Do You Need An Oregon Contractor License?

Does your business require a contractor license in Oregon? Not all construction activities require a contracting license. However, according to Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS701.005(5)), many do.

Requires a Contracting License:

You need a contracting license if you want to do any of the following in Oregon:

  • Build a residential or small commercial structure to sell.
  • Get paid to work on a:
    • building
    • highway
    • road
    • railroad
    • excavation project
    • development or improvement attached to real estate
  • Service or clean chimneys
  • Remove or limb trees.
  • Teach school students construction skills by building and selling a structure.
  • Supply home inspector services.

Does Not Require a Contracting License:

Some “construction work” does NOT require a license and is specifically exempt:

  • Gutter cleaning.
  • Pressure washing.
  • Landscaping and gardening.
  • Commercial timber harvesting.
  • Working on personal property.
  • Working on federal property.
  • Producing materials, supplies, and equipment.
  • Working on a job totalling less than $1,000, as long as you don’t advertise yourself as a “contractor”.
  • Resident homeowners (house-flippers DO require a license).
  • Working on a structure you own that you are not selling later on.
  • Building manufactured homes.
  • Working as an employee of a contractor.
  • Delivering manufactured homes or modular structures (size limits apply).
  • Working as a mortgage loan originator or real estate agent.
  • Providing day laborers.
  • Working as a city or county inspector.

Requires a Different Kind of License

Some construction activities are governed by other laws and require separate licensing requirements. These activities do not require a contractor license, but may require some other license:

  • Architect licensed by the State Board of Architect Examiners.
  • Professional engineer registered by the State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying.
  • Water well contractor licensed by the Water Resources Department.
  • Sewage disposal system installer licensed by the Department of Environmental Quality.
  • Pesticide operator (does not include termite inspector).
  • Appraiser or assistant licensed by the Appraiser Certification and Licensure Board.
  • Persons building ONLY fences, decks, arbors, patios, landscape edging, driveways, walkways, or retaining walls
  • Landscaper (under certain conditions)

This is not an exhaustive list. For complete rules and instructions on obtaining a contractor license, check out the Oregon CCB website.

If you want to start your own business and you do need an Oregon contracting license, the first thing you will need is a “pre-license course”. This state-required education is necessary to pass an exam to get your license.

OnlineEd offers a comprehensive Oregon Construction Contractor License Training Course that provides you with the needed education for your licensing exam. This course includes an official textbook, online study reviews, and practice tests to get you ready for the exam.

For more information about how to get a contracting license and how the process works, visit our Oregon Construction Contractor License Training page.

Jeff Sorg

About the Author

Jeff Sorg is a co-founder of OnlineEd®, a Web-based vocational school founded in 1997 where he also serves as Corporate Secretary, Chief Operating Officer, and School Director. Sorg holds vocational instructor licenses in Oregon, Washington, California, and Nevada and has authored numerous pre-licensing and continuing education courses. Sorg was awarded the International Distance Education Certification Center's CDEi Designation for distance education in 2008. OnlineEd® provides real estate, mortgage broker, insurance, and contractor pre-license, post-license, continuing education, career enhancement, and professional development and designation courses over the Internet.