If you love building things and enjoy tackling complicated management roles, you might love a career as a general contractor. General contractors manage projects from start to finish and do everything from site administration to hard labor on a job site.
General contractors need to be experienced and highly qualified, but if you like this kind of work, it’s a career with amazing benefits. Nevada is a great state to be in if you work in the construction industry.
With an average of 300 days a year of sunshine and a steady population growth, both housing and commercial projects are in high demand. Nevada is also home to a host of interesting industries with construction demands, so no matter what you’re interested in building, there’s a job for you in the Silver State.
In this guide, we’ll be covering all the details of what it takes to become a general contractor and how you can get licensed through the state of Nevada.
At OnePointe Solutions, with virtually any project, we can help. From high-quality laboratory cabinets, and durable custom workbenches to plastic laminate cabinets and stainless steel countertops, our range of products can get the job done.
Job Description: General Contractor
General contractors take a managerial role in their construction projects and are charged with overseeing the entire process from start to finish. This means that before the ground is even broken, they must first create a detailed bid for the client that outlines all of the foreseeable costs for the job.
If the final bid is accepted, general contractors then coordinate scheduling, the hiring of tradesmen and subcontractors, purchasing materials, and renting tools and equipment. In reference to a bid, let’s say that a bid was created and accepted for a high school chemistry lab.
For this kind of job, we would supply either metal casework or plastic laminate cabinets depending on the needs of the lab. In addition, we would design and manufacture student workstations, lab tables, and/or custom laboratory workbenches so students can perform experiments and tasks with ease.
Not to mention, we can provide fume hoods, laboratory chairs, and fixtures ranging from sinks, eyewash stations, gas valves, and more to get the job completed for a general contractor all from one place.
An effective contractor must be familiar with every aspect of the construction process and be able to anticipate possible issues that may arise. Once the actual construction begins, some general contractors become the site foreman, while others supervise other managers on-site.
General contractors are responsible for the safety of everyone and everything on the job site, and must also ensure that the construction is completed according to plans. While on-site, 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
Every state has specific qualifications and licensing requirements for its general contractors, but some skills will serve you no matter where you work. Special skills can sometimes be learned, but are often innate, so no amount of training or extra experience can compensate.
Some special skills and qualifications all general contractors need to meet 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 Nevada
If you think working as a general contractor could be a fit for your skills and professional goals, there are also some specific state requirements you’ll need to meet. In Nevada, “all businesses or individuals who construct or alter any building, highway, road, parking facility, railroad, excavation, or other structure in Nevada” need a contractor license.
General contractors can be business owners or individual independent contractors – either way, you’ll need to satisfy these requirements:
There are no formal education requirements for general contractors in Nevada, and most colleges do not offer programs that develop skills specifically for this line of work. If you have a desire to pursue higher education but are certain that a job as a general contractor is for you, consider studying engineering, construction management, architecture, or a similar field.
Because general contractors oversee the entire construction process, they must be familiar with the various types of work within that process. The best general contractors are those who have had experience in many areas of construction so that they have exposure to what can go wrong in any situation.
A general contractor in Nevada must have four years of construction experience in a supervisory or otherwise advanced position.
Nevada offers three licenses for general contractors depending on the type and size of the projects you intend to bid on. Regardless of which type of license you wish to apply for, you must have a Nevada Business ID before you can start the application process. General contractors can choose between one of the following license types:
- Class A (General Engineering Contractor License): Projects require specific engineering skills and knowledge.
- Class A has 25 sub-classifications. To check to see if the work you plan to do requires a Class A sub-classification, check the Nevada State Contractors’ Board Handbook.
- Class B (General Building Contractor License): Projects are primarily connected to residential, movable, or small commercial buildings. Class B has six subclassifications.
- Pre Manufactured housing
- Residential and small commercial
- Speculative building
- Service stations
- Prefabricated steel structures
- Commercial remodeling
- Class C (Specialty Contractor License): The Class C license covers specialty projects like pool repair, industrial plumbing, roofing, and more.
- 36 different specialties
No matter which of these license types you intend to pursue, your first step will be to fill out an application and include a nonrefundable $300 filing fee. Completed applications must be submitted to the Nevada State Contractors Board for consideration along with all additional paperwork and documentation (see below).
In addition to a license application form, applications must also submit four (4) completed certification of work experience forms and a resume of experience form. These certificates should be completed by employers other than the applying company.
If you are a self-employed contractor, customers for whom you have performed work should complete the forms.
As part of the licensure process, general contractor applicants must fill out and submit the Background Disclosure Statement and Fingerprint Waiver. After the license is granted, general contractors must submit fingerprint cards to the board.
General contractor license applicants are required to pass two exams: the Business and Law (CMS) exam and the relevant trade examination for your license. However, you will not be able to schedule these exams until you have submitted your application and have been given a candidate number by the board. These exams are scheduled through PSI Licensure.
If you take the CMS exam and your trade examination at the same time, the fee is $140; otherwise, each individual exam incurs a $95 dollar fee.
Nevada requires a variety of financial statements and proof of insurance documents. These are as follows:
Nevada requires a financial statement that is prepared based on the monetary limit requested as part of the license. Specific requirements can be found here, and you must engage a CPA to help prepare this statement.
Once approved, the Nevada State Contractors Board determines the bond amount. This can vary in amount from $1,000 to $500,000 based on a variety of factors such as the license type and the contractor’s work experience.
Finally, general contractors wishing to obtain a license must provide proof of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance before they can be considered for approval.
Nevada General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview
While the exact amount you will spend applying for your general contractor license may vary, all applicants can expect to cover these basic fees:
- Nevada State Contractors Board application filing fee – $300
- Nevada Business and Law (CMS) Exam Fee: $95
- Trade Specialty Exam Fee: $95
- Unless taken at the same time as the CMS exam, in which case the combined fee is $140
- Biennial licensing fee: $600
- Residential Recovery Fund Assessment–all general contractors who work on single-family properties must pay $200-$1000 based on the monetary limit of their license.
Average Nevada General Contractor Salary & Benefits
Nevada’s construction industry is thriving, showing significant growth each year. If you become a licensed general contractor in Nevada, you can expect to make around $26,000-$95,000 per year– but this is highly variable based on region.
In Las Vegas, for example, the average salary for an entry-level general contractor is about $88,000, while the average salary for a senior contractor is about $127,000.
The Path to Become a General Contractor in Nevada
Think you could have a future as a general contractor in Nevada? Follow this basic path to start your career:
1. Complete Education And Work Experience
While Nevada has no education requirements for general contractors, a GED or high school diploma will be extremely helpful in the long run. After completing as much education as you want, take as many construction jobs as possible to gain relevant experience.
2. Get A Business ID
You can’t apply for a contractor license without a Nevada business ID, even if you aren’t planning on having employees. This must be done before you submit your application.
To learn about starting a general contracting business, check out our guide below:
3. Complete License Application
Begin the application process by filling out the application form available on the Nevada Contractors Licensing Board website. This application includes a $300 filing fee.
4. Gather References
Attached to the basic application form, you will find forms for 4 professional references and a resume of your experience. These forms must be completed and submitted with your application.
5. Prepare Financial And Background Documents
Have all financial documents (including proof of insurance, contractor’s bond, and financial statement) compiled and ready for submission with your application packet. Don’t forget that everyone on your application needs to fill out the background information form.
6. Submit Application Packet
You can submit the form online or through the mail. The Nevada State Contractors Board has two locations, one for southern Nevada and one for northern Nevada. Their addresses are: Southern Office 2310 Corporate Circle, Ste 200 Henderson, NV 89074 Northern Office 5390 Kietzke Lane, Ste 102 Reno, NV 89511
7. Pass Exams
Once you have received word that your application has been approved, you can register for the Business and Law (CMS) and trade knowledge exams. After you pass these and submit your fingerprints to the board, you can begin working on bids and accepting jobs.
Need Help With Your Next Project?
If you’re a general contractor in Nevada or another state in the U.S. and need metal cabinets, plastic laminate cabinets, lab fixtures, or something in between, give us a call at (866) 222-7494 to speak to a lab consultant today.