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How to Get Your General Contractor's License in South Carolina

Sep 27, 2022

Construction is one of the fastest-growing industries in the US. With countless opportunities to develop and broaden your career, it's no wonder people everywhere are looking to get licensed. But what exactly can you do with a general contractor license? And how do you know which path will benefit you the most? Each state's rules and regulations will vary. But if you live in South Carolina, we got you covered! 

What is the best license for you? 

As a general contractor in South Carolina, there are three different licenses you can pursue. You can acquire a residential builder, limited building, or unlimited general contractor license. Your best option will depend on your current experience and your desired scope of work. The trick is to choose a license based on where you are today. You want to get the most extensive license you qualify for to avoid having to walk through the whole process again in the future. 

A larger license means you can take on more extensive projects and have a broader scope of work. This can be especially beneficial when bidding on jobs and gaining work experience. Ultimately, the less you need to outsource, the more profit your business will gain. On the other hand, you also don't want to spend your time, money, and energy on a huge license that you don't need and will likely not fully use. So consider your circumstances carefully when making your decision 

What does the general contractor license cover? 

Residential Builder License 

Scope of work: This license covers residential building repairs, improvements, and construction as long as the building does not exceed three floors in height or sixteen units in any single apartment building. Part of your exams will include building, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. Consequently, you will be permitted to tackle these jobs as well unless there is a written ordinance stating otherwise in the city or county where you seek work. 

Limited Building License 

Scope of work: Once you have completed the requirements and received your license, you will be able to perform construction or remodeling work on residential or commercial buildings. They cannot exceed three stories in height and cannot go beyond $350,000. 

Unlimited General Contractor 

Scope of work: As an unlimited general contractor, or a NASCLA Accredited contractor, you will be able to take on an extensive range of projects. Institutional, commercial, industrial, and modular buildings are all included, along with residential structures. This license is excellent

because it includes jobs from general roofing and painting to building a skyscraper. But keep in mind that you will not be approved for the license without any commercial background. 

Rules, regulations, and requirements regarding these licenses are subject to change. Make sure to research current laws and obligations when looking to pursue any of the licenses above. 

The benefits of the NASCLA accredited exam 

The NASCLA accredited exam covers you in more than a dozen states and continues to bring on new regions. Such a comprehensive exam means you will be offered reciprocity in North Carolina, Tennessee, the Virginias, Georgia, Florida, all the states in between, and some out west. Reciprocity, meaning that the locations mentioned will honor your contractor license, so you don't have to take the trade exam in their state. This can be a huge advantage for those working in border areas of their state or who wish to travel to different areas for jobs. 

For information on exam preparation, licensing requirements, trade careers, and much more check out our website at!