An often overlooked beauty of the United States, Idaho is home to some of the nation’s most stunning mountains, brilliant clear lakes, and lush woodland areas. With plenty of undeveloped land available for sale, migration from other parts of the U.S. to Idaho has increased in recent years as young investors and retirees seek a quieter way of life.
For construction professionals, this means plenty of job opportunities, especially for contractors interested in overseeing new construction projects.
Unlike some other states, the process to become a licensed general contractor in Idaho is relatively easy, and there are very few requirements. That said, anyone who wishes to engage in the alteration, improvement, or construction of any project must be a licensed general contractor, and Idaho can be quite strict when enforcing this regulation.
As such, if you do contractor work of any kind, you should apply for a general contractor’s license in Idaho.
Applications are submitted to and granted by the Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses and will be required to provide important identifying information, liability insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance. Applicants may apply as individuals, or as a company.
If you own a business and file with your business, you will need to provide evidence of business registration. Idaho offers one type of license for contractors performing any kind of construction work and makes it relatively easy for applicants to qualify and earn their license.
In this simple guide, we’ll go over the details of becoming a licensed general contractor in Idaho, and share where you can find the resources you’ll need to get started:
Job Description: General Contractor
If you think you might enjoy work as a general contractor, you will need to be prepared for everything the job will throw your way. General contractors must be highly knowledgeable in the field of construction, should be good communicators, should be organized, and should be able to juggle multiple project elements at a time.
As a GC, you are in charge of overseeing and organizing full construction projects from the initial bidding process to the final details and finishing touches.
Once you earn your general contractor license, you will be responsible for a variety of managerial and organizational tasks. The job of a general contractor starts with the project bidding process.
General contractors work in collaboration with construction estimators to go over the proposed building plans. Once they understand the scope of the project, they create a detailed list of all anticipated costs including materials, labor, etc.
The goal is to create the most competitive (lowest) bid without underestimating the project total. At OnePointe Solutions, we work with your budget to supply you with industrial workbenches, laboratory furniture, and commercial cabinets to meet the needs of a bid.
If the bid is accepted, general contractors move on to organizing the start of the building project. Contractors visit the building site to assess the area for hazards or specific challenges, hire subcontractors, acquire permits, rent equipment, and purchase materials.
If a bid was created for a breakroom in an office, for example, and it’s time to purchase materials and items, we can provide the general contractor with plastic laminate cabinets, metal cabinets, and/or stainless steel cabinets for storage options. In addition, for countertops and surfaces, we carry a wide selection from solid surface, maple block, and stainless steel countertops to laminate surfaces, granite, quartz, and more! And to finish it off, we can design and manufacture custom tables and provide seating options to encourage employee socialization and team bonding.
Once building begins, most general contractors spend their time on-site overseeing the day to day operations of their team. In addition to keeping the project on track and on time, general contractors are also in charge of overseeing on-site safety.
To summarize, general contractors are in charge of 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
While you’ll need to meet Idaho state requirements to become a licensed general contractor, there are some skills and qualifications that will help you in your career no matter where you work. General contractors all need the same basic skills to effectively manage big projects, keep clients happy, and navigate working with dozens of subcontractors at a time. It takes a certain personality and passion for construction to succeed as a general contractor, and many of those qualifications can’t be taught. No matter where you work as a general contractor, having the following skills will help you in your career:
- 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 Idaho
As mentioned, the process to become a licensed general contractor in Idaho is relatively simple as compared to other states. You can apply for a license as an individual, or as a business entity – both processes are virtually the same. Here are the qualifications you will need to meet in order to earn your license as general contractor in Idaho:
Idaho has no formal education requirements for its general contractors. In general, it is best to have graduated high school or achieved a GED. If you wish to attend school, consider choosing a construction relevant field like construction management, architecture, or engineering. A college degree is entirely optional.
Unlike most states, Idaho does not require its general contractors to have any formal experience. However, in order to be a successful general contractor, you will need to be intimately familiar with the construction process and industry. Because of this, gaining at least three years of experience before you begin to pursue independent general contractor work will serve you in the long run.
Once you are ready to apply for your license, you will need to download the appropriate application from the Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses website. Applicants can choose to apply as an individual or apply as a business entity. Both applications are short and easy to complete and should be submitted through mail to the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses. Applications should be submitted with a non-refundable $35 application fee.
In your application, you will be asked to show proof of workers’ compensation and general liability insurance. In some cases, you may be asked to submit a surety bond.
Idaho General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview
There is only one fee associated with becoming a licensed general contractor in Idaho: the application fee. All applicants pay $35, which is nonrefundable.
Average Idaho General Contractor Salary & Benefits
Idaho general contractor annual income typically starts at around $40,000, with the most experienced and in-demand contractors making upwards of $75,000 per year.
The Path to Become a General Contractor In Idaho
Now that you understand the details of becoming a general contractor in Idaho, you can begin the application process for yourself! Here is the path you will need to take to get your license and begin bidding on projects in Idaho:
1. Purchase Insurance
Your first step to gaining your general contractor’s license should be to purchase general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. Both of these types of insurance are required whether you are an individual or a business entity, and you will need to provide a certificate of insurance when you send in your application.
2. Complete Application
Download the contractor application and print at home. Complete all parts of the application, answering all questions. Be sure to thoroughly read the application in order to ensure you have everything you will need.
3. Pay Fees
Write a check for $35 to be delivered to the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses.
4. Mail to Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses
In a large envelope, enclose your certificates of insurance, your completed application, and your non-refundable application fee. Mail the envelope to:
Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses
700 West State St., PO Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720-0063