Various jurisdictions throughout North America require concrete contractor licenses for professionals looking to operate in this sector. Keep reading to learn more about concrete contractor licenses, who needs them, and the process of becoming licensed.
Do concrete contractors need to be licensed?
Whether or not you need a license to operate a concrete contracting business depends on where you plan to offer services. Let’s break down the types of licensing by country.
Disclaimer: These rules are subject to change at any time. Please research your jurisdiction’s regulations for the most up-to-date information regarding concrete contractor licenses.
The United States
In the United States, there are three types of concrete contractor licenses you may be required to obtain:
For example, concrete contractors in Nevada must be licensed through the Nevada State Contractors Board. Louisiana is another state requiring licensing; contractors must receive licensing from the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors.
Rock Island, Illinois, meanwhile, is an example of a city that requires licensing. See information about the Concrete Flatwork license. Concrete contractors in the city must also secure a $10,000 bond and submit it to their insurance carrier.
Chicago is another example of a city requiring licensing for concrete contractors; they must receive a mason license from the City of Chicago.
Like in the United States, concrete contractors in Canada may require licensing depending on where they operate.
According to the Government of Canada’s webpage about contractor licensing in Ontario, for example, skilled construction trades are heavily regulated. Here are some key takeaways for Canada’s most populous province:
- a Certificate of Qualification from Skilled Trades Ontario is required for certain specialty trades (call 1-855-299-0028 for more information)
- a Clearance Certificate from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is mandatory for contractors (including independent contractors)
- your workers must complete an approved training program if they will be working from heights–and said training must make use of any of the following safety equipment:
– travel restraint systems
– fall restricting systems
– safety nets
– work belts
– fall arrest systems
How to get a concrete license
While requirements for concrete contractor licensing vary by jurisdiction, there are a few general guidelines to follow when pursuing licensing. Let’s explore those now.
Step 1: Determine whether you need licensing
There are many organizations (such as the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies) that keep track of regional licensing boards throughout the United States. Those organizations are a great starting point for understanding whether you need licensing to operate as a concrete contractor in your jurisdiction.
Things to keep in mind when evaluating whether you need licensing include:
- where you plan on operating your concrete contracting business
- how many people you plan on employing (if any)
- in what capacity you intend to operate (i.e. as a general contractor or subcontractor)
Step 2: Apply for and secure the necessary licensing
If you determine licensing is required for concrete contractors in your jurisdiction, follow the outlined procedures for securing it. Keep in mind, some licenses and permits may be specific to individual projects while others apply to your entire company.
Depending on your jurisdiction’s licensing requirements, you may need to complete a significant amount of prep work in order to qualify – so be sure to plan any projects or commitments that rely on you receiving certification accordingly.
Step 3: Renew your license(s) periodically as needed
Some concrete licenses require periodic (i.e. annual) renewals. Be sure to understand your license’s renewal requirements and fulfill them as engaging in concrete work without licensing can carry consequences depending on your jurisdiction.
Fast facts about concrete workers in the United States and Canada
Now that you hopefully understand the landscape for concrete contractor licenses in North America, let’s discuss the occupation of concrete contractors in greater detail.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics places concrete contractors under the umbrella of “masonry workers.” Laborers in this class earn a median salary of $47,710 annually (or $22.94 per hour) based on 2020 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to Talent.com, concrete finishers in Canada fare a bit better in nominal terms, earning a median wage of $56,550.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, masonry workers can expect to experience a 2% decline in job opportunities between 2020 and 2030, amounting to an estimated 6,000 lost jobs.
For reference, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 8% increase in employment for workers across all industries and a 5% increase for workers in construction trades.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics attributes this decline to waning demand for new buildings and roads. The introduction of innovative building techniques and technologies has reduced the need for traditional masonry workers.
It’s worth noting, however, that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not expect employment opportunities to decline as dramatically for concrete workers specifically, who should see a 1% decrease in job openings from 2020 to 2030 (for an estimated total of 1,900 jobs lost).
Becoming a concrete contractor
To operate as an individual concrete contractor (i.e. someone employed by a firm) one generally needs a high school diploma or equivalent. Some trade schools also offer specialized programs for masons, which can help employment prospects.
Generally, however, masons learn through a combination of apprenticeships and on-the-job education working alongside more experienced masons.
Masons interested in operating their own businesses (i.e. specialty contractor firms) will, of course, need to meet regulatory and licensing requirements, as we’ve discussed earlier in this article.
Concrete contractor is by no means the end of the line for workers in this industry career-wise. On the contrary, concrete workers often graduate to supervisor, superintendent, and other senior-level management positions. Other concrete contractors decide to found businesses of their own (as opposed to remaining employed by a larger company).
We hope this article has helped you understand the landscape of concrete contractor licenses in North America, along with what it takes to become a concrete contractor.
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