How to get a Washington Contractor License
This Washington state contractor license guide is for informational purposes only. SuretyBonds.com does not regulate or manage licensing for contractors in Washington. Contact the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries for the state's latest official contractor license requirements.
Washington Revised Code 18.27.010 defines contractor as "any person, firm, corporation, or other entity who or which, in the pursuit of an independent business undertakes to, or offers to undertake, or submits a bid to, construct, alter, repair, add to, subtract from, improve, develop, move, wreck, or demolish any building, highway, road, railroad, excavation or other structure, project, development, or improvement attached to real estate."
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries requires all contractors be licensed before performing construction services. General contractors can perform a broad range of construction work while specialty contractors can only perform work for their particular specialty (or specialties). General contractors can hire subcontractors while specialty contractors cannot. The Washington State L&I offers 63 specialty contractor classifications.
Complete the steps below to apply for your Washington state contractor license with the Department of Labor and Industries.
How do I get a general or specialty contractor license in Washington state?
Step 1: Register your business.
Your business must be registered with the Washington Department of Revenue. Consult the Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for Your Washington Business License to determine the business structure that's best for you.
You can register your business online through the Department of Revenue or by sending a completed application to the Secretary of State. Your application fee will vary depending on your business structure and location. The Secretary of State will provide your Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number once your business license application has been approved. You'll use your UBI number to identify your business with various Washington state agencies.
*Note: You don't need to apply for a business license if you're a sole proprietor with no employees.
Step 2: Purchase your Washington continuous contractor's surety bond.
Washington Contractor's Registration Act 18.27.040 requires that contractor applicants purchase a surety bond to be filed with their Washington State Department of Labor and Industries registration application. General contractors need a $12,000 surety bond amount while specialty contractors need a $6,000 surety bond amount.
You can apply for your Washington continuous contractor's bond online 24/7 with annual premiums starting at $100. You'll receive your official Washington continuous contractor's bond by email once your order has been processed.
Step 3: Purchase general liability insurance.
You'll need either $200,000 in public liability and $50,000 in property damage OR $250,000 in combined in single limit coverage. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries must be listed as a certificate holder on your insurance policy, which must be submitted with your construction contractor license application registration paperwork.
Step 4: Submit your Washington contractor license application and pay the license fee.
You can apply for your Washington construction contractor license in person or by mail. To apply in person, visit your local Washington State Department of Labor and Industries office. You must bring your Application for Construction Contractor Registration, business registration and UBI number, Washington continuous contractor's surety bond, certificate of general liability insurance, and $124.70 application fee. All forms of payment are accepted in person.
All application signatures must be notarized originals. Your business name, license, and general liability insurance must be listed as registered with the Department of Revenue.
To apply by mail, ship all documents listed above to the Department of Labor and Industries. Mailed application fees can be paid by check or money order.
Department of Labor and Industries
P.O. Box 44450
Olympia, WA 98504-4450
Once your application has been processed, you’ll receive a registration card with your Contractor Registration Number. You can also contact the IRS for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
How do I renew my Washington state general or specialty contractor license?
Your Washington state contractor license lasts for 2 years. Use the the Department of Labor and Industries website Verify a Contractor, Tradesperson, or Business tool to renew your license. You'll need to verify that your licensing information, surety bond, insurance policy, and contractor registration are current, active, and not suspended.
If your bond amount changed, you must submit the new bond with the name of your business exactly as it appears on file with the Department of Labor and Industries. The new bond should be submitted to the Department of Labor and Industries before the filing date listed on the bond. If you changed your insurance policy or coverage amount, you must also submit your new general liability insurance certificate. Your insurance agent must send an electronic confirmation to the Department of Labor and Industries or sign the original, uncorrected paper certificate of insurance.
You can renew your license and pay your $124.70 renewal fee online or by mail. To renew online, you'll need your Contractor Registration Number, UBI number, and renewal fee payment. For mailed renewals, you'll send all documents and fees to the Department of Labor and Industries Contractor Registration office. Mailed renewal fees can only be paid by check or money order.
Last Updated: October 19, 2023