How to Get a Missouri Construction Contractor's License

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Unlike some states, Missouri doesn't offer builders, roofers and other construction pros a contractor license. You can't get a Missouri roofing license, for instance. Instead, you apply for a St. Louis or Kansas City roofing license. The exact rules and procedures for becoming a licensed construction contractor vary among jurisdictions.

Missouri State Requirements

While there's no Missouri business license or Missouri general contractor's license, Missouri imposes the same requirements on contractors as it does on other businesses:

  • If you do business under any name but your own, such as Elegant Homes or No Leaks Plumbing, you have to register the business name with the Missouri Secretary of State.

  • You have to register with the state for any sales taxes or other taxes you need to pay, including unemployment taxes.

  • If you have to carry workers' compensation insurance, you'll need to register and start paying those fees too.

For the other requirements to get a contractor license, look to your local government, not the state. As two of the state's major cities, Kansas City and St. Louis are good examples of the different approaches.

The Kansas City Contractor License

Kansas City has multiple contractor licenses, including demolition, electrical, elevator, fire protection, pipe fitting and residential building licenses. Many of them are divided into different classes:

  • A demolition contractor class I license qualifies you to demolish any building.

  • A demolition contractor class II license limits you to buildings three stories in height or less.

  • An electrical contractor class I license lets you work with any electrical equipment by installing, altering, repairing or removing it.

  • An electrical contractor class II license authorizes you to do specific jobs, such as maintaining and repairing existing equipment and installing and connecting some equipment, such as electric signs.

  • With a class III electrical contractor license, you can install, alter, repair or remove certain devices including burglar alarms, fire alarms and remote-control equipment.

To receive a license, your company must employ a supervisor who can document his knowledge, skills and experience in the trade. Without a supervisor, you can't apply for a contractor's license, and without the license, you can't file building permits with the city. You also need liability insurance providing minimum coverage of $1 million per occurrence.

The St. Louis Contractor License

Unlike Kansas City, the St. Louis city government doesn't offer a contractor license. All businesses regardless of its field must apply to the city for a graduated business license. The license requires basic information such as your name, business name and address, proof of workers' compensation insurance and a graduated fee based on the number of employees you have.

If you work by yourself with no employees, the business license fee is $200. This goes up step by step to max out at $37,500 for companies with more than 500 employees. Another section of the graduated business license application asks if you've ever pled guilty or been convicted of child sexual abuse.

Missouri Building Permits

Getting a graduated business license or contractor license doesn't authorize you to go out and start doing work in your field. You'll have to apply to your local government for a permit for each project.

For new construction, St. Louis requires that you submit building plans and pay fees of $44 to $55. The city reviews the plans to decide if they meet St. Louis construction requirements. If you're working in a historic preservation district or a flood zone, you may have added requirements.

Kansas City requires you to submit plans, pay fees and await city review. However, the exact building requirements, like licensing rules, vary between cities, projects and zoning districts.

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About the Author

Over the course of his career, Fraser Sherman has reported on local governments, written about how to start a business and profiled professionals in a variety of career fields.. He lives in Durham NC with his awesome wife and two wonderful dogs. His website is frasersherman.com