Washington State Contractor Licenses

To do construction work in Washington you must register with the Washington Department of Labor and Industries. Electricians and plumbers must be licensed.

Contractor License Lookup in Washington state

Where do you go when you want to lookup the license of a contractor in Washington state? To find out if a contractor, electrician, or plumber is registered in Washington, click https://fortress.wa.gov/lni/bbip/ or call (360) 902-5226.

To get an application for registration, contact:

Department of Labor and Industries
Contractor’s Registration Section
P. O. Box 44450
Olympia, WA 98504-4450
(360) 902-5226

Online registration is now available at http://www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/LicensingReq/Contractors/default.asp.

You can register as a specialty or general contractor. If you register as a specialty contractor you can register in only two trades. Here are the trades the Department uses:

Acoustical Ornamental/metals
Air conditioning Overhead/garage doors
Appliances/equipment Painting/wall covering
Asbestos Paving/striping
Awnings/canopies/carports/patio coverings Plastering
Boiler/steam fitting/process piping Plumbing
Cabinet and millwork Pressure washing
Carpentry/framing Resilient floor/countertop materials plastic
Carpet laying    finish/masonite
Ceramic/plastic/metal file Roofing
Commercial/industrial/refrigeration Sanitation systems
Concrete Seal coating
Demolition Service station equipment
Drywall Sheet metal
Elevator Siding
Excavating/grading Signs (nonelectrical)
Fencing Steel/aluminum erectors
Fire protection system Steel reinforcing/bar/wire mesh
Glazing/glass Structural pest control/repair
Gunite Swimming pools/service/repair
Gutters/downspouts Tanks/tank renovating
House moving Venetian blinds/shades/drapes
Hydraulic installation/repair Warm air venting/ventilation/evap. cooling
Institutional/equip./stationary furniture/lab Water conditioning equipment
   tables/lockers Waterproofing
Insulation Weatherstripping
Irrigation/sprinkling system Welding
Landscaping Well drilling
Lathing Wood floor laying/finishing
Machinery Wood stove installation
Masonry Other
Mobile home setup

You need to post a $12,000 bond if you register as a general contractor and a $6,000 bond if you register as a specialty contractor. You must also show that you have at least $50,000 of property damage insurance and $200,000 of public liability coverage. The Department will also ask you for these numbers:

  • IRS employer account number
  • employment security number
  • industrial insurance number
  • state revenue tax number

If you don’t have the last three numbers, you can apply for a Washington Unified Business Identifier (UBI). To do this, contact:

Business License Service Center
405 Black Lake Boulevard
Olympia, WA 98504
(360) 664-1400

Contractor’s registration fees: The Contractor registration application fee is $113.40 and is good for two years.


Electrician’s Licenses

To do electrical work in Washington you must be licensed by the Department of Labor and Industries. The Department issues these electrical licenses — contractor, administrator, journeyman, specialty, and trainee. To get an application for a license, contact:

Department of Labor and Industries
Electrical Section
P. O. Box 44460
Olympia, WA 98504-4460
(360) 902-5269

Electrical Contractor’s License

You’ll have to take an exam to get an electrical contractor’s license. The Department issues these electrical contractor licenses:

General — journeyman, includes all types of wiring
Specialty —  residential, pump and irrigation, signs, limited energy, HVAC/refrigeration limited energy, non-residential maintenance, non-residential lighting maintenance, door/gate systems

You must apply to the Department of Labor and Industries before you can take the exam. Once you receive your approval letter to test, you will be referred to the exam agency:

PSI (Formerly LaserGrade)
2950 N. Hollywood Way, Suite 200
Burbank, CA 91505
(800) 367-1516

The application will ask you to include:

  • a UBI number (issued by the Master Business License Division of the Department of Licensing)
  • corporation, limited liability corporation or limited liability partnership registration (contact the State Corporations Division to register)
  • application fee
  • industrial insurance account number, if you have employees or plan to hire employees (issued by the Industrial Insurance Division)
  • administrator designation or master electrician (the administrator/master must either be an owner/principle or a supervisory employee)
  • electrical/telecommunications contractor’s bond in the amount of $4000 or assignment of savings account (for the amount of $4,000 to the State of Washington)

To qualify for a specialty exam, you must provide proof of two years experience in that specialty. To qualify for the general journeyman exam, you must have 4 years of electrical installation experience with a minimum of 2 years in new commercial/industrial electrical installation.

Contractor Exams

  • General journeyman electrician
  • Residential
  • Pump and irrigation
  • Domestic well
  • Signs
  • Limited energy system
  • HVAC/Refrigeration limited energy system
  • Non-residential maintenance
  • Non-residential lighting maintenance/retrofit
  • Residential maintenance
  • Door, gate and similar systems

Electrical contractor’s license fees: The license will cost $306.10 ($266.20) for the license and a $39.90 charge for administrator/master designation). The license is good for two years.

Applicants who register to take exams at a LaserGrade Public Testing Center will be charged per hourly schedule. Exams based on separate sections will be billed at the rate for total exam time. Prices are as follows:

1 hour – $40.00
2 hours – $50.00
3 hours – $60.00
4 hours – $70.00
5 hours – $80.00
6 hours – $90.00
7 hours – $100.00

Electrical Administrator’s License

The Department issues these electrical administrator licenses:

General — includes all types of electrical installations
Specialty — general, residential, pump and irrigation, domestic well, sign, limited energy, HVAC/Refrigeration limited energy system, HVAC/Refrigeration restricted administrator, non-residential maintenance, non-residential lighting maintenance, residential maintenance, restricted non-residential maintenance, appliance repair, equipment repair, door/gate and similar systems, telecommunications

Exams are given by:

PSI (Formerly LaserGrade)
2950 N. Hollywood Way, Suite 200
Burbank, CA 91505
(800) 367-1516

Administrator Exams

  • General electrical administrator
  • Residential electrical administrator
  • Pump and irrigation administrator
  • Domestic well administrator
  • Sign electrical administrator
  • Limited energy electrical administrator
  • HVAC/Refrigeration limited energy system administrator
  • HVAC/Refrigeration restricted administrator
  • Non-residential maintenance electrical administrator
  • Non-residential lighting maintenance/retrofit administrator
  • Residential maintenance electrical administrator
  • Restricted non-residential maintenance administrator
  • Appliance repair  administrator
  • Equipment repair administrator
  • Telecommunications administrator
  • Door gate and similar systems electrical administrator

For exam information, click http://www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/Electrical/ExamEd/ExamInfo/default.asp.

Electrical administrator license fees: It costs $120.40 to file the application for an electrical administrator’s license. A license is good for two years but it expires on your birthday.

Applicants who register to take exams at a LaserGrade Public Testing Center will be charged per hourly schedule. Exams based on separate sections will be billed at the rate for total exam time. Prices are as follows:

1 hour – $40.00
2 hours – $50.00
3 hours – $60.00
4 hours – $70.00
5 hours – $80.00
6 hours – $90.00
7 hours – $100.00

Electrical Trainee’s Certificate

You must get a training certificate to learn the electrical construction trade in Washington.

Plumber Certification

To perform installation, alteration, or repair of potable water, liquid waste, and medical gas systems within a building in the state of Washington you must be certified by the Department of Labor and Industries. The Department issues trainee, journeyman, and specialty/residential plumber certificates, and medical gas piping installer endorsements. To obtain an application, contact:

Department of Labor and Industries
Plumber Certification Section
P. O. Box 44470
Olympia, WA 98504-4470
(360) 902-5207

To obtain a journeyman, specialty/residential plumber certificate you must first qualify and pass a written examination. To qualify for the examination, you must document your work experience according to the following hour requirements:

  • Journeyman plumbers: 8,000 hours, of which 4,000 must be commercial or industrial work
  • Specialty plumbers: 6,000 hours
  • Backflow specialty must have a copy of an active backflow assembly tester certificate from the Washington State Department of Health

Exams are based on the current edition of the Uniform Plumbing Code and cover general trade knowledge, code application for water piping, and code application knowledge for waste and vents. To purchase the Uniform Plumbing Code book call (888) 664-9515.

Plumber’s license fees: An exam application for journeyman, specialty or reciprocal certificate will cost $151.90. A medical gas piping installer certificate is $55.90. A trainee certificate is $45.20 per year.

Washington reciprocates journeylevel certificates from Idaho, Montana and Oregon.

Department of Transportation (DOT)

To bid on any Washington Department of Transportation construction project, you must be prequalified by the Department. To get their Standard Questionnaire and Financial Statement, contact:

Department of Transportation
Pre-contract Administration
P. O. Box 47360
Olympia, WA 98504-7360
(360) 705-7837
E-mail: [email protected]

The form is available online at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/biz/contaa/prequal/default.htm. Scroll down the page and click on “Standard Questionnaire”.

The Transportation Department will ask you for these items:

  • current financial statement
  • which types of work you want to be prequalified for
  • your current and past work projects
  • what equipment your firm owns

You’ll also be asked which of the following types of work you want to be
prequalified in:

Clearing, grubbing, grading, draining Tunnels and shaft excavation
Production and placing crushed materials Piledriving
Bituminous surface treatment Concrete surface treatment
Asphalt concrete paving Fencing
Cement concrete paving Bridge deck repair
Bridges and structures Deck seal
Buildings Signing
Painting Sign structures and signs
Traffic signals Slurry diaphragm and cut-off walls
Structural tile cleaning Rock Slope Stabilization
Guardrails Gabion and gabion construction
Pavement marking Electronics
Demolition Mechanical
Drilling and blasting Asbestos abatement
Sewers and water mains Hazardous waste material
Illumination and general electric Concrete restoration
Cement concrete curb and gutter Concrete sawing, coring and grooving
Asphalt concrete curb and gutter Dredging
Riprap and rock walls Marine work
Concrete structures except bridges Ground modification
Surveying Well drilling
Water distribution and irrigation Sewage disposal
Landscaping Traffic control
Engineering Railroad construction
Erosion control Steel fabrication
Precast median barrier Street cleaning
Permanent tie-back anchor Materials transporting
Impact attenuators Sandblasting and steam cleaning
Paint striping

The Department will use this information to give your company a prequalification rating. Prequalification is good for one year.

Out-of-State Corporations

Corporations doing business in Washington need a Certificate of Authority. For information, contact:

Corporations Division
Office of the Secretary of State
801 Capitol Way South
PO Box 40234
Olympia, WA 98504
(360) 725-0377

Out-of-State corporation fee: The filing fee is $180.

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