How to Become a Contractor in South Carolina

If you’re looking to become a general contractor in South Carolina, you likely have many questions. This article will address what you need to know.

What Types of Contractor Licenses Can I Apply For in South Carolina?

You can apply for a Residential Contractor license, a General Contractor Limited license, or a General Contractor Unlimited license.

Who Needs a Contractor License?

If a residential building project costs over $200 or a commercial building project costs over $5,000, you must have a license.

For a Residential Contractor license, a contractor must show one year of experience under the supervision of a licensed residential builder or another appropriately-licensed individual in the desired classification.

For the General Contractor Limited and Unlimited licenses, a contractor must show two years of actual work experience within the past five years as a full-time employee in the desired classification. Only commercial experience is accepted.

What Do I Need to Apply for a Contractor License?

You must first pass the South Carolina Residential Business and Law exam ($90) and then one of the following exams ($75):

  • The Residential Contractor Exam (You need pre-approval to take this exam. Submit an application to the Residential Contractors Licensing Board, documenting your experience and financial information in order to be approved.)
  • The General Contractor Limited Exam
  • The General Contractor Unlimited Exam or NASCLA Exam

All Residential Contractor applicants must submit a credit report with their application. After passing the exams, Residential Contractors are required to obtain a Surety Bond of at least $15,000.

Both Contractor license applications must come with documentation of experience and financial information.

How Much Does a South Carolina Contractor License Cost?

Residential Contractor licenses renew on July 1 of each even-numbered year.  

The licensing fee for the Residential Contractor license is $80 for 12 months or less and $160 for 12 months or more. The licensing fee is due after passing the exam. The licensing fee for both General Contractor licenses is $350.

What States Share Reciprocity with South Carolina for Contractors?

For the Residential Contractor license, South Carolina currently allows reciprocity with North Carolina, Utah, Alabama and the South Carolina General Contractors Board.

For the General Contractor Limited license, South Carolina currently allows reciprocity with Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.

For the General Contractor Unlimited license, South Carolina currently allows reciprocity with Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia & the Virgin Islands.

West Virginia will accept the NASCLA exam scores for the West Virginia General Contractor if the exam was passed after November 1, 2013. Nevada will accept the NASCLA exam scores if the exam was passed after December 1, 2013. This is for the same classification. Passing the State Specific Business Law exam is still required, as well as meeting each state’s experience requirements.

What do I Need to Prepare for the Contractor Exam in South Carolina?

There are many ways to prepare for the South Carolina general contractor exam. Contractor Exam Seminars offers multiple formats, either written study guides, video seminars, or computer software.