General Contractors License – Benefits & Requirements Texas

07:18 Jul 2023
General Contractors License

Although the State of Texas does not require a general contractors license for building contracting, there are still certain requirements that owners should seek when selecting a general contractor.

General contractors are construction companies that have the capabilities to facilitate both design and construction improvements of real estate property.

In states like California, Florida, New York, and even Louisiana require a general contractor license and certification to pull permits and conduct business in those states.

For instance, in the State of Florida, the state requires an applicant to take a 3-part 20-hour exam, which they must pass before they can make an application.

These exams test business knowledge, state law, accounting & financial knowledge, and quantity estimating for preparing bids.

In the State of Florida, they have developed different levels of certification for the different types of general contractors license.

We will examine the different types of general contractors and the need of special qualification requirements they need.

We will also discuss the benefits and other types of professional accreditations that can be an advantage to property owners preparing to do business with a contractor.

As prime building contractors, they manage the entire process of construction. They are responsible for construction management leadership of onsite construction activities and the administrative duties associated with the execution performance of the project.

An oversimplified definition of general contracting would be that they are the gatekeepers for anything to do with the project construction process.

This is why they are commonly called builders.

There are many common misconceptions about a general contractor, like people thinking of them as one size fits all as building contractors.

In addition, if you need any type of repair project or anything associated with real estate built you can just call a general contractor.

It is also common to consider that builders are all the same and provide identical services. Both of these misapprehensions are ill-advised.

We will examine the different types of contractors and discuss the various services that they provide a general contractors license.

We will also offer some insights on how to work through the process of selecting, vetting, and hiring the right building contractor for you.

Learn about the general contractors license and the different types of building contractors it applies

General Contractors License

General Contractors Types

There are many different types of general contractors that operate in the construction services industry.

There are residential general contractors that offer their services to homeowners and there are commercial general contractors that service commercial property owners.

In some cases, these builders crossover and will serve both construction industry sectors.

In addition, some building contractors provide new construction services and remodeling and renovation services.

Residential General Contractors

Residential General Contractors serve homeowners for new home construction and home remodeling.

When it comes to new home construction, they come in many sizes and often specialize as either a production home builder or a custom home builder. Production builders produce volumes of houses.

They may offer 4 to 6 different models in planned housing development, but they do not offer their clients an opportunity to make substantial changes to these home plans.

Whereas with custom home builders they traditionally work with clients that want unique one-of-a-kind home plans built.

Custom homes are normally larger houses with distinct architectural features.

These homes take a much longer time to build and commonly require the owner to participate during the construction process making decisions and selecting most of the products.

This is not the case with production home builders.

There are some builders that produce home plans that construct a hybrid house which is an off-the-shelf design plan that they allow their clients to make substantial changes to the home plans.

These builders are commonly called semi-custom home builders.

Home Remodeling Contractors are building contractors that offer home renovations and remodeling services. 

This type of general contractor comes in a larger variety type of construction companies than the home builder’s segment.

Home remodeling contractors traditionally offer their services to homeowners for larger more complicated home improvement projects, such as kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, and home additions.

This is why they are building contractors because they hire a large number of subcontractors and material vendors to execute their projects.

But over the years the descriptive tag representing the home remodeling contractor has been loosely associated with the home improvement repair and services also known as the home improvement industry.

Although the home improvement industry crosses over the home remodeling industry in its project activities, home improvements are distinctively different in one major aspect.

Home improvement construction companies normally are self-performing contractors, performing the skilled trade services with construction company employees.

They do not normally hire a variety of skilled trades to complete a home improvement project.

As you can tell it can get a bit confusing to a homeowner that is wanting a major home remodel and getting home improvement contractors showing up at their home to view the project instead of home remodeling contractors.

It gets even more confusing when homeowners need home design work done or construction documents prepared.

Most remodeling contractors do not prepare construction documents or develop home designs.

Design Build Contractors are specialty general contractors that prepare home designs and facilitate construction activities.

These builders will take you through the process of home design for new construction or remodeling services.

Capture these designs on CAD files and create construction documents. From these documents they can prepare accurate construction costs and execute the construction services.

To learn more about design build contractors follow this link.

Commercial General Contractors

Commercial General Contractors provide construction services to commercial property owners with new construction and remodeling service needs.

Like residential builders, they may serve one or both of the construction industry sectors.

They also operate much like residential building contractors in that they hire subcontractors to perform the skilled trades work and are responsible for the both construction management and construction administrative functions of the project.

Although the differences in the building contractors are in the types of property structures they build.

There are a greater number of various types of commercial property structures than there are in home building.

There are retail strip centers, medical centers, big box stores, manufacturing centers, and schools.

These projects differ in many regards then residential contraction but none more than the requirements for life safety in commercial construction.

Commercial Remodeling Contractors offer remodeling services and renovations to commercial property owners for many different needs.

From office remodeling to building expansions, commercial remodeling contractors serve a required role in commercial construction.

To learn more about the different types of general contractors read our link.

General contracting is the science of building real estate improvements through construction.

The general contractors’ responsibilities consist of both construction management services and construction administrative services.

The construction management services are associated with onsite quality controls such as scheduling, procurement, and compliance inspections.

These duties also include project leadership, construction supervision, and problem solving.

The general contracting administration responsibilities are associated with back-office activities like accounting, financial affairs, and contracts.

These activities translate to accounts payables/receivables, subcontractor scopes of work development, and insurance administration.

They also include the many preconstruction tasks like quantity take-offs, estimating, and bid proposal preparations.

Last but not least the general contractor is responsible to act in the best interest of the project and protect the owner’s interest.

This means openly and regularly communicating with the owner about construction progress and discussing plan errors and construction issues as they develop.

There should be a high level of professional trust between the owner and builder. The builder should be the owner’s trusted adviser through the design and construction journey.

For further discussion on general contracting performance standards see our link.  

General Contracting License

General Contractors License Alternatives

Although a general contractor is certified by a governmental entity as a method to regulate the quality of professional standards in the industry, the general contractor’s license only establishes that the building contractor has a basic fundamental understanding of the competency required by the profession.

The test of a Master Builder is developed with real-world hands-on experience and continued education proctored by a creditable agency.

Continued education programs are an essential tool in developing the trades of the profession.

Obtaining other certified training like OSHA certifications, equipment use competencies, and material application certifications are all examples of further educational processes in developing building contractors’ professional skills.

Selecting a General Contractor

Identifying a small list of general contractors is where the selection process begins. This can be done by researching builders online for the relevant service you need.

Study their website, read some of their published articles, and read their client’s reviews.

This will provide you with a strong sense if you are interested in working with a general contracting firm such as this.

Start with a phone conversation with each of the builders to see if there is any common ground of interest.

Tell them a bit about your project and some of your concerns and see how they respond to you.

Are they helpful in their suggestions and are they like-minded in their ideas? If there is a connection send them what you have to study and invite them to meet on your project.

Before you meet with them get yourself prepared beforehand. Outline what is important to you about your future relationship with your builder and what you expect from the building contractor.

Once the meeting takes place listen to the ideas and remarks the general contractor shares with you.

Are they like minded in their ideas or do you like their answers to your questions? If you are in need of some relevant questions for your general contractor please visit our link.

Before you end the meeting, you should request a sample contract and a bid proposal from them.

Their bid proposal should contain a clear and complete scope of work detailing their task and approach toward executing the project.

Carefully read the contract and if you have questions ask them to explain them to you. One word of caution about just using the lowest price as the decisive factor in selecting your building contractor.

The problem with overvaluing the lowest bid price is that if you are not an expert in identifying a complete scope of work, it is impossible to know if you have the lowest price. 

The ultimate goal is to find the right building contractor for you. There are many factors to consider such as price, like-minded philosophy, craftsmanship, completeness of scope of work, contract terms, and business acumen.

It is also important to understand what you expect from your builder and what they can expect from you.

Having a positive working relationship with a professional builder has far greater long-term benefits than strictly focusing on the lowest price.


The general contractor is a key construction partner when planning and executing major construction services.

Although the State of Texas does not require a general contractor’s license to conduct business, you should still inquire about the level of experience and formal training that the builder has before commissioning them.

Not all construction companies provide general contracting services or are a good fit for your project needs.

Taking the time to research a select few building contractors that service your needs and can be professionally vetted to determine a good working relationship is essential for successful results.

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