How to Get a Rhode Island Contractor’s License

In Rhode Island, licensing and registration for both in-state and out-of-state contractors is handled by the Rhode Island Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board. Here’s a quick guide on how to get a Rhode Island contractor’s license.

Who Needs a Rhode Island Contractor’s License?

Rhode Island makes a distinction between contractor licensing and contractor registration. Only underground utility contractors need to be licensed at the state level. Contractors who work on commercial and/or residential new construction, alterations, and repairs must register with the state.

Out-of-state contractors must designate an “agent of service” and complete the same application requirements that apply to in-state contractors. The agent of service must be an attorney with an office located in Rhode Island or a registered agent listed with the Rhode Island Secretary of State Office. The agent of service is the person upon whom any legal processes against the nonresident contractor will be served.

Licensing of Underground Utility Contractors

Contractors who install, repair, or replace sewer, water, and/or storm drainage lines must register as underground utility contractors. The steps in this licensing process are:

  • Complete the pre-application form and receive a designated license number.
  • Provide proof of resident status or use Section 2 of the application form to assign an agent of service.
  • Complete the application
  • Submit proof of limited liability insurance in the amount of $1 million.
  • Submit proof of workers compensation insurance if you have employees.
  • Pass the written exam and submit the results. The exam is administered by PSI, which provides a downloadable instruction booklet for candidates. The exam tests your understanding of state rules and regulations regarding underground utility work as well as your ability to read and interpret plans and specifications.
  • Submit a $20,000 two-year surety bond with the Rhode Island Registration and Licensing Board as the obligee.
  • Pay the $200 license application filing fee.

A Rhode Island Underground Utility Contractor’s license must be renewed every two years.

Registration of Construction Contractors

Here are the steps for registering as a contractor or subcontractor if you plan to do commercial or residential construction work in Rhode Island:

  • Complete the pre-education requirements for new applicants who will be working on residential structures. This is a five-hour class, online or classroom, providing an introduction to construction contracts, construction codes and standards, common construction regulations, construction business principles and practices, and workplace health and safety.
  • Provide proof of resident status or use Section 3 of the application form to assign an agent of service.
  • Complete the application
  • Submit proof of liability insurance in the amount of $500,000.
  • Submit proof of workers compensation insurance if you have employees.
  • Attach a signed and notarized affidavit stating whether or not you have previously applied for registration or were an officer, partner, or venture of an applicant who previously applied for registration.
  • Pay the $200 registration filing fee.

A Rhode Island contractor’s registration is good for two years.

Local Requirements

Be aware that there may be additional local requirements for licensing or registration as a contractor in Rhode Island. Be sure to check with the applicable city or county office in the areas where you will be working.

Get Bonded Today

Contact Surety Bond Professionals today for a quote and assistance obtaining any surety bond you may be required to purchase as part of the process of becoming a Rhode Island contractor.

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