Arkansas general contractor license and insurance requirements

Arkansas general contractor license and insurance requirements

Kim Mercado
By Kim Mercado
Dec 28, 2023
1 min read

If you’d like to join the 15,000 general contractors in the state, you’ll need to know the Arkansas general contractor license and insurance requirements to launch your small business.

The Arkansas state board provides a temporary license for some candidates, and in Arkansas, applicants can provide a surety bond instead of financial statements.

Jump ahead to learn more about a general contractor license in Arkansas:

How to get a general contractor license in Arkansas

For new contractors in Arkansas, formal education isn’t required, but you will need references that can support the quality of your work as part of the license application process. You’ll also need to meet certain bond and insurance requirements, which we’ll explain in more detail below.

Additionally, if you plan to start a new general contracting business and work on commercial projects, you’ll need itemized financial statements to prove that you have the financial backing to support your new business.

After you’ve gathered all the application requirements, you’ll need to submit your documentation directly to the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board. Requirements vary based on the type of license you’re applying for, so check the site for details.

Your initial fee could be waived if you qualify for the Workforce Expansion Act of 2021. Just complete the waiver form and provide appropriate documentation.

Once the board issues your license, contractors can complete the renewal process online. However, documents for a new license can only be delivered directly to the office in-person, by fax or mail.

What are Arkansas general contractor license requirements?

Licenses are issued by the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board. The specific requirements to get a general contractor license in Arkansas will vary slightly based on the type of license you need. For a contractors license, Arkansas generally requires the following:

  • A completed application for the specific license type
  • A $100 filing fee
  • Three references who can verify work experience and aren’t related to you
  • A $10,000 contractors’ bond (for commercial license applicants only)
  • Passing scores on the Arkansas contractors license test (which includes a business and law section)
  • Financial statements prepared or reviewed by a CPA or a surety bond
  • Proof of workers’ compensation insurance coverage if you have employees

To qualify for a license, all applicants must pass both sections of the license test (trade and business and law).

General contractor license types

There are five general contractor license types in Arkansas:

  1. Residential Builders License: This license allows a contractor to build a new single-family residence and perform structural changes, remodels or additions to all residential projects over $2,000. A residential builder’s license will not allow for commercial projects over $50,000.
  2. Residential Remodelers License: With this license, you can perform major structural changes or additions to single-family residences for projects over $2,000. A residential remodelers’ license will not allow for commercial projects or completely new builds.
  3. Home Improvement License: You’ll want this license if you plan to perform specialty work, such as painting, roofing or flooring, on single-family residences for projects over $2,000. A home improvement license will not allow for commercial projects, new builds or home remodels.
  4. Commercial license: With this license, you can work on commercial projects over $50,000.
  5. Subcontractor registration certificate: This license allows a subcontractor to work on projects in Arkansas under a contract with someone who already holds an Arkansas contractor’s license. For a subcontractor’s registration certificate to be valid, the prime contractor must hold the appropriate license required for all contracted projects.

Common challenges for obtaining a general contractor license in Arkansas

If you are properly licensed in Arkansas for a specific type of project, you still may not be legally allowed to perform all the work for that project.

Outside the Arkansas State Contractors Licensing Board, 16 state agencies regulate certification and licensing for specific work classifications, such as HVAC or sprinkler system contractors.

For example, if your project requires electrical work, you may need to obtain an Arkansas electrical contractor’s license before completing that part of the project.

Performing work during construction projects without the proper state license or certification may be illegal, so all contractors must have a clearly outlined scope of work and check with multiple licensing agencies before beginning any projects.

Another challenge can be the timeline. Once you open an application, it only stays active for 90 days unless you pay an additional filing fee, so careful planning is a critical part of the application process.

It can take some time to gather the reference forms, study and pass the exam and secure the required bond and insurance.

You must submit your fully completed application to the licensing office at least three weeks before a board meeting for review.

How long does it take to get an Arkansas general contractor license?

Arkansas requires you to complete the application and submit all additional requirements at least three weeks before a committee meeting for review. The Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board meets every three to four weeks. All contractor license applications must go before the board for approval.

Contractors should plan for the application process to take approximately three months, which includes the time to gather and submit the application requirements and the time for review and approval by the board.

The licensing board does offer to expedite applications for active-duty military, veterans and their spouses.

Arkansas general contractor renewals occur annually. You can renew a license up to two years after its expiration date. The board will send a paper renewal around the 15th of the month before your license’s expiration date; online renewal access will also be available.

Most renewal applications and fees can be completed via the online portal; however, depending on your license type, you may need to fax or email additional information. Renewal fees are $50.00, and late fees range from $50-$100.

Arkansas general contractor license reciprocity

Arkansas doesn’t have reciprocity agreements, but you can get a temporary license while working through the Arkansas state licensing process if you already hold a valid contractor’s license elsewhere.

A temporary license is only valid for 90 days after being issued, so make sure you’re applying for a new Arkansas license concurrently.

Insurance requirements for Arkansas general contractors

In addition to the insurance and bonds the state requires, business insurance in Arkansas could help protect you from possible risks. Some policies to consider include:

General liability insurance for Arkansas general contractors

Unlike many other states, Arkansas does not require general liability insurance coverage for general contractors. However, carrying this policy can prevent you and your business from a considerable risk.

General liability coverage helps protect you against property damage and bodily injury claims from non-employees. Many customers require contractors to hold minimum liability coverage before being hired for the job. This protects you and your client from accidents during the project and shows potential customers that you conduct business carefully and professionally.

Commercial auto insurance

If you have work trucks or other vehicles as part of your contracting business, you’ll also need to carry commercial auto insurance. Whether your vehicles are small commuter cars with your business name on the title or larger work trucks used for carrying supplies and equipment, Arkansas requires commercial auto coverage for any vehicles owned by a business.

Workers’ compensation insurance

You’re required to have active workers’ compensation insurance in Arkansas if you have employees. However, you can also benefit from coverage if you’re a sole proprietor. Workers’ comp can provide coverage for medical bills and lost wages if you or an employee are injured on the job.

Tools and equipment insurance

You can protect your contractor gear with a tools and equipment insurance policy. It could help pay for repairs and replacements in the event of theft or damage.

Commercial property insurance

Commercial property insurance covers vandalism or damage to property owned or rented by your contracting business.

How NEXT helps support general contractors in Arkansas

NEXT helps Arkansas general contractors get the easy-to-manage, affordable coverage they need for licensing and work projects.

Select your coverage options and purchase your policy in about 10 minutes. Your certificate of insurance will be available immediately, and you can access your policy 24/7 via web or mobile app.

If you have questions, our licensed, U.S.-based insurance professionals are available to help.

Started a free quote with NEXT today.

banner get business insurance in 10
Kim Mercado
About the author
Kim Mercado is a content editor at NEXT's blog, where she writes and edits posts for small business owners. She enjoys helping entrepreneurs solve their business challenges and learn about insurance. Kim has contributed to Salesforce, Samsara and Google.

You can find Kim trying new recipes and cheering the 49ers.

What we cover
Chat with Us

Mon – Fri | 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. CT

© 2024 Next Insurance, Inc. 975 California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94304, United States
Better Business Bureau
Issuance of coverage is subject to underwriting. Not available in all states. Please see the policy for full terms, conditions and exclusions. Coverage examples are for illustrative purposes only. Your policy documents govern, terms and exclusions apply. Coverage is dependent on actual facts and circumstances giving rise to a claim. Next Insurance, Inc. and/or its affiliates is an insurance agency licensed to sell certain insurance products and may receive compensation from insurance companies for such sales. Policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the issuing insurance company. Refer to Legal Notices section for additional information.

Any starting prices or premiums represented before an actual customer quote are not guaranteed and are representations of existing premiums of active policies as of December 6, 2023. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten, not all applicants may qualify. Individual rates and savings vary and are subject to change. Discounts and savings are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. Certain discounts apply to specific coverages only.