Licensure with the Board

Applying for a License

As a prerequisite to licensure, applicants must designate a Primary Qualifying Party (PQP) for each classification or subclassification for which a license is desired as a prerequisite to licensure. A PQP is a qualifying party (QP) that has been designated by the applicant as the principal individual responsible for directing or reviewing work performed by the applicant in a particular classification or subclassification. Additional qualifying parties are individuals that have met the same exam requirements, but has not been designated by the entity as a primary qualifying party (PQP).

PQPs must complete the exam requirements for certification prior to the entity or individual submitting an application to the Board for licensure. There are no pre-approvals required to schedule the PSI exams. Contact PSI at (855) 746-8173 or online at www.psiexams.com. Additionally, see Licensure with the Board: "Applying for a License", "Apply for a Qualifying Party Certification by Exam, Waiver, or Non-Technical Exam", and "How to Schedule an Exam".

To be eligible for certification as a PQP or QP, applicants must qualify by technical examination (when required), exam waiver/reciprocity, or MASC certification. Applicants are also required to pass the S.C. Business Management and Law for Commercial Contractors exam. In addition, all applicants must submit at least 2 years of work experience performed within the past 5 years for the requested license classification or subclassification (except waiver/reciprocity applicants).

Once a PQP has been determined, and the exams have been passed, you must submit the following:

  • General Contractor and Mechanical Contractor Instructions and Initial Application (Doc. 165)
  • Licensure Fee ($350)
    • All General Contractor licenses expire October 31st in even-numbered years.
    • All Mechanical Contractor licenses expire October 31st in odd-numbered years.
  • Verification to conduct business in SC from the SC Secretary of State (not required for a sole proprietorship).
  • Financial Statement or Surety Bond supporting the requested group limitation (see section below for more information)
  • Completed Primary Qualifying Party/Qualifying Party Initial Application(s), Doc. 168, for all PQPs and QPs who are not currently certified by the Board or have been inactive for more than four years. To transfer a current PQP/QP certification or a certification that has been inactive for less than four years to a new license, please complete Doc. 181.
  • PSI technical exam PASS sheet(s), or an approved Exam Waiver verification (see Technical Exam Waiver Agreement List)
  • PSI S.C. Business Management and Law for Commercial Contractor's exam PASS sheet
Apply for a Qualifying Party Certification by Exam, Waiver, or Non-Technical Exam

A Primary Qualifying Party (PQP) is the qualifying party who has been designated by the applicant as the principal individual responsible for directing or reviewing work performed by the applicant in a particular classification or subclassification. Additional qualifying parties are those individuals who have passed all the necessary exams to qualify the applicant for licensure but have not been designated as the primary qualifying party.

To be eligible for certification as a qualifying party, applicants must qualify by one of the methods of certification below:

1. APPLICATION BY EXAMINATION:

Exam applicants must pass the appropriate technical exam(s) prior to submitting an application to the Board. In addition, you will need to submit at least 2 years of work experience performed within the past 5 years. The Work Experience Affidavit is provided with the application and may be copied as needed. Unless specifically listed, experience should include primarily commercial work experience.

  • PSI Technical Exam: Passing scores for the appropriate South Carolina technical exam(s) should be included with your application packet. You may contact PSI Exams directly to schedule your exam. https://candidate.psiexams.com/
  • NASCLA: Contact NASCLA to have your transcripts sent directly to the Board: https://www.nascla.org/.

2. APPLICATION BY EXAM WAIVER/RECIPROCITY OR MASC CERTIFICATION:

  • Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC) applicants should contact MASC to obtain a certification letter or include a copy of a valid certification card. Accepted certifications include:
    • Master electrician certification, passed the MASC's examination after December 1990 (Corresponding classification: Electrical)
    • Master plumber certification, passed the MASC's examination after December 1990 (Corresponding classification: Plumbing)
    • HARV (Master Mechanical) certification, passed the MASC's examination after September 7, 2013 (Corresponding classifications: Air Conditioning and Heating)
  • Exam Waiver/Reciprocity applicants must have a license in good standing in a jurisdiction that administered the reciprocating exam. A list of Exam Waiver/Reciprocity states and classifications may be found on the Technical Exam Waiver Agreement List.

    Contact the state licensing board and have the Examination Waiver form completed. Mail the completed form in with this application. Copies of your license or exam results are not accepted.

    If your existing license in one of these states was obtained by waiver or being grandfathered, you are not eligible to apply by exam waiver/reciprocity.

    If your state is listed but your trade/classification is not listed, you are not eligible to apply by waiver/reciprocity.
3. APPLICATION BY NON-TECHNICAL EXAM CLASSIFICATION:

There is no technical exam requirement for the classifications listed below. Applicants for these classifications must submit a Work Experience Affidavit, Doc. 167 with the application. The Work Experience Affidavit should include 2 years of work experience that has been performed within the past 5 years for each classification you are applying. If you are a supervisor, submit hands-on work you supervised employees performing in the field. Commercial and residential experience is considered for some classifications, but only the Nonstructural Renovation classification can include only residential work experience.

Nonstructural RenovationsMasonryHighway Incidental
Structural ShapesRailroad Lines 

Completed applications may be submitted to the Board at PO Box 11329, Columbia, SC 29211, by email to contact.clb@llr.sc.gov, or delivered in person at 110 Centerview Dr., Columbia, SC 29210.

How to Schedule an Exam

All required exams must be complete prior to applying for a license with the Board.

SC Business Law and Project Management for Commercial Contractors Exam
Regardless of how you are applying for licensure, all individuals must pass the South Carolina Business Management & Law for Commercial Contractors Exam prior to requesting qualifying party certification from the Board. You may register for this exam at https://test-takers.psiexams.com/sccon.

Technical Exams
The easiest way to register to take an exam is through PSI's website, https://test-takers.psiexams.com/sccon and look for South Carolina information. If an applicant experiences difficulty in reaching PSI on the telephone due to call volume, the best time to call is between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. EST.

All study materials are provided by the testing provider, PSI, on page three (3) of the PSI Candidate Information Bulletin. Contact PSI at 855-746-8173 or visit the website: https://test-takers.psiexams.com/sccon.

There are two (2) national exams offered for those desiring to become licensed in multiple states/jurisdictions: the National Commercial Building Contractor exam, and the NASCLA Accredited Trade Examination for Electrical Contractors. See the NASCLA Accredited Examination Program for more information.

The below classifications and subclassifications require technical examinations for licensure. If you are actively licensed in another state, you may qualify for certification if your classification is listed here- Reciprocity/waiver agreement.

General Contractor Classifications and Subclassifications with Technical Exams:

Limited Building Boiler Installation*
Unlimited Building Concrete
Highway** Glass & Glazing
Bridges Marine
Concrete Paving Pre-engineered Metal Buildings
Asphalt Paving Public Electrical Utility
Grading Roofing
Water & Sewer Plants Swimming Pools
Water & Sewer Lines Wood Frame Structures

*The Boiler Installation classification can be obtained by (1) the technical exam or (2) if the company holds either the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) "S" stamp, or the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (NBBPVI) "R" stamp for a qualified individual of the company. A copy of the stamp must be submitted with the application.

**The Highway classification requires passing exams for Bridges, Concrete Paving, Asphalt Paving and Grading.

Mechanical Contractor Classifications with Technical Exams:

Air Conditioning Packaged Equipment
Electrical Plumbing
Heating Process Piping
Lightning Protection Refrigeration

The following General Contractor classifications do not have a technical exam and require passing only the SC Business Law and Project Management for Commercial Contractors Exam

General Contractor Classifications with No Technical Exam:

Boring & Tunneling Nonstructural Renovation
Highway Incidental Miscellaneous Metals
Railroad Lines Masonry

License Group Limits

Limits per bid and job are based on the licensure applicant's provided financial documentation or bond. A financial statement or a surety bond must be submitted to determine your license group limitation for initial applications and renewal applications. If you are submitting a financial statement, you must meet either the net worth/ total equity requirement or working capital. You are not required to meet both requirements.

GENERAL CONTRACTORS

Group Bid and Job
$ Limitation
Working Capital Net Worth/
Total Equity
Surety Bond
Requirement
Group #1

$100,000

$10,000

$20,000

$20,000

Group #2

$400,000

$40,000

$60,000

$60,000

Group #3

$1,000,000

$100,000

$150,000

$150,000

Group #4

$3,000,000

$175,000

$250,000

$250,000

Group #5

$Unlimited

$250,000

$350,000

$350,000

Working Capital = Current Assets - Current Liabilities
Net Worth = Total Assets - Total Liabilities



MECHANICAL CONTRACTORS

Group Number Bid and Job
$ Limitation
Working Capital Net Worth/
Total Equity
Surety Bond
Requirement
Group #1

$35,000

$3,500

$7,000

$7,000

Group #2

$100,000

$10,000

$15,000

$15,000

Group #3

$200,000

$20,000

$30,000

$30,000

Group #4

$400,000

$40,000

$60,000

$60,000

Group #5

$Unlimited

$200,000

$300,000

$300,000

Working Capital = Current Assets - Current Liabilities
Net Worth = Total Assets - Total Liabilities



Financial Statements

Unless you are submitting the appropriate Surety Bond, all applicants for initial licensure, licensure renewal or group revision, must provide an acceptable financial statement. Financial statement requirements for initial licensure and licensure renewal are different, as indicated below.

Financial Statement Guidelines:

  • Submit an acceptable financial statement for the requested group limit with a balance sheet dated no more than twelve months before the date of the relevant application showing a minimum net worth or working capital for each license group.
  • Compiled, reviewed, and audited financial statements must be prepared by a licensed CPA. Verify a CPA is licensed at https://cpaverify.org/.
  • Financial statements must clearly illustrate the applicant's net worth or working capital on the provided balance sheet and include a signed cover letter from the CPA.
  • Personal financial statements of an entity's principals for an entity with less than two years' operating experience are acceptable for the initial application only.
  • A financial statement from a parent company may be accepted if it is noted in the financial statement "notes" or accompanied by a letter from the parent company stating the entity is a wholly owned subsidiary.

Initial Licensure and Group Revision:

Licensure Renewal:

Surety Bonds

In lieu of providing a financial statement showing a minimum net worth or working capital for a license group limit as required by Section 40-11-260, an applicant may provide a surety bond from a surety authorized to transact surety business in this State in the same amount as the required net worth or working capital for the applicant's license group with its initial or renewal application.

Surety Bond Form for General Contractors

Surety Bond Form for Mechanical Contractors

Require bond amounts:

General Contractor Mechanical Contractor
Group 1 ($20,000) Group 1 ($7,000)
Group 2 ($60,000) Group 2 ($15,000)
Group 3 ($150,000) Group 3 ($30,000)
Group 4 ($250,000) Group 4 ($60,000)
Group 5 ($350,000) Group 5 ($300,000)

The surety bond must:

  1. be continuous in form and must be maintained in effect for as long as the applicant maintains the license issued by the Board or until the applicant submits a financial statement showing that it meets the net worth or working capital requirements for its license group as provided in Section 40-11-260;
  2. list the State of South Carolina as oblige for the bond.
  3. be for the benefit of any person who is damaged by an act or omission of the applicant constituting a breach of construction contract or a contract for the furnishing of labor, materials, or professional services for construction undertaken by the applicant, or by any unlawful act or omission of the applicant in performing construction; and
  4. be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other surety bond required of the applicant by law or regulation, or by any party to a contract with the applicant.
  5. provide for bond cancellation by the Surety Company only by notification to the board and the applicant thirty days prior to cancellation.
Make Changes to Current License or Certification

Changes to a General and Mechanical Contractor License. To make changes to an active license, please complete the General and Mechanical Contractor Revision Application, Doc. 180.

    This application can be used to make the following revisions to an active license:
  • Change Business Name (with the same Federal Tax ID No. and same style of business)*
  • Address Change
  • Change of Licensing Group Limitation

*If your name, Federal ID No. or corporate structure has changed more than 15 business days ago; you must submit a new application Doc. 165. For corporate name changes, attach a copy of your company's amended charter or the Secretary of State Articles of Amendment.

Changes to PQP and QP Certification
To make changes to a current Primary Qualifying Party (PQP) or Qualifying Party (QP) certification, please complete the General and Mechanical Contractor PQP and QP Revision Application, Doc. 181. To utilize this application, you must have an active qualifying party certification with the Board or have a certification that has been inactive for less than four years. If you do not have an active qualifying party certification with the Board or you have been inactive for more than four years, please complete Doc. 168. If you are requesting to act as a Dual Qualifying Party for two licensed entities, please complete Doc. 173.

    This application can be used to update:
  • Contact Information
  • Transfer PQP/QP Certification to Another License
  • Add a Technical Classification
What Other Licenses Do You Need?

Once you obtain your license from the Board, please be aware that cities and/or counties in which you plan to work may require additional licensing and/or permitting..

Each city/county has its own rules, regulations, and fees.

    The Contractor's Licensing Board offers the following tips to assist you:
  1. Determine the city/county you will be operating in within South Carolina.
  2. If the location you will be operating is within a city, click on this link, SC Municipal Online Directory to search the city and obtain a phone number. When you call, ask to speak with the Business License or Building Permit department
  3. If the location is not in a city limit, but rather in a county, click on this link, www.sccounties.org/sc-counties to search the county and obtain a phone number. When you call, ask to speak with the Business License or Building Permit department.
  4. If you are not sure if a location is in the city or county, call the local city/county to confirm which permit and/or license you may need.