How to Get a Colorado Contractor License
If you want to work as a contractor in Colorado, you need to understand its specific regulations.
Unlike the majority of states in the U.S., Colorado does not require general contractor licensing at the state level. This only applies to plumbing and electrical contractors, who must carry state-issued licenses.
However, most general contractor projects are regulated at the local level. So, you may have to get a license or permit in the counties and cities where you work.
Whether you're seeking state registration or dealing with your local city licensing office, we are here to guide you through the essential details. Count on us to equip you with the information you need to obtain and navigate your contractor's license in Colorado successfully.
Types of Contractor License in Colorado
In the State of Colorado, electricians and plumbers require state-level licenses, which are handled by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). General contractor Licenses are handled at the municipal level.
Here are the main license types available:
The electrical contractor license has three levels—residential wireman, journeyman, and master electrician.
Note: Electrical contractors may be eligible for reciprocity if they hold a journeyman or master electrician’s license from a state that’s in good standing with National Electrical Reciprocal Alliance (NERA), or from another entity or jurisdiction that has a reciprocity agreement with the board. Reciprocity will only be granted at the journeyman level regardless of previous level attained. Full prerequisites can be found under the rules and regulations section of the Electrical Board’s Laws, Rules and Policies.
There are multiple classifications available for plumbing licensing in Colorado, including residential, journeyman, and master plumber. Licensed plumbers can register as a plumbing contractor once they reach the level of master plumber or have an employee with that title.
Check out all the Laws, Rules and Policies at the State Plumbing Board section.
General contractors and subcontractors—building contractors, mechanical contractors, contractors for roofing and fire protection—are licensed at the municipal level and are subject to regulations passed by individual cities.
For this reason, it is essential to review the appropriate legislation based on your type of work. Various municipalities may also have additional registration requirements for plumbers and electricians.
Note: Some cities may also require a business license. If this is the case, applicants will first need to register their business with the Secretary of State. To do so, you may need proof of tax registration (identification number, sales and use tax, income tax withholding), general liability insurance, and other requirements to proceed.
Applying for a State-level License in Colorado
1. Access Colorado’s Contractor License Application Forms
2. Fulfill Requirements and Obtain Required Documents
Though individual licensing requirements are different, electrical and plumbing contractors have some shared prerequisites.
Before beginning your application, be sure to have these items at your disposal:
- Affidavit of eligibility.
- Social security number (or affidavit if you do not have a social security number).
- Name change documentation (if this applies).
- Experience and work history documentation.
- Certified transcripts from trade-related and formal education.
- An apprentice license with registration as an apprentice with your current company (journeyman only).
- Copy of the license you would like reciprocated (if applying for reciprocity).
- Proof of insurance requirements (Workers’ Compensation Insurance and compliance with Unemployment Compensation laws).
- Criminal history screening.
Note: You’ll need to upload all documentation with your application. This means you will need to have equipment capable of scanning and creating digital copies.
3. Submit Your Colorado Contractor License Application
Register Online to Apply
Colorado doesn’t use a mail-in process for their business and contractor applications. Rather, they utilize an online portal.
License Fees and Application Fees
Fees vary per industry and may not include municipal fees. Please note, the fees outlined below are subject to change at any time.
- Electrical contractor:
- Journeyman $120
- Master $140
- Plumber contractor:
- Journeyman $120
- Master $140
- Residential plumbing $100
Note: Applications take approximately 7 – 10 business days to review. Processing fees must be paid by credit card or electronic check.
4. Pass Examination
Once your application has been approved by the Colorado State Board, you’ll receive a letter of acceptance and information on where to obtain a testing handbook. This also provides testing locations, fees, and schedules. Tests are administered by a private agency, PSI.
5. Obtain Your Contractor License Bond
Contractor licenses are awarded at the municipal level, and other requirements such as a contractor license bond can be made at this level.
We are frequently questioned about the necessity of a Colorado Contractor License Bond. Beyond compliance, the bond serves as a powerful assurance to your clients and the municipality. It is required to ensure you will complete any contracted work and carry out that work in accordance with international building codes and any other local regulations.
A contractor license bond costs a small percent of the required bond total—usually 1% - 10%, pending good credit and that the underwriting process deems you low risk. For example, a $20,000 bond will cost a flat fee of approximately $200 - $2000.
Applying for Colorado Contracting Licenses by City
While a state-issued license might not be mandatory for running a general contracting business in Colorado, securing a general contractor license is crucial and is typically obtained directly through the municipality where your projects are based.
Here we share some of the basic information on how to apply for a contractor license in the most populated areas in Colorado.
Contractors License in Denver, Colorado
In Denver, contractors must register through the Denver Community Planning and Development office. The applicants need to be a supervisor certificate holder, employ someone who holds a supervisor certificate or have a state-approved license as electrical contractor or plumbing contractor.
You may also need to apply for a construction license (Class A, Class B, Class B2, and Class C). This requires a notarized letter of experience, affidavit, and proof that you passed the International Code Council Exam in the form of an ICC exam pass letter.
Contractors License in Aurora, Colorado
Contractors License in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Contractors License in Fort Collins, Colorado
Fort Collins also mandates that contractors hold a valid license with the city. Besides that, the contractor applicants need to hold or hire someone who holds a supervisor’s certificate.
All licensing process is handled by the City of Fort Collins Building Services and includes filling out an application and attaching an Employee Affidavit, an Immigration Affidavit, City of Fort Collins Sales and Use tax certificate, your ICC exam certificate (once you pass), your general liability and workers’ comp details, and three project completions. The application fee is between $75 and $200.
Note: To find applications and information for other locations, you should visit the city’s website or call your city hall. New contractors and first-time business owners may also contact the Colorado Business Assistance Center at 303-592-5920.