How to Become a Contractor in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is full of history and adventure. For those wondering how to become a contractor in the state, your first step is to register with the Contractor’s Registration and Licensing Board (CRLB). 

To do so, you’ll need to complete a 5-hour preregistration course, have liability insurance, hold Worker’s Compensation Insurance, pay a fee, and have a business ID number.

Let’s dive in!

Do You Need a Contractor’s License in Rhode Island?

Contractors and subcontractors are required by law to be registered in Rhode Island. This includes residential and commercial contractors who construct, alter, remodel, or repair any structure in the state. Employees of contractors do not need to register.

Commonly registered contractors in RI include carpenters, drywall installers, painters, flooring installers, plasterers, power washers, roofers, swimming pool installers, and many more.

Electrical, HVAC, mechanical, and plumbing contractors must adhere to the Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training for their respective licenses.

Contractor Registration in Rhode Island

Registering as a contractor in Rhode Island takes a few simple steps:

  1. Complete the preregistration class
  2. Acquire the mandatory insurance coverage
  3. Register your business
  4. Apply for your contractor registration

Preregistration Classes

A 5-hour preregistration course is mandatory for all contractors except:

  • Applicants who only work on commercial structures
  • Applicants who graduated from a technical or vocational high school or college within the last 2 years – submit official transcripts to the Board for approval before assuming an exempt status

There are two approved providers for this course: the Rhode Island Builders Association and Titan Lead Testing. 

The course will cover:

  • Construction contracts
  • Codes/standards
  • The CRLB
  • Business principle and practice
  • Workplace safety

Once you complete the course, you’ll receive documentation as proof to submit with your registration application.


Contractors must have general liability insurance and Worker’s Compensation. The latter is only required if you have employees. 

Obtain a Certificate of Liability Insurance for at least $500,000. The CRLB should be listed as a certificate holder. 

You should also have your Certificate of Worker’s Compensation Insurance, which will also list the CRLB as a holder. 

Registering Your Business

Your contracting business must have a business ID with the state. Corporations and LLCs should also have a date of incorporation. Business IDs are given through the RI Secretary of State. 

If your business is already registered with the state but you don’t remember your business ID number, you can search for it here.

Completing the Application

All contractor registration applications are completed online. You’ll need to create a username with your email and a new password. 

You can also pay the $150 registration fee online or make a check out to RICRLB and mail it to:

State Building Office


560 Jefferson Boulevard Ste. 100

Warwick, RI 02886

Out-of-State Contractors

There are no reciprocal agreements for out-of-state licensed contractors – you’ll need to apply for registration as a new applicant. To do so, you must reside in RI or have a designated, local power of attorney and registered agent.

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