How to Get a Colorado Contractor License

You need to get a contractor license in Colorado to legally do contract work on commercial buildings, residential buildings, and family dwellings in which you don’t reside in the State of Colorado. There are various agencies to register through, depending on the type of work you wish to do.

Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA): Responsible for licensing all plumbers and electricians.

Municipality: 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.

Whether you need to get registered with the state or your local city licensing office, below is what you need to know about Colorado contractor registration and licensing.


Determine the Type of Contractor License You Need

As previously explained, Colorado electricians and plumbers require state-level licenses, while general contractors need to obtain licensing at the municipal level. Here are the main license types available.

  • Electrical License: Licensing has three levels—residential wireman, journeyman, and master electrician. To obtain your electrical contractor business license, you must hold the title of master electrician or employ someone with that level of certification.

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.

  • Plumbing License: There are multiple classifications available 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.
  • General Contractors License (Municipality level): In the State of Colorado, general contractor license guidelines will vary, but will generally only be applicable for work that requires a building permit. However, this excludes work in a building where you are the homeowner AND reside (proof of owner occupancy may be required when obtaining a permit). 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.

Denver Contractor License

For example, in Denver, contractors must register through the Denver Community Planning and Development office. They require those applying to have a state-approved contractor license, be a supervisor certificate holder, or employ someone who holds a supervisor certificate.

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.


Access Colorado’s Contractor License Application Forms

Electrical contractor licenses are available on the Colorado Electrical Board website, and plumbing contractor licenses can be obtained on the Colorado Plumbing Board website.

  • Electrical contractor applications and information are.
  • Plumbing contractor applications, forms, and licensure information can.
  • General contractor applications will need to be obtained directly through the municipality you will be working in. To find applications and information, 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.

Fulfill Requirements and Obtain Required Documents

Though individual licensing requirements are different, electrical and plumbing contractors have some shared prerequisites. Please note municipalities will have their own general contractor document and ID needs, but many of the requirements below may be part of the process.

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.


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. Municipality application processes differ from this process. Visit the city’s website or call for more information.

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
  • General contractors: varies by municipality.

Note: Applications take approximately 7 – 10 business days to review. Processing fees must be paid by credit card or electronic check. Review the checklist in the licensure dropdown on the Plumbing or website for more information.


Pass Examination (Electricians and Plumbers Only)

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.

Review the licensure by examination section on the Electrical Board and State Plumbing Board sites to see which codes you will be tested on.


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. Read the Colorado surety bond FAQs below or check with your local development authority for more information.

Why Do I Need a Colorado Contractor License Bond?

A contractor bond’s purpose is to protect your clients and 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.

How Much Does a Colorado Contractor License Bond Cost?

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.

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