D.C. Contractor License: Full Guide (2024)

Published: Jan 08, 2022
D.C. Contractor License: Full Guide


Do you want to launch a construction company in Washington D.C.? Your first step to a successful business is to obtain a D.C. contractor license. It allows you to operate on the territory of the District. 

The licensing process entails that you meet a list of requirements that guarantee you are suitable to conduct contracting activities. You can obtain a D.C. general contractor license or a home improvement license. If you’re working in a special trade, you will have to obtain the respective license as well. 

Find out the full details about the licensing in the sections below, so that you can start your construction business smoothly. 

The D.C. Contractor License Requirements

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs issues professional licenses such as D.C. home improvement licenses, as well as general contracting ones. You have to fulfill the requirements that it imposes, so that you can launch your business.   

Business Entity Registration or SSN

All applicants for a D.C. contractor license have to register a business entity. After you choose an appropriate structure, you can go through the registration via the D.C. Business Center. In addition, you may also need to register with the Corporations Division of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, so that you can apply for your Basic Business License

Trade Name

For businesses operating under an assumed name, you need a registration of the DBA with the Corporations Divisions. 

Tax Registration

To ensure your compliance with the tax framework in the District, you have to register with the Office of Tax and Revenue.

Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupancy Permit

You need to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy/Home Occupation Permit from the  Office of the Zoning Administrator

Complete the D.C. contractor license application

d.c. contractor license

Whenever you have gathered all the required documents, file your application with the Department. You can do this online via the D.C. Business Center portal. Alternatively, you can do it in person or via mail.  

Home improvement contractors have to provide Home Improvement Salesperson Designation Letter and Police Criminal History Report in addition to the rest of the paperwork. 

License and Registration Fees

The applicable license and registration fees are the following:

  • General Contractor/Construction Manager - $654.50
  • Home Improvement Contractor - $288.20

Provide a Surety Bond and Insurance

Obtaining a D.C. contractor license entails providing appropriate insurance and in some cases, a surety bond. 

Worker’s Compensation Insurance

If your business will be hiring employees, you need to get worker’s compensation insurance. You can check the website of the Office of Workers Compensation for further details. 

Liability and property damage insurance

The limits of the bodily injury and property damage insurance that you have to obtain vary by license type and class. 

For general contractors in D.C., they are the following:

  • Class A - $2,500,000 per occurrence
  • Class B - $1,500,000 per occurrence
  • Class C and G- $500,000 per occurrence and $1,000,000 in the aggregate combined single limit for bodily injury or property damage
  • Class G - $500,000 per occurrence

Home improvement contractors have to provide:

  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death of any 1 person in any single accident, $100,000 in the aggregate for more than 1 person in any single accident, and $10,000 property damage in any single accident

Surety bond 

Home improvement contractors need to obtain a $25,000 surety bond. The purpose of the D.C. contractor license bond is to safeguard the interests of your customers. 

To get bonded, you need to pay a small percentage of the required bond amount. This is your premium, which is based on the strength of your personal and business finances. The rates for applicants with solid profiles are usually between 0.75% and 5%. 

Do you want to see the exact price of your contractor license bond? Fill in the short form below! 


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How to Verify your Washington D.C. contractor license

You can look up business and professional information via the Lookup option of the D.C. Business Center

License Renewal and Expiration

You have to renew your business license every two years. The Department sends out Renewal Application Packets 30 days before the expiry of a license.  

Do you have more questions about obtaining your D.C. contractor license and bonding? You can reach us at 877.514.5146.

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