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For general contractors in construction, there are many facets of business management that must be considered and then accomplished over time. Operating a successful general contractor business regardless of size or niche requires an understanding of bookkeeping, personnel management and regulatory compliance, as well as revenue potential for each project. However, one often overlooked aspect of being a general contractor – having the appropriate contractor license and minimum surety bond – correlates to each of these required fragments of the business from the start.

While bonds are an integral part of general contract businesses, it can be a challenge to understand what is necessary in terms of amount. This is because every state provides different guidelines on licensing and bonding for GCs. To take some of the stress out of the process, below is a comprehensive list of the thresholds for general contractors when it comes to staying compliant with license and bond requirements.

Alabama – a general contractor license is required in the state of Alabama when a project’s value is over $50,000. Once the licensing exam is passed, the municipality or county where the work will be performed also requires a bond. While this amount ranges from $2,500 up to $10,000, the typical bond amount is $5,000.

Alaska – in Alaska, a general contractor must have a license in order to work legally. Residential and commercial projects over $10,000 in value require a valid GC license in the state, and a bond of no less than $25,000 for commercial and $20,000 for residential work must be in place.

Arizona – general contractors in Arizona have separate licenses for commercial and residential projects, but there is no minimum project value in place. This means that all GCs must have a license before starting a new job. Bond amounts vary based on the type of license held and the amount of work performed each year, typically ranging from $9,000 to $100,000.

Arkansas – in Arkansas, two licenses exist, categorized as commercial and residential, and requirements range depending on the type of specific work that will be performed. Commercial general contractors are required to have a bond of at least $10,000 when working within the state.

California – any project valued more than $500 including labor and materials requires a general contractor to hold a valid license in California. Before a license may be issued, a bond of $15,000 must be in place. In some instances, an additional bond of $12,500 may be required.

Colorado – general contractors working in Colorado must consult with the municipality or county in which they work to determine licensing requirements for both residential and commercial projects. The same is true for the bond minimums, but the amount is generally based on the value of the work.

Connecticut – in Connecticut, general contractor bonds are needed for public construction projects. However, bond amounts are determined at the municipality level for residential and commercial GCs.

Delaware – any job valued at more than $50,000 requires a general contractor license in Delaware for both commercial and residential projects. A general contractor bond is needed for non-residential work, equal to 6 percent of the contract amount. General contractors only pay a percentage of the total bond required, as is the case in other states.

District of Columbia – in DC, general contractors may be required to hold a license when they perform public construction work. The bond amount necessary is dependent on the value of the project and the type of work completed.

Florida – Florida general contractors must hold a license if they plan to perform construction work in the state. A bond is required for general contractors who do not have a strong credit history, at a minimum of either $10,000 or $20,000 based on the type of work they plan to complete.

Georgia – in Georgia, those who work on private, commercial, industrial or public building projects over a value of $2,500 must have a general contractor license. In most cases, a general contractor bond of at least $25,000 is required in order to keep the license valid.

Hawaii – all general contractors in Hawaii must have a license in order to work on commercial or residential projects in the state. Additionally, a bond of no less than $5,000 is required for all general contractors.

Idaho – similar to other states, general contractors working in Idaho need to consult the municipality where they intend to work in order to receive both licensing requirements and bond minimums.

Illinois – there are several types of licenses available in Illinois for specialty work, but general contractors must gather license and bond requirements from the municipality or city where they plan to complete a project.

Indiana – in Indiana, general contractors follow local guidelines for licensing and bonding requirements.

Iowa – general contractors in Iowa must hold a valid license if they perform work valued over $2,000 for the year. Typically, a bond of $25,000 is required for out of state contractors completing a project in Iowa, and a minimum bond of $5,000 must be in place for state-licensed GCs.

Kansas – in Kansas, general contractors must consult the municipality where they intend to work to receive accurate information abut license requirements and bond minimums.

Kentucky – general contractors in Kentucky also get licensing and bonding requirements on the local level, not the state level.

Louisiana – any general contractor working in Louisiana must have a valid license when the project’s value exceeds $75,000 for residential and $50,000 for commercial jobs. Most general contractors must have a bond of $10,000 in order the have a valid license.

Maine – in Maine, general contractors operate by the municipality’s guidelines as far as licensing and bonding requirements.

Maryland – Maryland only requires a construction license for those who want to work on home improvement projects or complete electrical, plumbing or HVAC work. However, general contractors who fall into the category of home improvement contractors must have a two-year surety bond of no less than $20,000 if they cannot provide a positive net worth statement with an application.

Massachusetts – general contractors in Massachusetts are required to meet the licensing and bonding requirements set by the municipality where they intend to work.

Michigan – in Michigan, general contractors follow the licensing requirements and bond minimums set at the local level, not the state level.

Minnesota – general contractors have varied licensing and bond requirements within the state of Minnesota because these guidelines are set on the local level.

Mississippi – only contractors planning to work in manufactured housing are required to have a state license. General contractors, however, may be required to submit for a license for either residential or commercial work based on municipality guidelines. Bond minimums are also set at a local level for general contractors.

Missouri – general contractors in Missouri follow the local requirements for both licensing and bond minimums for residential and commercial work.

Montana – only electrical and water well contractors must hold a state license in Montana, but general contractors may be required to apply for a license based on the municipality where they complete work. Bond minimums are also set on the local level for general contractors.

Nebraska – in Nebraska, a general contractor must have a license from the county where they work when they complete projects in counties with populations of 100,000 or more. Any work valued at more than $2,500 requires a bond, with a $1,000 requirement for projects up to $10,000, and a bond of 10 percent of the project’s value for jobs between $10,000 and $100,000. Any project more than $100,000 requires a 5 percent bond.

Nevada – general contractors in Nevada must have a license based on the type of work they plan to complete. A bond ranging from $1,000 up to $500,000 may also be required depending on the value of the project and the creditworthiness of the contractor.

New Hampshire – both licensing and bonding requirements for general contractors in New Hampshire are managed at the local level.

New Jersey – general contractors working in New Jersey must have a state license in order to operate legally. Additionally, a bond between $1,000 and $3,000 is also required, depending on the value of the project.

New Mexico – in New Mexico, general contractors must obtain a license through the state. A bond of at least $10,000 is also required for most GCs.

New York – general contractors in construction working in New York must have a license when the work they complete is valued more than $200. A $25,000 to $200,000 bond may also be required, based on the type of work performed and the value of that work.

North Carolina – there are two types of licenses in North Carolina for general contractors: limited and intermediate. The type of license required is based on the value of the project. Each general contractor may also be required to have a bond in place in order to operate legally.

North Dakota – in North Dakota, general contractors may not be required to have a state license, but a bond of at least $15,000 is often required to work within the state.

Ohio – general contractors in Ohio must have a valid state license in order to work in the state. A bond ranging from $5,000 up to $25,000 may also be necessary, although bond minimums are set on a local level.

Oklahoma – similar to other states, Oklahoma general contractor licensing requirements are set at the municipality level, not the state. However, a bond of no less than $5,000 is required for most GCs.

Oregon – working as a general contractor in Oregon requires a valid contractor license when the work’s value exceeds $1,000. Bonds may also be required for residential projects, ranging from $10,000 to $20,000, as well as commercial work, with bond minimums spanning $20,000 to $75,000.

Pennsylvania – in Pennsylvania, general contractors must follow the licensing and bonding requirements set by the municipality in which they intend to work.

Rhode Island – any general contractor working in Rhode Island may not need a state license, but a bond is typically required. Bond minimums in Rhode Island are based on the value of the work to be performed.

South Carolina – a general contractor in South Carolina must have a license when work is valued at more than $5,000 for the year. In most cases, GCs must also have a bond of no less than $10,000 in place in order to maintain a valid license.

South Dakota – in South Dakota, a general contractor may not need a state license. Typically, though, a bond is required at a local level, based on the value of the work to be performed.

Tennessee – general contractors in Tennessee must have a contractor license no matter the value of the work. There is no statewide bond minimum requirement, but most municipalities require a bond for large projects, ranging between $500,000 and $1,000,000.

Texas – like other states, general contractors in Texas follow the licensing and bonding requirements set at a local level.

Utah – general contractors working in Utah must have a license to work in the state. Bonds are also required, ranging from $15,000 up to $100,000 depending on the contractor’s work history and the value of the project to be completed.

Vermont – in Vermont, general contractors follow the licensing and bond guidelines set by the municipality in which they intend to work.

Virginia – a state license may not be required in Virginia however, a local-level license is often necessary for general contractors. Also, a bond is typical, although minimums vary from city to city.

Washington – general contractors in Washington state must have a valid license in order to work, as well as a bond of at least $12,000 for most jobs.

West Virginia – a general contractor working in West Virginia with projects valuing more than $2,500 must have a state license to do so. Bond minimums are set at the local level.

Wisconsin – licensing requirements for general contractors in Wisconsin vary depending on the type of work performed. A bond must also be in place, but the minimum bond amount varies depending on location.

Wyoming – general contractors in Wyoming follow the license and bond requirements set at a local level.

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