General contractor is a general term. In your home state, a contractor’s license might be called something else. You might technically be a residential contractor (depending on your specialty), a dwelling contractor, or a residential builder, for example. You might have a license or an endorsement for contracting work. But regardless of how your state classifies you, the odds are pretty high that they require you to take certain steps periodically to maintain your licensure. And those general contractor license maintenance steps probably come with associated costs.
Keeping your contracting license in place shouldn’t break the bank, but it can still help to prep for some of the associated fees and the pricier requirements. So let’s look at the rough cost you should expect to maintain a general contractor license, plus some state-specific considerations.
First up, the actual renewal of your license is going to cost you something. These fees range from state to state, but the good news is that they usually more or less balance out. States that require more frequent renewals generally have lower fees, while states with longer stretches between renewals may charge more. That means that if you break it down to cost per year, your fees shouldn’t be too exorbitant.
To give you a rough idea of what to expect, we looked at the renewal fees for a handful of states below:
All told, if you budget for about $200 per year, you should have more than enough to cover your renewal fee even in the pricier states.
This all assumes that you get your renewal in on time. Submit it late, and you’ll almost definitely need to pay more to cover the late fee. All told, it’s worth keeping an eye on your renewal deadline to avoid this unnecessary added cost.
The actual renewal application and its fee isn’t your only cost to consider. Your state also likely requires continuing education (CE) — and that’s not necessarily free.
Fortunately, a lot of states have approved online CE providers so you can take your hours as conveniently and affordably as possible. Again, we looked at the cost of contractor CE in some specific states, plus linked to online courses you can take:
Finally, your state probably requires you to maintain bonding and insurance. The cost of your insurance will vary depending on the risk associated with the specific types of projects you take on. That said, getting quotes from a few different insurance companies can ensure you’re not paying too much for the policy you choose.
Similarly, your bond cost will vary depending on the size of the bond your state requires and your credit score. Experts say to budget for between 1% and 15% of the total bond.
At the end of the day, keeping this guide handy can help you plan for the cost of maintaining your general contractor license.