In the state of North Carolina, a general contractor license is required for projects valued at $30,000 or more. The licensing process is handled by the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors.
Determine the Type of Contractor License You Need
A General Contractor License allows you to perform all construction activity including, but not limited to, commercial, industrial, and residential building.
There are three different general contractor license types, and the one you need will depend on the project size you typically perform work on.
Unlimited Contractor License
This license type has no restrictions on the size of project you're allowed to perform work on. You have two options when it comes to meeting the requirements to obtain this license:
- Obtain a $2,000,000 bond: a bond will cost a small percentage of the bond amount (generally around 2-5% of the total bond amount). Obtaining a surety bond is generally easier to accomplish when compared to getting audited financial statements. You can learn more about how contractor license bonds work by reading our guide.
- Obtain audited financial statements: the cost of audited financial statements generally range from $20,000 - $50,000 depending on your business. The audited financial statements must include an unqualified opinion, a classified balance sheet, and notes to the financial statement prepared by a certified public accountant or an independent accountant. The audited financial statement cannot be older than twelve months from the date of receipt of the application by the Licensing Board.
If you'd like to avoid obtaining audited financial statements to become licensed, you can get a free quote on a North Carolina contractor license bond.
Intermediate Contractor License
This license type allows you to work on projects of up to $1,000,000. Similar to the unlimited license, you are required to either obtain a $1,000,000 surety bond, or provide audited financial statements.
Limited Contractor License
This license type allows you to work on projects of up to $500,000. This license requires a $350,000 surety bond.
Access North Carolina Contractor License Application Forms
The application form can be accessed via the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors.
Fulfill Requirements and Obtain Required Documents
- Select a classification and a Responsible Managing Individual (RMI): General contractor applicants are required to select a classification for examination and appoint an RMI to take the relevant exam. There are 5 classifications you can choose from: building contractor, residential contractor, highway contractor, public utilities contractor, or specialty contractor. Detailed description of each can be found in the application.
- Submit letters of reference: To obtain your contractor license you must submit, with your application, 3 reference letters showing that you are qualified. The references should be signed (by the reference provider), notarized and no older than a year.
- Report financial information: All license applicants are required to report financial information and demonstrate financial responsibility.
Note: Intermediate and Unlimited License applicants must also submit a classified balance sheet, and an audited financial statement with an unqualified opinion and notes prepared by a certified accountant. The financial statement should be no older than a year.
Limited License applicants must have a minimum working capital of $17,000 (or total net worth minimum of $80,000); Intermediate License applicants are required to have minimum working capital of $75,000 and Unlimited License applicants, $150,000. Further information can be found in the application packet.
Note: In place of the minimum working capital or net worth license applicants may obtain a surety bond.
- If applying as a Sole Proprietorship you will also need to:
- Provide a copy of Certificates of Assumed Name that have been filed with the Register of Deeds for the counties in which the applicant will be doing business.
- If applying as a Partnership you will also need to:
- Provide a copy of Certificate of Assumed Name
- Submit copy of the General Partnership Agreement (for general partnerships)
- Submit copy of Certificate of Limited Partnership (for limited partnerships)
- Submit copy of the RLLP Application (for limited liability partnerships)
- If applying as a Corporation/Limited Liability Company you will also need to:
- Provide a copy of Certificate of Assumed Name
- Submit copy of Articles of Incorporation (for domestic companies) or Articles of Organization (for domestic LLCs)
- Submit copy of Certificate of Assumed Name (for foreign companies/LLCs)
For further information call North Carolina Secretary of State at 919-807-2225.
Obtain Your Contractor License Bond
Instead of working capital or net worth (or if not able to meet the requirements), applicants can furnish a contractor license bond. The bond should be continuous and must list State of North Carolina as obligee.
The bond amount required per license type is:
- $350,000 for Limited License
- $1,000,000 for Intermediate License
- $2,000,000 for Unlimited License
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Submit Your North Carolina Contractor License Application
How to fill out your application
- Please type or print plainly in black ink on white paper.
- You must answer questions 1 through 13 and, if needed, provide details, statements or documentation. N/A is not accepted.
- The license application form must be signed before a Notary Public.
- The minimum requirement for paper weight is either 20lb. or 24lb.
- The completed license application and all attachments must be mailed in a single envelope no smaller than 9 ½ ‘’ x 12 ½ ‘’. Faxed/emailed applications are not accepted.
Licensing and Application Fees
Cash will not be accepted. Attach a certified check or money order with your application.
- $75 for Limited Contractor
- $100 for Intermediate Contractor
- $125 for Unlimited Contractor
- $70 exam fee (paid to PSI)
Please mail your application packet to:
North Carolina Licensing Board For General Contractors P.O. Box 17187 Raleigh, North Carolina 27619
Or deliver it in person to:
North Carolina Licensing Board For General Contractors 5400 Creedmoor Road Raleigh, North Carolina 27612
Note: Applications delivered in-person will not be reviewed at the time of filing. It is your responsibility to ensure that the application is complete and has all required attachments.
Once your application is approved by the North Carolina Licensing Board you will be mailed an examination eligibility letter. It is your responsibility to contact the testing vendor (PSI Services) and schedule an exam date and pay the examination fees. You can get in touch with PSI via their website or at 1-800-733-9267.
After you complete the exam, the information will be forwarded to the Licensing Board for review. If your score is passing you will be issued a North Carolina General Contractor License. You will be given 2 attempts in total to pass the exam. If you don’t get a passing score the second time, you will be required to start the application process over again.
License Expiration and Renewal
Licenses expire on December 31st. The License Board mails renewal forms to license holders around October 15th. If you don’t receive a renewal form within 30 days after the mailing date, you should contact the Board office.