How to Become a Licensed Contractor in Oregon
Most all construction and landscape contractors wishing to perform construction services or repairs to real property must be licensed in the state of Oregon. Here’s the process to become a licensed contractor in Oregon.
Do you need a license?
The first question you need to ask is whether you need to be licensed to work in the state of Oregon. For most contracting companies, the answer is yes. Oregon requires all contractors involved in residential and commercial construction and repair to be licensed with the Construction Contractors Board or CCB. Landscaping contractors are licensed through the Landscaping Contractors Board or LCB.
Work that does not require a license includes landscaping maintenance, gutter cleaning, pressure washing, and debris cleanup.
How to become a licensed contractor in Oregon
1. Complete the mandatory online training
Choose a person to be the Responsible Managing Individual for your company. They can be an owner, officer, partner, or employee of the business, but must have management or supervisory authority over construction activities. This person must complete 16 hours of pre-license training and successfully complete an exam. The course and exam are available both online and in person from approved educators.
2. Determine the type of license you need
Before beginning work as a contractor, you must decide which endorsements you need. Endorsements tell the CCB what type of structures you will be working on and what type of work you will perform. Each endorsement has different insurance and bonding requirements, so it’s important that you select the correct one(s). You can choose more than one endorsement. The available endorsements include:
- Residential General Contractor
- Residential Specialty Contractor
- Residential Limited Contractor
- Residential Developer
- Home Services Contractor
- Residential Locksmith Services Contractor
- Home Inspector Services Contractor
- Home Energy Performance Score Contractor
- Residential Restoration Contractor
- Commercial General Contractor
- Commercial Specialty Contractor
- Commercial Developer
3. File for a tax ID number or employer ID number
In order to open a bank account or hire employees, you must have a tax ID number from the IRS. You can apply for this number for free at the IRS website.
4. Register your business name
Unless you are doing business as your personal name, you must file a business name application with the Oregon Secretary of State, Corporation Division. You may form your business as a corporation, limited liability corporation, or an assumed business name or DBA. If you will be doing business as your personal name, you do not need to register it with the Secretary of State.
5. File for an Oregon employer’s identification number
If you will be hiring employees to work in the state of Oregon, you must apply for an Oregon Business Identification Number (BIN). Use the combined employer’s registration form to apply for this number. You must apply and receive your BIN before you can hire and start paying employees.
6. Purchase insurance and bonds
All contractors are required to purchase general liability insurance and provide a license bond. The limits of insurance depend on the endorsement(s) being applied for. If you will have employees, you will also need to purchase workers compensation insurance. If you are applying for multiple endorsements, you must provide insurance at the higher limit, and provide multiple bonds as required.
7. Complete the application
Next you will complete the application for an initial contractor’s license. The application you choose will depend on the structure of your business. The completed application must be sent in with an original bond, an insurance certificate, and the application fee.
How to become a licensed landscape contractor in Oregon
There are two licenses required to perform landscaping work in Oregon: landscape construction professional and landscape contracting business. The first step is to get licensed as a professional.
1. Make sure you meet the qualifications
Before beginning the journey to become a landscape construction professional, you must meet minimum requirements for experience and knowledge. You may meet those requirements by having two years of landscape related job experience, having one year of experience with a limited scope, or having no experience (this requires additional testing and a higher bond). There are alternative ways to meet the experience qualification, including education and membership in a professional organization, if you don’t have the traditional experience noted above.
2. Determine the license type
There are six license types for landscape contractors: planting, standard, irrigation and backflow, modified, arborist, and all phase. Choose the type of license you want depending on the work you want to perform.
3. Submit application
4. Schedule an exam
Once your application has been received and approved, you can schedule the exams you need to take to get your professional license. Exams are timed and are all open book, except for backflow.
5. Apply for initial license
Once all exams are complete and passed, and fees paid, you will receive your initial landscape construction professional license.
6. Register your business name
File for a tax ID number or employer ID number from the IRS website if you will be opening a bank account or hiring employees.
File for a business name with the Oregon Secretary of State, Corporation Division.
File for an Oregon Business Identification Number (BIN) if you will be hiring employees.
7. Purchase insurance and bonds
Landscape contractors are required to purchase general liability insurance and provide a license bond. You must provide a minimum of $500,000 in insurance coverage. The bond amount depends on the size of project you plan to take on. If you will have employees, you will also need to purchase workers compensation insurance.
8. Complete and submit the application
The landscape construction professional must complete an employment verification form, and the business must complete a business license application form or apply online. The completed forms, along with insurance certificates, bonds, and fees, are turned in for processing.
Once you receive your contractor’s license, you may begin advertising for work, bidding projects, and taking on customers. Your contractor’s license number must be present in all business correspondence and advertisements, including business cards.