Your Complete Washington Contractor License Guide [2020 Update]

Published: Mar 2, 2020
washington contractor license

 

Contractors in the state of Washington have to undergo a detailed administrative procedure prior to launching their activities. You need to get a Washington contractor license which allows you to operate in legal compliance.  

There are two main classifications that you can register for:

  • General contractor 
  • Specialty contractor

You need a Washington state specialty license in case you want to work within one trade field, such as plumbing, electrical works and HVAC. If you want to cover a couple of trades, you will need a general contractor registration. It also allows you to hire subcontractors. For all license types, you need to meet a range of requirements set by state authorities. 

In the sections below, you can discover the main criteria that you need to satisfy in order to launch your contracting business in Washington. 

The Washington State Contractor License Requirements

The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is the regulating authority for general and specialty contractors in the state. 

General contractors can work on multiple building trades, while specialty contractors can only get licensed to conduct work in one trade. You can consult the list of specialty classifications. According to the Washington legislation, there are 63 different specialty trades that you can get licensed for, such as electrical, landscaping, plumbing, and more.

The Washington contractor license requirements that you have to fulfill are similar, with some differences between the classifications. 

Business Entity Registration 

Before you apply for an L&I contractor license, your first step is to select your business structure. If you want to form a corporation, LLC, LLP, or LP, you have to register with the Secretary of State. You can also set up a sole proprietor or general partnership, in which case you don’t need the SoS registration. 

In addition, you have to get a business license from the Department of Revenue

Proof of Experience and State Exams

General contractors who want to perform work in certain specialty fields need to provide proof of relevant experience and pass state examinations. This is necessary for plumbing, electrical, boilers, elevators, mobile home installation, and asbestos work. 

Complete the Washington Contractor License Application

washington contractor licenseWhen you’ve obtained the required paperwork, you have to fill in the license application form. Then you need to notarize it.

Mail all documents to:

Department of Labor and Industries 

Contractor Registration

P.O. BOX 44450

Olympia, WA 98504-4450

License and Registration Fees

When applying, you need to cover the registration fee of $117.90. 

Provide a Surety Bond and Insurance

You need to comply with the insurance and bonding requirements of the Department, so that your application is full. 

Liability and Property Damage Insurance

To complete your Washington contractor registration, you need to get insurance coverage. You can either select $250,000 combined single limit policy, or $50,000 property damage policy and $200,000 liability policy.

Surety Bond 

You need to obtain a surety bond as a part of the licensing requirements. The goal of the bond is to ensure that you will follow the law in all your activities as a construction specialist.

The amount of the Washington contractor license bond depends on the classification that you want to obtain:

  • General contractors – $12,000
  • Specialty contractors – $6,000 

How to get bonded? You have to cover a premium, which is a few percent of the required amount. It depends on how strong your personal and business finances are. If they are in good shape, the bond premium can be between 0.75% and 5%.

Want to see the exact price of your Washington contractor license bond? Fill in the short form below! 

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How to Verify Your Washington Contractor License

You can use the Washington contractor license lookup to check your license. You can search by name or license. 

License Renewal and Expiration

The WA contractor registration is valid for two years from the issue date. You will receive a renewal card by mail. If you want to continue your operations in the state, you have to renew the registration before its expiration date. 

 

Need more information about obtaining your Washington contractor license and bonding? You can reach us at 877.514.5146.

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Collette Vierling

Collette Vierling

Collette Vierling is currently a Licensed Agent and Senior Account Manager with Lance Surety. Since joining the company in 2011, she has helped thousands of small businesses meet their license and bond requirements. Collette has a wealth of knowledge regarding all types of license and permit bonds, with particular expertise in the automobile, transportation and financial sectors.