Residential and General Contractors Frequently Asked Questions
Residential and General Contractors FAQ
A license is required for contractors which is defined according to OCGA § 43-41-2(4):
“…except as specifically exempted by this chapter, means a person who:
- is qualified, or required to be qualified, under this chapter and
- who, for compensation,
- contracts to,
- offers to undertake or undertakes to,
- submits a bid or a proposal to, or
- personally, or by others performs the construction or the management of the construction for an owner of any building, … or structure for use by the owner or by others or for resale to others.”
Contractor types include:
- Residential-Basic Contractor (contractor work that is relative to detached one-family and two-family residences and one-family townhouses not over 3 stories in height)
- Residential-Light Commercial Contractor (you can do the same work as a Residential-basic contractor, plus you can perform contractor work or activity that is related to multi-family and multi-use light commercial buildings and structures)
- General Contractor (this is industrial commercial work and is unlimited as to type of work except work which falls under Chapter 14 of this title, which may not be performed by the GC unless he or she possess licensure to do such)
- General Contractor Limited Tier (limited to contract amounts of $500,000 or less; otherwise, unlimited within the stated dollar cap, except work which falls under Chapter 14 of this title, which may not be performed by the GC unless he or she possess licensure to do such). 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, and
-submit all the supporting documents as indicated by the application, and
-Pass an examination, if required for the license for which you apply.
In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply without examination through Prior Approval, Reciprocity, or Reinstatement. 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.
See the relevant How-To Guide for more information about your specific license-type.
No. The category limitations are based on the 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.
Applicant doing business in his/her name or in trade name as sole proprietor = apply as an Individual in his/her own behalf.
Applicant applying on behalf/for benefit of a partnership, corporation, LLC, business trust, joint venture, (any entity that is NOT a sole proprietorship) = apply as a Qualifying Agent
- The license is issued to the Individual Qualifying Agent and to the business the QA is affiliate with.
- A QA license is not a personal license. It cannot be used to operate as an individual. It cannot be used to operate for any other business.
- 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
The building or structure cannot be used by the public and cannot be offered for sale or lease. If you sell or transfer the building or structure, you cannot build another for 2 years, unless you get a license or hire a licensed contractor to oversee the construction.
Yes, a business organization can have more than one Qualifying Agent. However, if you are the QA for multiple businesses, you are equally responsible for the supervision of all operations, field work at all sites, and for financial matters for each specific job for which your license was used to obtain the building permit for the business.
Yes. Please review the Rules to understand the requirements for being a QA for multiple companies. Specifically, review Rules 553-4-.03(4)(b) and (6).
The General Contractor license requires a minimum net worth of $150,000 and a General Contractor limited tier must have a minimum net worth of $25,000.
For a QA applicant, the new worth must be for the business name, not for the QA.
Residential Contractors have a minimum net worth requirement of $25,000.
See Board Rules 553-4-.01, 553-4-.02, 553-4-.05, and 553-4-.06 for more details.
Applicants must show proof of general liability insurance in the following amounts, and workers compensation insurance as required by Georgia law (workers comp may depend on number of employees): 43-41-6 (e)
- Residential-Basic: $300,000
- Residential-Light Commercial: $500,000
- General Contractor: $500,000
- General Contractor Limited Tier: $500,000
Yes, but the business must notify the board within 45 days of the termination of the relationship with or death of the qualifying agent. The business will then have up to 120 days from the termination or death date to employ another qualifying agent and apply for licensure for the new qualifying agent. If no application has been received or if the new QA application is denied within that 120-day period, the business will no longer be considered licensed. The division, in such circumstances, may issue a temporary nonrenewable license which allows the business to proceed with contracts already in progress.
No, but there are certain exceptions.
General Contractors Division - has reciprocity with Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
- You must hold a current commercial contractor's license with a classification of “building construction,” and
- You must have obtained the license by state examination.
- A verification of licensure is required to be submitted with your reciprocity application.
- The Board will review your application and, if approved, you will be required to pass the Georgia business and law exam prior to the Georgia license being issued.
If you have passed the NASCLA exam in another state, you may apply by examination and purchase your NASCLA transcript to be submitted to the Georgia State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors. If the board approves your application, you will be required to pass the Georgia business and law exam prior to the Georgia license being issued.
Residential Contractors Division - has reciprocity with Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Tennessee.
- You must hold a current active Residential Builders license, and
- You must have obtained the license by state examination.
- A verification of licensure will be required to be submitted with your application.
- If the board approves your application, you will have to pass the Georgia business and law exam prior to the Georgia license being issued.
The application fee is $200. It is non-refundable and non-transferrable.
You’ll have to contact the other state to ask that question.
Be sure to check federal, state, and local laws and requirements.
You may want to visit First Stop Business Information Center for more information.
Submit an application and fee (along with any required documents) to the board to begin the process. See the relevant How-To Guide for more information about your specific license-type.
Complete applications will be presented to the Board for review.
If the Board approves you to sit for the exam based on your application, staff will notify you via email. You will be provided information in that email of how to contact the testing vendor PSI/AMP to register and schedule the exam.
Read PSI's Candidate Information Bulletin for more information about the examination process for becoming licensed as a contractor in the State of Georgia. Visit PSI’s website or call PSI at 1-800-733-9267.
Exam approvals are valid for one year from the date of notification.
There are limits to the number of unsuccessful attempts an applicant can have. Contact the board for additional information.
Visit the Verification Order Page.
View the Licensure Comparison Chart for more information:
- Associated Builders and Contractors of Georgia, Inc. Associated Builders and Contractors of Georgia, Inc.
- Associated General Contractors of Georgia, Inc. Associated General Contractors of Georgia, Inc.
- Home Builders Association of Georgia Home Builders Association of Georgia
- National Association of the Remodeling Industry – Atlanta Chapter National Association of the Remodeling Industry – Atlanta Chapter