How to Become a Contractor in North Carolina

If you’re looking to become a general contractor in North Carolina, here’s what you need to know (all fees listed are for 2017):

Do I Need a North Carolina General Contractor License?

In the state of North Carolina, if the job costs more than $30,000, you need to have a general contractor license.

There are different license classifications:

  • The Limited License is for projects under $500,000. You must have a minimum working capital of $17,000.
  • The Intermediate License is for projects up to $1,000,000. You must have a minimum working capital of $75,000.
  • The Unlimited License lets you work on a project of any cost. You must have a minimum working capital of $150,000.

How Much Does a North Carolina General Contractor License Cost?


  • Application Fees:


Limited Contractor = $75

Intermediate Contractor= $100

Unlimited Contractor = $125


  • Renewal Fees:


Limited Contractor = $75

Intermediate Contractor= $100

Unlimited Contractor= $125

Every North Carolina General Contractor’s license expires on December 31 of every year, so the renewal fee must be paid annually.

Is There a Deadline to Turn in my Application to be a Contractor In North Carolina?

Applications are accepted on all business days and take approximately 2-3 weeks to be processed.

How Can I Get a General Contractor License Application?

You can get an application package by sending a personal check, money order or cashier’s check for $15 made payable to the NC Licensing Board for General Contractors, P. O. Box 17187, Raleigh, NC 27619. Applications may be purchased at the Board office for $13. The office is located at 5400 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh, NC 27612; office hours are from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please note that cash and credit cards are not accepted. Application packages may also be downloaded from the North Carolina Licensing Board website. An application form and instructions, information for all exams, state requirements and a copy of the Laws and Regulations Applicable to General Contracting in the State of North Carolina are included in the application package.

What Do I Need to Submit with My Application to Be a Contractor in North Carolina?

A completed application includes:

  • A photocopy of a Certificate of Assumed Name
  • Financial statement
  • Tax Identification Number
  • Three (3) letters of reference
  • Application fee

How Long Do I Have to Complete the Licensing Process?

Once you receive approval from the Board, you will be sent an Examination Eligibility Letter. This letter is valid for 120 days from the date on the letter. You can take one exam within the 120-day time frame. If you are absent for your scheduled exam, it will count as an attempt.

Candidates who fail the exam will automatically be mailed a new eligibility letter in 30 days.  They will have another 120 days to take their second attempt.  If they do not pass on the second attempt they must submit a new application.

I’m a General Contractor in Another State. Does North Carolina have Reciprocity with Other States?

Yes, North Carolina provides reciprocity for general contractors who hold a license in South Carolina and Tennessee.

Requirements for reciprocity with South Carolina:

  • Currently licensed by the South Carolina Residential Homebuilders Commission or the South Carolina General Contractors Licensing Board
  • Successfully completed the respective South Carolina Board’s licensure examination in the classification of:

Residential contractor

Building contractor

PU (Water and Sewer Lines)

PU (Water Purification and Sewage Disposal)

H (Grading and Excavating)

S (Roofing)

All other classifications with the North Carolina Licensing Board will require successful completion of a North Carolina examination.

Requirements for reciprocity with Tennessee:

  • Currently licensed by the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors
  • Successfully completed the Tennessee licensure examinations in one or more of the Tennessee classifications:

BC‐A Residential Contractor

BC‐B Commercial Contractor

BC‐A,B Combined‐Residential/Commercial Contractor

Applicants who have completed Tennessee Examinations are eligible for the North Carolina Examination Waiver as follows:

  • BC‐A Residential Contractor (Tennessee) for Residential Contractor (North Carolina)
  • BC‐B Commercial Contractor (Tennessee) or BC‐A,B Combined‐Residential/Commercial Contractor (Tennessee) for Building Contractor (North Carolina)

What Exam Do I Have to Take to Become a Contractor in North Carolina?

You have to take the North Carolina Building Contractor License Exam. North Carolina also accepts the NASCLA Accredited Exam. If you are looking for a license in a specific skill, check out PSI’s Licensing Board for General Contractors Candidate Information Bulletin to see which exam you need to take. Continuing education is not required at this time to maintain a license.

How Do I Prepare for the Exam?

Carolina Seminars offers convenient, one-stop shopping to help you pass your North Carolina contractor exam. We have the best prices on all the exam reference materials you will need in our contractor bookstore. We offer the most effective and affordable contractors seminars available to obtain your contractor’s license. We offer both on-site and at-home seminars to help you prepare. Our students average a 98% pass rate on their first attempt! If you plan on taking either the North Carolina Building Contractor License Exam or the NASCLA Accredited Exam, contact us to help you get prepared!