To perform any type of contractor work in Washington state, you will need to get a license from the State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). The Department provides two types of registrations to applicants, depending on the work they wish to perform.
To perform work in one particular trade, you will need a specialty license, whereas to perform or hire subcontractors in several trades, you will need a general contractor registration. Both types of registrations have similar licensing requirements. These include registering your business, obtaining insurance coverage, and getting a Washington contractor license bond.
For a detailed guide on how to get your Washington contractor license, see below!
1. Pick Your Washington Contractor License Type
The state Department allows for two types of Washington contractor registrations:
- General contractor – allows you to perform most types of construction work as well as to hire subcontractors in more than one specialty
- Specialty contractor – allows you to perform work only in the trade you are registered for
2. Register Your Business in the State
To operate a business in Washington, you need to register it in one of several ways. If your business will be a corporation, an LLC, LLP, or LP, you need to incorporate your business with the Secretary of State.
On top of that, you also need to apply for:
- Registration at the Department of Revenue in order to get a Unified Business Identifier (UBI)
- File a Business Licenses Application (BLA) with the Department of Business Licensing Service
If you will be hiring employees, you will also need a Federal Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
When you have covered these requirements, you can proceed with your Washington state contractor license application.
3. Cover the Washington Contractor License Requirements
Your application for a Washington contractor license includes the following requirements which you must cover:
- Complete your Washington contractor license application form
- Get a Washington contractor license surety bond
- General contractors require a $12,000 bond, and specialty contractors a $6,000 bond
- Get a Certificate of liability insurance in the following amounts:
- $200,000 in public liability and $50,000 property damage OR
- $250,000 combined single limit
These are the main application requirements for getting registered as a contractor in the state. Once you are ready, you can then post your application.
!Note: For general contractors, there are additional requirements for performing work in the following trades: plumbing, electrical, elevators, mobile home installation, boilers, and asbestos. To get registered in these trades, you will need to pass a number of experience, education, examination, and licensing requirements.
4. Get Your Contractor License Bond
To be eligible to perform contractor work in the state, you need to get a Washington contractor license bond. The purpose of the bond is to guarantee your compliance with the provisions of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC).
You can get a free quote on your bond by completing the simple bond form application below!
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5. Submit Your Application and Registration Fee
When you’ve covered the requirements, mail your signed and notarized application form, along with all supporting documentation to the Department at the following address:
P.O. BOX 44450
Olympia, WA 98504-4450
Make sure to include a registration fee of $117.90 to your application, in the form of a check or money order, made payable to the Department.
Once your application is received, it may take between 3-5 days for it to be processed and reviewed. If your application covers the requirements, you will be issued your registration and listed on the “Verify a Contractor, Tradesperson, or Business” section of the Department website. You will also receive your contractor registration card within 2 weeks.
6. Renewing Your Washington Contractor Registration
Registrations are valid for two years. When you are due to renew your registration, you will be notified by the Department with a renewal card which you will receive in the mail. The card will provide you with all the necessary details about how to renew your registration.
If you have any questions about the contractor registration process, contact the Department at 1-800-647-0982!