7 Steps on How to Get General Contractor License


For those who have aspirations for working in construction, you are in luck. The industry is rife with opportunity, allowing professionals to work in various capacities. One can find themselves with boots on the ground, working in the actual environment. Or, working from behind a desk may suit others with a business mindset.

At other times, an individual may choose to become a general contractor. By formulating a skillset that can be used in multiple areas, it is a fruitful position to pursue. How, then, does one get involved in this role?



Here are the steps on how to get a general contractor license:

1. General contractor tasks

Although you may assume that a general contractor works in multiple facets, it is much more meticulous than that. In essence, this position involves working in multiple tasks related to the construction industry. These tasks can then range in difficulty and in expertise level. As such, the candidate must know what to expect.

Qualified general contractors take a look at all budgets they are given, and use that to influence projects. Projects must be completed with the given budget, and according to the specified circumstances they are given. General contractors, therefore, must anticipate to work within these conditions to succeed.

2. General contractor education

Education is the most important step for how to get a general contractor license. For general contractors, this sentiment remains true as well. Most professionals in the industry advise candidates to obtain their bachelor’s degree first and foremost. The subject matter must be related to the field, such as engineering or construction science.

Through this education, an individual must gain a thorough understanding of varied areas. Site planning, project control, and construction design are vital to comprehend. Once this degree is gained, consider doing a master’s degree in the future. The more informed you are, the better your proficiency will be in the field!

3. General contractor experience

The faster you get real-world experience in the field, the better your chances of becoming a general contractor. As a result, try to pursue an internship within one, specified field first. This can vary, such as taking on an apprenticeship in plumbing or electrical areas. Doing an apprenticeship can be a very rewarding and eye-opening endeavour.

Moreover, you can also choose to do a co-op education program, if your school allows it. Education credentials are important, but investing in on-the-ground experience is more advantageous. Plus, you can develop your skillset at this level, so that you can flourish at latter stages.

4. General contractor licensing

Once all of the preliminary work and research has been completed, you’re almost there! Licensing is one of the most important parts of the process, and must be completed when possible. For those who live in Canada, this part becomes unique with respect to the area you live in.

For example, for those living in Ontario, you’ll need a requisite license for employment. If you need assistance trying to evaluate this requirement, check your local municipal code. These will provide you with the information needed for overall licensing. Different areas of the industry will require different forms of licensing; ensure you do your research!

5. General contractor credentials

Licensing doesn’t just stop at obtaining one, specific certification. As mentioned previously, many cities and municipalities will require additional licensing. Due to the myriad of bylaws in place, roofing projects, for instance, will compel you to get a designated license from the city.

Those who want to operate in Toronto will also need recognition from the Ontario College of Trades. Gaining certification from this institution allows you to work in areas such as plumbing and heating. Always make sure that you stay as informed as possible, so that you don’t encounter issues along the way.

6. General contractor clients

As a general contractor, you’ll want to have a base of clients for work. You’ll now have to leverage your influence so far, in order to gain a steady source of income. Use the power of social media and market yourself accordingly. Network with former employers, and contact nearby construction management companies for additional help.

7. Keep Learning

Once you become qualified, and have received the appropriate experience, the process isn’t done. Regulations and laws surrounding the construction industry are always changing. When you become a general contractor, you always have to stay abreast of updates. This will only serve to help you succeed in the future!

Join your local contractors association if you can, in order to discover new developments in your area. As long as you are able to complete your projects on time, you will find a lot of success in this industry. In addition, it is a very fruitful career, and can be very rewarding. Do the preliminary work, stay informed, and you will inevitably hit the jackpot in this role!


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