1. If I have a contractor license in Maryland or Washington, D.C., can I do projects Virginia?
No. You must be licensed in each jurisdiction. There are no reciprocal agreements between D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
2. What are the different classes of Virginia contractor license?
Virginia Class A Contractor License:
Virginia Class B Contractor License:
Virginia Class C Contractor License:
3. What is the DPOR VA Contractor Licensing requirement process?
There are six basic steps. For a full understanding of the six steps, along with the necessary documents, go to our "How to get a Contractors License in Virginia" page. Here's an abridged outline:
Step 1. Take Mandatory 8-Hour Pre-License Course
Step 2: Decide on which Class of Virginia Contractor License based on several key areas
Step 3. Pass the Business Exam
Step 4. Decide on Your VA DPOR Contractor License Specialty
Step 5. Submit Complete Contractor License Application
Step 6. Once Pre-Approved for Your Specialty Exam, Pass the Exam
4. What are the penalties of performing construction-related activities without being properly licensed in Virginia?
According to Virginia Law Code § 54.1-1115, Prohibited acts: "Any person who undertakes work without (i) any valid Virginia contractor's license or certificate when a license or certificate is required ... or (ii) the proper class of license ... shall be fined an amount not to exceed $500 per day for each day that such person is in violation, in addition to the authorized penalties for the commission of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
5. How many Virginia Contracting License specialties are there?
There are more than 40 Virginia contractor license specialties. Many are very specific in the types of projects permitted. There are larger, "umbrella" specialties that include a number of smaller specialties. Some of the larger specialties are Commercial Improvement Contracting (CIC) and the larger Commercial Building Contracting (CBC), Home Improvement Contracting (HIC) and the larger Residential Building Contracting (RBC) and Highway Heavy (H/H).
6. Do I have to start with a Class C VA Contractor License and then upgrade?
No. We encourage you to get the highest/largest class of license that you qualify for – the first time. Why? As long you maintain your license active and don’t make any changes to your license, you are generally ‘grandfathered in’ to any new regulation changes through DPOR. However, if you allow your license to expire, or make any changes to your contractor license, you are subject to all of the new guidelines that have been established.
7. Are continuing education credits required to maintain a contractors license in Virginia?
For the general contracting specialties in Virginia: No. However, for some of the specialties, and the trade-related specialties: Yes. Ultimately, we encourage you to contact DPOR (Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation) to confirm whether your specialty requires continuing education or not.
8. How long does VA contractor license last?
It must be renewed every two years.
9. What does a Virginia contractor's license cost?
10. What is the difference between Virginia commercial contracting and Virginia residential contracting?
The two strictly commercial specialties are Commercial Improvement Contracting (CIC) and the larger Commercial Building Contracting (CBC). These specialties allow commercial projects only. The two strictly residential specialties are Home Improvement Contracting (HIC) and the larger Residential Building Contracting (RBC). These specialties allow residential projects only.
11. I need a Class A or Class B license, but I'm having difficulty proving a net worth of $45,000 or $15,000. What can I do?
Starting July 1, 2017, licensing candidates can submit a $50,000 surety bond in place of having to provide financial statements or prove a net worth of $45,000 or $15,000.
12. Am I required to have a contractor license in the Commonwealth of Virginia?
It depends. But ... probably. As previously mentioned, there are now more than 40 Virginia contracting license specialties (i.e.- Finish Carpentry, Flooring and Floor Covering, Drywall, Painting and Wallcovering, and Tile, Marble, Ceramic and Terrazzo.) If you do construction-related work independently, you are probably required to be licensed. If you have questions regarding which specialty you need based upon the projects that you perform, we encourage you to contact the licensing department of DPOR directly at 804.367.8511.
13. Is the Virginia DPOR, Board of Contractors' contracting license all that I need to perform contracting projects throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia?
Please note that although a Virginia contractor license may be granted to your business, the business must also comply with local licensing requirements set forth by the localities (cities, towns, and counties) in which your business plans to do work. This may include, but is not limited to a business license, bonding, inspection and permitting requirements.
VA Contractor License Information
The PreLicense Training course goes by several names. It is also called the 8-Hour Prelicensing Course, the Mandatory 8-Hour Course and other variations. Some mistakenly refer to it as the Virginia Class C Contractor license training course. This is a mandatory course for all classes of Virginia licenses for contracting, VA Class A license, VA Class B license and the VA Class C license. This is a mandatory foundation course that helps Virginia contractor licensees understand much about running a successful construction business in Virginia. It also details your relationship, as a licensed Virginia contractor, with the government, local and state.
Classes of and Requirements for a Contracting License in the state of Virginia
The differences in the classes of contractor licenses in Virginia ultimately comes down to two basic things: money and experience. Below, we’ve shared the differences between the VA contractors license, VA Class A, VA Class B and VA Class C.
Class A Contractor License. This is the largest class of Virginia contracting license. There is no monetary limit on the size of individual projects nor on the annual revenue. Requirements for Class A contractor license in Virginia is a net worth of at least $45,000. Also, the qualified individual, the person in the company who actually knows the hands-on, field work, must have a minimum of 5 (five) years of verifiable experience.. The qualified individual can simply be an employee or a member of management.
Class B Contractor License. This is the mid-range Virginia contracting license. With the VA Class B license, there is the opportunity for larger projects and more revenue than the VA Class C license, but falls short of the potential of the VA Class A license. Projects just under $120,000 can be contracted. The maximum annual revenue with this class of Virginia license is just under $750,000. Requirements for Class B contractor license in Virginia is a net worth of at least $15,000. Also, the qualified individual, the person in the company who actually knows the hands-on, field work, must have a minimum of 3 (three) years of verifiable experience. The qualified individual can simply be an employee or a member of management.
Class C Contractor License. This is sometimes thought of as the ‘starter’ license. This is the smallest of the three contracting licenses in Virginia. Projects just under $10,000 can be contracted. The maximum annual revenue with this class of license is just under $150,000. For the Class C license in Virginia, there is no minimum net worth requirement. However, the qualified individual, the person in the company who actually knows the hands-on, field work, must have a minimum of 2 (two) years of verifiable experience. . The qualified individual can simply be an employee or a member of management.
The Contractor License Business Exam – For Class A Contractors License and Class B Contractors License (Taken by the Designated Employee)
To apply for and obtain a license for contracting in Virginia as a Class A or a Class B contractor, your designated employee must pass an examination or test, often called the ‘Virginia business exam’.
In total, there are three portions of the exam: the Virginia Portion, the General Portion, and the Advanced Portion. A Class B license applicant needs only to pass two portions, the Virginia and the General Portions. A Class A license applicant must pass all three portions. A Class C license applicant is not required to take any portion of this contractors business examination. The Designated Employee can be a full-time employee or a member of responsible management.
The class of contractor license in Virginia (i.e.-Virginia Class A license) is independent of the specialties the licensee is approved to perform. There are over 40 VA contractor licensing specialties (i.e.-Painting and Wallcovering) that licensees can be approved to perform. Some specialties are very specific and limited, whereas others are ‘umbrella’ construction specialties that encompass a number of smaller specialties. Some of the ‘umbrella’ Virginia contractor specialties are the VA Home Improvement Contracting (HIC), VA Residential Building Contracting (RBC), VA Commercial Improvement Contracting (CIC), VA Commercial Building Contracting (CBC) and the VA Highway Heavy (H/H). Typically, it is best to apply for the largest specialty you are qualified for, as this can open the door for increased opportunities in the future without the need to take additional specialty exams.
The VA Contractor Licensing Specialty Exam (Taken by the Qualified Individual)
The focus of this exam is to test your Qualified Individual’s knowledge of the type(s) of projects you will be approved to perform as a licensed Virginia contractor. The length of the exams, the reference materials allowed, and the subject matter vary greatly, depending on the specialty.
As of March 1, 2016, the Qualified Individual must be pre-approved to sit for all specialty/technical exams. The approval process can sometimes take months, so we encourage you to schedule any specialty exam course with us ONLY AFTER you’ve received your approval to sit for the Virginia contractor technical exam.
Dispelling a False VA Contractor Licensing Myth
It is not a requirement that a contractor first start with a Class C license in Virginia and then move up or upgrade. If a contractor meets the qualifications for a Class A contractors license or a Class B contractors license, they can apply directly for them.
Please go to our Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) FAQs
Contractor License Virginia Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) Specialty Exam Prep Course
Contractor Licenses VA Commercial Improvement Contractor (CIC) Specialty Exam Prep Course
Virginia Contractor License Commercial Building Contractor (CBC) Specialty Exam Prep Course
VA Contractor License Building Technical (BLD) Specialty (Now known as the Residential Building Contractor Specialty (RBC)) Exam Prep Course
Contractor License Student Testimonials
MHIC (Maryland Home Improvement Commission) FAQs and Helpful Information
Virginia Contractor License ... Frequently Asked Questions/Helpful Information