NC Contractors License: A Complete Guide

North Carolina contractors must get a license to perform various types of work in the state. The licensing process for general contractors is overseen by the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors. The licensing board establishes specific requirements you must meet in order to obtain your license. 

In this guide, we’ll provide a simple step by step process for getting your NC contractors license.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

NC Contractor License Requirements

Contractors must get a general contractor license to bid and work on certain types of projects valued over $30,000. This includes work involving the construction of buildings, public utilities, highways, and other types of projects.

The Licensing Board requires contractors to meet the following initial requirements to be eligible for a license:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Possess good moral character (determined by the board)
  • Provide evidence of financial responsibility 

Process of Getting a NC Contractors License

Here are the steps you need to complete to get your contractor license in North Carolina:

Determine license type

General contractors licenses in North Carolina have six different classifications:

  • Building
  • Residential
  • Highway
  • Public Utilities
  • Specialty
  • Unclassified (this classification is one that meets all of the requirements of the above)

Licenses come in three different levels (or limits), each determining the scope of projects you are eligible to work on.

  • Limited License: Lets you work on projects up to $500,000 in value
  • Intermediate License: Lets you work on projects up to $1 million in value
  • Unlimited License: Lets you work on any project regardless of its value

You can learn more about the different classifications here on the NCLBGC website.

The State of North Carolina also issues licenses for different types of specialty contracting. This includes:

  • Electrical contractor license
  • Landscape contractor license
  • HVAC contractor license

Register your business

General contractors must register their business with the North Carolina Secretary of State and obtain a North Carolina business license.

You must also obtain a North Carolina tax identification number from the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Meet the financial requirements

Contractors must verify financial responsibility by meeting the following minimum requirements:

  • Limited license: $17,000 working capital or $80,000 net worth
  • Intermediate license: $75,000 working capital
  • Unlimited license: $1,500,000 working capital

Get a surety bond

Contractors that do meet the necessary financial requirements can post a surety bond in its place.

North Carolina contractor licenses bonds give financial protection to the state and your customers, helping to ensure that you’ll conduct business in accordance with all licensing regulations.

The required bond amount depends on the license limitation:

  • Limited license: $350,000 bond
  • Intermediate license: $1 million bond
  • Unlimited license: $2 million bond

You only need to pay a small percentage of the total amount of the bond as a premium. This premium rate typically ranges from 1% to 3% of the total bond amount. The surety company determines the exact premium based on your industry experience, credit history, and various other factors.

Certain cities and municipalities will require their own surety bond for contractors that want to work in the local area.

Submit application

Once you’ve met all the licensing requirements, you can complete your contractor license application form. You’ll then gather all the supporting documents needed to verify that you satisfy the requirements.

When everything is in order, you can send your application and supporting documents to the following address.

North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors
5400 Creedmoor Rd
Raleigh, NC 27612

You must include the appropriate application fee with your application. The fee varies depending on the license limitation:

  • Limited License: $75
  • Intermediate License: $100
  • Unlimited License: $125

Once they receive your application, the licensing board will review it to ensure you meet all necessary qualifications. This process takes two to three weeks.

Pass license exam

If your application meets all the requirements, the licensing board will mail you an exam eligibility letter. You’ll then need to schedule an exam through PSI.

After you successfully pass the exam, the vendor offering the exam will notify the licensing board. The board will review your application one more time before issuing your license.

You can learn more about the exam process and find approved exam vendors by visiting the PSI website.

Certain contractors are eligible to waive the exam. More details are available on the application form.

Getting Specialty NC Contractors Licenses

If you want to get a specialty NC contractor license, you must complete the proper application and send it to the licensing agency.

North Carolina Electrical Contractors License

Electrical contractors must submit their application to the State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors (NCBEEC).

North Carolina State of Examiners of Electrical Contractors
3101 Industrial Drive, Suite 206
Raleigh, NC 27609

North Carolina Plumbing Contractor Licenses 

Plumbing contractors must submit their application to the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors.

North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors
1109 Dresser Court
Raleigh, NC 27609

NC Contractor License Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to get a contractors license in North Carolina?

Contractors must pay an application fee that ranges from $75 to $125.

Depending on how you choose to meet the financial responsibility requirements, you may also need to pay the premium for a contractor license surety bond.

How much experience does one need to become a contractor in North Carolina?

There is no explicit experience requirement for obtaining a contractor license in North Carolina. However, you must have enough industry knowledge to pass all required examinations.

How long does it take to get a NC contractor license?

Once the licensing board receives your application, it will take them two to three weeks to process. They will then mail you a notice to schedule your knowledge exam.

After you pass the exam, the licensing board will take another two to three weeks to review your application again before issuing the license.

How do you renew a NC contractor license?

All NC contractors licenses expire annually on January 1. Contractors can begin renewing their licenses in October. Any license not renewed 60 days prior to the expiration date will become invalid. 

If you fail to renew your license before the January expiration date, you must pay a $10 monthly penalty fee.

How EZ Surety Bonds Can Help with an NC Contractors License

When you’re ready to get your NC contractor license, EZ Surety Bonds has what you need to get your contractor license bond quickly and affordably.

We provide competitive premiums and fast turnarounds for individuals of all financial standings. You can apply online today for free.

Get in touch if you have any questions about the contractor bonding process in North Carolina.