If you are experienced in the construction field and looking for a way to advance in your career, then you may want to consider becoming a general contractor. The general contractor position allows for a great deal more creative and practical freedom, as you will be the head of any projects you take on and have full control over nearly every aspect of their completion, from the timeline to the materials and labor required.
This is an excellent role for anyone who wishes to make a difference in their community and improve its quality of life, whether it be by constructing entirely new areas for public works and private business or simply renovating the buildings and projects already there. Much fulfillment can be found in both the freedoms and the opportunities to serve others that this job has to offer.
With the blossoming city of Indianapolis in its midst, Indiana is most certainly a great location to find work as a general contractor. Many counties are in need of renovations as they grow and adapt, so you could not know go wrong seeking work in any number of them.
At OnePointe Solutions, we have worked with countless GC’s, across the country to design labs, as well as create, build and install custom laboratory furniture, industrial workbenches, and commercial cabinets for their various projects.
However, since the state of Indiana does not regulate general contractor licensing on a state level, each county will have its own requirements, qualifications, and processes to follow when applying for your general contractor license there. The state does have a handful of mandates that branch across all counties, but for the most part the process that you experience will be quite different from place to place.
For the purposes of this article, we will provide general details at the state level as well as some more specific details about obtaining your license in Marion County, which includes some parts of Indianapolis.
The state of Indiana indicates that “any person engaged in converting construction material into real property on behalf of another person” is considered a contractor. It is important for anyone involved in such activities to have a contractor license in legal terms of course, but a license will also provide more credibility when clients are picking between bids for a particular project.
In Indianapolis, you can apply for a number of different specific licenses when it comes to plumbing or electrical work, but for general contractors, there is merely one type of license.
Job Description: General Contractor
Becoming a general contractor requires a good amount of experience in the construction field as well as the ability to juggle many responsibilities at once. As the general contractor for a project, you are essentially the leader in charge of making bids to the client, delegating tasks to those working on-site, ordering materials, choosing the creative direction, and formulating the completion timeline.
You will need to make quick decisions and be able to field questions both from employees or subcontractors as well as clients or any government officials you may be working alongside. In essence, you must be your project’s jack of all trades.
The process of completing a project as a general contractor goes something like this: assess the building site, submit a bid to the client, create a budget and timeline for you, your employees, and your subcontractors to follow, and ensure that the construction runs smoothly. Since each project is unique, you will often face challenges during construction which must be dealt with in a way that adheres to both your budget and the wishes of your client.
Thus, the job requires that you be communicative and proactive in order to certify its completion on time and the safety of your employees.
In construction, we understand that each project is unique. That’s why OnePointe Solutions has become one of the go-to vendors for general contractors for materials and expertise, from stainless steel countertops and epoxy resin to lab design, industrial furniture, and commercial furniture!
For instance, if a bid is created for a new bank location, we can supply the general contractor with plastic laminate cabinets, bank cabinets, and even custom storage options as well. In addition, we carry a variety of work surfaces and countertops including phenolic resin, solid surface, maple block, and more! We can even design a breakroom for employees, individual office spaces to hold meetings, and provide seating solutions too. Our expertise is at your disposal.
If you have the experience and skills required to manage these responsibilities, then continue reading to find out how you can start your career as a general contractor with your general contractor license in Indiana and begin making improvements to your community.
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
Some skills simply cannot be taught in a classroom. They require experience and interaction with others in order to obtain them.
A general contractor requires a number of these types of skills, as, in this role, you will often find yourself leading others, delegating responsibilities, creating timelines, and communicating with both employees and clients alike. It is important to be adaptable since every new project will bring with it new challenges to face.
Regardless of location, these are crucial skills that any general contractor should strive to personify.
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
Unlike some other states, Indiana does not currently have a statewide, universal process for obtaining your general contractor license. The specifics of your licensing process will vary depending on which city or county houses your business.
In this article, we will be focusing on the qualifications for Indianapolis, a part of Marion County, but for any city, the best way to ensure you have met all the requirements is to contact your local departments.
There are no formal education requirements at the state level in Indiana when it comes to general contractor licensing, nor does the city of Indianapolis outline any specific educational qualifications. However, if you are aspiring towards this position in the future, then it is helpful to note that those just starting out in construction should be at least 18 years old and have either a high school diploma or the GED equivalent.
Anyone who plans to further their education via a university diploma may want to consider majoring in engineering or architecture.
You will not be required to provide any formal proof of experience when applying for your general contractor license in Indianapolis. However, clients may look to experience as a contributing factor to their decisions when choosing between bids, so it is always helpful to have as much as possible.
Though Indianapolis does not require an examination, some other cities may. If the city you apply to does require an exam, you can expect a written examination with an accompanying fee.
If you plan on registering as a general contracting business, then state law does require that you do so before applying for your general contractor license. A business license in the state of Indiana can be obtained through the Secretary of State. This applies to general contractors starting businesses in any Indiana city.
In Indianapolis specifically, you must also register the name of your business as a DBA (“doing business as”) with the city before applying.
The Indianapolis General Contractor license application for new applicants can be found here. It must be completed in full and signed by the applicant before submission. The same goes for those renewing their application, though they will be required to fill out this form instead.
When you mail your application to the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services for consideration, you will also be asked to include many documents.
General Liability Insurance Certificate
Below are listed the specific requirements that your General Liability Insurance Certificate must include:
- Coverage for the following occurrences:
- Death or bodily injury: $500,000 minimum per occurrence
- Property damage: $100,000 minimum per occurrence
- OR combination coverage for both bodily injury and property damage: $500,000 per occurrence
- Clearly indicate policy number or binder as well as expiration/effective dates of coverage
- Name the sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation as the insured and the “Consolidated City of Indianapolis” as the additional insured
- Coverage not limited to a single job or address or to only when work has been permitted
- List the City of Indianapolis as Certificate Holder with Department’s address
- Notify the Department, in writing, at least 15 days prior to cancellation
Surety Bond or Continuation Certificate
Your surety bond or continuation certificate should include all of the following details:
- Minimum amount of bond is $10,000
- Typewritten with the bond number clearly indicated
- Clearly indicate insurance agent’s or bonding company’s legal name, address, and phone number
- Indicated coverage as “general contractor”
- Name the “Consolidated City of Indianapolis and/or an Unknown Third Party” as Obligee
- Signature of the sole proprietor or all partners in a partnership or the principal of a corporation
Your proof of insurance certificate is required as part of your application, but you may still apply for your license prior to being bonded if you are not yet preparing for work on a specific project.
Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Your workers’ compensation insurance certificate must include all of the following details:
- Carry Workman’s Compensation Insurance for workers employed in Indianapolis/Marion County
- Clearly indicate effective/expiration date
- Clearly indicate policy or binder number
- For sole proprietorships, partnerships, or LLCs with no employees:
- Complete the Workman’s Compensation waiver portion on the business license application
- For corporations:
- State law considers the owner of a corporation to be an employee; therefore, the owner must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance as well
Indianapolis General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview
The city of Indianapolis allocates new general contractor license fees depending on when the license is applied for within the license term. These fees are indicated as follows, based on the date of application:
- 01/01/2021-06/30/2021: $247.00
- 07/01/2021-12/31/2021: $185.00
- 01/01/2022-12/31/2022: $124.00
- Renewal fees: $247.00
Average Indiana General Contractor Salary & Benefits
The average annual salary for a general contractor operating in the state of Indiana is $82,859 with $6,750 overtime per year. This is about 9% higher than the national average. Those employed specifically in Indianapolis earn around $81,000 per year, ranking it as one of the top five highest paying cities in the country for general contractors.
The Path to Become A General Contractor in Indiana
Now that you have all the information required to begin applying for your general contractor license in Indianapolis, we have provided an easy step-by-step guide below to help kickstart your journey.
1. Obtain Your Business License
As stated previously, if you plan on licensing your general contractor business in Indianapolis, you must contact the Secretary of State and obtain your business license prior to submitting your application.
2. Order Necessary Documentation
Gather together your General Liability Insurance Certificate, Workers’ Compensation Insurance Certificate, and Surety Bond/Continuation Certificate (if needed) and make sure each one contains all the requirements listed above.
3. Complete and Sign Your Application
The application for general contractors in Indianapolis can be found here. Complete the application in full, sign it, and mail it into the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services for consideration, along with all the necessary documentation.
5. Pay Licensing Fees
Depending on when you apply for your general contractor license, your licensing fee may be different. Again, the fees are broken up by date or renewal as follows:
- 01/01/2021-06/30/2021: $247.00
- 07/01/2021-12/31/2021: $185.00
- 01/01/2022-12/31/2022: $124.00
- Renewal fees: $247.00
Be sure to include a check of the corresponding amount made payable to “The City of Indianapolis” with your completed application.
6. Mail Your Application and Documentation
The final step is the easiest! With your completed application, check for fees, and documentation gathered together, simply pile them into an envelope to be mailed to the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services at the following address:
Business & Neighborhood Services
1200 Madison Ave, Suite 100
Indianapolis, Indiana 46225
If you find it easier to email some of your documents, you may also do so. The Department of Business and Neighborhood Services’ email address is [email protected]
Need Commercial Furniture For Your Project?
If you’re a general contractor in Indiana or another state in the U.S. and need commercial cabinets and furniture or help with designing a commercial space for an upcoming project, give us a call at (866) 222-7494 to speak to a project consultant today.