In an effort to protect consumers, Washington requires all contractors to have a Washington State Contractors License before they begin working in the state. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to obtain your Washington State Contractors License.
How to get Your Washington State Contractors License
(Step by Step Instructions)
Step #1: Determine if you are a general contractor or a specialty contractor
- Specialty contractors are eligible to perform one building craft or trade, such as plumbing, concrete, or HVAC (the full list is here)
- General contractors can supervise or perform multiple crafts or trades.
Step #2: Obtain an employer identification number from the federal government
Step #3: Register your business
If your business is structured as a corporation, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability company, contact the office of the Washington Secretary of State to Register Your Business.
Step #4: Complete a Business License Application
Step #5: Complete an Application for Contractor Registration.
The form and the instructions for filling it out can be found here.
This form must be notarized before it is submitted, and this can be done at any Washington State Department of Labor & Industries office. Cost: up to $10.
Step #6: Obtain a WA Contractor License Bond
A bond promises you will follow all rules and regulations when you conduct business. If you don't, someone can make a claim against your bond. The bond protects your clients and the state of Washington.
You must have a bond amount of at least $6,000 if you're a specialty contractor, and $12,000 if you're a general contractor.
This is just the bond amount. You do not have to pay the full bond amount, you will just pay a small percentage.
Find out how much you'd pay.
Step #7: Obtain general liability insurance
Obtain insurance from a licensed insurance agent. Your policy must be written for at least:
- $200,000 in public liability coverage and $50,000 for property damage coverage
- or a minimum of $250,000 as a combined single-limit policy
Step #8: Pay the contractor registration fee
It costs $113.60 to register as for a Washington State Contractors License for a two-year period in Washington.
Checks, money orders, Visa, or MasterCard are accepted.
Step #9: Submit
Submit all of your documents and applications to the WA State Department of Labor & Industries. You can either bring this documentation to an L&I office or mail it to:
Department of Labor & Industries Contractor Registration Section
P.O. Box 44450
Olympia, WA 98504-4450
After Submitting Your Paperwork
After evaluating your application information, the Department of Labor and Industries will do one of the following:
- If approved, mail your registration within 2-4 weeks
- If rejected, contact you about missing documentation within 2-4 weeks so you can supply the proper documentation and get approved
If you are waiting for a response for longer than 2-4 weeks, call the Department at 1-800-647-0982 to verify your paperwork was received.