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Louisiana General Contractor License: Get Licensed to Work

November 22, 2023 10 min. read
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Getting your general contractor license in Louisiana is an excellent way to get your foot in the door of the growing construction industry. In fact, spending on construction projects in the U.S. increased from $854.4 billion to nearly $1.8 trillion from 2012 to 2022. 

In Louisiana, where between 6% and 7% of the population is employed in the construction industry, that means a robust 136,000+ jobs exist across the state. Plus, according to the Economic Research Institute, the average salary for general contractors in Louisiana is expected to reach more than $135,000 by 2028. Now is the perfect time to take your skills and qualifications to the next level.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting a license to be a general contractor in Louisiana.

Do you need a general contractor license in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, commercial contracting licenses are required for commercial projects with a value of $50,000 or more. Residential licenses are required for residential projects with a value of $75,000 or more. 

For home improvement work with a value between $7,500 and $75,000, you don’t need a license, but you will need to register with the Board as a home improvement contractor. Those who hold a valid commercial construction license or residential construction license are exempt from registering as a home improvement contractor.

The Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors (LSLBC) is responsible for regulating the construction industry in the state. The Board issues licenses to contractors based on their qualifications and experience.

Types of contractor licenses in Louisiana

Louisiana has different types of contractor licenses and registrations, which are divided by building type and contract size limit: 

License/RegistrationDescription 


Commercial License
License holder can work on any commercial project with a value of $50,000 or more, including materials and labor, such as an office building, a restaurant, or a retail shop.
Residential LicenseLicense holder can work on any residential projects with a value of $75,000 or more, including materials and labor, such as single-family dwellings and duplexes. 
Mold Remediation LicenseLicense holder can work on any mold remediation project with a value of $7,500 or more, including materials and labor.
Home Improvement Contractor RegistrationRegistered individuals can work on home improvement projects with values between $7,500 and $75,000, including materials and labor, for pre-existing residential structures. 

There are also different classifications for commercial and residential licenses for specific types of work:

Licence TypeClassificationsInformation
Commercial• Building construction 
• Highway, street, and bridge construction
• Heavy construction
• Municipal and public works construction 
• Electrical
• Mechanical
• Plumbing
• Hazardous materials

In addition, commercial licenses also have specialty classifications, including carpentry, fire alarms, locksmith, solar energy equipment, and more. You can see the full list of classifications here
Residential• Swimming poolsLicense holder will need a subclassification license, or to contract with a licensed subcontractor, to build a residential swimming pool where the cost of construction, including materials and labor, is more than $7,500.

You can take this classification test to see which classifications apply to the work you want to perform. 

Louisiana general contractor license requirements

You do not have to meet any formal education requirements before applying for your contractor license or registration in Louisiana. The requirements you do need to meet depend on the type of license or registration you want. To be eligible, you’ll need to be able to do the following: 

License/RegistrationRequirements


Commercial License
• Provide a financial statement showing a minimum of $10,000 net worth (within 12 months of the application)
• Complete the Business and Law course*
• Pass the trade exam and/or credentialing process for the desired license classification, if applicable
• Designate a Qualifying Party to represent the license
Residential License• Provide a financial statement showing a minimum of $10,000 net worth (within 12 months of the application)
• Provide proof of workers’ compensation coverage
• Provide proof of general liability insurance with a minimum amount of $100,000
• Complete the Business and Law course 
• Pass the trade exam, if applicable
• Designate a Qualifying Party to represent the license
Mold Remediation License• Provide a financial statement showing a minimum of $10,000 net worth (within 12 months of the application)
• Provide proof of workers’ compensation coverage
• Provide proof of general liability insurance with a minimum amount of $50,000
• Complete the Business and Law course 
• Complete 24 hours of approved mold remediation and mold assessment training
• Designate a Qualifying Party to represent the license
Home Improvement Contractor Registration• Provide proof of workers’ compensation coverage
• Provide proof of general liability insurance with a minimum amount of $100,000

*The Business and Law course is an online module that you complete via the LSLBC Licensing Portal.

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

The timeframe for getting a license or registration varies depending on how many exams you might need to prepare for. But generally, the application process will follow these steps:

  1. Complete and submit the application
  2. Provide a financial statement, if applicable
  3. Schedule and take the Business and Law course and any relevant exams and/or training, if applicable. Note: Certain classifications may require certifications from other agencies before obtaining a license with the Board. See the LSLBC exam classification page for additional information.
  4. Upload your supporting documents (e.g., proof of general liability insurance, proof of workers’ compensation insurance). Note: The exact documents vary depending on the license you’re applying for, so be sure to check the LSLBC website for the most up-to-date information.
  5. Pay the relevant fees

As you might expect, postal applications can take longer. But if you need to submit a hard-copy application, take a look at the forms on the LSLBC website. You can send the completed forms to the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors at: 

600 North Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

The LSLBC provides a checklist of all the items required for initial licensure, as well as information about other license requirements.

Louisiana general contractor exam

All three license types require you to complete the Business and Law course, but only commercial and residential licenses require exams. Additionally, you only need credentials to get a mold remediation license. 

ExamDetails


Commercial License
• 115 questions
• 5.5 hours to write
• 70% to pass
• Topics include site construction, concrete, masonry, wood, and more
• See the LSLBC Building Construction bulletin for more information
Residential License• 80 questions
• 4 hours to write
• 70% to pass
• Topics include rough carpentry, concrete and rebar, roofing, and more
• See the LSLBC Residential Construction bulletin for more information
Mold Remediation LicenseOnly training/credentialing is required. See the LSLBC Mold Remediation bulletin for more information. 
Home Improvement Contractor RegistrationNo exam or training/credentialing is required. See the LSLBC home improvement FAQ page for more information.

To prepare for the exams, familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the exams by reviewing the LSLBC general testing information. It’s also a good idea to read the recommended bulletins for each classification relevant to the work you want to do, which can all be found linked in the classification list

Note: The LSLBC doesn’t sanction any preparation courses outside of its own materials. You can take other courses if you want to, but you’ll do it at your own discretion. And most importantly, taking the courses doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to pass the exam. 

Does Louisiana reciprocate general contractor licenses?

Reciprocity agreements allow contractors licensed in one state to work in another state without having to meet all the requirements for obtaining a new license. However, it is important to note that reciprocity in Louisiana only applies to trade exam exemption. Other licensing requirements must still be met.

Louisiana has general contractor reciprocity agreements with the following states: 

Reciprocity agreements can also change over time, so it’s best to check the latest agreements with the LSLBC

How much does a general contractor license cost in Louisiana?

The application fee for a general contractor’s license in Louisiana ranges from around $400 to over $1,000, depending on the number of classifications you need. Your location can also influence the price (if you’re applying from outside of Louisiana, the costs are higher). 

Take a look at this overview of the fee schedule: 

ItemFee
Background financial investigation/processing $60
Classification$100
Additional classification+$95 for each additional classification, up to +$400 for five or more classifications
Administration/transaction fee$120 per classification
Business and Law course$120
Out-of-state surcharge$400

Fees and costs may change over time, so be sure to check the LSLBC fees schedule for the most recent figures. 

Renewing your general contractor license

You’ll receive a license renewal notice from the LSLBC 60 days prior to when your renewal is due, then again 15 days prior. You can check the expiration date of your license via your LSLBC online account or contact the department directly.

You won’t be able to renew the license until at least 60 days before it expires. But then, after the first year, you can apply for a license renewal that lasts one, two, or three years. It costs $100 for each year you want to renew your license. So, for example, a three-year renewal would cost $300. You can visit the LSLBC website to find out more about renewing your license.

Additionally, there are continuing education requirements for residential construction licenses. A residential building contractor is required to complete at least six hours of continuing education each year by a board-approved provider before they can renew their license. However, there are exemptions, so check with the LSLBC to see if you qualify. 

What happens if my general contractor license expires? 

If you think your license has expired, you should stop work immediately. If you don’t, you open the door to potential fines and penalties, and there could even be legal implications. 

Operating without a valid license is classified as a misdemeanor and can carry fines of up to $500 for every day of violation plus up to three months of jail time. Plus, you could receive a license suspension and a ban from bidding on additional work for up to three years. You can read the State of Louisiana’s Contractors Licensing Law and Rules and Regulations for more information. 

After a license has expired, you have 15 days to file an application for a normal renewal. This means you won’t pay any penalties or be required to take new exams. If you submit a renewal after 15 days of the expiration date, you’ll need to pay your license fees plus a penalty of up to $50. 

If your license has expired for over a year, you can’t renew it. Instead, you’ll have to apply for a new one. But the good news is that you won’t have to retake any exams if you have the same qualifying information and are applying for the same classifications as before.

How to start a contracting business in Louisiana

Once you’ve secured your Louisiana general contractor license and built up experience in the industry, you’re ready to take the next step: starting your own general contractor business. 

The Louisiana Secretary of State operates geauxBIZ, an online portal where you can reserve your business name, register your business, and file reports in Louisiana. This site will generate a checklist that outlines all the information you need to get your business off the ground (including permits, tax information, and so on). 

To make sure your business is successful, you’ll also want to think about:

See our library of free contracting business resources to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success.

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

Yes, getting your general contractor license in Louisiana increases your earning potential. 

Clients and potential employers tend to prefer licensed contractors because it demonstrates your expertise, skill, and adherence to industry standards. Being licensed can also open doors to higher-paying projects, government contracts, and larger-scale construction work.

Applying for your commercial or residential contractor license allows you to take part in a booming industry. The average annual wage for general contractors in Louisiana is $120,433—although that salary can increase to more than $147,000 as your expertise grows. 

Visit our contracting resources hub for more general contractor information, tips, and success stories.

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