2019 North Dakota Contractor Licenses: Search/Lookup, Plumbing

Are you really surprised to see a lot of construction projects happening in North Dakota? Take a look around and you’ll see houses, buildings, roads and other projects being built. Needless to say, construction is booming in ND. In fact, there are numbers that back this up. Thanks to the rise in prices of energy, the years 2009 onwards saw a boom in construction-related projects.

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The industry is so booming that construction has become a top contributor in the state’s economy. This is especially true from the years 2013 to 2015, when construction contributed around 7.6% to 7.7% to the state’s gross domestic product. In 2015 alone, the industry contributed $3.8 billion to the state’s GDP.

It helps that the state understands the importance of the industry. In fact, it has made its own contributions and investments to the industry. This is why it’s no surprise that the industry is heavily-regulated, and this post will tell you all about North Dakota contractor licenses.

As a project owner, this article will benefit you because it will help you understand the importance of hiring a contractor with a license. It will also present a North Dakota contractor license lookup tool that will help you find licensed contractors to choose from. This search tool will also help you verify license information.

As a contractor, you will also understand the importance of getting licensed. You will also know the requirements and of course, how to get a license in this state.

Importance of Hiring a Contractor with a License

With the booming construction industry, you will find a lot of contractors ready to claim to be the best for you to hire for your project. In fact, there’s a good chance that you’ve opened your door to contractors pitching their services in a door-to-door manner.

Don’t fall for their sweet talk. The first thing that you have to ask is if they’re licensed. These benefits will show you why you should hire a licensed North Dakota contractor:

  • You get a systematic professional.

A licensed contractor is usually a systematic one. This is because experience plays a huge part in getting licensing. It’s virtually impossible to get licensing if you’re not experienced. Thanks to this experience, a licensed contractor has developed a systematic approach to how they do and complete projects. This improves efficiency that will lessen delays and additional expenses. Best of all, it can lead to improved work.

  • You’re protecting yourself from potential scams.

Now, this is not to say that all unlicensed professionals are scammers. This is just to say that most scammers won’t go through the risks and troubles of getting licensed. This is especially true in the state of North Dakota. It’s a strict process that will create a paper trail that will make it very easy to track scammers and criminals.

So by limiting your search to licensed professionals, you are more than likely limiting your search to legit professionals. This is very important because there’s a proliferation of scams in the industry, not just in this state, but the whole US.

  • You won’t have problems with the government.

The last thing that you’d want is to have problems midway through the project just because city and state requirements haven’t been met. When a city inspector comes knocking, a licensed contractor will have the necessary permits to show.

  • You have the additional protection of insurance and bond.

These create additional levels of protection that you can benefit from when the need arises. You’d hope that you won’t need them, but they’re good to have.

  • Your satisfaction will be guaranteed.

Provided that you do your homework well, your satisfaction will be guaranteed. Again, getting a license creates a paper trail so if there are complaints, you can easily track them to specific professionals. These professionals work very hard to get licensed and to protect their name in the process. This is why they’ll do their best to ensure your 100% satisfaction. If you’re not satisfied, they’ll do their best to solve the issues to make sure that no complaints will be listed under their name.

Even a short list like this one already tells you that you should hire a licensed professional.

How to Get a Contractor’s License and Advantages of Getting One

You can bet that you’ll be bidding on projects with owners that understand that they can benefit a lot from hiring a licensed professional. You’d be a part of a shortlist of contractors to consider simply because you have a license.

If that’s not enough reason for you, here are other advantages of getting one:

  • You are separating yourself from scammers.

The mere fact that you have licensing already separates you from scammers. Again, this is not to say that you’d be automatically tagged as a scammer if you don’t have licensing, but the mere fact that you have it automatically makes you legitimate. That can go a long way in this industry.

  • You’re opening yourself up to big-ticket projects.

Sure, you can get projects even if you’re unlicensed, but you’ll be limiting yourself to small-ticket projects. This is because the big-ticket projects are reserved for the “big boys” – the licensed contractors. By investing a bit of money on licensing, you are opening your business up to projects that can potentially change it for the better.

Generally speaking, you’ll earn less on smaller projects. That’s just the way it is. If you want to earn more, you have to get licensing so you can bid on the big projects.

  • You will hold yourself accountable.

Let’s face it. There are times when we don’t want to give our best because we feel lazy or we simply feel like we don’t want to give our best. If you’re licensed, you know that it’s not a good idea to do so because that can lead to complaints that will affect your name and business negatively for the years to come. By getting licensing, you know that you’d have to hold yourself accountable for your actions and non-actions, and that can help lead you to success.

  • You can become a respected member of the industry and the state in general.

As a licensed contractor, you will be recognized as such and you can experience the respect out of it. You’ll be a recognized member of the industry and with its contributions to the state’s GDP, it will follow that you’ll be recognized as a respective member in the state as well.

  • You will avoid problems.

How embarrassing it would be to you, your staff, family and friends if you’ll be caught doing business without a proper license? How awkward would it be to answer concerns from potential clients asking why you don’t have one or why you were caught doing business without one? Avoid these problems and just get licensed if needed.

Now, when exactly do you need to get licensed? It’s important that you gain the necessary experience first. You’ll find it hard to pass the exams if you don’t have it anyway. You’d have to learn the trade, so to speak.

Speaking of experience, you have to build bidding experience as well. As mentioned, you will be opening yourself up to high-ticket projects and that can work against you if you’re not experienced when it comes to bidding. You wouldn’t want to bid too low on a high-ticket project because you could end up losing a lot of money.

A contractor license could be limiting as well. You could be limited to offering just a few services and you wouldn’t want to be limited to offering a service that you don’t really want or not really good at.

So what’s the best thing to do? It’s recommended that you gain experience first by doing small projects that don’t require a license. Build experience as a handyman. Explore offering different services so you can master the service/s that you want to offer. Bid on smaller projects and bid better as you gain experience. Once you’re ready, that’s when you can apply for licensing.

As a general guideline, you need to get licensed if the contract is worth more than $4,000. This means that if the price, value or cost of the project exceeds that amount, you need to get an ND contractor license to be legally allowed to bid and work on that project.

Here are the requirements:

  • You need to register your business with the Secretary of State. If you want to know about the different structures so you can choose the right one for you, click .
  • Fill out . Make sure that you use the exact business name that you want to register. The form will require you to provide a comprehensive list of your qualifications and contracting experience. Provide how many years you’ve been working as one, the work/s that you do, licenses in other states, pertinent training, etc. You will have to sign under oath as to the accuracy of these details.
  • Secure liability insurance and provide its certificate. Make sure that it’s named under the same name that you’re registering the licensing for. Make sure that the certificate lists the following as certificate holder:

North Dakota Secretary of State

600 E Blvd. Ave. Dept 108, Bismarck, ND 58505

Workforce Safety & Insurance

1600 East Century Avenue, Suite 1, Bismarck ND 58506

(701) 328-3800 or 800-777-5033

  • Pay the applicable fee to file your application:


Contract Amount Per Job


A Above $500,000 $450
B $300,001 to $500,000 $300
C $100,001 to $300,000 $225
D Up to $100,000 $100

You can also pay via Discover, Visa or Mastercard using this form.

  • If it applies, get licensing for electrical, plumbing, or asbestos abatement. More on these later.

Make sure that you check this compliance checklist to ensure that you’ve done everything required.

North Dakota Contractor’s License Board

The ND Secretary of State handles the licensing requirements and processes in the state. The current Secretary of State is Al Jaeger, as he was recently re-elected in 2014.

For any questions, you can contact the ND Secretary of State at the following:

  • 600 E Boulevard Avenue Dept 108, Bismarck ND, 58505-0500
  • 701-328-2900 or 800-352-0867
  • 800-366-6888 (for the deaf, hard of hearing or speech-challenged)
  • 701-328-2992 (fax)

You can also contact the office using this form – https://sos.nd.gov/office-secretary-state/contact-us.

North Dakota Contractor License Search and Lookup

The official portal of the North Dakota state government has an ND contractor license lookup tool. You can access this tool here – https://apps.nd.gov/sc/busnsrch/busnSearch.htm.

To use this tool, you need to enter either the Entity Name or the System ID. For more specific results, you can limit the search criteria and choose to display a specific number of contractors per page.

If you’re already talking to potential contractors and you have their details and you want to verify them using the North Dakota contractor license lookup tool, you can do so by providing the following information:

  • Owner Name
  • License Number
  • City
  • County

Hit the search button to generate a list. As a disclaimer, the ND state government specifically states that the list generated is not an endorsement of any contractor.

Contractor License Classifications

A contractor in ND is defined as a professional that is in the business of constructing, renovating, repairing, demolition, altering, and dismantling of structures including but not limited to buildings, roads, bridges and the likes. As mentioned, you need to get licensed if you wish to bid or work on a project with a value higher than $4,000. The table above shows the different classes.

There are also specific classifications based on the service/s that you want to provide:

  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Asbestos abatement
  • Department of transportation

Electrical License

The North Dakota State Electrical Board has been ensuring public safety since 1917. One of the tasks that help ensure this is handling applications for an electrical license.

There are 3 different electrical licenses. Here they are together with their specific qualifications:

  • Master
  • 2,000 hours of experience as a journeyman electrician under the direct supervision of a licensed master electrician.
  • Journeyman
    • 8,000 hours of experience (for at least 3 years).
    • Registered as an apprentice under the direct supervision of a master electrician.
    • A maximum credit of 1,000 hours may be applied for experience in repairing apparatus, wiring, power, heat, light and equipment. The same credit may be applied for experience wiring fire alarms.
    • A maximum credit of 2,000 hours may be applied for experience in wiring process control systems. The same credit may be applied if you have experience in electrical construction in the United States Armed Forces.
  • Class B
    • 3,000 hours of experience working with residential or farmstead wiring under the supervision of another Class B or master electrician.
    • If you’re a graduate of a 2-year program in a board approved electrical school, a credit of 1,000 hour will be applied.

You need to take the examination for an electrical license. The passing grade is 70%. You can download the application form here.

The North Dakota State Electrical Board holds its office at 1929 N. Washington Street, Suite A-1, Bismarck, ND 58507-7335. You can also send your mail to P.O. Box 7335. You can also contact them via phone at (701) 328-9522 or fax at (701) 328-9524.

You can also use this form to get in touch with their office – https://www.ndseb.com/contact-us/.

Plumbing License

The North Dakota State Plumbing Board promotes and protects the health of the public by regulating the plumbing industry. You can apply online by going to this site – https://ndplumbingboard.com/licensing/applications.

Choose the application for the license that you’re looking to get. If for plumbing, you can choose from apprentice, journeyman and master. For sewer and water, you can apply for apprentice, installer and contractor. For water conditioning, you can apply for apprentice, installer and contractor as well.

Once you’ve completed the application form, you can send it by mail to North Dakota State Plumbing Board, 1110 College Drive Suite 210, Bismarck, ND 58501. You can also email it to ndplumb@nd.gov or fax it to 701-328-9979.

If you’re looking to find a licensed plumbing contractor, you can use the North Dakota plumbing contractor lookup tool here – https://ndplumbingboard.com/license-lookup-info.

Asbestos Abatement License

The state’s Department of Health has a Division of Air Quality that has an Asbestos Control Program. They are the enforcers of emission standards of asbestos as per the North Dakota Air Pollution Control Rules. The same program is also responsible for licensing and certification of contractors for asbestos abatement.

Here is a list of asbestos contractors in ND – https://deq.nd.gov/AQ/PDFs/Documents/Asbestos/AsbestosContractors.pdf.

You can also send in an application to get licensed. Click here for the asbestos certification application. Click here for the asbestos contractor license application.

For any questions, contact the North Dakota Department of Health at 701-328-5188. You can also send an email to asbestos@nd.gov.

Department of Transportation (DOT)

The Department of Transportation also opens its projects to bidders. If you want to submit bids, you have to be pre-qualified by the DOT. Pre-qualification is obtained and renewed every year. You can submit electronically by going to https://dotnd.diversitycompliance.com/. You can also submit manually by downloading form SFN 9384 and submitting it to the North Dakota Department of Transportation Construction Services Division at this address:

608 East Boulevard Avenue

Bismarck, ND 58505-0700

For any questions, you can contact them at 701-328-2563. You can also send a fax to 701-328-0310.

Please note that you don’t need to have an ND contractor license in order to submit a bid. However, you’d need it before the contract’s execution.

It’s also a good idea to sign up to their newsletter so you can be notified of projects that will be available for bidding. You can do so here.

Foreign/Out of State Corporations

If your articles of incorporation were filed under laws other than North Dakota’s, you are considered to be a foreign or out of state corporation. As such, you need to get a certificate of authority from the ND Secretary of State if you want to do business in the state and/or get permits or licensing.

You can contact the ND Secretary of State at the following:

  • 600 E Boulevard Avenue Dept 108, Bismarck ND, 58505-0500
  • 701-328-2900 or 800-352-0867
  • 800-366-6888 (for the deaf, hard of hearing or speech-challenged)
  • 701-328-2992 (fax)

You can also use their website’s contact us page found here – http://sos.nd.gov/office-secretary-state/contact-us.

The City of Fargo

You need to apply for a business license for these types of contractor services. Also included are the specific fees to be paid:

  • Journeyman heating ($30 per year)
  • Master heating ($125 per year)
  • Master plumber ($125 per year)

You can download the application form here. You can then send in your application to 200 North 3rd Street (PO Box 2471), Fargo, ND 58108-2471. You can also contact them at the following:

The City of Grand Forks

In addition to being a license holder as issued by the state, you need to comply with the following requirements:

  • Building
  • Mechanical
    • Completed application form – or
    • $5,000 permit and license bond
    • An 80% score on the written mechanical test for master or 75% for journeyman
    • $170 per year city license fee for master or $55 for journeyman

Contact 701-740-6663 or 701-746-2653 to take the test.

  • Plumbing
    • If for master plumbing license, use to apply.
    • $5,000 permit and license bond
    • $170 per year city license fee for master plumbers
  • Excavator
    • $5,000 permit and license bond
    • $115 per year city license fee
    • $500 deposit that will be refunded to you after 3 years once your final project has been concluded
  • Sign hanger
  • Moving
  • Electrical

North Dakota License Reciprocity

You don’t have to take the North Dakota electrical trade exam if you have a valid master or journeyman license in South Dakota or Minnesota. For a journeyman license, these are the states that are in a reciprocal licensing group with ND:

In addition to being a passer of the written exam in the state that you will be reciprocating from, you need to comply with the following requirements:

  • Proof of electrical contractor experience. It should be at least 8,000 hours for journeyman or 10,000 for master. There should also be proof that the hours were conducted under the supervision of a master electrician.
  • You should have a valid license that you’ve held for at least 1 year prior to applying for reciprocity.
  • You still need to send in an application and pay the application fee of $25 for a journeyman or $50 for master.
  • Once approved, you have to pay the license fee of $25 for a journeyman or $50 for master.

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