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.
When it comes to becoming a general contractor, the mountainous state of West Virginia isn’t exactly unique. The process to gain a license in this state is similar to many others, and it relies upon a mixture of exams, paperwork, and documentation.
West Virginia is a bit stricter than other states when it comes to requiring a license. Anyone overseeing a project of $1,000 or more in estimated value will need a general contractor’s license.
Moreover, these licenses do not cover specialty trades, such as electrical work and utilities.
However, if you’re looking for a stable job in a beautiful slice of America, then becoming a West Virginian general contractor is the perfect career path for you.
At OnePointe Solutions, we’ve worked alongside visionaries like you for years. With the help of skilled general contractors from around the United States, we’ve renovated classrooms, updated commercial kitchens, and even furnished cleanrooms, offices, and more.
Our teams work closely with you to guarantee your vision becomes a reality.
Job Description: General Contractor
Regardless of where you are in the country, the duties of a general contractor will always be the same. These responsibilities can be broken into two categories: clerical and practical.
On one side of the job, you’ll have the stereotypical tasks of overseeing physical labor. If you’re up for it, you might even join in!
On the flip side of this is the behind-the-scenes work that isn’t commonly considered.
Some of the most obvious aspects of a general contractor’s job involve hands-on work. In addition to overseeing quality and workmanship, a general contractor should also be onsite to handle various issues with both the structure they’re working on and their staff. The problems that a general contractor may tackle in their average day range from scheduling conflicts and unplanned construction hurdles to life-or-death safety concerns.
Less commonly thought of but just as important are the desk duties of a general contractor. As the overseer of construction, it’s a general contractor’s job to handle things such as estimates, contracts, insurance, and design drafts.
Depending on the job and client, a general contractor may also need to interact and negotiate with city planning departments and local officials.
As an example in this guide, let’s say a general contractor won a job for a test kitchen for a major grocery chain, and they came to us to help furnish it. In this scenario, we have many casework options to choose from for storage and organization.
We would design and manufacture plastic laminate cabinets, stainless steel cabinets, or metal cabinets depending on the scope of work. Each option provides the right aesthetic, durability, easy maintenance, and can come in a variety of colors and styles (except stainless steel color-wise).
For countertops, we can supply either solid surface, stainless steel, maple block, granite, quartz, epoxy resin, phenolic resin, and even solicor-cr. Each option can handle the typical day-to-day task in a test kitchen and also ranges in scratch, heat, and strength capabilities to pick the right countertop for the proper applications.
Last but not least, we can even create stainless steel carts where food can easily be stored away and accessed in the kitchen as well. For any of your jobs and projects, we can help!
Special Skills & Qualifications
With so many responsibilities, it’s no wonder that the job is considered a high-stakes and high-stress occupation. As such, many general contractors tend to share some key personality traits. The ability to handle oneself in a stressful environment is a must, as is a certain level of charisma. Time management and organizational efficiency are both highly valued.
There are also a few skills that all general contractors must learn. These practical skills are utilized often, sometimes daily, and include:
- The ability to read, edit, and interpret blueprints
- An adaptable personality with a mind for creative solutions
- Excellent communication skills
- Knowledge of building and construction practices and lingo
- Understanding of safety protocols
- An eye for detail, perhaps bordering on perfectionism
Qualifications to Become a General Contractor in West Virginia
While there are no educational requirements for licensure in West Virginia, the state still requires applicants to take and pass certain exams. Depending on how you plan to register (namely, as your own company or with an existing company) you’ll also need to do some work with the West Virginia Tax Department.
West Virginia does not require any prior experience when submitting an application.
Exams & Classifications
Because of the way West Virginia structures its licenses, a general contractor’s license does not entitle you to work on every aspect of construction. There are certain things which will require you to pass an examination. Some of the specialties in West Virginia include:
- Multi-family dwellings
- Remodeling and repair
All applicants are required to take and pass the business and law exam, which covers basic legal responsibilities and business practices for contractors. If you do not plan on taking any further classification exams, you will also need to at least pass the general building contractors exam.
There is no online resource for registering to take any of these exams in West Virginia. Instead, you must contact ProV, the company responsible for administering the tests, directly. They can be reached at (866)720-7768 or (304)414-0190.
While you may reuse passing test scores, it’s worth knowing that you will eventually have to retake these exams. After three uses, a test score “expires” and cannot be used again when renewing your license.
Depending on how you’re applying, there will also be some additional work that will need to be done prior to your application’s submission. There are also some things you would need in other states that are not required in West Virginia.
Namely, you will not need to have proof of liability insurance. However, it’s recommended that you provide this, regardless of legal obligations, to protect yourself and your workers.
If you are registering as your own business, you will need to register your business entity. This can be done through the West Virginia Tax Department.
During this process, you will be given a tax identification number; this should be saved for later use.
If you’re interested in starting a general contracting business, check out our guide below:
Wage Bonds & Employment Documentation
If you are registering as a business with employees, you will also need to provide a notarized wage bond statement. Furthermore, you will need to have proof of worker’s compensation and unemployment benefits for all of your employees.
West Virginia General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview
West Virginia is one of the cheaper states to obtain a license in. For the most basic application, which covers only the initial application fee and test costs, you can expect to pay $193.90.
The fee breakdown is as follows:
- $90.00 for the application fee
- $103.90 for tests (Business and Law & General Building Contractors)
If you wish to obtain additional classifications for your license, you will need to pay extra. Each additional exam is $51.95. When paying for your tests, you should use your credit/debit card, cash, or a certified check.
The testing agency, ProV, does not accept business or personal checks.
Average West Virginia Contractor Salary and Benefits
Like most professions, the pay and benefits received by a general contractor will depend on a variety of factors. Your employment, scope of work, experience, and chosen specialties will all have an impact on your overall benefits.
Nonetheless, most general contractors will enjoy health insurance and an annual income of $28,000–$98,000.
The Path to Become a General Contractor in West Virginia
While the path to becoming a general contractor in West Virginia may be more straightforward than it is in other states, it is still relatively easy to misstep and delay or even prevent your application’s approval. As such, it’s important to follow each step carefully and ensure that it has been completed to perfection before moving to the next phase.
(Optional) Register Business
If you plan on working for yourself, you should register your business prior to beginning your application. This can be done online through the West Virginia Tax Department’s website, or with traditional mail-in forms.
When your business is approved, keep your Business Registration Tax Number, as this will be used on your application.
If you are planning to work with a preexisting company, ask the company for their Business Registration Tax Number.
1. Pass Exams
You will need to provide proof of passing scores on both the general contractors’ exam and the business and law portion. Each exam costs $51.95 and is administered by ProV. In order to schedule your examination, you will need to call the respective company at (866)720-7768 or (304)414-0190.
2. Obtain Documentation
The scope of this step will depend upon your registration. If you are looking to own your business, you will need to provide proof of your company’s registration as well as the obligate financial documentation for each employee.
Namely, you’ll need to have proof of wage bonds, worker’s compensation, and unemployment benefits.
Otherwise, if you are planning to work with a preexisting company, ask your company for help. Your company’s officials will be able to provide you with the proper information to fill in this section of the application.
3. Submit Application
After checking to ensure everything is proper and present, it’s time to submit your application. Depending on the current workload and any upcoming holidays, you can expect your application to be processed in about 90 days.
You should check to ensure all of your documentation has been enclosed and that everything has been properly filled out.
West Virginia does not have an online license application system. As such, you will need to send your forms and the necessary $90.00 fee by mail to:
West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East
State Capitol Complex – Building 3, Room 200
Charleston, WV 25035
Need Help with Your Project?
If you’re a general contractor in West Virginia or another state in the U.S., we can help you with upcoming projects and bids you may have. If you need plastic laminate cabinets for a test kitchen, stainless steel countertops for a cleanroom, or metal cabinets for a classroom, give us a call at (866) 222-7494 to speak with a project consultant or fill out our online contact form today.