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 wonder 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 in Oklahoma
- How long does it take to get a general contractor 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 and residential buildings, roads, utilities and general construction services like remodeling and repairs.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 Oklahoma Construction Industries Board (CIB) regulates the requirements for specialty licenses. The requirements for electrical and mechanical work 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 regulations based on your work location.
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 substantially changes or adds 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. However, if you plan to work as a general contractor, you will have to submit an application to be registered with the Tulsa Permit Center.3
Common licensing challenges in Oklahoma
Even though Oklahoma doesn’t have a general contractor license, different locations within Oklahoma have requirements. This can present a challenge to general contractors because they have to ensure they know the requirements in each location where 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 follow all local guidance, they're ready to work.
How to renew a general contractor license
Since there is no official Oklahoma general contractor license, there is no license renewal. 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, you must renew your general contractor registration annually through the city’s online portal.2
Oklahoma general contractor license reciprocity
Since Oklahoma doesn’t have a general contractor license, there isn’t any reciprocity.
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.1
Bond requirements for general contractors
There are no bond requirements for Oklahoma residents who are general contractors.
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%.1
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, some 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, you may still want a general liability policy for your contracting business. This basic policy can help protect you if you are held liable for property damage or an injury to someone other than an employee. Without coverage, you could be forced to pay out-of-pocket.
Workers’ Compensation insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance in Oklahoma can help cover employee injuries and illness, and also protects you from employees filing claims against you. Most employers in Oklahoma are required to have workers’ comp coverage. Some sole proprietors also get workers' comp because of the important protections it may provide after a workplace accident.
Commercial Auto insurance
Commercial auto insurance can help pay costs associated with injuries and property damage when business-owned vehicles are involved in an accident.
How NEXT Insurance supports Oklahoma general contractors
NEXT's business insurance in Oklahoma can help protect your general contracting business.
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