Overview of Washington DC Contractor License Bond Requirements

The licensing process for a number of contractor license types in DC includes posting a contractor license bond.

The bond amounts for the different types of licenses are as follows:

  • A $25,000 bond for a DC home improvement license
  • A $4,000 bond for an electrical (regular voltage)
  • A $2,000 bond for an electrical (low voltage)
  • A $4,000 bond for an elevator
  • A $5,000 bond for plumbing/gasfitting
  • A $5,000 bond for a refrigeration/air conditioning

Why do I need a bond?

You must post a bond as a form of guarantee that you will comply with any regulations and rules that apply to your specific type of trade. The bond serves as a guarantee of your compliance.

If you violate your legal obligations, any persons who have been harmed as a result, or the licensing body itself, may file a claim against your bond. The surety that backs the bond will then investigate the situation and may extend compensation to claimants for as much as the full amount of the bond.

If you have further questions about how bonds work, see our ‘What is a surety bond' guide for a fuller explanation!

Start your surety bond application today! Why us?
  • Quick turnaround - just 1-2 business days
  • Tailor-made advice on building a strong application
  • Exclusive bad credit programs

Want to know how much your bond might cost, and how to apply? See the following sections.

What's the Cost of a Washington DC Contractor License Bond?

The cost of your bond, also known as your premium, is a fraction of the full amount of the bond you need to obtain. Sureties review an applicant's financial information in order to determine the rate at which they can bond them. Below are the factors that most influence your premium.

Bond cost factors

Your personal credit score has the greatest influence on your bond cost. Applicants with high scores are typically considered as low-risk and are offered a lower rate. Reversely, applicants with lower scores are considered a higher risk and see an increase in their bond premium.

To properly determine your rate, the surety may also want to check your:

  • Financial statements
  • Fixed and liquid assets
  • Industry experience

See the table below to get an idea about the different bond cost ranges available, based on credit score!

Washington DC Contractor License Bond Cost Based on Credit Score
Bond type Bond Amount Credit Score
Above 700 650-699 600-649 Below 599
Home improvement contractor license $25,000 $188-$375 $250-$750 $625-$1,250 $1,250-$1,875
Plumbing/gasfitting and refrigeration/air conditioning license $5,000 $100 $100-125 $125-$250 $250-$375
Electrical (regular) and elevator license $4,000 $100 $100 $100-$200 $200-$300
Electrical (low voltage) license $2,000 $100 $100 $100 $100-$150

Can I get bonded with bad credit?

Yes, even if you have a low credit score, you can still apply for a bond and get approved.

Because applicants with lower credit are considered a higher risk by sureties, they usually pay higher premiums than applicants with good credit. Yet, bond premiums can change significantly over time, as you improve your credit score and other financial factors.

Learn more about the conditions of applying with a low score from our Bad Credit Program page!

How Do Bond Claims Occur?

Your contractor license bond is a legally binding agreement with the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Depending on your trade, the surety bond requires you to comply with different laws and regulations of the District of Columbia. If you violate these, a claim can be filed against your bond.

The purpose of the claim is to secure compensation for anyone who suffers a loss or injury due to that violation. The surety that backs the bond investigates the claim, once it is filed, and determines its validity. If there is a good reason for a claim, the surety compensates claimants for as much as the full amount guaranteed by the bond.

In return for any compensation it extends, the surety must be reimbursed by the contractor. Sureties do not assume liability for claims that arise against the bonds they secure. Final liability always lies with the bonded contractor which is why it is desirable to avoid any situations or actions that may give rise to a claim!

Apply For Your License Bond Here!

To get started with your application, complete and submit the bond form. You will receive a free quote along with all further information required to complete the application process.

Start your surety bond application today! Why us?
  • The lowest possible rates
  • A 100% money-back guarantee
  • Access to specialty programs, not available to small agencies

If you have any questions regarding the bonding requirements for DC contractors, 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.