NAICS Description: General Contractor - means any person who, for a fee, is contracted to do construction on real property owned, controlled, or leased by another person of commercial, industrial, institutional, governmental, residential or accessory use buildings or structures. This also includes the remodeling, repair, improvement or demolition of these buildings or structures. General Contractor also includes those involved in heavy construction, land development and the construction of new buildings.
Construction Manager – means any person who, for a fee, is contracted to supervise and coordinate the work of a design professionals and multiple general contractors, while allowing the design professionals and general contractors to control individual operations and the manner of design and construction.
Endorsement Class: General Services and Repair
Legal Authority: 47-2851, DC Municipal Regulations: Title 17, Chapter 39
All applicants for a Basic Business License must comply with the following DC Code requirements:
If your organization is a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or in some cases, a trust, said organization must be registered and in good standing with the Corporations Division. For more information, including assistance with completing the application process, please contact the Corporations Division at (202) 442-4432 or visit DCRA Corporate Registration Information Center.
Non-Resident of the District of Columbia (including Foreign Corporations)
If you are not a resident of the District of Columbia, you'll need to appoint a Resident Agent or an Attorney-in-Fact who lives or works in an office in the District, who will be the official recipient of any financial, process, or legal notices that we need to send to you. If you are not a DC resident, please complete the Certified Resident Agent Appointment Form.
Corporate Registered Agents
Any business required to register with the Corporations Division is required to maintain a registered agent. Said registered agent may be a bona fide District of Columbia resident or a company physically located in the District of Columbia. The registered agent’s office may or may not be the same address as the place of business.
Family trusts, general partnerships, and sole proprietors are required to maintain a resident agent. Said resident agent may be a bona fide District of Columbia resident or a company physically located in the District of Columbia. The resident agent’s office may or may not be the same address as the place of business.
Trade Name Registration (Use of Fictitious Business Name)
A business operating under a fictitious name or a name other than the legally recognized name must register the trade name with the Corporations Division. For more information, including assistance with completing the trade name application process, please contact the Corporations Division at (202) 442-4432 or visit DCRA Corporate Registration Information Center.
Basic Business License Application
All applicants for a Basic Business License must complete an application, remit the associated payment, and submit the required supporting documentation.
Clean Hands Self-Certification
All applicants must certify that no more than $100 is owed to the District of Columbia Government as a result of fees, penalties, interest, or taxes through completion of a Clean Hands Self-Certification.
All Applicants must provide a registered tax number (i.e., SSN or FEIN) at the time of application. Register by completing and filing a Combined Business Tax Registration Application (Form FR-500) with the Office of Tax and Revenue, 1101 4th Street, SW, Suite W270, Washington, DC 20024. Online registration is available at the Business Tax Service Center. For more information, please call the Tax Customer Service Center at (202) 727-4829.
Certificate of Occupancy/Home Occupation Permit
All applicants for a Basic Business License operating from a premise located in the District of Columbia must provide a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) or Home Occupation (HOP) for the premise address from which the business activity is conducted in order to demonstrate the activity does not conflict with building and zoning codes. For more information, please call the Office of the Zoning Administrator at (202) 442-4576.
Note: In some cases, a business operating in an office building may operate under the umbrella of the C of O issued to the owner of the building as long as the C of O is issued for the entire building. Check with the building owner or management company for the holder’s name, C of O number, and issue date.
Each applicant shall furnish a certificate of insurance for the license period pursuant to DC Code and DC Municipal Regulations. Each applicant must secure commercial general liability insurance as follows:
- Applicant applying for Class A license limits of at least two and a half million dollars ($2,500,000) per occurrence (umbrella) for bodily injury and property damage arising in any way from the issuance of the license
- Applicant applying for Class B license limits of at least one and a half million dollars ($1,500,000) per occurrence (umbrella) for bodily injury and property damage arising in any way from the issuance of the license;
- Applicant applying for Class C license limits of at least five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) per occurrence, one million dollars ($1,000,000) in the aggregate combined single limit for bodily injury or property damage arising in any way from the issuance of the license;
- Applicant applying for Class G license limits of at least five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) per occurrence, one million dollars ($1,000,000) in the aggregate combined single limit for bodily injury or property damage arising in any way from the issuance of the license;
- Applicant applying for Class H license limits of at least five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) per occurrence for bodily injury or property damage arising in any way from the issuance of the license.
Note: The Certificate of Liability Insurance must: 1) be issued to your organization as registered with the Corporations Division; 2) be issued to the premise address provided on the Basic Business License Application; 3) provide a Description and Location of services provided (i.e., General Contractor in Washington, DC); and 4) show the certificate holder as "Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, 1100 4th Street, SW, 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20024."
P.O. Boxes are not acceptable as the insured’s premise address.
All applicants for a Basic Business License for the General Contractor/Construction Manager category must submit three copies of at least two sample contracts and receipts.
This category of the Basic Business License is subject to a thirty (30) day background investigation prior to issuance of a license. This investigation will be conducted after a Basic Business License Application, all required supporting documentation, and payments have been received and accepted by the Business Licensing Division.
All subcontractors (i.e., plumbers, gasfitters, electricians, refrigeration and air condition technicians) hired by the General Contractor/Construction Manager must be properly licensed and registered as required by District of Columbia law.
If a General Contractor performs work on existing residential properties, a Basic Business License for the Home Improvement Contractor category is not required. However, a Basic Business License for the Home Improvement Salesperson category is required in addition to the Basic Business License for the General Contractor category.
You may apply for a Basic Business License and pay with a major credit/debit card via the DC Business Portal. Some categories are available for immediate printing. Get out of line and get online! APPLY ONLINE NOW!
You may apply for a Basic Business License in-person with cash, check, money order or a major credit/debit card by visiting the DCRA, Business License Center, 1100 4th Street, SW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20024. No appointments are required. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Note: American Express is not accepted in the Business License Center.
You may apply for a Basic Business License and pay with a check or money order via mail. Please submit all requirements including the associated fee. Make check or money order payable to “DC Treasurer.”
Mail complete application and payment to:
Wells Fargo Bank
DC Government Wholesale Lockbox 91360
7175 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046
Note: Processing times for Basic Business Licenses submitted by mail may take up to 30 business days. Please consider applying online or in-person for the fastest turnaround.