Determine the Type of Contractor License You Need
In the State of Washington, contractors must get their business licensed and receive a contractor’s registration with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. There are two main categories of contractors:
- Specialty - if you are performing only one building trade or craft, you would classify as a specialty contractor. The State recognizes 64 different specialties, a full list of which can be found here.
- General - Washington recognizes a general contractor as someone who performs or supervises numerous building trades or crafts at a time.
Note: If you have held a contractor license for the same classification for which you are applying for three (3) consecutive years from the following Boards, you may be eligible to receive reciprocity from the Washington Board for General Contractors: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, or Tennessee General Contractors Board, or the North Carolina State Board of Electrical Contractors.
Fulfill Requirements and Obtain Required Documents
Choose a business structure and get it licensed:
- Sole-Proprietor or General Partnership - if you choose to register your business as either, you must complete an online Business License Application, which will provide you with a Uniform Business Identifier number (UBI#). You can also apply for a registration by going into a Department of Revenue, Employment Security, or Labor & Industries office.
- Corporation, Limited Partnership (LP), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) or a Limited Liability Company (LLC) - Register with WA Secretary of State (www.secstate.wa.gov) or call 360-725-0377.
Get an IRS Employer ID: If you plan to employ workers, you must obtain an Employer ID either via the IRS website or by calling 1-800-829-4933 to get your ID for free.
Get liability insurance: Get proof of one of two general liability insurance coverages from your insurance agent:
- $50,000 property damage policy and $200,000 public liability policy
- $250,000 combined single limit policy
Note: Originals of your bond and insurance will be required to complete your registration.
Obtain Your Contractor License Bond
Get a surety bond or assignment of account from your insurance agent:
- $12,000 for a general contractor
- $6,000 for a specialty contractor (one trade only)
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Access Washington License Application Forms
Get your Business License application form here.
Get your Contractor’s Registration application form here.
Submit Your Washington Contractor License Application
You can submit your application in person by going to your local office of the State Department of Labor and Industries. The application form can be downloaded and printed from the website of the Department or get it from the office.
Alternatively, you may mail your printed and completed application form along with the additional documentation and fees.
All required documents submitted with the application must be the signed originals.
After filling out your Application for Contractor Registration, you must get it notarized. Your local office of the The State Department of Labor and Industries can notarize it for you. Alternatively, you can do this at many bank branches, where this service is offered.
Licensing and Application Fees
The application fee can be paid via Visa or MasterCard at your local office of the Department of Labor and Industries. You may also send a check or money order payable to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.
- Sole-Proprietor or General Partnership registration - $19.00
- LP, LLP or LLC registration - $180.00
- Two-year new or renewed registration application - $113.40
- Certificate of Registration Reinstatements - $53.60
- Duplicate Certificate of Registration - $12.60
- Request for Certified Letter - $25.60
Mail your application along with the required documents to:
Department of Labor & Industries Contractor Registration Section PO Box 44450 Olympia, WA 98504-4450
Pass Your Examination
The State of Washington does not require you to sit for any examination or to present any proof of experience in order to register as a contractor.
How Long Does the Licensing Process Take?
After careful evaluation of your contractor’s application, the State Department of Labor and Industries will either:
- Approve your application and mail your registration within 2 to 4 weeks.
- Reject your application and contact you about missing documentation within 2 to 4 weeks.
If you do not receive a response within 2 weeks to a month, you should call 1-800-647-0982 and check if your application has been received.