North Carolina Contractor License Guide
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.
How to Get a North Carolina’s General Contractor License
Step 1 - Determine the Type of Contractor License You Need
Depending on the project size you intend to work on, you’ll have to choose between unlimited, intermediate, and limited contractor licenses.
Step 2 - Access North Carolina Contractor License Application Forms
Get the application form from North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors’ website.
Step 3 - Fulfill Requirements and Obtain Required Documents
Provide financial reports, letters of reference and name a Responsible Managing Individual.
Step 4 - Obtain Your Contractor License Bond
Instead of working capital or net worth (or if not able to meet the requirements), you can furnish a contractor license bond.
Step 5 - Submit Your North Carolina Contractor License Application
Fill and submit your application form and pay the corresponding fees.
Step 6 - Pass Examination
Once you receive your examination eligibility letter, schedule and complete your exam.
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.
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.
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
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)
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.
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.