South Carolina is receiving a lot of positive publicity regarding its beauty and affordability, and most of all the number of people moving into the state continues to increase. Retirees find South Carolina to be a very desirable place to relocate. With the number of baby boomers moving into the state, the housing and home improvement markets are expecting record growth. It’s time to get licensed and reap the benefits. The related article expresses the realized and anticipated growth in the state of South Carolina.

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Do I need a South Carolina contractors license?

According to the South Carolina Code, you must have a Residential Contractors license to do residential building over $200. If the cost of the project is less than $200 or if the building is the owner's personal residence, a license is not required.

Obtaining your SC Contractor License will enable you to charge customers and be compensated for your work.

How to Acquire Your South Carolina Contractors License

The following are the steps to obtain your South Carolina Residential Contractors license:

  1. Complete a Residential Contractors License application. Applications can be obtained from:

South Carolina Residential Builders Commission
Synergy Business Park, Kingtree Building
110 Centerview Dr., Suite 306
P.O. Box 11329
Columbia, SC 29211-1329
(803) 896-4696
Fax: 803-896-4656

You may also click here to print an application.

  1. Submit the Residential Contractors License application, supporting documents, and application fee to the South Carolina Residential Builders Commission. You must have 1 year of work experience under the supervision of a licensed residential builder.
  2. Successfully complete the contractors exam that measures your knowledge of the profession.

The Best Test Prep Online Course for the South Carolina Contractor Exam

One of the most important steps in obtaining your South Carolina Residential Builder License is preparing to take the contractors test. Our South Carolina contractor license exam preparation Online Course will help you accomplish this task in the most efficient way possible. By practicing all of the possible questions in the Online Course, you will be prepared for any combination of questions that you may appear on your contractors license exam. In addition, studying our Online Course helps you become familiar with computer generated tests and greatly reduces your anxiety on the day of your contractor exam since you prepared using a computer based testing (CBT) format.

The next step is scheduling a time to take the South Carolina contractor license exam. It is recommended that once you select a date to take the construction exam, you call at least 2 weeks in advance to schedule the test. The State of South Carolina uses PSI Examination Services to administer the builders test. There are 4 ways to register for the South Carolina General Contractors Exam:

  1. Internet - Log onto and register for the South Carolina Home Builder licensing examination. When you register online there is no wait to schedule your examination date.
  2. Standard Mail - Completely fill out the PSI Registration Form and mail to PSI with the appropriate examination fee. Once your registration has been processed, a Registration Confirmation Notice will be mailed to you.
  3. Fax - Completely fill out the PSI Registration Form and fax to PSI at (702) 932-2666. When faxing registration materials, please wait 4 days before calling to schedule your examination.
  4. Telephone - Call PSI at (800) 733-9267, 24 hours a day and schedule using the Automated Registration System or between 7:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Monday through Friday ET and 11:00 A.M to 5:00 P.M. on Saturday to schedule an appointment for the contractors license test with a registrar.

Residential South Carolina Builders License exams are given at the following locations:

  • Greenville/Spartanburg, SC
  • Columbia, SC
  • Charleston, SC
  • Beaufort/ Hilton Head, SC
  • Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Charlotte, NC

Included with the Online Course is the Candidate Information Bulletin which outlines the topics covered on the Residential Contractor Exam. Complete instructions for taking the South Carolina construction license exam and directions to the testing centers are also provided.

Taking the Contractors License Exam

You have studied diligently and are ready to take the SC contractors license exam. You can arrive with confidence knowing that you are prepared for whatever questions may appear on the test. It is recommended that you arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled testing time. You must present two (2) valid forms of identification when you arrive at the testing center. One of the ID's must have a photograph and your signature. A driver's license will satisfy this requirement. The name on the application must exactly match the name on the photo ID used to check in for the builders test. In addition, you should bring a non-programmable calculator. There are 2 parts to the exam.

Business Management and Law - There are 50 questions on the Business Management and Law exam and you must answer at least 35 questions correctly in order to pass. The minimum passing score is 70%. You are allowed 2 hours to complete the exam.

Residential South Carolina Builders Exam - There are 80 questions on the Residential Contractor exam and you must answer at least 52 questions correctly in order to pass. The minimum passing score is 65%. You are allowed 3 hours to complete the exam.

After you have completed the test, your score will immediately be displayed on the computer screen and a printed copy of your results will be given to you.

Obtaining Your Contractors License

Once you have successfully passed the South Carolina construction license exam, you will need to mail your test results, a check for the builder license, and a $15,000 surety bond to the South Carolina Residential Builders Commission. The Board will then issue your license to practice as a Residential Contractor in the State of South Carolina.

Traps to avoid

It is a common misconception that since the Business Management and Law exam and the Residential Builder exam are both open book, they are not difficult to pass. In actuality the contractor license exam is more difficult to pass than similar closed book exams due to the fact that you have the books available as a resource during the builder test. The book may be highlighted, underlined, or indexed to assist you in finding information quickly. The books may not be written in and may not contain any additional papers. (Do not use sticky notes or Post Its to index your books because they are not permitted and you will be asked to remove them at the test center.) You are required to bring your own reference materials because it is not available at the testing center. We recommend purchasing the books and using them in conjunction with our Online Course to give you the greatest chance of passing the builders license test the first time. The following books and references are allowed into the contractors license exam.

  • Builders Guide to Business Law and Project Management
  • International Residential Code for One- and Two- Family Dwellings
  • Carpentry & Building Construction
  • The Contractor’s Guide to Quality Concrete Construction
  • Modern Masonry
  • Guide to Good Practice for Handling, Installing, Restraining, and Bracing of Metal Plate Connected Wood Trusses
  • Gypsum Construction Handbook

If you forget the answer to a question during the construction exam, having the book will allow you to quickly find the answer and complete the contractor test within the time allowed. Going into the builder exam with your toolbox filled with all of the resources available will give you the greatest chance of success. In construction the saying, “Do it right the first time” is often heard. We believe it also applies to getting your Residential Contractor license.