How to Get Your Illinois Contractor License

Construction work in Chicago

Construction work in Chicago

UPDATE TO GUIDE (9/13/17): An updated and more detailed guide has been created for how to get your Illinois contractor license.

Are you planning to start your contractor business in the State of Illinois? Then read on for some helpful tips on getting your Illinois contractor license.

First of all, the great news is that general contractors don’t need a state license in Illinois! If you’re planning to work as a general contractor, just make sure you comply with the requirements for your specific county and city to legalize your local operations. Only if you’re a roofing or plumbing contractor will you need to get a state-wide license.

Below we have compiled the most important requirements for getting licensed as a roofing or plumbing contractor in Illinois, which will hopefully help you untangle the licensing process. It’s a good idea to get acquainted with the prerequisites before you start applying, so that you are well prepared.


Getting an Illinois Contractor License

If you just plan to operate as a general contractor in Illinois, you won’t need to get a state-wide contractor license. However, you”ll still need to register and get licensed as a contractor with your local county or city. The first step you need to take is to identify the local authority in charge of contractor licensing. Very often this is the local building authority. Then you need to learn its requirements, as they vary from place to place.

Roofing and plumbing contractors, though, do need a state-wide Illinois contractor license. Let’s get into a bit more detail for these two cases.


Roofing contractors

Roofing contractors in Illinois need a license

Roofing contractors in Illinois need a license

Roofing contractors need to get an Illinois roofing license by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. All relevant information and the application form are available on the website of IDPFR. The nonrefundable application fee is $125. You need to renew your Illinois roofing license before June 30 of every odd-numbered year.

One of the main requirements is to have a designated individual from your roofing company who will pass a state examination in Residential Roofing, Commercial and Industrial Roofing or Commercial, Industrial and Residential Roofing. The test is administered by Continental Testing Services, Inc. and costs $216.30 for the first two categories and $267.80 for the third one.

Roofing contractors are also required to obtain $250,000 property damage insurance, $500,000 personal injury insurance and a $10,000 contractor license bond.

Plumbing contractors

Plumbing contractors in Illinois also need to get a state-wide license

Plumbing contractors in Illinois also need to get a state-wide license

Plumbers, on the other hand, need to get an Illinois plumbing license from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The process here is a bit different, as all plumbers need to start as apprentices. You need to have four years of licensed apprenticeship as a plumber.

Once you have this experience, you have to fill in the application and submit it at least a month before the state exam date. The fee for in-state applicants is $100 and $125 for Chicago residents and out-of-state applicants. Plumbing licenses must be renewed before April 30 every year via the online renewal form.

After obtaining the license, you should register as a plumbing contractor and pay the annual $100 non-refundable registration fee. You also need to obtain $100,000 general liability, $300,000 bodily injury, $50,000 property damage, and $500,000 workers’ compensation insurances. You must also secure a $20,000 license bond.


The contractor license bond

As you’ve probably noticed, to get your Illinois contractor license as a roofer or a plumber, you need to obtain a contractor license bond. Again, the bond amounts are $10,000 for roofers and $20,000 for plumbers. However, you need only pay a percentage of the required amount, i.e. your annual premium.

If you are going to bid on public projects as a general or specialty contractor, you will also have to obtain additional bonds. These include a bid bond, a performance bond and a payment bond. They each apply only to the specific project you are bidding on.

If you were wondering what surety bonds do, they act as insurance for your clients, not for your own business. They protect the general public by guaranteeing that your contracting company will abide by the regulations of the state or local area in which you operate. To get bonded and operate legally in Illinois, apply online to get an instant quote.


Get started today

Once you have explored the contractor fields requiring licensing and the specific license details, you will feel more confident when you apply for your license, which in turn will make the process less stressful. Still have questions regarding the surety bonds? Contact us to get them answered now.


Paul Beaumont

Hi. I am a licensed contractor in wisconsin. I was wondering what exactly I have to do to get certified to do roofing and siding and building in Illinois. If you could get back to me at your convenience that would be great. Thanks.


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