How do I become an independent contractor

How do I become an independent contractor – A Step-by-Step Guide

You’re looking to strike out on your own and dive headfirst into the world of being an independent contractor. You want to be your boss, set your rates, and, most importantly, call the shots. Heck, maybe you even fancy the idea of working in your pajamas. But where do you start? This guide will take you step-by-step through the process, and pretty soon, you’ll be signing contracts and cashing checks in your sleep. Just to be extra clear, we’ll focus on the process in Chicago, but most of the advice should apply everywhere. 

How do I become a general contractor in Chicago?

If you’re looking to dive into the Chicago construction sector, becoming a general contractor is a solid bet. It’s a demanding job, but it comes with the satisfaction of seeing projects come alive right from the blueprint stage. So, if you’ve got the gut feeling, let’s walk you through the journey. 

Step 1: Get Educated 

You don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree to be a general contractor, but some form of education is advisable. Courses in construction management, building science, or a similar field can give you a leg up. Experience in construction work is also invaluable, so consider internships or entry-level jobs to build experience. 

Step 2: Gain Experience 

Before you can start running your jobs, you need to learn the ropes. Whether it’s through on-the-job training, an apprenticeship, or working for a construction company, gaining field experience helps you understand the day-to-day operations. 

Step 3: Obtain the Necessary Licenses 

Chicago requires general contractors to be licensed, so be ready to take the plunge. We’ll talk about this more in-depth later on in the article. 

Step 4: Secure Your Bonds and Insurance 

Besides the license, you’ll need to secure a surety bond and liability insurance. Again, this is a requirement in Chicago – it’s a safety net that protects both you and your clients. 

Step 5: Establish Your Business 

Now comes the fun part – setting up shop. Register your business entity with the state of Illinois, whether it’s a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation. 

Do general contractors need a license in Chicago?

If you’re asking, “Do general contractors need a license in Chicago?” the quick and firm answer is yes. In Chicago, getting a license is not an option but a requirement for general contractors. Without it, you’re risking not only hefty fines but also the validity of any work contracts. 

Why is a License Important? 

A license functions as binding proof that the contractor meets certain criteria set by the city to operate, including aptitude, skills, and understanding of Chicago’s construction laws. An unlicensed contractor typically equates to an unqualified one. Acquiring a license assures both the city and the prospective clients of the contractor’s credibility and compliance with the laws and standards governing construction work. 

The Licensing Requirements 

The city has set the hoops you must jump through before you can obtain a license. This includes sitting for and passing your trade exam, providing at least four years of prior experience, and submitting to a criminal background check. These requirements are put in place to uphold the quality and safety of any construction work within city limits. It’s a daunting task, no doubt! But certainly, it’s a worthy endeavor as it sets you apart as a qualified and law-abiding contractor. 

Gaining a License – More than Just Paperwork 

Getting your license is more than just checking boxes on an application form and paying the fee. It also entails continuous learning and keeping up-to-date with the latest building codes and regulations. After all, the construction arena is no place for those who rest on their laurels! 

How much is a contractor license in Chicago?

You’re probably wondering, “How much is a independent contractor license in Chicago?” Getting your hands on the coveted contractor license doesn’t come without a price tag. But don’t worry, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. 

In general, Chicago’s general contractor licenses cost around $500 to $1000 annually. This may seem a bit costly on the surface, but remember, it’s an investment in your profession. Each contractor license has its fee in Chicago. For instance: 

 Type of License


General Contractor (Class A, B, C)

$1,000, $750, $500 respectively

 Masonry Contractor


Electrical Contractor


 It’s worth noting that these fees are subject to change, so it’s a smart move to check the current rates before starting the application process. Still, compared to the profit potential in the construction industry, it’s a relatively small expense. But of course, we all know that a penny saved is a penny earned! 

No matter the cost, never try to skirt the procedure by working without proper licensing. You’ve probably heard the saying, “Cheaters never prosper,” right? When it comes to contracting in Chicago, let’s just say it’s less of an old folks’ tale and more of a stern warning!

What is a contractor’s license in Chicago?

A contractor’s license is like your golden ticket. You see, at the heart of it, this license provides legitimacy and proves that you have the necessary skills and qualifications to do the job properly. This isn’t just about hammering a few nails or painting a wall. It extends to new construction, extensive renovations, and supervised demolition of structures. The motto here: Don’t try to pass your DIY skills as a professional! 

Getting a contractor’s license in Chicago means you’ve passed stringent requirements set by the local government. This includes passing examination tests, fulfilling financial obligations, and proof of insurance. In essence, it’s the city’s way of making sure that any work done is up to standard and safe for everyone. 


Let’s wrap it up! 

Whether you’re aiming to become a general contractor or an independent contractor in Chicago, the roadmap is marked out with clear, approachable milestones at each step of the way. It all starts with getting the right education and gaining hands-on experience, and from there, getting yourself legally licensed and insured forms the backbone of your future business. 

As an independent contractor, you need to have a keen understanding of your core skills, establish a firm business structure, and set accurate rates that reflect the value you bring. Building a portfolio that shouts quality and dedication and then stepping up your networking game will help sell your services to new clients. Quality should be at the heart of what you do, as it maintains your reputation and client relationships. 

What are you waiting for? Chicago is calling, and it needs your skills and sincerity! So, wear your hard hat of determination and chisel your path to success. Be your boss, take control, and build Chicago to its full glory! contact independent contractor now!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *