How to Get A Contractor License (With No Experience)?

by Usama Chaudry on March 11, 2022

Many states need contractors to have a license to practice their skills and compete for high-paying positions. General contractor licensing requirements typically involve proof of considerable working experience, making it difficult for newcomers to establish themselves in the industry. Knowing how to become a general contractor without expertise can help you earn money quickly and advance professionally if you are just getting started. This article will go over how to get a contractor license even if you have no prior experience.

What exactly is a general contractor?

A general contractor is a building professional responsible for supervising the construction projects. They can work in multiple construction industry sectors, from commercial and residential buildings to home refurbishment projects.

Typical duties and responsibilities of a general contractor may include:

  • Hiring subcontractors
  • Laboring with dealers and suppliers
  • Sourcing materials 
  • Ensuring on-time delivery 
  • Implementing health and safety policies on construction sites

You may need a license to bid for the most profitable projects as a general contractor. Though most states require general contractors to earn many years of experience, you can still attain the license without any prior experience. 

The following skills can help you find a job with or without a license:

  • Industrial knowledge 
  • Outstanding customer service 
  • Business management 
  • Marketing management 

Do you think you can produce quality results on project sites with less experience in the construction field?

Well, knowing alternative ways to get a contractor license can help you gain a foot in the industry. 

What is the purpose of obtaining a contractor’s license?

You need to obtain a general contractor’s license as it serves the following purposes:

  • Permitting you to apply for general contractor jobs that offer pay up to $500.
  • Helping you begin your contracting business, employing subcontractors, or promoting your services 
  • Allowing you to earn more money by opting for expansive jobs that disabled people might not have been able to bid for.

Is a contractor license required in every state?

Contractors are not required to obtain a license in every state before applying for work. For instance, the following states do not need contractors to hold a license:

  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wyoming

What are the prerequisites for obtaining a general contractor’s license?

Each state has its requirements for acquiring a general contractor’s license and becoming a licensed contractor. Most applicants, however, must demonstrate industrial expertise and pass trade, business, and law tests. Many states also need you to show your net worth and evidence of general liability insurance during the application process. Different contractor licenses may be required in various states for residential, commercial, and handyperson work. Contact your state licensing board or local trade union for specific licensing requirements in your location.

How to Get a Contractor License if You Don’t Have Any Experience?

You can follow these steps to learn how to become a licensed contractor without any experience:

1. Collaborate with a Responsible Managing Officer (RMO)/Responsible Managing Employee (RME)

2. Obtain a contractor license that is grandfathered

3. Obtain a waiver from a licensing board

4. Form a partnership with a qualified contractor

5. Acquire experience

6. Attend training sessions

1. Collaborate with a Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) or Responsible Managing Employee (RME)

You can work with an RMO or RME if you wish to apply for high-paying construction jobs but have little or no expertise in the field. You’re essentially borrowing the licenses of professional general contractors to finish a job under these partnerships, and they tell the board that they’re accountable for any legal problems under their license. If you hire an RMO, you can apply for jobs that pay more than $500 with their license number.  When working with an RME, you treat that contractor as an employee of your organization for the collaboration duration.

2. Obtain a contractor license that is grandfathered

When an experienced licensed contractor retires, some states enable them to transfer their license to a new contractor. You must still pass the state licensure examination for your trade to obtain this established license. If your family owns a contracting business, grandfathered licenses are perfect since they allow a relative to pass their license on to you when they retire. A grandfathered license does not require you to be a family member of the original contractor. You can also get a contractor license if you’re taking over the business of a retiring contractor.

3. Obtain a waiver from a licensing board

Even if you have no experience, you may be able to ask your state licensing board to waive experience requirements when you apply for a license. Consult your local licensing authorities to see if you are eligible for a waiver. The availability of waivers and the requirements for obtaining them may differ from state to state.

4. Form a partnership with a qualified contractor

You can also become a licensed contractor by creating a partnership with another licensed contractor. You must, however, pass the state examination to obtain your license. Creating a general construction firm with a licensed contractor allows you to apply for significant projects using their license number, which will help you gain experience to obtain your own. 

Several states, like California, allow you to apply for your own license if you:

  • Work for four years with a licensed contractor
  • Fulfill the journeyman experience requirements
  • Pass the state license board exam for general contractors

5. Acquire experience

You can earn general contracting experience while studying for the licensure examination. While this path takes longer and may limit you to lower-paying professions, you can still obtain essential skills and earn money while advancing your professional career. Enrolling in an apprenticeship or working under the supervision of an experienced licensed contractor is one approach to gaining experience. You can also learn how to run a business by working for a licensed general contractor, which will come in handy if you decide to establish your own after gaining your license.

6. Attend training sessions

To speed up your license process, you may be able to study everything about your selected trade independently or with the support of educational institutions. You can enroll in training programs run by trade unions and professional guilds. If you have a degree in a similar discipline, such as construction management, you may be able to get a contractor license without earning any experience.


Becoming a contractor without prior experience requires collaborating with an RMO or RME, acquiring a grandfathered license, and obtaining a waiver from the licensing board. Furthermore, you can also build a partnership with a licensed contractor, earn experience, and attend training sessions to get a contractor license

We hope this article gave you a clear insight into how to get a contractor license without having prior experience. If you have any queries regarding this topic, do let us know in the comment section. 

Usama ChaudryUsama has a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alberta. Computations of electrical and thermal characteristics are among his research interests. Usama's hobbies outside of professional work include reading, playing tennis, and trekking.


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