Skip navigation

  Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

To protect the health and well-being of our community and to support social distancing guidelines, the contractor licensing counter is temporarily closed. Contractors should use the online options below to apply for and renew their licenses.

CONTRACTOR LICENSES

Our office issues licenses and certificates to individuals and companies who perform work within Denver that requires a building permit or right-of-way permit. Denver does not accept or reciprocate contractor licenses and/or certificates from other counties or states.

Contractors will need to show their license to pick up building permits. Permits are only issued to a contractor licensed to perform work in Denver. The person picking up the permit must verify the contractor’s license on the permit application by bringing (1) an original contractor license card (no copies or faxes accepted), or (2) a one-day license card signed by an owner or officer on file.


Licenses and Certificates

Review the prerequisites required for supervisor certificates, contractor licenses, and right-of-way licenses and print out all documents. Before applying for a contractor's license, the applicant must hold a trade-specific supervisor certificate, employ a supervisor certificate holder, or hold a state electrical or plumbing license. Contractor license applications are not accepted until supervisor certificates have been approved. 

Both licenses and certificates expire every three years. You can renew online within 30 days of expiration. You can also renew by mail or in person. 

Review the prerequisites required and the steps to apply for supervisor certificates. Certificates are issued to individuals who can show hands-on experience in the field for which they are applying. 

Review and submit the following:


Remember, contractor licensing in Denver is a two-step process: a license applicant must hold a supervisor certificate (or a state electrical or plumbing license), or employ someone who holds a supervisor certificate before applying for a contractor license.


Right-of-way licenses are required if you will be performing work in the public right-of-way or other public property of the City and County of Denver.


Renewals cannot be processed online if the license or certificate has expired.

You can find license and certificate renewal forms below. If a license has been expired for over a year, it will require reinstatement.

Note: We do not mail renewal notices. 


Permitting procedures

Passing an exam

Once you demonstrate proficiency in a specific area by passing a homeowner's exam you will be able to complete several types of projects yourself—without hiring a contractor.

These exams are given Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm at Contractor Licensing, 201 W. Colfax Ave., 2nd Floor, Denver, CO 80202. There are no fees for the exam, but you must be listed on the Assessor’s website as the property owner or submit a deed listing you as an owner of the property. No other forms of ownership will be accepted. Copies of your deed may be available from the Clerk and Recorder for a small fee.

Types of homeowner exams offered:

  • Electrical
  • Mechanical
  • Plumbing 
  • Refrigeration
  • Hot Water/Boiler
  • Evaporative Cooling

A state license may substitute for electrical or plumbing exams. No exam is needed for general construction or roofing/siding.

Homeowner exam requirements:

The owner listed on the Assessor's website must be the individual taking the exam.

  1. Owner-Occupiers of existing houses are allowed to pull permits and conduct work on their own homes (additions, alterations and repairs) after agreeing to occupy the home for 12 months and passing discipline-specific exams.
  2. Owner-Occupiers of existing houses are allowed to pull permits and conduct ALL work in the construction of NEW accessory structures (including detached garages) after agreeing to remain in the house for 12 months and passing all applicable discipline-specific exams (no more often than once every 5 years).
  3. Owners, who intend to occupy for at least 12 months are allowed to pull permits and conduct work in the construction of new dwellings after passing all applicable discipline-specific exams (no more often than once every five years). 
  4. The homeowner must be performing the work himself or herself.
  5. The dwelling must not be a duplex, condominium, apartment, ADU, or commercial building.
  6. The homeowner may have the assistance of one "Designated Worker" in taking the test. The "Designated Worker" is an individual who will be assisting the homeowner with the work as well as the test, and cannot accept payment from the homeowner.
  7. The homeowner and "Designated Worker" must supply a current Colorado Photo ID or Driver's License. A Colorado temporary Driver's License, other State-Issued Photo ID or Driver's License, Passport, or Federal issued Permanent Resident Card ("Green Card") may also be accepted. 
  8. The homeowner must agree to the following test rules set forth by the Department.

Additional information:

  • Taking or using notes is prohibited during the exam. Relevant code books are provided for your use on a "first-come, first-served" basis. You may bring your own code books or instructional books; however, they may be reviewed by the Department and rejected for notations, or other inappropriate material.
  • Cell and mobile phones, 2-way radios and pagers are prohibited during the exam.
  • Contact with individuals outside the testing area is prohibited during the exam.  
  • If either the Homeowner or Designated Worker needs to leave the testing area for any reason they must return all test materials immediately.
  • In the event that the Homeowner fails an exam, they must wait a minimum of thirty minutes before re-taking the exam.
  • Homeowner's exams are not administered after 3 p.m.

Contractors are licensed to ensure that they are competent and capable of meeting the relevant technical and safety standards for your project.  Each license type has a defined set of competence criteria that contractors must meet to achieve and maintain a license.

Before any demolition or the first nail is hammered, a good home remodeling contractor has already done a lot of work for you.  Denver, like most cities and communities has specific building codes that must be followed.  In order to have any additions to or remodeling of your home, you need the correct permits. 

Not only are reputable home contractors experienced at a wide range of home remodeling techniques, they also have contacts with other home improvement professionals you might need like plumbers and electricians. 

Each contractor should have insurance and warranty information available to you. Typically contractors provide a one year warranty on material and labor, check with the contractors to verify the extent of any warranty extended to you.


Get references:

Be sure to talk to and visit at least three previous clients and utilize the Better Business Bureau. You should also insist on proof that the contractor is insured and bonded. Check with the insurance company that the contractor's policy is current.

  • Verify that your contractor has a Denver license, using our contractor license search.
  • Insist that the contractor acquire all necessary building permits.
  • Avoid contractors who won’t give a receipt for payments.
  • Check that addresses and phone numbers are legitimate on business cards.
  • Ask for a backup plan if the contractor becomes ill or unavailable for any reason.
  • Get at least three bids in writing.
  • Never pay cash.
  • Avoid contractors demanding full payment up front without doing any work.  Deposits for materials are commonly required.  A reasonable pay schedule might include one-third upfront, one-third near completion and the final third after everything is done and cleaned up.  
  • Avoid contractors who will work without a written contract. Have a written contract detailing the work to be performed, cost associated with each task, and timeframe with estimated start and finish dates. Sign a contract that protects against liens from subcontractors. 

What to include in your contract: 

After selecting a contractor, get a written contract detailing the work to be performed, the costs associated with each task and a timeframe with estimated start and finish dates. Sign a contract that protects against liens from subcontractors and consider these additional tips for the completion of a good contract:

  • Written on company letterhead.
  • Contains the company's name, address, phone numbers and license number.
  • Contains the consumer's name, address (where work is to be performed) and phone numbers.
  • Is dated when it is written.
  • Provides a payment schedule and/or a schedule of values for payment 
  • Includes a termination clause.
  • Clearly states whether permits will be obtained, and who will be responsible for "pulling" them.
  • Provides a clear statement of inclusions and exclusions as it pertains to your project.

*Warning: Beware of unscrupulous contractors that suggest you, as the homeowner, secure the permit in your name.  The permit holder is legally responsible for the completion of the job to code standards. 


Denver's Inspection Process for Verifying Ratios

Apprentice / Licensed Electricians

 

Denver Treasury

Denver is a Home Rule City with tax licensing requirements in addition to contractor licensing. For more information on what taxes and licenses are required for your construction business, please download a guide here (PDF) as well as explore the Denver Treasury website. Specific questions may be directed to the Tax Audit Admin team at 720-913-9955 or taxauditadmin@denvergov.org.

 

Colorado Secretary of State

For corporate reports, certificate in good standing, articles of incorporation, application for certificate of authority, articles of organization, trade name filings or partnership agreements, please contact the Colorado Secretary of State at www.sos.state.co.us or call 303-894-2200.

 

Division of Registrations Colorado State Electrical & Plumbing Board

State electrical and plumbing contractors must be licensed by the State of Colorado prior to applying for a City and County of Denver license. Contact the State Board of Registrations at www.colorado.gov/dora/licensing or call 303-894-7800.


Renewals cannot be processed online if license or certificate has expired.

They must be submitted in-person or by mail.

Need help? Download a tutorial (PPT)

 


 

Contact Us + Sign Up for CPD's Newsletter

Contractor Licensing Staff: 
Contr.Licensing@denvergov.org
720-865-2770 

Office Hours: 
8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday - Friday

Address:
Wellington Webb Municipal Office Building
201 W. Colfax, Dept. 205
Denver, CO 80202


Code and Policy Alert Newsletter:
Receive important updates on permit counter changes, code amendments, and other helpful news and tips for contractors.