The contracting world is one that’s varied and versatile, and the various classifications within a contractor’s license reflect this reality. There are dozens of different specific classifications that contractors might carry on their license, representing their specific training in that field and their ability to provide services to customers within it.
At QuickED, we’re here to offer numerous services to assist contractors with their license, including license renewal requirements, continuing education classes, and much more for contractors in both Utah and Georgia. One particular theme we’re happy to help you with: determining whether it might be the right time to add one or more new classifications to your contractor’s license, allowing you to expand your possible work themes and reach more clients. What are some factors to be aware of if you’re considering this move? Here’s a primer.
For those just entering this world, you might be surprised at how many different classifications there are for contractors today. Contractors work on numerous different property areas and may be licensed to carry out jobs for specific areas depending on these classifications. While we won’t list each and every classification here — it would take the entire blog! — here are some basic examples:
- General engineering or building contractor
- Modular unit installation contractor
- Residential/small commercial contractor
- Large commercial contractor
- Mechanical systems contractor
- Recreational facilities contractor
- Residential construction or remodeling contractor
- Exterior painting tradesperson
- Carpentry and flooring contractor
- Masonry, siding, and rain gutter contractor
Again, this is just a partial list — there are dozens more here, and some of these will even break down into sub-categories for more specific delineation. If you’re looking for a full list of contractor types and classifications in your state or local area, contact our team.
Our next several sections will go over how to approach things if you’re looking to add a new classification to your license.
Reasons for Adding a Classification
In many cases, contractors will start out with just a single classification, specializing in that area. There are a few reasons, however, why you might consider eventually adding more to your license:
- Expanding your services: If you’ve found success as a single classification, expanding your services can allow you to offer more options and provide more value to customers. You might go the route of adding the same general service but in a different capacity – for example, going from residential siding installation to commercial exterior painting – or branch out into areas that complement your existing services, such as getting licensed as an electrical contractor so you can take on electrical work as an addition to your building and construction services.
- Updating: As the years go by, you might find that certain areas of your license fall behind and need updating – say, moving from residential installation of siding to commercial exterior painting.
- Staying relevant: In other cases, specific contracting areas will change significantly over a period of time, necessitating an update to your license. This is particularly the case with areas that are subject to increased regulation over time – for example; licensing requirements change for contractors working on roofs or working with gas piping through local government ordinances, so you’ll need to be sure your license reflects the most recent requirements.
Rules for Adding Classifications
If you’re looking to add one or more classifications to your contractor’s license, this is a process that will be managed by your state’s licensing board. The process will have some overlap with your original license application, and there may be some overlap with other documentation that you’ll need to provide – such as proof of your work history. Here are some general steps to take:
- Check to see whether it’s possible for you to add a classification: Before you even start the process, determine whether your state will allow you to expand the scope of your license. Most state licensing boards will allow you to add a classification, but there are some states that only offer the opportunity for an initial contractor’s license with just one classification.
- Specify who will hold the license, if it isn’t you, and provide documentation: You can’t add a classification to your license if you don’t already have one.
- If the new classification will be held by someone else, such as an employee or subcontractor, they’ll need to meet the licensing requirements for that classification in addition to filling out an application.
Can You Apply for Multiple Classifications?
Yes, though it’s important to note that this can’t all be done with the same application. Rather, you have to fill out a new application for each classification that you want to add. You’ll need to submit all documentation and pay the appropriate fees in the same way that you did when you first got your license.
Do You Have to Take an Exam?
In most cases, the answer here is yes — you will usually have to take an exam to add a new classification to your license. In some situations, though, such as when you’ve been working under the guidance of a licensed contractor in a specific classification area, you might be able to apply for an exam waiver that will remove the need for you to take a test.
There is no guarantee your state will meet this request, but your chances are higher if you can prove you have the skills and knowledge to succeed. Some states will allow you to get an exam waiver if you’ve been working in this field for a minimum number of years, such as three or five years. Still, other states will give students and military service members the ability to skip the test if they meet certain requirements. These states may also waive exams for people who have licenses in other states, but this can vary.
For more on applying for additional classifications to your contractor’s license or to learn about any of our contractor resources, including continuing education courses, speak to the staff at QuickED today.