How to Become a General Contractor in Georgia

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Throughout Georgia, there is a growing demand for general contractors. If you have experience in the construction industry and would like to translate your talents and interests into a lucrative career, becoming a general contractor could be for you, but if you want to become a contractor in Georgia, you’ll need to first obtain a license.

How To Become a General Contractor in Georgia

Georgia is one of the many states that requires contractors to hold a license in order to perform work. Licenses are issued by the Georgia Board of Residential & General Contractors, which has established a set of criteria that those who wish to become contractors must meet in order to gain licensure. Read on to discover just how to become a general contractor in Georgia.

There are three main types of contractor licenses available, and the process for how to become a general contractor in Georgia varies from type to type. This guide will explain the basics of how to get each type.

A residential – basic contractor is licensed to build and perform renovations on one and two family residences and single family townhomes, provided they are no taller than three stories. Here are the requirements to become a general contractor in Georgia with a residential – basic contractor license.

You must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Pass a criminal background check to show that you have good moral character
  • Work for a residential-basic contractor for at least 2 years or in a related construction field
  • Obtain a general liability insurance policy with a value of at least $300,000
  • Pass a written examination that tests knowledge of building codes, safety regulations and general contracting knowledge
  • Submit an application and pay a $200 non-refundable application fee

A residential – light commercial contractor license is allowed to build and renovate one and two family residences and single family townhomes, provided they are no taller than three stories like a basic residential contractor. In addition, this type of general contractor license in Georgia permits individuals to work multi-family homes and multi-use commercial buildings. To gain a Georgia residential – light commercial contractor license, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Pass a criminal background check to show that you have good moral character
  • Meet one of three experience and education criteria:

1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in construction management, engineering, architecture or another relevant field plus one year of work experience under the supervision of a contractor

2. Post-secondary education in construction-related fields plus work experience that works out to the equivalent of the degree and work experience requirement outlined in point one

3. Four years of experience working under the supervision of a licensed contractor

  • Obtain a general liability insurance policy with a value of at least $500,000
  • Pass a written examination that tests knowledge of building codes, safety regulations and general contracting knowledge.
  • Submit an application and pay a $200 non-refundable application fee

A general contractor license in Georgia gives licensees the ability to build and remodel all kinds of commercial and residential buildings with no restrictions as to their type or size. To qualify for this licenses, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Pass a criminal background check to show that you have good moral character
  • Meet one of three experience and education criteria:

1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in construction management, engineering, architecture or another relevant field plus one year of work experience under the supervision of a contractor

2. Post-secondary education in construction-related fields plus work experience that works out to the equivalent of the degree and work experience requirement outlined in point one

3. Four years of experience working under the supervision of a licensed contractor

  • Prove that you have a minimum net worth of $150,000 with a signed statement from a Certified Public Accountant
  • Obtain a general liability insurance policy with a value of at least $500,000
  • Pass a written examination that tests knowledge of building codes, safety regulations and general contracting knowledge
  • Submit an application and pay a $200 non-refundable application fee

About the Examination

Part of the process of how to become a general contractor in Georgia with any of the three licenses is passing a written examination. This examination is given on a computer at PSI testing centers. In Georgia, PSI has testing locations in Atlanta, Macon and Tifton. The exam consists of two parts. The first part is the same for all three licenses and is a 5-question test on Business and Law with questions about estimating, tax and labor laws, project and risk management and safety. The second part of the test varies for each type of license with the Residential – Basic Contractor exam asking 80 questions, the Residential – Light Commercial exam asking 90 questions and the General Contractor Exam asking 115 questions. The tests are timed, and there is a minimum passing score set for each examination. When you sign up for the exam, you’ll receive a guide that explains just what is on each test.

About Starting Your Business

In addition to needing a state license, you’ll also need to apply for a business license. The requirements will vary based upon whether you intend to work as a sole proprietorship or to start a partnership, corporation or limited liability corporation. A CPA or business lawyer can help you decide which type is right for you.

There you have it-the basics of how to become a general contractor in Georgia. Now, you’re ready to get on the path to getting your license and opening your business. As you begin to get everything in place to launch your company, keep Northside Tool Rental in mind. We have all of the tools that you’ll need for projects available for rent, so that you can begin working without having to make a big investment in tools and equipment right off the bat. Contact us for more information about what we have to offer.