How to Become a Licensed General Contractor in Texas

General contractors in Texas are responsible for the day-to-day oversight of a building project. There is no state General Contractor License in Texas. Instead, most general contractors need a Texas Business License and to register as a general contractor in their respective city. 

Does Texas Require a General Contractor License?

Texas requires most general contractors to be registered in the city they are working in. There is no overarching state licensing procedure. Some cities do not require registration at all.

If you are a general contractor with your own business, some cities will also require you to have a Texas Business License or their equivalent.

Information on additional licenses and permits for areas supervised by the contractor (e.g., electrical contractor licenses, plumbing licenses, etc.) can be found here.

How to Obtain a General Contractor License in TX

Each Texan city has unique procedures for registering as a general contractor. Typically, you’ll need to submit an application online attaching any necessary documentation, pay a fee, and await your approval.

Some cities require you to add permit numbers to your application, while others require you to become registered before requesting permits. Most cities will require your business to have a Texas Business License or equivalent, which we discuss further below.

Registering as a General Contractor in Austin

You can register to work in Austin through their online Service Center request form. This form can also be used to renew your registration.

On this form you must include:

  • The project’s address
  • Permit numbers
  • Authorized agent names
  • Scope of work (residential or commercial)

You will need to complete and upload a Letter of Authorization with your request.

The Permit Center will contact you after uploading your request. Once approved you’ll have to pay a fee that varies depending on the project and permits involved.

Registering as a General Contractor in San Antonio

Unlike Austin, there are no license or registration requirements for commercial general contractors in San Antonio.

You will need to register as a home improvement contractor or residential building contractor before being issued any permits.

Home improvement contractors in San Antonio perform limited repairs and replacements. You must complete the registration application, apply for a National Background Check, submit a copy of government-issued ID, pay a $150 registration fee, and show proof of insurance.

Residential building contractors should complete the registration application and the same additional steps as the home improvement contractors, except that the fee is slightly higher at $170.

Registering as a General Contractor in Dallas

Registering as a general contractor in Dallas takes more legwork than other Texan cities. Before applying, you’ll have to possess a Home Repair License which costs $68.

You’ll then need to fill out the general contractor application, which outlines a wide array of requirements. These include but are not limited to:

  • Having been in business for at least 2 years as a general contractor in Dallas or the surrounding areas
  • Submitting financial documents to provide evidence of financial ability and stability
  • Attending Contractor Orientation seminar, and more.

The fee for this application is $120.

Registering as a General Contractor in Houston

Prime and General Contractors are not licensed nor registered in Houston. Permits for general contractors are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

More information about these permits can be found here.

Obtaining a Texas Business License

If you run your own contractor business, you may need a Texas Business License to complete projects in certain cities. After checking your city’s general contractor registration requirements, you can find information on city business licenses or alternatives below.

Renewing a Texan General Contractor License

Most cities will use the same application form or a similar document for renewals. Renewals tend to cost the same amount as the initial application.

Please see the links included under your city above for information on renewals.

General Contractor Insurance

General contractors across cities are required to have insurance for commercial general liability. Insurance must be contracted from an insurance provider authorized in Texas and pursuant to the Texas Insurance Code.

The total amount and facets of the insurance policy are to be determined by each city or municipality.

General Contractor Salaries

Becoming a general contractor in Texas can be a long process, but it is well compensated. General contractors in Texas make 1% more than the national average for this position. Entry-level contractors make much more than the average salary for all Texans, which is only $57,382.

In Texas, general contractors make an average of $123,433 per year. This breaks down to $59.34 per hour. This average does not include the annual bonus for general contractors, which is $7,850 per year.

Entry-level general contractors in Texas make around $86,142 per year, while senior general contractors can make upwards of $150,000 per year.

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