In the State of Ohio, contractor licensing is done at the local level. If you want to perform commercial or residential work, you will need to follow the local license and bonding requirements for contractor licensing. For more information and requirements, please check with the city or county where you wish to operate as a contractor.
Determine the Type of Contractor License You Need
Among the larger cities in Ohio, the following requirements may apply:
The City of Columbus requires building contractors to have either a Home Improvement Contractor License or General Contractor License.
- General Contractor – allows you to perform construction of new structures or buildings or repair existing commercial or multi-family dwelling units. Please note that if you wish to perform work on existing 1, 2 or 3-family dwellings you are required to have a Columbus Home Improvement Contractor license.
- Home Improvement Contractor – allows you to do any type of repair, remodeling improvement or addition to private residences or dwelling places for no more than 3 families.
The City of North Canton requires all contractors who want to perform construction work to be registered with the city even when a permit is not required.
The City of Warrensville requires a Contractor Registration of all general, electrical, plumbing and HVAC contractors.
Access Ohio Contractor License Application Forms
- The City of Columbus application forms can be accessed via the Department of Building and Zoning Services.
- The General Contractor application form can be found here.
- The Home Improvement application form can be found here.
- The City of North Canton Contractor Registration form can be accessed via the city’s Department of Permits & Development or directly found here.
- The City of Warrensville Contractor Registration form can be found through the city’s Forms & Permits page or directly here.
Fulfill Requirements and Obtain Required Documents
To get licensed in the City of Columbus you will need to do the following:
Home Improvement applicants:
- Provide proof of work experience: For Home Improvement General you will need 3 or more years of relevant work experience; for Home Improvement Limited the requirement is 1 full year. You can either use the Work History space provided in your application to list your experience or attach an additional sheet/resume.
- Submit copy of test results (for Home Improvement General only)
General Contractor applicants:
- Obtain a Certificate of Liability Insurance: You are required to submit proof of liability insurance that lists the City of Columbus as a certificate holder. The amount of the insurance must be at least $500,000 per occurrence and $300,000 per damage (to a single person).
- Fill out the Assignment Authorized Signer Form: If you are assigning the license registration to a business you must fill out and have signed the assignment form (provided in the application) by no more than 6 full time employees, which will include the applicant. The assignment form must be notarized.
To register as a contractor in the City of North Canton you will need to do the following:
- Obtain a Certificate of Liability Insurance
- Provide proof of Workers’ Compensation Certificate or Sole proprietor waiver
- Submit a RITA income tax form
All HVAC, Electric and Plumbing Contractors are required to submit a license certificate copy.
To register as a contractor in the City of Warrensville you will need to do the following:
- Obtain a Certificate of Liability Insurance
- Make sure City of Warrensville Heights is listed as additional insured
All electrical, plumbing and HVAC contractors must provide a copy of their licenses/permits.
Pass the Examination
In the City of Columbus, all Home Improvement General Contractor applicants must pass an Ohio Home Improvement Contractor – 767 examination. Please contact the International Code Council for further information regarding study materials and scheduling examination at 877-783-3926 or visit their website. A passing score is 70%.
Obtain Your Contractor License Bond
In the City of Columbus all General Contractor applicants must furnish a $25,000 surety bond. You are required to use the bond form that is enclosed in the application and must be issued in the name of the individual who holds the license.
In the City of North Canton all contractor registration applicants are required to furnish an original bond in the amount of $10,000. The bond must be issued on the City’s official bond form (also attached in the application).
In the City of Warrensville in order to be a registered contractor you must submit a bond of $5,000 and send it along with your application. City of Warrensville Heights should be listed as additional insured.
Submit Your Ohio Contractor License Application
How to fill out your application
Please type or print plainly in ink.
Licensing and Application Fees
City of Columbus payments can be made in person or via mail (at the mailing address listed below). Checks must be made payable to Columbus City Treasurer.
- $185 (non-refundable) filing fee for Home Improvement License applications
- $350 registration fee for General Contractor applications. The fee should be paid annually and the registrations are valid for 1 year after they have been issued.
City of North Canton payments can be made with a credit card, check or exact cash only.
- $150 registration fee
City of Warrensville payments can be with a company or certified check, money order, or bank card. Please note that personal checks and cash will not be accepted.
Please mail your City of Columbus application along with all supporting documents to:
City of Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services 757 Carolyn Avenue Columbus, Ohio 43224
Note: As the Board of Home Improvement Contractors meets once per month make sure to send your application at least one week before the next board meeting. You can find the Board meeting schedule here.
Please mail your City of North Canton registration application and all additional documentation to:
City of North Canton Department of Permits & Development 145 North Main Street North Canton, Ohio 44720
Note: If you would like a receipt, provide a self-addressed stamped envelope, or a fax number or email address.
You may bring your registration in-person to:
North Canton Permits & Development Dept. 845 West Maple Street North Canton, Ohio 44720
Please send your City of Warrensville registration along with the fee to:
19700 Miles Road Warrensville Heights, Ohio 44128
Note: City of Warrensville contractor licenses are valid for one calendar year and expire on December 31st.