX

In San Antonio, home improvement contractors will pay $75 via check or money order for registration (it’s the same renewal fee) and a $25 check or money order for the background check.

Residential building contractors will pay $170 via check or money order for the registration fee and $25 for the background check. All fees are separate.

Average Texas General Contractor Salary & Benefits

If you’re looking to become a licensed general contractor in the State of Texas, you can expect to make $113,365, but the average salary range falls between $98,036 and $129,533.

The Path to Become a General Contractor in Texas

Do you wish to become a general contractor in the State of Texas? Let’s review the path to becoming a general contractor in the state:

1. Choose License Type

Depending on which Texas city you reside in, you will need to determine a license type before undergoing the application and permit process. In Dallas, for instance, there are numerous license types, including Gas Well Provider, Energy Code Provider, Green Building Provider, Concrete/Asphalt/Paving, and General Contractor (Commercial, Residential, Roofing, Fence, Foundation, Demolition, and/or Pool Contractor). 

2. Register Your Business (If Applicable)

For any business, including contracting companies, business registration is required. In addition, you will need to become licensed for general contracting.

You will need to determine a business structure, fulfill tax requirements, gain business permits, and follow employer requirements. 

Smaller businesses may register with the local county clerk’s office. Big businesses, such as corporations, will register with the Texas Secretary of State.

Additionally, surety bonds are required in certain cities in Texas. Research the rules in your area before beginning work on any construction project.

If you need to obtain a surety bond, research several local construction bond companies to obtain a proper deal. 

Finally, you will need to register for tax identification numbers, licenses, or permits, which includes income tax withholding, sales and use tax, and unemployment insurance tax. The Texas Comptroller contains information about business tax requirements.

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

3. Obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance

In Texas, all businesses with employees are required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage. You can obtain it through a commercial carrier, on a self-insured basis, or through the Texas Department of Insurance.

4. Sign & Send the Application

Following the directions on your specific application, you will need to send your application and fees via check, money order, or online. However, keep in mind that each city in the State of Texas has specific requirements.

For those applying for contracting licenses in the city of San Antonio, you will send registration fees to:

Cliff Morton Development and Business Services Center

1901 South Alamo Street

San Antonio, TX 78204

Phone: (210)207-1111

However, the background check application and fee must be brought in person to the San Antonio Police Department at:

San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) Identification/Latent Prints

315 S. Santa Rosa

San Antonio, Texas 78207

Phone: (210) 207-7605

5. Look-Up & Verify Licenses

You may look up and verify any active contractor licenses in the State of Texas by visiting the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation online via the TDLR License Search database.

Need Help With Your Next Project?

If you’re a general contractor in Texas or another state in the U.S., we can help you with upcoming projects and bids you may have.  If you need solid surface countertops for a lab, stainless steel cabinets for a breakroom, or a custom worktable, give us a call today at (866) 222-7494 to speak to a project consultant.

 

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

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