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Frequently Asked Questions

A license from the State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors is required for the following:

(See O.C.G.A. § 43-41-2 for complete definitions)

1. Residential-Basic Contractor (contractor work relative to detached one-family and two-family residences and one-family townhouses not over three stories in height)

2. Residential-Light Commercial Contractor (same as residential-basic, and additionally, such contractor work or activity related to multifamily and multiuse light commercial buildings and structures)

3. General Contractor (contractor services unlimited as to type of work contracted for, undertaken to perform, bid or proposed upon or otherwise offered to perform, and performed as a contractor, except any work which falls under the licensing requirements of Chapter 14 of this title, which may not be performed by the general contractor unless he or she possess licensure to do such)

4. General Contractor Limited Tier (contractor services unlimited as to type of work contracted for, undertaken to perform, bid or proposed upon or otherwise offered to perform, and performed as a contractor, except any work which falls under the licensing requirements of Chapter 14 of this title, which may not be performed by the general contractor unless he or she possess licensure to do such).  This license is limited to contract amounts of $500,000 or less.

Certain specialty trades or work costing less than $2,500 does not require the services of a state licensed contractor.  Please review our website for information on specialty services.

To obtain a state license as a residential-basic, residential-light commercial, general contractor-limited tier or general contractor, you must:

Submit a completed application for licensure and non-refundable fee, along with all the supporting documents as indicated by the application, and submit to and pass an examination required for the particular license; or

Submit an application for licensure by prior approval status if you meet the requirements.

For a complete description of licensure requirements, see Board Rules 553-3-.01 through 553-3-.06; and 553-4-.01 through 553-4-.06.

Applications are available and may be downloaded here.

No.  The limitations within the categories are based upon number of floors/stories, square footage, and project type (occupancy classification). The general contractor category is unlimited as to the project type and size; however, the general contractor limited tier is limited to contracts of $500,000 or less.

If the applicant is doing business in his or her own name or a trade name where the individual is doing business as a sole proprietorship, the applicant would apply as an individual. If an applicant is applying on behalf of and for the benefit of a business organization (any partnership, corporation, limited liability entity, business trust, joint venture, or other legal entity, other than an individual person doing business as a sole proprietorship), the application must be submitted by and through an individual qualifying agent for such business organization. A license will be issued to the individual qualifying agent and to the affiliated business organization. A qualifying agent license is not a personal license and may not be used to operate as an individual and may not be used to operate for any other business organization. If you leave the company for which the qualifying agent license was issued, you must apply for a new license.

Yes, a general contractor can do work under all three license classifications;  residential-basic, residential-light commercial, and general.

Yes, property owners may construct a building or structure which is for their own use and not for use by the general public and not offered for sale or lease.  If you sell or transfer the building or structure, you will not be allowed to build another for a period of two years, unless you obtain a license or hire someone who is licensed to oversee the construction. 

Yes, a business organization can have more than one qualifying agent.  However, all qualifying agents are equally responsible for the supervision of all operations of the business organization, all field work at all sites, and for financial matters for each specific job for which his or her license was used to obtain the building permit.

Yes, but the division shall require the qualifying individual to present evidence of financial responsibility and insurance pertaining to each company.

Only the general contractor license requires a minimum net worth.  As outlined in Board Rules 553-4-.01, 553-4-.02, 553-4-.05, and 553-4-.06, a general contractor must have a minimum net worth of $150,000 and a general contractor limited tier must have a minimum net worth of $25,000.  If applying as a qualifying agent, the net worth must be in the business name.

Applicants for licensure must show proof of workers compensation insurance, if required by Georgia law, and general liability insurance in the following amounts:

  • Residential-Basic: $300,000
  • Residential-Light Commercial: $500,000
  • General Contractor: $500,000

General Contractor Limited Tier: $500,000

The business organization must notify the appropriate division within 45 days of the termination of the relationship with the qualifying agent and shall have 120 days from the termination of the agent’s affiliation with the business to employ another qualifying agent and submit an application for licensure under the new qualifying agent.  If such application is denied, then after passage of the 120 day period, the business organization shall cease to be considered licensed.  The division, in such circumstances, may issue a temporary nonrenewable license which will allow the entity to proceed with incomplete contracts already in progress.

To contract legally in another state, you must meet the requirements of the other state.  To determine the requirements of another state, please contact the other state board directly.

Currently, the General Division has established reciprocity with Louisiana and Tennessee as an available method by which to obtain licensure. You must hold a commercial license with a classification of “building construction” and you must have obtained the license by examination. The General Division is working to establish reciprocity with other states as well. Please check our website for updates regarding this. Also, if you have taken and passed the NASCLA exam in any other state, you may apply by examination in Georgia and purchase your NASCLA transcript to be submitted to us. Once approved by us, you would have to schedule and pass our Georgia business and law exam prior to the license being issued. Reciprocity is not available for Residential Basic or Residential-Light Commercial licensees.

The application fee is $200.

Please contact the other state board directly to determine requirements for reciprocity.

Businesses must meet the requirements of federal, state, and local governments.  To determine federal and local requirements, you will need to contact those agencies directly.  A listing should be available in the government section of your telephone directory.  To obtain information on state agencies, reference the First Stop Business Information Center here  or contact the state directory assistance at 404-656-2000.

A “denial letter” is the written notice sent to an applicant who has submitted an application and has not met the requirements for licensure.  A denial letter will include the reason for the denial and information on how to appeal your denial.

A “deficiency letter” is the written notice sent to an applicant after a thorough review of his or her application has been conducted. This letter identifies the specific areas of deficiency and provides general guidance on how to address the deficiencies. The letter also provides other licensing options if applicable. For example, if an applicant applies for a General Contractor license and submits only residential projects, staff will recommend that the applicant apply as a residential basic contractor or submit qualifying general contracting projects.

To obtain a license through the exam process, an individual submits the applicable examination application to the Board for approval. Applications may be downloaded here . 

If additional information is needed, the applicant will receive a deficiency letter identifying what additional information is needed. Upon approval, applicants will receive written notification of the approval, along with the details for scheduling and taking the exam. Exam approval is valid for one year. Any applicant failing the exam may be reexamined at any regularly scheduled examination within one year of the approval date upon payment of a reexamination fee without need to resubmit an application, unless any information is no longer accurate or complete. Anyone requesting to take the examination a third or subsequent time shall wait at least.

To obtain a Verification of Licensure please submit the order form here  and $25.00 fee.


214 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
© 2012 Georgia Secretary of State