How To Get Your General Contractor License in Wisconsin

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.

The State of Wisconsin, known for its natural lakes formed by glaciers, is filled with beautiful nature everywhere you go. Additionally, you will find plenty of opportunities to work in the construction field there.

If you’re vying for a role as a general contractor, Wisconsin is a terrific place to consider.

At OnePointe Solutions, we’ve worked with countless general contractors, to get them the desired furniture for their projects. From laboratory cabinets, custom workbenches, and ESD tables to epoxy resin countertops, fume hoods, and stainless steel cabinets.

No matter the project, we can help.

To obtain a general contracting license in Wisconsin, the licensing process is considered strict compared to many other states. For general contracting, you will need to obtain a license through the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.

However, general contractors aspiring to work on commercial structures will need to go through Wisconsin’s Dwelling Contractor Qualifier, which contains different requirements and a unique licensing process. For more information about general contracting in the state, 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 correction center, and the job needed countertops and cabinet storage. Regarding the surfaces, we would provide stainless steel tops, solid surface, or epoxy resin countertops.

Correction facilities need easy sanitation furniture to reduce the spread of germs and diseases in a densely populated space. These options are non-porous, moisture and corrosion resistant as well as durable, and easy to maintain.

For storage, compatible options include stainless steel cabinets, metal cabinets, and plastic laminate cabinets. Each option is durable, can come in a plethora of sizes and designs, and can be modified to prevent tampering among employees and prison residents.

As stated before, for nearly any job, we can help! Moving on to general contractor work preferences, some will 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 Wisconsin

For plumbers, electricians, and mechanical contractors, licenses will be issued through the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. A dwelling contractor will need to obtain a license by filling out an application, getting a certificate upon completion of the required educational course, providing required documents including bond insurance, and paying all the necessary fees. 

In Wisconsin, performing different types of contracting jobs results in a different licensing or certification process, required education, and associated fees. 

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

Education

For Dwelling Contractor Qualifier licenses, the State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services requires a 12-hour training course and exam. Check the official list of state-approved course providers for important information, such as fees, scheduling dates and locations, and required materials.

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 State of Wisconsin requires certifications and licenses for special trades, including:

  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Asbestos and Lead Abatement
  • HVAC
  • Well Drilling

Each specialty trade has a unique path for obtaining construction licenses. For dwelling contractors, one will need to get their qualifier’s license, which is handled at the state level. 

Requirements

Before applying to become a general contractor in the State of Wisconsin, note the following requirements before beginning the application process. 

Dwelling contractors have a different registration process than other specialty trades. Contracting business owners will need to apply for a Dwelling Contractors business license. 

Required documents include:

  • Workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation insurance coverage
  • Proof of surety bond
  • Financial responsibility
  • Liability insurance coverage

After receiving a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier license and bond insurance, one can fill out an online application for a Dwelling Contractor’s license and pay the required fees. 

Here are the separate requirements for the Dwelling Contractor Qualifier Certification and the official Dwelling Contractor license:

  • For the Dwelling Contractor Qualifier Certification, you will need: 
    • Verification that you completed an approved initial qualifier course
    • Application and credential fees
  • For the Dwelling Contractor License, you:
    • Must already hold a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier certificate
    • Must be the owner or partner of a contracting business
    • Must meet all workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation requirements and furnish a certificate of insurance
    • Must show proof of financial responsibility via a $25,000 bond and $250,000 liability insurance
    • Must complete the application and pay credential fees

Exam

The State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services requires that contractors take and pass an exam and complete a preliminary 12-hour training course. Depending on which approved course provider you use, associated fees and testing locations may vary. 

Wisconsin General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview

For a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier license and a Dwelling Contractors license, you will need to pay associated fees. 

  • Dwelling Contractor Qualifier License:
    • Initial Training Course Fee: Varies depending on the course provider
    • Application Fee: $15 for a 2-year license
    • Credential Fee: $30
    • Renewal Fee: Requires another 12-hour educational training course
  • Dwelling Contractor License:
    • Application Fee: $15 for a 1-year license
    • Credential Fee: $25
    • Renewal Fee: $25 or $100 for a 4-year renewal

Average Wisconsin General Contractor Salary & Benefits

If you’re looking to become a licensed general contractor in the State of Wisconsin, you can expect to make an average salary of $96,009 or $46 per hour, which is 1% lower than the national average. However, an entry-level construction manager earns an average salary of $66,905 and a senior-level construction manager earns an average salary of $119,355.

The Path to Become a General Contractor in Wisconsin

Do you wish to become a general contractor in the State of Wisconsin? 

Depending on whether or not you need to become a dwelling contractor, your application process may look a little different. For dwelling contractors, you will have to undergo two separate application processes: a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier Certification application and a Dwelling Contractor License application.

Then, you will need to follow certain requirements and attach the proper documents for each application.

Now, let’s review the path to becoming a contractor in the state:

1. Determine Specialty Trade (If Applicable)

Will you be performing any contracting work under a specialty trade? If so, you will need to apply for a general contractor’s license through the State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. Specialty trade certifications include electrical, plumbing, asbestos and lead abatement, HVAC, and well drilling.

2. Complete Dwelling Contractor Qualifier License Application (If Applicable)

If you need a Dwelling Contractors license, you must first complete a 12-hour initial training course under an approved course provider. You will also need to take and pass the required exam. After passing the exam and finishing the course, you can begin the rest of the Dwelling Contractor Qualifier license application. 

After being approved for the Dwelling Contractor Qualifier license and obtaining bond insurance, you will need to fill out an application for your Dwelling Contractor’s license and pay the associated fees.

3. Pay Associated Fees

For dwelling contractors, please note all of the associated fees, which will be handled through the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services:

  • Dwelling Contractor Qualifier License:
    • Initial Training Course Fee: Varies depending on the course provider
    • Application Fee: $15 for a 2-year license
    • Credential Fee: $30
    • Renewal Fee: Requires another 12-hour educational training course
  • Dwelling Contractor License:
    • Application Fee: $15 for a 1-year license
    • Credential Fee: $25
    • Renewal Fee: $25 or $100 for a 4-year renewal

4. Register Your Business (If Applicable)

If you are the owner of a contracting business in the State of Wisconsin, you will need a dwelling contractor’s license. For more information about registering your contracting business in the state, visit the State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue online. 

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

5. Register for Tax Identification Numbers

Wisconsin businesses must register for one or more tax identification numbers, licenses, or permits. This includes income tax withholding, sales and use tax (seller’s permit), and unemployment insurance tax.

Visit the State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue website for further details about Wisconsin’s business registration process.

6. Obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Businesses must obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage. You can obtain insurance coverage commercially, on a self-insured basis, or through the state’s insurance program.

For more information about the state Workers’ Compensation Insurance program, get in touch with the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

7. Obtain Unemployment Insurance

Wisconsin also requires that businesses obtain Unemployment Insurance coverage for their employees. Have further questions about obtaining Unemployment Insurance in the state?

Visit the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development online.

8. Look-Up & Verify Licenses

You can look up and verify any contractor’s license in the State of Wisconsin to determine a holder’s eligibility. For an extensive credential and license search, visit the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services database.

Need Help with Your Project?

If you’re a general contractor in Wisconsin or another state in the U.S., we can help you with upcoming projects and bids you may have. From stainless steel cabinets and stainless steel countertops to metal cabinets, solid surface tops, custom workbenches, and more. 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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