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Indiana General Contractor License: How to Apply

December 7, 2023 7 min. read
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If you’re looking to get into one of the most lucrative trade industries in the country, getting your Indiana general contractor license is a great bet. 

The state employs over 5,000 construction managers. And according to the Economic Research Institute, the average salary for Indiana general contractors is nearly $122,000 annually—with the top earners in the state averaging closer to $149,000.

In this guide, we’ll cover the key things you need to know about becoming a licensed general contractor in Indiana.

Do you need a general contractor license in Indiana?

To become a general contractor in Indiana, you need to register with the state through the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and meet any regional licensing and permit requirements. The Indiana code defines a contractor as any individual, partnership, or legal entity that wants to enter into contract-based work arrangements. 

In this guide, we’ll take a look at general contractor licensing requirements in the city  of Indianapolis and in Allen County.

Types of contractor licenses in Indiana

The licenses and permits you need to work as a general contractor in Indiana change depending on where you are in the state. 


In the city of Indianapolis, the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services (DBNS) handles licensing and permitting. According to the Building Standards and Procedures, any person or entity involved in construction or land alteration projects needs to get a contracting license from the DBNS. 

You also need to check the Residential Permit Checklist to see which permits are required for your project. Here are the main types of structural permits:

Structural PermitDescription 
Class 1 StructureNecessary for commercial, industrial, and multi-family buildings
Class 2 StructureNecessary for new construction or additions to one- and two-family dwellings or for projects where there is no new structure or additional square footage involved

The DBNS has a general contractor orientation video, a required items list, and a supplemental information handbook that contains key information about the licensing process in Indianapolis. 

Allen County

In Allen County, general contractor licensing is overseen by the Building Department according to the Allen County Rules and Regulations

The rules define a general contractor as any person or firm that builds, repairs, remodels, or demolishes buildings. This includes the following construction license types: 

License TypeDescription
General Contractor (A.1)License holder can work on all types of construction projects 
Building Contractor (A.3)License holder can work on commercial and multi-residential construction projects up to three stories
Residential Contractor (A.5)License holder can work on residential construction projects
Home Improvement Contractor (A.7)License holder can work on projects involving the improvement or repair of existing one- and two-family residential buildings
Sub Contractor (A.8)License holder can perform specific types of construction work, including: 
• Concrete
• Masonry 
• Carpentry
• Framing and window installation
• Roofing
• Demolition
• Drywall 
• Steel erection

How do I get a general contractor license in Indiana? (steps)


To become a general contractor in Indianapolis, you need to complete the following steps outlined by the DBNS and the Building Standards: 

  1. Complete the DBNS Company License application, listing all members and qualifying parties of your contracting business
  2. Get all members to sign the authorized agent application
  3. Register your business with the county or Secretary of State
  4. Pay the required $10,000 surety bond
  5. Get $500,000 in combined personal injury and property damage coverage
  6. If necessary, get workers’ compensation insurance
  7. Complete the board-approved general contractor orientation

All forms and applications can be sent to the City of Indianapolis Department of Business and Neighborhood Services at the following address: 

1200 Madison Ave, Suite 100
Indianapolis, IN 46225

Allen County

To get a contractor license in Allen County, you need to follow these steps outlined by the Allen County Building Department: 

  1. Fill out the Building Department’s Structural/Subsidiary Application and identify which type of contracting you want to perform
  2. Select the type of International Code Council (ICC) Structural Exam you want to write 
  3. Write and pass the necessary exam

You can send all contracting forms and applications for Allen County to the Building Department at the following address: 

200 E. Berry St, Suite 180
Fort Wayne, IN 46802

Indiana general contractor exam

Whether you need to write an exam to get your general contractor license depends on where you want to work in the state of Indiana. For instance, the city of Indianapolis doesn’t have any testing requirements for contractors. 

However, Allen County requires building contractors to pass an ICC exam that corresponds with the desired license type. These exams are open-book, and you have four hours to complete them.

According to the Allen County Building Department, here are the exams you need to pass for each license type: 

License TypeApplicable ICC Exams
General Contractor2015 International Building Code
2009, or 2012, or 2015 Concrete Manual
Building Contractor2015 International Building Code
2015 International Residential Code
2009, or 2012, or 2015 Concrete Manual
Residential Contractor2015 International Residential Code
2009, or 2012, or 2015 Concrete Manual
Home Improvement ContractorN/A

To find out more information about these different contracting tests, check out the ICC exam catalog

Be sure to check with your relevant municipal agencies for more information on the exam process in your region of Indiana. 

Does Indiana reciprocate general contractor licenses?

Reciprocity arrangements let licensed contractors from outside of Indiana apply directly for an equivalent license in the state. Since licensing is regional, there may or may not be a reciprocal license for the area in which you want to work. 

For example, Indianapolis does not reciprocate contractor licenses, but Allen County will in some cases. 

According to the Allen County Building Department, reciprocal licensing is at the discretion of the building commissioner. The only requirement is that the license holder has written and passed a national exam through the ICC or Prometric to get the out-of-state license. 

How much does a general contractor license cost in Indiana?

The cost of getting your general or building contractor license in Indiana varies depending on where you want to work. In Indianapolis, you can expect to pay between $247 and $377 for the initial license, depending on whether you are working as an individual or legal entity. In Allen County, the initial licensing cost ranges from $200 to $230, depending on the license type. 


Licensing StageFees
Application/Renewal (Individual)$247 (Business entity)
$377 (Individual)
Authorized Agents$63 per (after first 5)

Allen County

Licensing StageFees
Application/Renewal $90 (General)
$90 (Building)
$60 (Residential)
$60 (Home Improvement)
$60 (Subcontractor)
ICC Exam$115 each + cost of optional study materials

Keep in mind that there will likely be additional fees associated with contracting work, including insurance coverage, bonds, and building permits.

Renewing your general contractor license

The license renewal process in Indiana varies depending on regional rules, so make sure to check with your local agencies. 

In Indianapolis, contracting licenses expire on December 31st and are renewed annually through the same form as the initial application. Structural permits expire annually, one year from the date they were issued. 

Allen County contracting licenses expire annually on December 31st. You can contact the Allen County Building Department for more information on the renewal process. 

What happens if my general contractor license expires? 

If you think your contractor license may have expired, stop all work immediately and check in with your local agency. The penalty you face for not doing so will depend on where you work.

For example, operating without a license in the city of Indianapolis opens you up to the suspension or revocation of your license.  

In Allen County, you can face fines of $50 per day for non-compliance with permit requirements, alongside license suspension and other penalties. 

How to start a contracting business in Indiana

Once you’ve secured a contractor license and built up experience in the industry, you can take the next step toward a more lucrative future by starting your own contracting business. You should check with both state and local agencies to make sure you meet all necessary requirements.

The Indiana Secretary of State business portal, INBiz, provides information on some of the key steps you need to take to start a business in the state: 

  • Filing your business name with the Secretary of State
  • Registering with the Department of Revenue and Workforce Development
  • Developing a business launch and growth plan
  • Filing necessary amendments and reports with the Secretary of State

Once you’re registered, there are few more things you’ll need to think about to truly set your business up for success:

See our library of free contracting business resources for expert advice and templates you get you started.

Does a general contractor license in Indiana increase your earning potential?

Yes, getting a contractor license increases your earning potential in the state of Indiana. Although it may vary depending on where in the state you work, the average Indiana contractor earns more than $120,000 annually, according to the Economic Research Institute

Plus, you stand to earn even more than that when you start your own contracting business

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