Want to work as a contractor in New Jersey? Before you do, you will need to get registered. This requires you to submit applications to a number of regulatory bodies, provide additional documentation and even obtain a New Jersey contractor license bond.
Getting your license is easier than it sounds. Read on for a comprehensive breakdown of all the steps you need to make to get your New Jersey contractor license.
New Jersey contractor license types
According to the New Jersey Public Works Contractor Registration Act, contractors, subcontractors and lower-tier contractors in the state who want to work on public works projects must become registered. They can do so by applying at the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD).
The application for New Jersey public works contractor registration lists over 40 types of general contractor license types that require registration in the state. Some of the general contractors who need to get licensed are:
- HVAC contractors
- Asbestos contractors
- Electrical contractors
- Carpentering contractors
- Hauling contractors
- Plumbing contractors
- Roofing contractors
- and many others.
Additionally, if not working on public works projects, some contractors must also get licensed elsewhere!
Home improvement and home elevation, electrical, and HVACR contractors must become licensed at the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. Home repair contractors, on the other hand, must become licensed at the New Jersey Department of Banking & Insurance (DOBI).
Read on below for a breakdown of the requirements for each of these license types.
Steps to obtain a New Jersey contractor license
Step #1: Get registered as a business
All applicants for a New Jersey contractor license must complete and submit the business registration application (NJ-REG) to the New Jersey Division of Revenue. This application is meant to register them as a business, as is required by state law.
Once contractors have registered their business, they must also apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) through the Internal Revenue Service.
When they have registered as a business and have obtained all relevant business identification documents and their FEIN, contractors can proceed with applying for their particular contractor’s license.
Step #2: Get registered as a New Jersey public works contractor
General contractors and all other contractor types who wish to operate on public works, must then complete the application for public works contractor registration which they must then submit to the LWD. Along with that, they will need to obtain Workers’ Compensation Coverage insurance and pay a $300 non-refundable application fee. After you have been registered continuously for two consecutive years you may pay a two-year renewal fee which is $500.
Step #3: Obtain a New Jersey non-public contractor license
HVACR, electric, home improvement and home elevation contractors must become licensed with the Division of Consumer Affairs. There are different boards at the Division which these contractors must apply to:
- The Board of Examiners of Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) Contractors
- The Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors
- The Regulated Business Section (where home improvement and home elevation contractors must apply)
There is a separate license application for each of these license types and there is a separate set of licensing requirements for each of them.
Licensing requirements for both HVACR and electrical license applicants include:
- Having previous experience
- Submitting work experience certification forms
- Complete a pre-licensing education course and pass a trade examination (if applicable)
- Provide a copy of a criminal background check (may be requested)
The licensing fee for HVACR applicants is $160, and for New Jersey electrical contractors license applicants – $100.
Home improvement contractors, on the other hand, are not required to pass an examination or complete an education course. And unlike HVACR and electrical contractors, home improvement contractors are required to provide proof of having secured a commercial general liability insurance in a minimum amount of $500,000 per occurrence. These applicants must pay a licensing fee of $110.
Applicants for any of these licenses should make sure to contact the Board which is responsible for issuing their licenses to receive additional information regarding the process of getting licensed.
New Jersey contractor license bond
There is no single statewide requirement for New Jersey contractors to obtain a surety bond. Instead, different cities in the state require contractors to obtain a surety bond when getting licensed. Jersey city, for example, requires contractors to obtain a $15,000 bond.
To obtain a license bond, contractors must pay a premium to the surety bond company which issues their bond. This premium, or surety bond cost, is a fraction of the total amount of the bond they need to obtain. The cost of their bond is determined by their financials and their personal credit score in particular. The higher their score – the lower the cost of obtaining their bond.
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If you have any questions regarding the bonding requirements for contractors in New Jersey, give our professionals a call at 866-450-3412!