How To Become a Contractor in Virginia (With Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 6, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you want to become a contractor in Virginia, it's beneficial to learn about the different contractor license types and requirements you may need to pursue. The state of Virginia offers Class A, Class B and Class C licenses for individuals who want to repair, remodel or build structures. Understanding the requirements to become a contractor in Virginia can help you decide whether to pursue this career.

In this article, we explain how to become a contractor in Virginia and discuss this professional's average salary.

How to become a contractor in Virginia

Here's a list of steps on how to become a contractor in Virginia:

1. Set up your Virginia contracting business

The first step to working as a contractor in Virginia is to establish your contracting business. You can decide what kind of entity you want to operate as, whether it's a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a limited liability company. Once you decide on the entity type, you can register your company's name with the state of Virginia. During this process, you may identify three individuals.

The first is a designated employee, who's a full-time employee working at least 30 hours a week. The second is a qualified individual, who works full time and has at least five years of experience in their contracting specialty. The third is a responsible manager, who oversees all staff members. If you create a sole proprietorship, you may designate yourself as all three individuals as long as you meet the qualifications.

Related: What Are Contractors and What Do They Do?

2. Determine what kind of contractor license you want

You may apply for three basic types of contractor licenses in the state of Virginia. The most basic contractor one is a Class C license. This license lets you work on projects that are less than $10,000 in value, and it has a limit of $150,000 in contracts that you accept per year. The next license type is a Class B license, which lets you accept individual projects up to $120,000 in value and has a $750,000 annual limit. If you want to work without monetary restrictions, you may consider getting a Class A license.

Note that all aspiring contractors need to submit proof of a certain amount of equity if they apply for a Class A or Class B contractor license. They can submit proof of this equity to the Virginia Department of Occupational and Professional Regulation (DPOR) with a financial statement form. Alternatively, candidates can submit a surety bond. They may learn the exact amounts necessary by visiting the Virginia Department of Occupational and Professional Regulation's website.

Related: A Guide to How To Get a Contractors License With No Experience

3. Choose your license specialty

The next thing you need to decide is what you want as your license specialty. The DPOR allows candidates to choose from dozens of specialties. For example, some of the specialties include accessibility services contracting, billboard contracting, drywall contracting, concrete contracting and landscape service contracting. You can review detailed descriptions of each specialty on the DPOR's website. Any license specialty that a candidate chooses appears on their contractor license in the form of a three-letter abbreviation.

Related: How To Become a General Contractor in 5 Steps

4. Sign up for and complete the appropriate pre-license education course

After you set up your business and decide on your license type and specialty, you can sign up for a relevant pre-license education course. These courses teach candidates how to perform high-quality work for their clients and abide by local and federal safety standards. You can find approved courses through the DPOR's website. Be sure to choose one that delivers instruction via your preferred method, whether that be online or in a traditional classroom setting.

Related: Independent Contractor: Definition and Examples

5. Sign up for the Virginia contractor exam

If you want to obtain a Class A or a Class B contractor license, you can sign up for the Virginia contractor exam. Candidates who want to obtain a Class C contractor license don't need to take any portion of the exam. Candidates who want to obtain their Class B licenses need to pass the Virginia Portion and the General Portion of the contractor exam.

Class A candidates need to pass all three portions of the contractor exam, which are the General Portion, the Virginia Portion and the Advanced Portion. You may sign up to take all relevant portions through PSI. This is the testing provider that administers the Virginia contractor exam.

Related: 11 Traits of a Successful Construction Contractor

6. Send your completed application to the DPOR

Obtain a blank copy of the contractor license application from the DPOR Board for Contractors. Fill out all relevant information and provide proof of your pre-license education course and passing exam scores. Be sure to include your application fee and send it to the DPOR for approval. It may take about a month for the board to review your application, so you can anticipate a waiting period.

Related: 24 of the Best Independent Contractor Jobs (Plus Benefits)

Tips for becoming a contractor in Virginia

Here are some tips for becoming a contractor in Virginia:

  • Determine your insurance before you accept any job. Protect yourself from liability issues by getting your own insurance policy or having a client add you to an existing policy.

  • Learn how to file your taxes correctly. Be sure to understand how to file your taxes, as the process may be different if you've previously filed as a W-2 employee.

  • Seek continuing education. Seek continuing education and consider earning additional certifications so that you can learn new skills and distinguish yourself from competing contractors.

  • Report changes in your contracting business' personnel. If any personnel of your contracting business changes, including your qualifying individual, responsible management and designated employee, you can report these changes to the DPOR in a timely manner.

Related: Contractor Certifications To Enhance Your Career (With Tips)

Average salary for a contractor in Virginia

The average salary for a contractor in Virginia is around $63,609 per year. This figure is slightly higher than the average salary for a contractor in the United States, which is around $61,945 per year. Contractors may have a higher earning potential depending on what kind of projects they take on and what types of clients they accept. For example, a contractor who works for commercial businesses may earn more than a contractor who works for residential clients.

For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the links provided.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Consult with an attorney for any issues you may be experiencing.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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