Individuals and companies that perform general contracting work in the state of Washington must first get a Washington State Contractors License from the Washington Department of Labor & Industries.
You must get licensed if you do, or offer to do, any of the following activities for someone else:
- Construct, remodel, alter, or repair
- Develop residential property
- "Flip" homes
- Move, wreck, or demolish
Contractor licensing in Washington is similar to other states' licensing processes, except Washington doesn't require general contractors to take exams. Applicants also don't have to submit proof of education or work experience.
Short on time? Check out our Contractor License FAQ page.
How to get a Washington State Contractors License
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
- 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 with the Washington Secretary of State
You only need to do this if your business is structured as a corporation, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability company.
Step #4: Complete a Business License Application online
After completing, you will receive a Uniform Business Identification number.
The cost is between $15 and $20.
Step #5: Complete an Application for Contractor Registration
Your WA Contractor License registration 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
Purchase a bond from a licensed bond provider.
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 to get bonded.
To see what you'd pay for your bond, get a free quote below:
- OR -
Step #7: Obtain general liability insurance
Purchase 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 WA Contractor License registration fee
It costs $113.60 to register for a Washington State Contractors License for a two-year period.
Checks, money orders, Visa, or MasterCard are accepted.
Step #9: Submit paperwork
Department of Labor & Industries
Contractor Registration Section
P.O. Box 44450
Olympia, Wash. 98504-4450
The customer service representative at the L&I office will ensure all documentation is complete. Upon approval, you'll receive a receipt with a temporary registration number.
- If approved, the Department of Labor & Industries will mail your WA Contractors License registration to you within 2 to 4 weeks.
- If your application is rejected, you will be contacted about why within 2 to 4 weeks.
If you don't hear from L&I within 4 weeks, call 1-800-647-0982 to verify whether your application was received.