A general contractor license is mandatory if your business offers construction-related services in Virginia. However, the type of license you'll need depends on the size and type of projects your business will perform.
To obtain a Virginia general contractors' license, you'll apply with the Board for Contractors in the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR).
While navigating the licensing process can be challenging, we'll help make it easier with all the key information you need. Continue reading to learn about:
- How to become a contractor in Virginia
- General contractor license types
- License requirements in VA
- How much does a Virginia general contractor license cost?
- General contractor renewals
- Virginia license reciprocity
- Insurance requirements for Virginia general contractors
If you plan to work in other states outside Virginia, check out our guide to general contractor license requirements by state.
How to become a contractor in Virginia
Virginia doesn’t license individuals, only businesses. That means you must start a general contracting business to obtain a general contractor license in this state.
You can choose any business structure you want, but the most common options are sole proprietorships, limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations and partnerships. You must also register the name of your business with the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
Once you start your business, you can begin the process of obtaining a license. The good news is, if you have employees, they won’t all need one — they can work under your company’s general contractor license.
Also, if you’re already licensed in another state, you may be able to take advantage of the Virginia general contractor license reciprocity program, which allows you to skip taking a licensing exam in Virginia.
General contractor license types
General contractor licenses in Virginia have two parts: class and specialty.
License class is determined by the size (in dollars) of the project you’re working on:
- Class A: No project cost limits or annual limits
- Class B: $129,000 per-project limit and $750,000 annual project limit
- Class C: $10,000 per-project limit at $150,000 annual project limit
License specialty is designated by a two- or three-letter code which is determined by the type of work you’ll be doing. There are many specialties, but the most common are the following:
- Residential Building (RBC): Allows you to build new homes.
- Home Improvement (HIC): Allows you to complete renovations, remodels and repairs of existing homes.
- Commercial Building (CBC): Allows you to build new commercial properties.
To hold a specialty on your license, the person who is the designated Qualified Individual (QI) must meet all the required eligibility criteria for that area of specialization. See a complete list of contractor specialties in Virginia.
License requirements in VA
To obtain your general contractor license in Virginia, you must take the following steps:
- Register your business with the State Corporation Commission.
- Register your business with Virginia Tax.
- Choose your license class and specialty (if applicable).
- Identify all Responsible Members of the business.
- Identify a Qualified Individual (QI) for each specialty license requested.
- Identify a Designated Employee (for Class A and B licenses).
- The Designated Employee for a Class A license must pass the General, Virginia and Advanced portions of the exam.
- The Designated Employee for a Class B license must pass the General and Virginia portions of the exam.
- For Class C, you must have two years of experience in your specialty, but no exam is required.
- Class A and B license applicants must submit a financial statement form, CPA review/audit, and a Surety Bond form. (Class A requires $45,000 net worth/equity, Class B requires $15,000 net worth/equity.)
- Complete the pre-license education course approved by the Board of Contractors.
- Complete the application and send it in with the required fee.
The average application processing time is 30 days if everything is completed properly. Upon approval, the license will be issued after the initial review and sent in the mail.
How much does a Virginia general contractor license cost?
The amount you’ll spend obtaining your license depends on your license class:
- Class A: $385
- Class B: $370
- Class C: $235
All license classes require an additional $50 annual business registration fee. Licensing exams and preparation courses also come with fees, but the amount you’ll pay for those depends on the test and course provider you use.
General contractor renewals
Licenses expire every two years. The DPOR will notify you of your renewal around 60 days prior to your license expiration. You can renew your existing Virginia general contractor license online, by mail or by fax.
Contractor reciprocity in Virginia
Virginia does not have reciprocity agreements for out of state general contractors. The only agreements they hold is for electrical, HVAC and plumbing contractors.
Insurance requirements for Virginia general contractors
In addition to obtaining the proper licensing for your business, you need to have business insurance in Virginia in place to protect your small business. General contractors often consider the following types of insurance:
General Liability insurance for Virginia contractors
General liability insurance protects you if your business is found responsible for injuring someone other than an employee or causing property damage. Virginia doesn’t require liability insurance for general contractors, but coverage may be required to obtain certain permits. It can offer important financial protection to keep your business moving forward.
Workers’ Compensation insurance
Virginia requires workers’ compensation if you employ more than two employees, including subcontractors. This coverage helps cover the cost of medical bills and lost wages if you or an employee are injured on the job.
Commercial Auto insurance
Commercial auto insurance covers you and your business vehicles. Virginia requires auto insurance for all drivers in the state, including those driving for commercial purposes.
Tools and Equipment insurance
Tools and equipment insurance protects the gear you use as a contractor. It covers repairs and replacements if your tools and equipment are stole, lost or damaged.
Commercial Property insurance
Having commercial property insurance helps protect your business from damage and vandalism that may occur on the property you lease or own.
How NEXT helps Virginia general contractors
If you’re starting your own general contracting business, NEXT can help you get the customized coverage you need quickly and easily. Because we only work with small businesses and self-employed individuals, we can help you get the affordable insurance tailored to your business’s needs.
You can complete the online application process and have a certificate of insurance in less than 10 minutes.