Overview of South Carolina Contractor License Bond Requirements

Applicants for a general, mechanical, residential builder, and residential specialty contractor license in South Carolina must post a contractor license bond. Posting a bond is a licensing and registration requirement for these types of contractors.

Why do I require a bond?

Licenses for contractors in South Carolina are issued by either the Residential Builders Commission or the Contractor's Licensing Board. Both of these are part of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR), and have similar licensing requirements for contractors.

The surety bond is a central licensing requirement and is a form of guarantee that contractors provide to the state, and the public, to show that they will comply with the state's laws. Some of these bonds also serve as a guarantee that contractors will perform work in accordance with contract conditions.

If a contractor violates their bond agreement and causes losses or damages to anyone, a claim can be made against their bond. The surety that backs the bond will investigate the claim and may extend compensation to claimants if proven legitimate for up to the full amount of the bond.

Are you new to surety bonds and want to find out more about how they work? See our detailed ‘What is a surety bond' guide for a full overview!

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For more information about this bond, its cost, what gives rise to a bond claim, and how to apply for a bond, see the sections below.

Call us at (866)-450-3412 anytime if you have any questions about the license bond for contractors in South Carolina!

What's the Cost of the South Carolina Contractor License Bond?

The cost of your bond is equal to a fraction of the full amount of your bond. The amount of your bond is the maximum amount of compensation that the bond agreement guarantees as security for claims. The cost, or premium, is determined by the surety depending on several financial factors.

The amounts of the bonds required of contractors in South Carolina (based on the job contract limit), and the rates of their premium depending on their credit score are in the following ranges:

South Carolina Contractor License Bond Cost Based on Credit Score
Bond type Bond Amount Credit Score
Above 700 650-699 600-649 Below 599
General contractors
Group 1 $20,000 $150-$300 $200-$500 $500-$1,000 $1,000-$1,500
Group 2 $80,000 $600-$1,200 $800-$2,000 $2,000-$4,000 $4,000-$6,000
Group 3 $200,000 $1,500-$3,000 $2,000-$5,000 $5,000-$10,000 $10,000-$15,000
Group 4 $350,000 $2,625-$5,250 $3,500-$8,750 $8,750-$17,500 $17,500-$26,250
Group 5 $500,000 $3,750-$7,500 $5,000-$12,5000 $12,500-$25,000 $25,000-$37,500
Mechanical contractors
Group 1 $7,000 $100 $100-$175 $175-$350 $350-$525
Group 2 $20,000 $150-$300 $200-$500 $500-$1,000 $1,000-$1,500
Group 3 $40,000 $300-$600 $400-1,000 $1,000-$2,000 $2,000-$3,000
Group 4 $80,000 $600-$1,200 $800-$2,000 $2,000-$4,000 $4,000-$6,000
Group 5 $400,000 $3,000-$6,000 $4,000-$10,000 $10,000-$20,000 $20,000-$30,000
Residential contractors
Registered Residential Specialty Contractor $5,000 $100 $100-125 $125-$250 $250-$375
Licensed Residential Specialty Contractor (HVAC, plumber, or electrician) $10,000 $100-$150 $100-$300 $250-$500 $500-$1,000
Residential Builder $15,000 $112.5-$225 $150-$375 $375-$750 $750-$1,125

Note that contractors in several counties and cities in the state also require a bond. Contractors in Columbia, Forest Acres, North Augusta, Richland County, and Rock Hill must also get bonded under certain conditions. If you are located in one of these places, make sure to contact your local license and permit office to find out whether you need a bond!

What determines your bond premium

Sureties determine the cost of your bond, based on several criteria. Your personal credit score is the main factor that influences the rate you are offered. The higher an applicant's credit score, the lower their bond rate usually is. Applicants with high scores are offered so-called standard market rates which range between 1% and 4% of the total bond amount.

Sometimes sureties may also want to request to review the status of other financials in order to get a better picture. These include:

  • Personal and business financial statements
  • Any fixed or liquid assets
  • Industry experience

Interested to find out how much your bond might cost? Try our bond calculator below to get an estimate of your bond rate!

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Can I get bonded if I have bad credit?

Applicants with lower credit scores can get bonded just like everyone else. The only difference in the bonding process between them and applicants with higher scores are the different rates. To get bonded with a lower score, you will be offered a higher rate. This is because of the risk for sureties associated with issuing bonds under these circumstances.

Yet, you can improve your rate over time quite a bit by increasing your credit score and other financials. This way, next time you apply for a bond renewal, you will be offered a lower rate. See our Bad Credit Program page for more information about this topic!

What Can Cause a Claim Against Your Bond?

A claim is typically filed against a bond when the bonded party has violated the conditions of the bond. For example, bonds for general and mechanical contractors in South Carolina are for the benefit of any person who is damaged by a contractor's act or omission that constitutes a breach of contract.

In that instance, a claim can be filed against the bond to compensate the claimant for damages. When a claim is filed, the surety that backs the bond investigates the situation to determine the veracity of the claim. If it determines that the claim is legitimate, it may extend compensation to claimants up to the full amount of the bond.

When a surety covers a claim, this is only temporary. Ultimately, it is the bonded contractor who is liable for any claims against the bond, and who must reimburse the surety for any compensation it extends. On the other hand, if the contractor does not violate the bond agreement, the only cost they have associated with the bond is the cost of their premium.

Apply For Your License Bond Here!

To apply for your contractor license bond in South Carolina, complete the bond form below. We'll contact you with your free quote and more information shortly!

Not ready to apply? Then simply get a free no-obligations quote, so you can see our low prices!

Do you have any additional questions about getting a bond in South Carolina? Call us at (866)-450-3412!

Further Reading


About the author:
Todd Bryant
Todd Bryant is a graduate of Germantown Academy and the University of Pittsburgh College of Business Administration Honors College. He has been President of Bryant Surety Bonds, Inc., an A+ rated Business with the Better Business Bureau, since 2007. Licensed as a producer with the Department of Insurance, he has been published in the National Association of Surety Bond Producers newsletter and on numerous authoritative publications such as The Washington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Azcentral.com and many more.