How To Get Your General Contractor’s License in Washington

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.

From dense rain forests to an abundance of mountains, Washington, nicknamed The Evergreen State, is a beautiful state. With no sign of stopping, the construction industry is booming in Washington State.

If you’re considering a role in the construction industry, now is the best time to begin the registration and application process. At OnePointe Solutions, we’ve serviced general contractors nationwide with quality laboratory, industrial and commercial furniture for their various projects.

From custom workbenches, stainless steel cabinets, and plastic laminate casework to IT/LAN stations, lab tables, phenolic resin tops, and epoxy resin countertops, our range is endless.

To obtain a general contracting license in Washington, you must complete your registration and application through the Washington Department of Labor and Industries before beginning any contract work. Additionally, Washington requires a separate application process for aspiring electricians and plumbers.

For more information about general contracting in the State of Washington, 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 health clinic and the general contractor needed casework, countertops, and tables for the job.

We would design and manufacture either plastic laminate cabinets, powder-coated metal cabinets, or stainless steel cabinets depending on the scope of work. Each of these options comes in standard configurations, even custom, and are long-lasted, durable, and aesthetically appealing to any space.

For countertops, we would supply either epoxy resin or phenolic resin. However, for a more elegant feel, we would provide stainless steel, solid surface, quartz, and even granite.

Last but not least, for the clinic tables, we can create standard or custom designs with several accessories to best benefit the health clinic. They can be made to be fixed or mobile, come in a range of colors, are durable, heavy-duty, and designed to be long-lasting with proper care and maintenance.

No matter the job, at OnePointe Solutions, we can get the job done.

Some general contractors work on-site, but others 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 Washington

If you’re hoping to become a general contractor in Washington, the registration process is fairly straightforward. However, you will need to complete an application and pay a registration fee through the Washington Department of Labor and Industries.

You will also need to wait for a confirmed acceptance before starting any contract work and get several required documents notarized.

If you own a construction business, you will need to meet all of the state’s business requirements, including registering with the Secretary of State, getting an employee ID number through the IRS, and obtaining bond insurance. 

Now, let’s discuss further qualifications for general contracting in the State of Washington.

Education

Currently, there is not a formal education requirement to be considered for general contracting in the State of Washington. 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

In Washington, you will need to determine your trade before entering into the application process. When registering, aspiring construction managers will need to select one of the following options:

  • General contractor: For those performing or supervising several trades or crafts within the construction industry
  • Specialty contractor: For those performing one building trade or craft

For more information on specialty contracting trades in the state, visit the Washington State Legislature online. Specific trades, such as plumbers and electricians, require a separate licensing and exam process at the state level.

Check your local city or county for further requirements on your specific trade. 

Requirements

Before applying to become a general contractor in the State of Washington, keep in mind the following requirements before beginning the application process. 

For corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, and limited liability companies, registration will be completed under the Secretary of State. For sole proprietors, you will apply for a business license application and receive a Uniform Business Identifier (UBI) number.

Furthermore, any business with employees in the State of Washington will need an IRS Employer ID number to fill out a contractor registration application.  

Additionally, you will need bond insurance. You may obtain a Washington Continuous Contractor Surety Bond ($12,000 fee for general contractors and $6,000 fee for specialty contractors).

Research different bonding companies in the State of Washington for varying coverage rates.

Exam

An exam is not required for most general or specialty contractors in the State of Washington, but electricians may be required to take and pass a specific exam.

To check if you need to take and pass an exam for your particular license, visit the Washington State Department of Licensing and Registration trades and licensing page online. 

Washington General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview

Registration fees are similar between general and specialty contractors in the State of Washington. Here are the following fees required for registration:

  • Registering and licensing your business:
    • If a corporation or general partnerships – $180+
    • If sole proprietor – $19-$24 for a regular business application
  • Overall registration fee: $113.40 for two years

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

Average Washington General Contractor Salary & Benefits

If you’re looking to become a licensed general contractor in the State of Washington, you can expect to make $95,840 but the average salary range falls between $58,960 and $148,780.

The Path to Become a General Contractor in Washington

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

1. Choose Your Business Structure

First, you must decide on your business structure. Will you be operating as a corporation, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or a limited liability company?

On the contrary, perhaps you will identify as a sole proprietor or general partnership? Regardless, all corporate structures must register with the Secretary of State and become bonded and insured by obtaining a Washington Continuous Contractor Surety Bond before undergoing the application process.

2. Complete the Required Forms (For Business Structures)

All business structures in Washington are required to complete a business license application before performing any contractor work. Again, businesses will need to register with the Secretary of State as well.

Business license applications will be completed through the State of Washington Business Licensing Service website. For general or specialty contractors, be sure to check your application requirements.

3. Obtain Employee & Tax ID Numbers

For businesses intending to hire state employees, you must get an employer identification number. 

Businesses with employees will also need to purchase bond and liability insurance for coverage, including workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation may be obtained through a commercial carrier, on a self-insured basis, or through the state’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance program.

For more information, visit the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries online.

Finally, Washington businesses need to register for one or more tax identification numbers and licenses or permits, including income tax withholding, sales and use tax (seller’s permit), and unemployment insurance tax. For more information, visit the Washington State Department of Revenue website.

4. Take & Pass the Washington Contractors Exam (If Applicable)

Check if you need to take the required state exams. Most general or specialty contractors do not need to take an exam in the State of Washington, but aspiring electricians will need to take and pass an exam.

To understand all exam and trade requirements in Washington, visit the trades and licensing page on the Washington State Department of Licensing and Registration website.

5. Pay Required Fees

When applying, there are required fees you will need to pay and attach to your application. The attached fees are the following:

  • Registering and licensing your business:
    • If a corporation or general partnerships – $180+
    • If sole proprietor – $19-$24 for a regular business application
  • Overall registration fee: $113.40 for two years

6. Submit Your Application

To finish your official registration process and submit your general contractor application, visit your local labor and industries office in person or mail in your paperwork.

Send the application, including the necessary paperwork, to the following address:

Department of Labor and Industries

Contractor Registration Section

PO Box 44450

Olympia, WA 98504–4450

7. Look-Up & Verify Licenses

For verification, you may look up any contractor, tradesperson, or business operating in the State of Washington through the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries database

Need Help with Your Project?

If you’re a general contractor in Virginia or another state in the U.S., we can help you with upcoming projects and bids you may have. If you need phenolic resin countertopschemical epoxy tops, or lab tables for an upcoming job, give us a call at (866) 222-7494 to speak with a project consultant or fill out our online contact form today.

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

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