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Board for Licensing Contractors

Who is Required to be a Licensed


NOTICE! A Tennessee contractor's license is required BEFORE bidding or offering a price, for projects $25,000 and up (includes materials and labor), as a prime (general) contractor; and also subcontractors performing electrical, mechanical, plumbing, HVAC, roofing and masonry are also required to be licensed as a contractor, when the total portion on the project is $25,000 or more; masonry, when $100,000 or more. In addition, a sub to a sub would need to be licensed whenever there are more than one (1) subcontractors on the project. Reciprocal agreements do NOT allow using another state's license in Tennessee, but provides a trade exam waiver, only.  License issuance takes 4 to 6 weeks and must be approved by the Board during regularly scheduled meetings (see Public Meeting Calendar for meeting dates).


A Contractor's license is required prior to contracting (bidding, offering to engage, or negotiating a price) for projects $25,000 or more, when acting as one of the following: 


  • Prime (General) Contractor - Bidding or contracting directly with the “owner” of the project;
  • Subcontractor – Contracting directly with any contractor (not to the owner) to perform projects when the total cost of that portion on the project is *$25,000 or more, for the following (includes all materials, equipment, and labor):
    • Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, HVAC, and **Roofing; and
    • Masonry when *$100,000 and up
  • Construction Management – When the value of the total project is $25,000 or more.


*Masonry subcontractors must be licensed as a contractor when the project is $100,000 or more.


**Roofing subcontractors must be licensed as a contractor, effective January 1, 2014, in addition to performing work currently as a prime, for projects $25,000 or more.


The definition of contractor is found in the statute at  T.C.A. § 62-6-102 and covers a very broad area, which includes construction, installation, movement, repair, etc.


All contractors licenses are assigned a monetary limit and also a classification, such as: Building (Residential, Commercial and Industrial); Electrical; Mechanical (Plumbing and HVAC); Heavy Construction; Highway, Railroad & Airport; Masonry; Municipal Utility; Environmental; and Specialties (landscaping, excavation, roofing, cell towers, solar panels, audio visual, etc.,). Contractor's must bid/contract in the exact name as licensed. See more information below in the "Summary of Contractor License Requirements".  See the Law and Rules for legislative updates. 


How to Become a Licensed Contractor

The following provides a resource of information for applying for a Tennessee contractor's license.  A good start is by reviewing and printing the application package, as listed below:





Click on the following links to review the step-by-step process or you may simply print the application form above:   


General Information

  • License Name and Mode of Operation - A contractor's license is obtained as a Sole Proprietor, Corporation, Partnership or LLC, and issued in the exact name listed on the financial statement, which is provided by the owner of the entity (FYI - designated Qualifying Agents are not  considered the owner of the license).  Contractors must bid in the exact name listed on the license.  
  • Exams – The “Tennessee Business and Lawexam is required by ALL new license applicants, (except for BC-A/r), in addition to any applicable “Trade” Exam which may be needed to obtain many classifications such as: Building (Residential, Commercial and Industrial); Electrical; Mechanical (Plumbing, HVAC, Fire Sprinkler); and Masonry.  Each exam cost is $55.00 and PSI is the exam vendor.  See "Classification Outline" for all classifications without a trade exam.
  • Reciprocal – The Board has a trade exam reciprocal agreement with several states (see overview below). This waives the trade, only;  Business and Law is NOT waived.
  • Qualifying Agent (QA) - Person who passed the exam(s) and may be taken by an owner, officer or full time employee.  (FYI - The license does not belong to the QA, unless they also the owner of the business entity providing the financial statement.)
  • Classifications – All licenses are assigned a classification, such as:  BC (Building); CE (Electrical); CMC (Mechanical); HC (Heavy Construction); HRA (Highway, Railroad & Airport); LMC (Masonry); MU (Municipal Utility); Environmental; and Specialties (landscaping, excavation, roofing, cell towers, solar panels, audio visual, etc.,).  Classifications are derived from Rule 0680-1-.16 and see a compilation in the "Classification Outline"  All license classifications require the "Business and Law" exam, with the exception of the BC-A/r (see information below).
  • Monetary Limit - All licenses are issued with a monetary limit, an amount approved for contracting/bidding, and this is based upon your financial statement prepared by a CPA.
  • Financial Statement – Review or Audit is required and must be prepared by a CPA.  
  • Proof of Insurance – General Liabilty and Workers’ Compensation
  • Secretary of State – For those operating as a corporation, general partnership or LLC, you must be sure to register with the Tennessee Secretary of State at:
  • License Application - Provide list of owners, officers, and qualifying agent (QA) information; experience, history and disclosures (prior licenses; convictions; judgments; law violations; disciplinary actions; complaints, including ones closed, etc.,).  Those with a complaint history, such as complaints on file (open or closed); judgments; revocations; or felony convictions; or discrepancy such as lack of experience, the contractor applicant must interview with a Board member at a regularly scheduled meeting.  The application may be downloaded from:
  • Deadline Date to Submit Application - The application must be submitted by the 20th of the month prior to the Board meeting. If the 20th is not on a business day, it would be the next business day after the 20th.  See the meeting dates from the Board website's Public Meeting Calendar
  • Application Fee - $250.00 and issued for two (2) years. 
  • License Approval - It takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks to be granted a license (do NOT contract, bid or offer prior to obtaining a license).  Board review and approval is required and this is at their regularly scheduled meetings (see Public Meeting Calendar for dates). An appearance or interview with the Board may be waived as long as there is not a complaint history, conviction, or judgment by any of the individuals or qualifying agents applying for a license; or for ones who did not take the exams, such as the BC-A/r (restricted limited residential license); and if there is not any experience provided.  If an interview is required, the qualifying agent and the owner (if different) must both appear.
    • Interview Not Waived - You will be notified in writing of date, time and location to appear. These meetings are held during the months of January, March, May, July, September and in November.
    • Interview Waived - Please note, those applicants qualifying to have the interview waived will be notified, however, the license is not issued or granted until after the Board meeting (they must vote for approval) at the same meeting months listed above.
  • Denied License - If a contractor has violated the law by contracting prior to obtaining a license, see T.C.A. 62-6-120 for penalties.  The license may be denied and may not participate on any project that was bid prior to obtaining a license.


Hardship (Emergency) License - Request for Eary Review

The Hardship criteria allows a license to be reviewed and approved prior to the Board meeting. However, the hardship must apply to the "owner" of the project; not to the contractor applying for the license. The application must be complete; none of the requirements may be waived.  See special delivery instructions to expedite request which is to scan and email a copy of the application and then mail the originals with fee.  This will help to expedite hardship requests needing immediate attention.  All instructions are outlined in the Hardship application request form.  Hardships approved prior to the Board meeting are posted on our website. The Hardship request form is available at:


Note: If there is a law violation, history of complaints,convictions, or an interview is required (BC-A/r), the hardship is denied and the applicant will be scheduled for an interview with the Board.  


business Resources

Business Information in Tennessee:


Smart Guide for Starting a Business:


Workers' Compensation Requirements:


Workers’ Compensation Exemption for Owner(s) of Business (Employer):

(Exemption registration information as a “Construction Services Provider”)

Internal Revenue Service:

(Federal Employee ID Number / EIN / FEIN)


Employee vs Independent Contractor - Definition:


Unemployment Insurance:


Other State Agencies


Summary of Contractor License Requirements


Other License Requirements from Tennessee State Agencies

Our Board also regulates other licenses for projects less than $25,000 (Home Improvement; Limited Licensed Electricians; and Limited Licensed Plumbers).  This information is also provided on our website. 


Our Department of Commerce and Insurance regulates other licensing, such as:  Alarm Systems Contractors; Fire Sprinkler Contractors; Home Inspectors; Architects; etc., and their contact information is available at:


Local Government Licenses, Permits and Inspections

Always contact the local county/city permit offices for their license and permit for inspection requirements.  Contact information for all municipalities is available at:  Local Government City and County Information  The Division of Fire Prevention inspects many areas and their information is at: The law requires the contractor performing the work to obtain the permit


Classification - Types of Contractors

A contractor must contract for projects in which they are properly classified. Their classification must cover 60% of the total project in order to bid, unless they have a commercial classification, and then they may bid, but would be required to subcontract to a properly licensed contractor for the portions over $25,000. See TCA 62-6-111. The license process entails all contractor applications to pass the Tennessee "Business and Law" exam; and also a trade exam may be required for some classifications (see "Contractor Classifications Outline") A complete list of the exams, registration information and study materials are available by reviewing the “Candidate Information Bulletin” of the exam vendor, PSI). 


  • Classification Types: There are different types of contractors' license classifications which range from:  Building - BC (Residential, Commercial, and Industrial); Electrical - CE; Plumbing - CMC-A; Mechanical - CMC; Masonry - LMC; Roofing - BC-21; Excavation - BC-28; Landscaping - BC-29; Heavy - HC; Highway - HRA; Specialties such as Audio Visual; Solar Panel Installation; Equipment Installation; and Environmental - S-A(Asbestos), etc.  You may also review the definition of contracting (listed below or see T.C.A. 62-6-102).  See the "Classification Outline"   for more examples.  All applicants must pass the Tennessee "Business and Law" with the exception of the BC-A/r (restricted residential).
  • Reciprocal Agreements: There is a "trade" exam waiver agreement, only, which exists with several state license agencies, for contractors having an active license with many Boards in: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina.  For commercial, the “NASCLA National Commercial” exam is also accepted in Tennessee. For example, this does not allow using a Georgia license in Tennessee (or using a Tennessee license in Georgia).  Must obtain a license from each state before contracting or bidding.
  • Qualifying Agent (QA) - Is the person who has been designated to take the exam for the entity obtaining the license and they may be an owner or full time employee. The QA does not own the license, however, if they leave the company, another must pass the exam within 90 days before the license becomes invalid.
  • Bonding is not required to obtain a contractor's license, but may be required for bidding various types of projects, contracts, or obtaining local government permits and inspections.

Monetary Limit

Every contractor's license is assigned a monetary limit for the amount in which a contractor may bid or contract (total cost of the project, including materials, labor, profit, etc.).  This amount is approved by the Board based upon the financial statement of a contractor, as well as their experience.  Projects cannot be split into phases to circumvent the monetary limit law by having multiple contracts.  A tolerance of 10% is allowed pursuant Rule 0680-1-.13 and T.C.A. 62-6-103 (with the exception of BC-A/r licensees).  In addition, pursuant Public Chapter 469, a contractor exceeding the monetary limit on their license does not have the right to secure a lien.  All contractors bidding to any contractor as a subcontractor, if they are performing electrical, mechanical, plumbing, HVAC, roofing or masonry, they are required to be licensed and must have a monetary limit to cover the entire portion of their work, including the cost of labor and equipment; as the prime contractor cannot delete the cost of materials, labor and equipment for these portions of the work which may be considered circumventing the license law. 


    • Financial Statement - Required by all applicants and it must be prepared by a CPA with a Reviewed or Audited opinion.   The financial statement is utilized to determine the monetary limit amount assigned to a license (based upon the lesser of 10 times the working capital and net worth, plus experience) in which a monetary limit may be assigned to the license.
      • A "Reviewed"  financial statement is required for a license with a monetary limit of $1,500,000 or less (at renewal, a Review by CPA is not required).
      • An "Audit" is required for a higher limit, anything more than $1,500,000.
        • An "Unlimited" monetary limit would be needed for projects exceeding $3,000,000 and for an unlimited limit, must show a minimum of $300,000 working capital and net worth.  Note:  At renewal time, an Audit is not required and a Review would be acceptable. 
    • See "Forms and Downloads" for supplemental financial statement information in the "Renewal Instructions Booklet" or the FAQ's


Owner/Name on the License

The license is obtained in the name of the entity providing the financial statement as the owner.  Therefore, it may be a sole proprietor, corporation, partnership, or LLC.  In many cases, the license does not necessarily belong to the qualifying agent (person taking the exam) unless they are also the owner  providing the financial statement, insurance, etc. The contractor must bid and contract in the exact name as well as in the mode of operation as licensed (see Rule 0681-01-25).  For example, if the license is issued to "John A. Doe" licensed as a sole proprietorship, they cannot contract as "Doe's Contracting, Inc." which is registered as a corporation. Contractors registering with an assumed name with the Tennessee Secretary of State will need to include this name to be on the license in order to operate in the name, such as "Doing Business As" (DBA). See Rule 0680-01-.25 which requires operating in the exact name as licensed.



The definition of contracting in T.C.A. 62-6-102(2), states in part:

  • Contractor is defined as performs or causes to be performed activities,  undertaking to, attempts to, or submits a price or bid or offers to construct, supervise, superintend, oversee, schedule, direct, or in any manner assume charge of the construction, alteration, repair, improvement, movement, demolition, putting up, tearing down, or furnishing labor to install material or equipment for any building, highway, road, railroad, sewer, grading, excavation, pipeline, public utility structure, project development, housing, housing development, improvement, or any other construction undertaking. (See Law, Rules and Regulations section.)



Prime Contractors - Prime contractors are those contracting directly with the owner and not to a contractor.  Types of prime contractors include the following: Building (Residential, Commercial, Industrial); Electrical (including Low Voltage, Computer Cabling, Audio Visual; Alarm (see also "Alarm Systems Board"); Mechanical - Plumbing, HVAC (including geothermal well drillers who must also be licensed by TDEC); Fire Sprinklers; Heavy Construction (including Storm Damage Cleanup; Landfills; Clearing; Demolition; Crane Rigging, etc.) *Highway, Railroad & Airport (Base and Paving; Bridges; Grading, Drainage, Clearing Right of Way; Painting; etc., also see TDOT); Municipal Utility (including underground Piping; Water Lines; Gas Lines, etc.) Environmental (Asbestos; Lead; Underground Storage Tanks; etc.); Masonry (includes Bricks, Stone, Blocks bound by mortar, etc.); Specialties (Equipment Installation; Cell Towers; Playground Equipment Installation; Solar Panel Installations; etc.); and over 34 Building Subcategories: Landscaping; Roofing; Excavation; Painting; Demolition; Masonry; Flooring; Institutional Equipment, etc. See compiled list of license classifications  for more types of contractors. Rules for classifications are published under Rule 0680-01-.16. For those acting as "Design/Build" contractors, make sure you also comply with the license laws of the Architects and Engineers


    • *Highway Contractors (HRA) - See important changes with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) for PRIME contractors (except mowing and liter removal contractors) at TDOT Contractors. Highway contractors must be licensed within 21 days after winning a bid.  The "Business and Law" exam is required; there is not a trade exam for the HRA (Highway, Railroad and Airport) construction classifications; only the "Business and Law" exam is required. Licenses must be approved by the Board which only meets six (6) times a year (see Public Meeting Calendar).  If a license is needed prior to the Board meeting to be awarded a TDOT contract, the contractor may request an early review through the Hardship process.  Follow all licensing steps!


Subcontractors - Contractors bidding to another contractor (not to the owner) are considered subcontractors.  The law requires only the following types of subcontractors to be licensed as a contractor:  Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanical, HVAC and *Roofing whenever the total cost of the project for each of these portions is $25,000 or more; Masonry subcontractors when the total portion is $100,000 or more.  The total cost of each portion includes materials and labor which cannot be provided by another contractor to circumvent the law (see Rule 0680-01-.13).  In addition, a sub to a sub, etc., all subcontractors for these portions are required to be licensed as a contractor.


  • Pursuant to  T.C.A. § 62-6-119(b), the prime is required to list the following subcontractors on the outside of their bid envelope, whenever each portion of the work requires a license:  Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC, and Masonry.  In addition, the well driller’s TDEC license information, name, number, expiration date and classification (G or L) must be listed if the project includes geothermal heating and cooling vertical closed loops. Only one (1) subcontractor may be listed for each classification.  If the subcontractor listed on the bid envelope hires subcontractors, sub to a sub, etc., all subcontractors must be licensed.  See bidding requirements in Rule 0680--01-.24.


*NEW! Effective January 1, 2014,  Roofing Subcontractors must be licensed as a contractor, whenever the roofing portion is $25,000 or more, with a BC-21 (roofing) classification.  In addition, contractors licensed with the following classifications would be acceptable to perform roofing:  BC (residential commercial and industrial); BC-A (residential roofing); or BC-B (commercial roofing); or BC-C (industrial roofing).  Roofing subs are not required to be listed on the outside of the bid envelope, however, all roofing subcontractors must be licensed as a contractor.


Construction Managers

Construction Managers of any kind must be licensed as a contractor if the total project exceeds $25,000.


Joint Ventures: All contractors must be licensed to contract as a joint venture and may combine their monetary limit to bid a project. However, they must both have the classification on their license which is incidental and an essential part of the total project. It is advised to always include the license information of all parties on a joint venture; must be in the exact names as licensed. Joint Venture rule is 0680-1-.11 and may be reviewed from the Laws, Rules and Regulations section of the website.  BC-A/r licensees cannot joint venture.


Violations: A contractor who contracts, offers to engage or obtains a permit without a license or proper classification and monetary limit is in violation of T.C.A. §62-6-120. Therefore, would be ineligible to be awarded the project, may not receive a license for six months, cannot participate in any re-bidding of the project, and subject to civil penalties. Bidding requirements entail listing the license name, number, expiration date and the classification pertaining to bid, on the outside of the bid envelope for the prime and specified subcontractors. (Refer to T.C.A. §62-6-119.)


Public Information - Files with the Board are considered public information, with the exception of the "Financial Statement" and it is considered confidential by law T.C.A. 62-6-124. "Social Security" numbers are redacted and not released. License applicants are required to provide their Social Security Number (SSN) to be used for identification purposes, only, and will not be a part of public record. This is under the authority of 42 U.S.C. 666.


Bidding: See bidding information at "Other Valuable Resources"


Unlicensed Activity: Unlicensed contractors do not have lien rights and limited to recovery of documented expenses in court (TCA 62-6-103).


Criminal Prosecution:  Contractors who take money and do not complete the project may be arrested and convicted for felony theft. See "Consumer Resources" for more information.


Exam Prepartion Schools: A school providing exam prep courses must be licensed with our Board as a Pre-Licensing Contractor Exam Provider before offering prep courses online or workshops.


  • If you take any class and notice the provider is violating the law, please contact us. Violations of the law include: providing exact questions and answers from the exam; guaranteeing passing the exams, encouraging to take exams for licenses not needed or in an area not experienced (in a means to sell more books); referring you to a CPA or assit in preparing your financial statement; or if they are not listed on the approved provider list, please contact us, as they may be in violation of the law.

Limited Restricted Residential ("BC-A/r" Contractor License Classification)

Contractors may apply for a Limited License with a BC-A/r classification, which restricts residential contractors to building in the amount of *$125,000 or less. In lieu of the exams, they may attend a course at a community college . All other application requirements must be fulfilled, including a personal board interview.  The BC-A/r licensee cannot exceed their monetary limit; there is not a 10% tolerance.  In addition, they cannot joint venture with another licensed contractor to combine monetary limits.  The contractor's monetary limit must cover the total project, which includes:  land, labor, materials and equipment, as well as profit.  More information is also available at "BC-A/r" on the Forms and Applications section of the web.


*Rules effective 2/20/2014, allows a BC-A/r to request a limit from $70,000 to up to $125,000.





Nashville State Community College

Jack Wallace - (615) 353-3447


Chattanooga State Community College

Roy Brackett - (423) 697-3100


Motlow State Community College

Tom Dorsey - (931) 393-1500


Pellissippi State Community College

Angela Branson - (865) 539-7167







Once a contractor has been granted a license, it is issued for two (2) years and they are required to renew 30 days prior to the expiration date. In additon, they may need changes or license revisions. There are law requirements they must follow when operating in Tennessee.


  • Bidding law requires name as licensed, classification and expiration date to be listed on the outside of the bid envelope, including listing subcontractors.
  • Revisons - If you already have a contractor's license and need a license revision, see the "Forms and Downloads" of section three (3) for revisions.
  • Licensees must operate and contract in the exact name and mode of operation as licensed.
    • For example, an owner of an LLC, licensed as "Doe Construction, LLC" could not contract in their individual name, "John Doe" as a sole proprietor or add " DBA Doe Construction, LLC". If a contractor has different divisions under the licensed entity or parent company for accounting purposes, they cannot contract in the names of these divisions, unless they have obtained a separate license for each.
  • Obtaining a second or additional license requires all the same requirements of licensure, except, the exams do not have to be retaken. Note: If the Qualifying Agent is listed on more than two licenses, the Board may require an interview.
  • A change in ownership requires a new license application.
    • A license cannot be transferred from one entity to another (cannot have a license in Jones, Inc. and transfer to Smith, Inc., unless they are the very same and evidenced by the Secretary of State's amended charter).
  • Qualifying Agent Leaves - Must notify the Board within 10 days and the contractor has 90 days to replace.  More information on the QA Change Form



Contractor's who currently hold a Tennessee contractor's license and need another license, due to having one of the following: Having an additional business/subsidiary; change in ownership; merger; or reorganization, they would need to complete the new license application and follow all steps (the exams would not need to be retaken If the Qualifying Agent (QA) is a majority owner of the new entity or remains a full time employee with only one licensed entity).


The law requires a contractor's license application to be completed for the following pursuant TCA 62-6-111:

(1) Contractor applying for new license;

(2) When obtaining a second or additional license (when having more than one business entity);

(3) Reinstatement of an expired license (over 12 months, cannot renew);

(4) Change in ownership (partnership dissolved, new in-coming stockholders, etc.); and

(5) Reorganization of the licensed entity


If there has been no change in ownership and requesting only a name change or mode of operation change, see the "Revision" section of the "Forms and Downloads" for instructions on obtaining an amended license.



Contractor's failing to complete the license renewal within 12 months of the expiration date, would need to complete the new license application. All steps must be followed with the exception of the exams; not required to be retaken if remained active in the industry for the past two (2) years.


Summary of Reinstatement Instructions

To reinstate a contractor’s license expired more than 12 months, a contractor must: complete the “Contractor’s License Application”; select “Reinstatement” on page one (1); and list the license ID# of the expired license.    When reinstating a contractor’s license, you may apply for this new reinstated license with a name change, change in mode of operation, license limit or classification. All the steps to reinstating a contractor’s license are the same as obtaining a new license, with the exception of the exams.  The license does not have to be reinstated the same as it was prior to expiring.  May apply in a new name, mode of operation, different monetary limit or classifications.  However, the license ID number will remain the same as the expired license.  Do not use the license until approved.  May check status of pending application from the “License Search” at our website:  after the Board meeting.


Exam Requirements for Reinstatements


  • Trade Exam Required - The trade exams would be required to reinstate a license:
    • If the Qualifying Agent (QA) is no longer with the entity
    • License has been expired more than 24 months and does not provide a written request for waiver with evidence showing the QA has remained active in the industry (working as a sub; working on smaller projects; working for a licensed contractor; working in another state; etc. 
    • Business and Law exam is NOT required to be retaken
    • BC-A/r (Restricted Limited License) expired licensees must retake the course


  • Trade Exam Not Required (Waived) - The trade exams would not be required or may request to be waived if:
    • The original Qualifying Agent (QA) is still with the company
    • License has not been expired more than 24 months;
      • If it has been more than 24 months, as long as the QA has been active in the industry by working for another contractor, as a subcontractor or in another state, may request to be waived by providing evidence of recent experience.
    • Business and Law exam is NOT required to be retaken


Note:  It is up to the Board to determine whether the exam would need to be retaken on waiver requests and they would make this decision upon reviewing the complete application at the Board meeting; staff cannot make this determination.  If there is a history of complaints, judgments, convictions, etc., you may be required to appear for an interview.





Licenses are issued for two (2) years and renewals are mailed out 90 days prior to expiration date; renewal is due 30 days prior to expiration to prevent contracting unlicensed which is a violation; there is not a grace period.  Contractors working on an expired license may not be entitled to recover monies owed on a project or have lien rights.  If you do not receive a renewal in the mail, you may download from our website. Online renewal is now available, however, contractors are required to submit proof of insurance (general liability and workers' compensation), and a financial statement to support their current monetary limit.  These documents must be sent separately to the Board whenever renewing online.  The financial statement may be prepared by the contractor, and does not have to be prepared by a CPA as long as their limit is $1,500,000 or less. For those with a limit in excess of $1,500,000, a "Reviewed" CPA financial statement is acceptable for renewal in lieu of an "Audit" for any limit, including Unlimited. To check the status of your renewed license, you may login at the "Verify a License".  The Board's renewal section may be contacted by email at:



Renewal Resource for Contractors



Most Common Reasons for Delay of Renewal


  • Online Renewal - Failure to Send Required Documents
    • financial statement; certificate of insurance of general liability; proof of insurance or exemption for workers' compensation.  Also must provide information if disclosure of convictions, complaints, or judgments is needed. These should be submitted as soon as completing the online renewal and may be sent to our Board by mail; email to or faxed to (615) 532-2868..
  • Corporation / LLC - Inactive Status
  • Financial Statement Problems
    • Balance Sheet did not list assets and liabilites (current and non-current)
    • Financial Statement is not in the name as licensed
      • Name Change or Mode Change may be requested to the Board by completing a license revision form (it is encouraged to do so prior to renewing)
    • Working Capital and Net Worth do not support monetary limit on license
  • Failed to Provide Late Fee ($20 per month)
    • Example:  Expiration date of 10/31/2013; if renewal is received on December 1, 2013, a late fee would be assessed for two (2) months. 
    • There is a 7 day grace period for late fees on the first month.  Expiration date of 10/31/2013 would not owe a late fee as long as the renewal was received (not postmarked) by November 7th.
    • There is not a grace period to perform work while expired.  Doing so is a violation of law.
  • Mode of Operation or Name Changed
    • A contractor should apply for a mode change name change if they have changed their operations as approved on their license, by completing the license revision request form (better to do so prior to renewing a license).  If submitting a change at the time of renewal, it may be delayed since the Board must review at their regularly scheduled meetings.
  • Change of Ownership
    • Whenever there has been a majority change of ownership, a new license application must be completed in lieu of renewing.  If the ownership is due to one of the corporate or LLC members leaving and there is not a new incoming owner, the remaining owner would not be required to obtain a new license, but must notification the board in writing and provide a letter of Relinquishment from the owner leaving.  Partnerships must apply for a new license once the partnership dissolves.  


See "Forms and Downloads" if additional resources are needed to complete the renewal or see our FAQ's.

RETIREMENT (Temporary Inactive Status)

Contractors who are not currently working, may place the license in "Retirement" in lieu of renewing, to retain renewal rights (renewal rights expire after 12 months). Retirement may be on an annual basis; biennial basis; retired with a maxium of seven (7) consecutive years; or as long as the license has an active status, it may be retired anytime by providing the $25.00 retirement fee for each year.


  • A contractor may place their active license into retirement, anytime after renewing the license (such as, due to canceling insurance while not working) or prior to the license expiring;


  • If the contractor's license has expired (less than 12 months), they may retire by submitting the renewal and lates fees; plus the retirement fee.  The insurance and financial statement is not required to place a license in retirement.


  • Contractors with a "Retirement" status are considered "Inactive" and not licensed to perform work in an amount where a license is required;


Contractors may take the license out of retirement any time by completing the renewal. If bringing a contractor's license out of retirement during the second year of the renewal cycle, the law does not provide a means to waive one year of the renewal fee. For example, a license with an expiration date of 3/31/2012 (2012 Renewal) was retired on March 1, 2012 for two years with a retired expiration date of 3/31/2014, then if the license is reactivated on June 1, 2013, the contractor would be required to pay the 2012 renewal fees ($200) when bringing out of retirement and the license expiration date would remain the same as 3/31/2014 (after renewing the 2012 renewal).



Revisions to change the name on the license, mode of operation, increase the monetary limit or add a classification may be requested by completing revision forms from the "Forms and Download " of the website, which includes all instructions. Out of state contractors should make sure their workers' compensation insurance is covered in Tennessee.  To verify, check with the Department of Labor at:


Reciprocation and other state licensing information may be obtained from our "Other Valuable Resources" website or directly at NASCLA for all the states information.


**Note: Do not contract until the license "Revision" or new license has been approved**



The following are other licenses issued by our office and most do not require Board approval. Issuance takes usually less than a few weeks.


Home Improvement- This license is required in the following counties:  Bradley, Davidson, Hamilton, Haywood, Knox, Marion, Robertson, Rutherford and Shelby, for remodeling projects from $3,000 to less than $25,000.  For more information, contact the Home Improvement section at (615) 532-3994 or 1-800-544-7693, or review information on Remodeling. (Note: An entity with a "Contractor's" license with a residential classification (BC-A) or commercial (BC or BC-B) is exempt from obtaining an additional license as a Home Improvement contractor.)


Limited Licensed Electrician (LLE) license is required in counties who do not perform their own inspections and licensing for electrical wiring projects less than $25,000.  Contact our LLE licensing section at 1-800-544-7693 or (615) 253-2144, or download application. (Note: An entity with a "Contractor's" license, with an electrical classification (CE or E) is exempt from obtaining an additional license as a LLE.)


Limited Licensed Plumber (LLP) license is required for projects less than $25,000 (as of January 1, 2006).  Must also obtain local permits and adhere to their licensing requirements, such as exams and fees.  Contact our LLP licensing section at 1-800-544-7693. (Note: An entity with a "Contractor's" license, with a plumbing classification (CMC or CMC-A) is exempt from obtaining an additional license as a LLP.)


HVAC - Check with your local codes office. There is not a specific license for HVAC projects, less than $25,000, with our Board. Projects $25,000 or more must obtain a contractor's license with the CMC or CMC-C classification, as a prime or subcontractor. If operating in a county requiring a Home Improvement license, check to see if a trade specific license is also required or HVAC less than $25,000.


Pre-Licensing Contractor Exam Providers

Schools as a Pre-Licensing Contractor Exam Provider must be licensed as an approved provider by the Contractors Board, before offering prep courses online or workshops.


  • If you take any class and notice the provider is violating the law, please contact us. Violations of the law include: providing exact questions and answers from the exam; guaranteeing passing the exams, encouraging to take exams for licenses not needed or in an area not experienced (in a means to sell more books); referring you to a CPA or assit in preparing your financial statement; or if they are not listed on the approved provider list, please contact us, as they may be in violation of the law.


Applicants are not required to take an exam prep class. The contractor exams are only offered by PSI.


Supplemental Resources

Applications, Forms & Downloads

CCTV/Low Voltage/Alarm Systems

Classifications for Contractors with Exam Requirements

Electrical Licensing Resources

Exam Resources

>>Exam (CIB - Candidate Information Bulletin) [pdf]

>>Exam (PSI Online Site)

>>Exams for License Classifications [pdf]

FEIN (Federal Employement Identification Number)

FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions [pdf]

Forms and Downloads

Hardship Requests [pdf]

Insurance Requirements (General Liability and Workers' Comp) [pdf]

>>See also "Workers' Compensation" Resource

Laws, Rules and Regulations

Plumbing Licensing Resources

Reciprocation (Trade Exam Waiver Agreement with States) [pdf]

Revenue (Business Tax License)

Revision/Change Request Forms

Rules & Regulations (Chapter 0680)

Schools - Exam Prep

Secretary of State (Corporation, LLC, Partnership Registration)

Valuable Resources (Industry Links, Laws, and General Information)

WAP - Weatherization Contractor

Workers' Compensation Insurance (See also "Insurance" Resource)



Exemptions from the License Requirement

Exemptions from the contractor's license requirement is outlined in the laws, rules and regulations, and applies to individual use, non-profit organizations, Department of Transportation's special let highway projects and federal projects. For example:

  • A homeowner of the residential property may perform work themselves ( individual use), without a contractor's license, as long as the residential structure is not open to the public; or for sale, lease or rent).
    • Allowed one homeowner permit once every two (2) years.
    • Anyone hired by the property owner is required to be licensed if they perform $25,000 or more of the work, as these contractors would be considered prime contractors since they are contracting directly with the owner. 
  • Members of a church may build a single residence for a preacher without a contractor's license; or they may construct a storage building for their individual use, as long as this structure is not open to the public, for sale, lease or rent.
    • Members of a church would not be allowed to construct a church building, when the total cost is $25,000 or more, since the building is open to the public.
  • A non-profit organization with a 501(c) federal exemption, may build single residences without a contractor's license.
    • They must follow local requirements for permits and inspections.
  • Federal Projects - A state license is not required for 100% federal projects (all federally funded and on federal land), unless required by the federal government awarding authority. See AG opinion 92-39 .

To review all exemptions, see T.C.A. § 62-6-102, 103 and Rule 0680-1-.22. 



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Notice: The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance is committed to principles of equal access and affirmation action. Contact the EEO or ADA Coordinator at (615) 741-8307.