An introduction to contractor licenses in Illinois
Illinois requires all plumbers and roofing contractors to be licensed and bonded prior to conducting contracted work anywhere in the state. However, almost all other contractors must also be licensed and bonded by the county or municipality in which they will be working, pursuant to 50 ILCS 830. Although this law does not apply to Chicago contractors, they still have to meet license and bonding requirements established by Title 4 of the Chicago Code.
Contractor surety bonds are most commonly required by counties, cities, townships and villages in Illinois for the following licenses:
- building or construction
- wrecking or excavation
- heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
How much does an Illinois contractor license bond cost?
The cost of surety bonds for Illinois contractors varies due to factors such as the bond amount and the risk associated with the license type in question. Many county or municipality-specific contractor bonds may be issued instantly for 1% of the total bond amount. For example, a general contractor who needs a $10,000 bond may be able to purchase their bond online for just $100.
Applications for certain license types, such as demolition contractors, are seen by underwriters as being of greater risk and must therefore be reviewed before the cost of the surety bond can be determined. Although applicants who are highly qualified may still be approved for just 1%.
Several municipalities in Illinois require contractor bonds to run concurrently with the license, meaning they will have a fixed term end date. This may mean the cost of the bond can fluctuate if the initial bond term is slightly longer or shorter than the standard 12-month term.
Ready to get your Illinois contractor license bond? Select your bond from the list at the top of the page to get started!
Why are contractors bonded?
Contractors are required to be bonded to protect the obligee as well as the general public from any damage that may occur as a result of the contractor’s failure to comply with all applicable rules and regulations.
If the contractor causes harm to either the obligee or the public, a claim may be made against the bond. If the claim is valid, the surety may pay out up to the full bond amount to settle the claim. Once the claim is resolved, the contractor will be responsible for repaying the surety for all money paid to cover the claim.
How to get a contractor license in Illinois
To get an Illinois contractor license, contractors must follow all steps established by the state or the county or municipality in which they are applying. Regardless of the obligee, there are four requirements almost all applicants must complete prior to being licensed:
- Complete and submit an application to the appropriate licensing entity
- Obtain insurance and a surety bond in the required amounts
- Pay any licensing fees
- Complete any education requirements established by the obligee
To find out exactly what steps must be taken to be licensed in your county or municipality, it is important to contact the obligee directly and verify their licensing process.