General contractors are required to obtain their license before working in the state of Oregon. Licensing protocol varies state by state, and that can be intimidating — but don’t sweat. We’ll lay it all out for you, step by step: Oregon’s requirements around what kind of licensing you’ll need and how to procure the appropriate one.
Who needs a license?
Oregon requires general contractors to obtain a license to work legally; residential and commercial projects require separate licenses. (Remedial improvement work, like gutter cleaning and pressure or power washing, does not require a permit in the state.)
How do I start the process?
The state requires contractors to classify the type of work they specialize in and subsequently secure a relevant endorsement — a license. Residential “endorsements,” for example, permit a general contractor to work on residential structures as well as small commercial structures. (Residential structures include single family homes, condo or apartment complexes four stories or less and individual apartments within high rise buildings). If your focus is home improvement, you’ll likely be classified as a Residential General Contractor. Oregon requires a $20,000 residential bond and $500,000 per occurrence insurance. For more information on endorsement classifications, go to oregon.gov.
There are several other prerequisites to obtaining a license, including a pre-license exam. In order to obtain a license, applicants must be at least 18 years of age; have completed at least 16 hours of training on relevant law and business practices from an approved education provider; and pass the state’s pre-license exam. Approved education providers can be found at oregon.gov/ccb.
Individuals obtaining a license on behalf of a corporation or company serve as the Responsible Managing Individual (RMI). There must always be an RMI; RMIs may be replaced by someone who has passed the state exam or who has served as an RMI within the last two years.
More information on the test can be found at oregon.gov/ccb.
Note: NASCLA-accredited contractors do not need to complete 16 hours of relevant coursework, but do still need to take and pass Oregon’s exam.
How do I apply for my license?
Following the passage of the state’s exam, contractors applying for their licenses in the state of Oregon must complete the following tasks:
- File your corporation, LLC and/or assumed business name with the Oregon Secretary of State, Corporation Division or call 503–986–2200.
- Submit a CCB surety bond in the required amount(s). For the full list of required amounts, go to https://www.oregon.gov/ccb/licensing/Pages/suretybonds.aspx
- Provide proof of general liability insurance, with the Construction Contractors Board named as the Certificate Holder, in the required amount. (Residential General Contractors are required to purchase liability insurance at $500,000 per occurrence. For the full list of required amounts, go to oregon.gov/ccb/licensing/Pages/liabilityinsurance.aspx).
- Obtain workers’ compensation insurance if you will be hiring employees. Visit wcd.oregon.gov for more information about workers’ comp.
- Obtain relevant employer account numbers — this could include your state and federal tax numbers, according to the state. For more information, contact the Oregon Department of Revenue or the Internal Revenue Service.
- Complete the application for the appropriate license: residential, commercial or dual.
- Submit the application. Include your original bond, insurance certificate and $250 fee for a two-year license. More information can be found at oregon.gov/ccb.
After you've got your license, it's time to start setting up your business processes so you can provide an excellent customer experience for your clients. One easy way to get started is to use Punch List home remodeling software, which is free for your first month.