Almost 10.8 million people live in the state of Georgia. That’s a lot of potential homeowners who might be looking for someone to help them fix up their property. Qualified tradespeople could find success helping Peach State residents repair, renovate, and remodel.
You may need a contractor license to operate your business in Georgia. There are several license options available and requirements you must meet to get each. Here’s an overview of how to get a Georgia contractor license, including business insurance requirements.
Who needs a Georgia contractor license?
A contractor license is required to perform any work totaling $2,500 or more. Licenses are issued by the State Licensing Board. You must meet the general contractor license requirements in Georgia to apply.
There is no handyman license in Georgia, and you do not need a license if you only do minor repairs or small projects. However, you will need a contractor license if you decide to accept more complex and expensive projects. The same guideline applies to painters. You can work without a license, but you may need one to take on larger contracts.
Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and HVAC contractors fall under the category of specialty trades. They have their own licensing requirements that they must meet and do not need a general contractor license to operate.
Who can get a Georgia contractor license?
You must be at least 21 years old to apply for a general contractor license in Georgia. Applicants must also meet either the education or work experience requirements. To do this, you must provide the licensing board with one of the following:
- An official transcript or diploma in architecture, building construction, engineering, or project management from an accredited four-year university.
- Proof of at least four years of work experience in construction, with at least two years spent as a general contractor and one year in the field of accounting, administration, engineering, marketing, project management, or supervision.
- Documents proving a combination of university education and work experience totaling at least four years.
General Contractor License Options in Georgia
There are four types of general contractor licenses available in Georgia. Each allows contractors to perform different projects.
A general contractor license allows you to carry out work totaling over $2,500 on residential and commercial properties (including industrial and public facilities). However, you cannot conduct electrical, HVAC, plumbing, or utility contracting work with this license.
General Contractor-Limited Tier
With this license, you can perform the same work as the basic general contractor license on contracts totaling up to $500,000.
Tradespeople with this license can only work on residential properties. This includes detached one- and two-family homes, one-family townhouses under four stories, and adjacent structures (such as garages, sheds, fences, decks, etc.). Handymen commonly apply for this type of license.
Residential-Light Commercial Contractor
This license allows you to do the same work as the residential-basic contractor license but also work on multifamily and multi-use light commercial buildings.
How to Get a Georgia Contractor License
To get any of the above Georgia contractor licenses, you will need to:
- Complete an application and pay a fee
- Submit supporting documents to prove work experience and/or education
- Pass an exam (if required)
- Show proof of applicable insurance(s)
Your contractor license is only valid in the Peach State, as Georgia does not currently have reciprocal agreements with other states. Licenses must be renewed by June 30th in even-numbered years. Renewals can be processed online.
Do Georgia contractors need business insurance?
Georgia contractors must have General Liability insurance. The minimum amount of coverage you need depends on the type of license you have:
- General Contractor – $500,000
- General Contractor-Limited Tier – $500,000
- Residential-Basic Contractor – $300,000
- Residential-Light Commercial Contractor – $500,000
You will also need Workers’ Compensation insurance if you have employees. Part-time, full-time, temporary, and seasonal staff are all considered employees under this requirement.
Georgia contractors are also required to buy a $25,000 Georgia Residential and General Contractors Bond, which is different from insurance.
Get to Work in Georgia
Receiving a Georgia contractor license is an essential step when starting your own small business. You will need to meet the residential contractor license requirements, including completing skilled trade education, gaining work experience, and buying business insurance. However, the effort you put in now will help you hit the ground running as you begin to take on customers and projects.
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