To become a general contractor often requires proof of job experience. Here's how to become a general contractor with no prior experience.

How To Become a General Contractor with No Experience: A Complete Guide

Becoming a general contractor is an exciting career path that offers the potential for job security and financial success. However, in many states, getting a license to become a general contractor often requires proof of extensive job experience—something that can be difficult to provide if you’re new to the field or have limited experience.

Fortunately, it is possible to get licensed even without prior experience. In this article, we will look at the steps necessary to become a general contractor with no prior experience, helping you understand how to break into this lucrative industry and start making money quickly.

What is a General Contractor?

A general contractor is a professional who supervises construction projects and has a variety of responsibilities. These tasks include hiring subcontractors, coordinating with vendors and suppliers, and obtaining materials. Additionally, they enforce safety and health guidelines on the job site and ensure that projects are completed on time. A general contractor can find projects in various sectors within the construction industry, such as commercial and residential construction and home renovation projects.

A license may be necessary to compete for the most lucrative projects as a general contractor. Even though certain states mandate a minimum level of experience for licensure, it may be possible to obtain a license without it. Skills like industry knowledge, outstanding customer service, marketing strategy, and business management can be advantageous in finding work, regardless of whether you have a license.

Knowing alternative methods of getting a general contractor license can help jumpstart your career in the field, particularly if you believe you can provide high-quality results on the job site despite having less experience.

Why Do You Need a Contractor License?

A contractor license is essential for individuals or businesses that plan to offer construction, repair, or remodeling services. Here are three key reasons why you need a contractor license before you can take on related jobs:


A contractor license validates your expertise and credibility in the field of construction. It indicates to potential clients that you have met the state’s minimum requirements for skills, knowledge, and experience needed to perform the job. So if you want to gain more clients and contracts, getting a proper license is essential.

Legal Compliance

Depending on your state, a contractor license may be a legal requirement to operate as a contractor. You may face fines, legal action, or other penalties for working on construction projects without a license. A license also protects you from any potential liabilities from working on the job site.

Access to More Lucrative Projects

Many clients, including government agencies, require that contractors be licensed to bid on projects. Holding a contractor license can give you access to more lucrative projects and help you grow your business. At the same time, you can increase your income and expand your client base.

Do You Need a Contractor License in Every State?

Some states don’t mandate licenses for contractors when seeking work. The ones mentioned below are good examples:

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

Requirements for Getting a General Contractor License

To become a licensed general contractor, you must meet certain requirements that may vary depending on your state. However, most states require applicants to:

  • Demonstrate Industry Experience: You’ll need to provide proof of your expertise in the construction field. This may include previous work experience, education, apprenticeships, or other training programs.
  • Pass Trade, Business, and Law Exams: You may be required to pass exams that test your knowledge of construction, business management, legal issues, and safety practices.
  • Meet Net Worth Requirements: Some states may require you to meet minimum net worth or financial responsibility standards during application.
  • Obtain General Liability Insurance: You’ll likely need general liability insurance coverage to protect yourself and your clients.
  • Obtain Different Licenses for Different Projects: Depending on your state, you may also need separate licenses for residential and commercial projects and handyperson services.

To learn more about the specific requirements for obtaining a general contractor license in your area, you can contact your state’s licensing board or local trade union for guidance.

How to Become a Contractor Without Experience?

Becoming a licensed contractor can be challenging, especially if you have no industry experience. However, there are several options available. Here are some ways you can get a contractor license with no experience:

Partner with a Responsible Managing Officer or Employee

One way to gain experience and knowledge in the construction industry is to partner with a licensed “responsible managing officer” (RMO) or “responsible managing employee” (RME). This person can provide guidance, mentorship, and oversight as you work on construction projects.

Get a Grandfathered Contractor License

In some states, experienced workers in construction-related fields may be eligible for a “grandfathered” contractor license. This license type may allow you to bypass some or all of the usual licensing requirements, depending on your experience level.

Get a Waiver from the Licensing Board

Some licensing boards may grant waivers or exemptions to licensing requirements for individuals with extraordinary circumstances or qualifications.

Create a Company with a Licensed Contractor

You can also form a business partnership or corporation with a licensed contractor. This option allows you to benefit from their expertise and status as a licensed contractor.

Gain Experience

Without formal training or education, experience is key. Consider working as an apprentice, helper, or laborer on construction projects to gain hands-on experience and develop your skills.

Take Training Courses

You can also take construction-related training courses, such as courses in safety procedures, materials handling, or blueprint reading. These courses can help demonstrate your commitment to professionalism and improve your knowledge in the field.

Keep in mind that licensing requirements and exemptions vary by state, so it’s essential to research the policies and procedures of your state’s licensing board before proceeding with any of these options.

How can ReliaBills Help General Contractors?

Whether you’re looking to get a proper license or find a loophole in the system to start working as a general contractor without experience, getting paid is the be-all and end-all of the jobs. That’s why having a reliable payment system is essential for any contractor. That’s where ReliaBills comes in handy.

ReliaBills is a cloud-based invoicing and billing software designed to automate payment processes, reduce administrative overhead, and streamline payment processing duties. ReliaBills’ payment processing features include automated recurring billing, payment tracking, payment reminders, online payment processing, and much more!

It also provides valuable tools that help manage customer information, monitor payment records, and create proper billing and collection reports. As a result, invoice and billing management are simple and convenient. You also get access to active customer support, ready to assist you whenever you need help.

Get started with ReliaBills for free today! And if you want more features, you can upgrade your account to ReliaBills PLUS for only $24.95 monthly! Subscribing to ReliaBills PLUS will give you access to advanced features such as automatic payment recovery, SMS notifications, custom invoice creation, advanced reporting, and more!

With ReliaBills, you have an all-in-one solution to your invoicing and payment processing needs. Our convenient solutions will enable you to focus more on running and growing your general contractor business. Get started today! Visit to learn more.

Wrapping Up

While becoming a general contractor without prior experience is possible, it is essential to research before diving into this field. Researching your state’s licensing requirements, gaining hands-on experience, and taking relevant training courses are all great steps to take if you’re just starting out. Furthermore, having a reliable invoicing and billing system is essential for any contractor. ReliaBills offers an all-in-one invoicing and payment processing solution to help you focus on running and growing your business. Get started today!

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