Many people are drawn to Oklahoma because of its raw natural landscape and low cost of living. If you live in this midwestern state and are in the construction industry, you may be wondering how to obtain a general contractor license.
You might be surprised to discover that Oklahoma doesn’t require a general contractor’s license. However, the state has specialty licenses that general contractors should know about. And there may be requirements for general contractors based on the city or municipality where you plan to work.
Here’s everything you need to know about Oklahoma general contractor license requirements:
- Do you need a license to be a general contractor in Oklahoma?
- How to get a general contractor license in Oklahoma
- General contractor license fees
- Common licensing challenges
- How long does it take to get a license in Oklahoma?
- How to renew a general contractor license
- Oklahoma general contractor license reciprocity
- Bond requirements for general contractors
- Insurance requirements for Oklahoma general contractors
Do you need a license to be a general contractor in Oklahoma?
You don’t need a license to be a general contractor in Oklahoma. This includes general contractors who work on commercial buildings, residential remodeling, roads, utilities or general construction services.1
How to get a general contractor license in Oklahoma
While there is no Oklahoma general contractor license application or registration, it’s important to note that if you do any electrical, mechanical, or roofing contractor work as a general contractor, you will need to get a specialty license.
The requirements for specialty licenses are regulated by the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board (CIB). For electrical and mechanical work, the requirements include completing an apprenticeship and passing an exam to become a journeyman.
In Oklahoma, the city or jurisdiction you are working in might have its own requirements for general contractors, so it’s important to look up any regulation based on the location of your work.
General contractor license fees
Since there is no license requirement, there are also no Oklahoma general contractor license fees for the state as a whole.
However, there may be fees depending on where you are in Oklahoma. The two biggest cities in Oklahoma — Oklahoma City and Tulsa — both have additional requirements for general contractors.
In Oklahoma City, any work that provides substantial change or addition to any new or existing residential building within the city limits requires a building permit. If you’re taking on any work that needs a building permit, you’ll need to register as a building contractor via the Oklahoma City official website and pay a $100 registration fee.2
In Tulsa, Oklahoma’s second-largest city, you don’t need a general contractor license, but to work as a general contractor, you will have to submit an application to be registered in Tulsa’s Permit Center.3
Common licensing challenges in Oklahoma
Even though Oklahoma doesn’t have a general contractor license, different locations within Oklahoma do have requirements. This can present a challenge to Oklahoma general contractors because they have to make sure they know the requirements in each location they have projects.
In places that do not have their own building codes, general contractors do not have to have a license, but they do have to provide notice of their work to the Construction Industries Board (CIB).4
How long does it take to get a general contractor license in Oklahoma?
Because Oklahoma doesn’t require a general contractor's license, getting set up to work doesn’t take any time at all.
You also don’t have to worry about Oklahoma general contractor license renewal.
As long as general contractors have the building permits they need and have followed all local guidance, they’re ready to get to work.
How to renew a general contractor license
Since there is no official Oklahoma general contractor license, there is no license renewal — and this is also true for many municipalities, including Tulsa. Once you register as a general contractor at the Tulsa Permit Center, your registration doesn’t expire.
In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma general contractor license renewal happens annually. You renew your license the same way you apply for one.4
Oklahoma general contractor license reciprocity
Since Oklahoma doesn’t have a general contractor license, there also isn’t any reciprocity — only a few requirements to complete: if you live out of state and want to do general contracting work in Oklahoma, you must complete a “Non-Resident Contractor” registration for the Oklahoma Tax Commission before doing any work.
Bond requirements for general contractors
There are no bond requirements for Oklahoma residents who are general contractors.
But if you live out of state and are doing general contracting work in Oklahoma worth over $100,000, you’re required to post a bond of 10%.
Insurance requirements for Oklahoma general contractors
It’s crucial for a well-run business to be covered by general contractor insurance. Even though the state of Oklahoma doesn’t require general contractor insurance, many cities within Oklahoma do.
For example, Oklahoma City requires general contractors to have a certificate of insurance for a minimum of $50,000 general liability insurance, and a minimum of $100,000 workers' compensation insurance.
When you register for a general contractor account with Tulsa Permit Center, you will need to provide a certificate of insurance for general liability and workers’ compensation.
General Liability insurance
Even if not required by your local city, it’s always a good idea to have a general liability policy for your contracting business. This basic policy protects you in many different situations.
General liability insurance can help pay for expenses if you are held liable for an injury (not including your employees) or damage to someone’s property while on the job. Without coverage, you could be forced to pay out-of-pocket.
Workers’ Compensation insurance
Getting workers’ compensation insurance in Oklahoma covers employee injuries and illness, and also protects you from employees filing claims against you.
And while it's not required in Oklahoma, many sole proprietors also get workers' comp because of the important protection it offers after a workplace accident. Personal healthcare insurance won't cover lost wages and it might not cover injuries if you are injured while working on a construction site.
Commercial Auto insurance
Commercial auto insurance provides important protection for business-owned vehicles that are involved in an accident. It can help pay costs associated with injuries and property damage that are not typically covered by personal auto insurance policies.
How NEXT Insurance supports Oklahoma general contractors
NEXT's business insurance in Oklahoma can help protect your general contracting business.
It’s never been easier to apply for coverage and get a certificate of insurance through our online services. It only takes minutes.
We specialize in small business insurance for construction professionals, customized to fit your needs.
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Do you work in multiple states? Find out what states require a general contractor's license through our summary of general contractor license requirements in every state.