How to Become a Contractor in Colorado – Get your Colorado contractor license

Contractors in Colorado provide the labor and material for different construction projects across the state. Unlike other states, CO does not provide state-wide licensing procedures for this job. Instead, contractors must abide by their city’s laws and regulations. 

Most Colorado cities will offer similar contractor licensing or registration procedures. This article will break down the requirements for contractor licensing in the three most populated CO cities: Denver, Colorado Springs, and Aurora.

Do You Need a Contractor License in Colorado?

While there isn’t state-wide regulation, most cities and municipalities will require some sort of license or registration to work as a contractor in the area. 

To find out your city’s rules, Google “Your city’s contractor licensing board” and find the information online or call the licensing office. Be sure to use the most accurate information found on official “.gov” websites. 

How to Get a Contractor’s License in Colorado

While every city’s process is unique, there is a general path most contractors take before getting licensed. This includes:

  • Gaining valid work experience
  • Completing an application and paying all fees
  • Taking and passing an official examination
  • Proving finances, bond, liability insurance, and/or Worker’s Compensation

Contractors will need some experience in their field, especially if they plan on being the “Qualifying Party” on their contractor license. The Qualifying Party is the person responsible for overseeing the projects and employees, and this person will also have to take and pass the official contractor and trade exam. 

Most Qualifying Parties have at least 4 years’ experience in their field, although some licenses may require more time. 

Once you have gained the experience, applied for the examination, and passed your test, your city may require proof of a bond, liability insurance, and/or Worker’s Compensation. After fulfilling these requirements and paying all fees, you will receive your contractor’s license.

Contractor Licensing in Denver

As the capital of Colorado and the most highly-populated city, Denver offers ample opportunity for contractor work. The city issues contractor licenses and certificates for various types of construction work, and it does not accept licenses/certificates from other CO counties or states.

Supervisor Certificate Requirements

To get a contractor’s license, you must have a supervisor certificate or employ someone who does. A CO electrical or plumbing license may also substitute this certificate.

Supervisor certificates cost $60 each and are renewed every three years.

You can receive a supervisor’s certificate in any of the following areas:

  • Electrical: you will need at least 3 years’ experience to apply for electrical supervisor certificates
  • Mechanical: you will need 6-8 years’ experience depending on the mechanical certificate  
  • Fire Protection: you will need 4-7 years’ experience depending on the certificate  
  • Demolition and Moving: you’ll need 2-4 years depending on the certificate class
  • Specialty Class D certificates are also available, with requirements varying greatly depending on the specialty

Once you or your Qualifying Party meets the requirements for the supervisor’s certificate, you can apply for it online, by mail, or in person. You will need to have the supervisor’s certificate in the Qualifying Party’s possession before applying for your contractor’s license.

Contractor Application Process

To apply for your contractor’s license, the Qualifying Party will need their supervisor’s certificate as well as 2-7 years’ experience in the field, depending on the contractor license class. 

You can apply for a contractor’s license in Denver online, by mail, or in person. 

To do so, you should:

Renewals

Licenses should be renewed every 3 years. You can renew them online up to 30 days before expiration. Expired licenses must be renewed by mail or in person.  

Contractor Licensing in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs offers plenty of contractor licenses listed under the following groups:

  • Building
  • Mechanical
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Fire

With well over 30 license options, general contractors would likely apply for one of the building contractor licenses, such as the A-1 Building Contractor License, which enables you to contract for the building, changing, or repairing of any structure.

Contractor License Requirements

Before applying for your license, you will need to pass the appropriate exam, listed next to the license type here. Be sure you meet the experience requirements for the exam first.

Application Process

Once you’ve passed the exam, you can complete your application online or via mail.

You’ll need to include a:

  • Copy of your photo ID
  • $50 application fee
  • Copy of your passing exam results from ICC National Standardized or ICC Colorado Standard exams
  • Liability Insurance Certificate
  • Worker’s Compensation or rejection
  • A Certificate of Good Standing
  • 3 references (pages 10-12 of the application)

Once your application is completed, signed, and submitted, you’ll go through a background check. If all is approved, you’ll be notified and receive your license. 

Renewals

Colorado Springs contractor licenses can be renewed online, in person, or via mail. If renewing by mail, you’ll need to notarize your application. 

Contractor Licensing in Aurora

Aurora offers 14 types of contractor licenses for the area, including a General Contractor License. 

General Contractor License Requirements

To apply for a General Contractor License, you’ll need to:

  • Hold a Certificate of Insurance as well as Worker’s Comp
    • This should include a $1,000,000 general aggregate with $500,000 per occurrence 
  • Hold a surety bond of $5,000 that is good for at least 1 year
  • Have your business registered with the Secretary of State or provide a DBA Certificate from the County
  • Hold an ICC certification for the Master Mechanical Certification (Exam N29) or pass municipal testing
    • This should be done by the Qualifying Party

Application Process

If it is your first time applying for a license in Aurora, you will complete the application form and email it to DevServicesAdmin@aurora-il.org.  

Be sure to include:

  • Proof of insurance, Worker’s Comp, and a bond
  • Your business registration
  • A copy of the ICC certificate or municipal testing results

When your application is received, you’ll get directions on how to log onto the online portal. You’ll be able to use this portal to track your application, pay the $200 general contractor application fee, apply for permits, and more. 

Renewals

You can renew your license online through ETRAKIT. Further instructions can be found here.

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