Skip Navigation

Residential Specialty Contractor Licenses In South Carolina

Residential Specialty Contractor Licenses In South Carolina

South Carolina has four residential specialty contractor licenses that can assist licensed residential builders during a project. These specialty licenses all have unique rules and each one has its own bonding requirement. This short article will highlight the:

  • Licensing requirements for each speciality license
  • Common application requirements
  • The licensing fees
  • The bonding requirements
  • How to to get your bond fast and for the lowest cost

The Four Residential Specialty Contractor Classifications

  • Specialty residential builder
  • Residential electrical contractor
  • Residential HVAC contractor
  • Residential plumbing contractor

Specialty Residential Builders

A residential builder contracts with a licensed residential builder, general contractor, or individual property owner to do construction work, repairs, improvement, or reimprovement that requires special skills or trades.

This license is required when the project total is over $500.

Specialty Electrician Contractor

Responsible for any residential based electrical work and must work with a licensed residential builder. Each individual performing electrician work must be licensed unless employees are performing work under the supervision of the licensed electrician.

Specialty HVAC Contractor

Responsible for any residential HVAC work and must work with a licensed residential builder. Just like the electricians, unless an employee is being supervised by a licensed HVAC contractor, each individual performing work requires a license.

Specialty Plumbing Contractor

Responsible for any residential plumbing work and just like the previous two, this contractor must be subcontracted by a licensed residential builder. And the only time a license is not required is when employees are being supervised by a licensed residential plumber.

There are no monetary limits for electrician, HVAC, or plumber licenses on a per project basis.

Read our post about the South Carolina Residential Builder license. This is the license that let's you lead residential building and rennovation projects.

Residential Specialty Contractors

Residential specialty contractors have the following trades available to them: vinyl and aluminum siding, insulation installing, roofers, floor coverings, masons, drywalls, carpenters, stucco, painters and wallpapers, solar panel installers.

This specialty license is different from electricians, HVAC contractors, and plumbers. Here are the trades this license has available.

  • Vinyl and aluminum siding installers
  • Insulation installers
  • Roofers
  • Floor covering installers
  • Masons
  • Dry wall installers
  • Carpenters
  • Stucco installers
  • Painters and wallpaperers
  • Solar panel installers

Trade Restrictions

A specialty residential builder can only choose three trades to specialize in. If you want to add or replace the trade, you must wait until renewal.


Specialty builders can install, alter, and repair roofs but only the roofing above the roof deck. Any roof deck alteration or repair must be done by a licensed Residential Builder.

Solar Panel Installation

Roof mounting of solar panels can only be performed by a licensed Residential Builder, registered Residential Specialty Contractor with a roofer classification or a General Contractor with a General Roofing or Specialty Roofing license.

Wiring and connections can only be performed by a:

  • Licensed Residential Builder
  • Residential Electrician
  • Mechanical Contractor

Any roof structural alterations must be performed by a:

  • Licensed Residential Builder
  • Carpenter trade classification
  • General Contractor with a Structural Framer classification

Application Process

The application process has four major steps that include the examination, working with your business entities, proof of work experience, and the application fees and purchasing your surety bond.

Each specialty license, except the Residential Specialty contractor license, has a near identical process and requirements for licensure. Here are the four steps to get getting a specialty license with the differences highlighted in each section.

Step 1 - Examination

Specialty builders have no testing requirements for any of the available trades.

Electrical, HVAC, and plumbing specialty licenses have a relevant technical exam. However, you can waive the technical examination if you have a license through passing an exam from a state that South Carolina has signed an Exam Waiver Agreement.

Each specialty license must still pass the Business and Law portion of the exam. All exams are conducted through PSI.

Each license (electrical, HVAC, plumbing) requires a technical exam, which can be waived, and a business and law exam. The business and law exam must be completed by every license type.

Waiver Eligibility Based On Specialty License Type

The technical exam can be waived if you've been licensed through an examination from a state that is part of the Exam Waiver Agreement.

Electrical Specialty Contractor

  • North Carolina Exam Waiver Agreement

HVAC Specialty Contractor

  • North Carolina Exam Waiver Agreement
  • Alabama Exam Waiver Agreement
  • Being a licensed South Carolina Mechanical Contractor with a HVAC classification
  • Passing the Master Heating and Air license exam from the South Carolina Municipal Association

Plumbing Specialty Contractor

  • North Carolina Exam Waiver Agreement
  • Being a licensed South Carolina Mechanical Contractor with a plumbing classification
  • Passing the Master Plumbing exam from the South Carolina Municipal Association

Step 2 - Business Entities

South Carolina does not license business entities, only individuals. However, if you're going to be conducting business under a trade name ("doing business as"), you will have to notify LLR to have your business affiliated with your license.

If you're licensed but own less than 51% of the business entity you must provide a copy of one of the following:

  • Certificate of Existence/Authorization
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Proof of ownership

If you own 51% or higher of the business entity, your business must be listed on your license with your name. You must provide all of the following:

  • Certificate of Existence/Authorization
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Documentation proving percentage of ownership

The certificate of authorization must be submitted as well. This document assigns a licensee as responsible for all services the company offers. These business entity requirements apply to all specialty licenses.

Step 3 - Work Experience

On all applications except the specialty residential builder, you're required to list supervisors to attest to a minimum of one year or work experience which must have been accrued within the last five year period.

Specialty Residential Builder Experience

For the specialty residential builder license, you must submit three written letters of reference that, "reflect your character, skills, and knowledge" in your three chosen trades.

Specialty Electrical, HVAC, and Plumbing Contractors

Each supervisor will be sent an affidavit of experience. They must complete the form and send it to the Commission. For each specific specialty, the supervisor must be an appropriately licensed residential specialty contractor in that field. This can include a general or mechanic contractor with the appropriate classification.

For example, if you're applying for a specialty HVAC contractor license, the supervisors listed must be a licensed residential HVAC contractor or an appropriately licensed professional engaged in HVAC work. An "appropriately" licensed profession depends on the state the supervisor lives in, but must have a license dealing with HVAC work.

Step 4 - License Fees & The Surety Bond

A contractor bond is required by the Commission as a financial guarantee that you, as the contractor, will fulfill your contracts, pay all subcontractors, and follow all rules and regulations determined by the state of South Carolina.

Application Fees

License Type Application Fee Bond Amount
Speciality Residential Builder $100 $5,000
Specialty Electrical Contractor $135 $10,000
Specialty HVAC Contractor $135 $10,000
Specialty Plumbing Contractor $135 $10,000

Each residential license renews every two years before June 30th of each odd year.

Surety Bond Requirement

A surety bond is required for all licensed specialty contractors in South Carolina for jobs equal to or exceeding $5,000. The contractor bonding requirement can be confusing if you've never purchased a surety bond before.

A contractor bond is required by the Commission as financial guarantee that you, as a licensed contractor, will:

  • Fulfill your project contracts
  • Pay all subcontractors
  • Follow all South Carolina licensing rules and building regulations

Getting your license from the Commission is like the state of South Carolina vouching to the public that you are a contractor the public can trust. Similar to an insurance policy, your customers can make a claim against your surety bond for financial compensation if you purposefully:

  • Perform poor work
  • Switch out materials to increase profits
  • Refuse to pay subcontractors
  • Or act outside of your license

The Surety Bond Amount And Cost

Each specialty contractor classification has a required surety bond. The specialty residential builder bond has a 5,000 bond amount and the rest of the classifications require a 10,000 bond amount.

Here's a table of the current contractor bond amounts and prices for each specialty license's surety bond.

The bond amount is the amount of financial compensation available to your customers for claims. The amount is not the cost. Surety Bonds Direct works with the best surety companies that can offer these bonds at a low price.


You can instantly purchase your bond today with no credit check and have your bond issued within one business day.

Remember, this bond is a requirement of the application process. An active bond must be on file with the Commission to keep your license active. If you fail to retain an active bond, your license will be suspended.

If you're replacing an existing bond, just select the effective date of your new bond to be the first day of your new license period.

License Renewal

The Commission will send out initial reminders of license renewals in mid April of odd years. There is a late fee for all renewals received after June 30. A license can remain inactive for up to three years before you'll have to go through the application process again.

Renewing your bond is just as easy. Surety Bonds Direct will contact you 45 to 60 days before June 30th expiration. Renewing your bond requires paying the renewal premium to keep active. It only takes a minute to pay online and renew your bond. If you have a bond through another bonding company, we can easily replace that bond with a lower cost bond from an A rated surety company. You simply sign the new bond and send it to the Commission with your renewal paperwork.

Use Surety Bonds Direct When You Need Your Bond

Use Surety Bonds Direct online quote form or you can call and speak with a real bond specialist at 1-800-608-9950.

I hope this article helped you understand the specialty residential licenses offered in South Carolina.

Remember, you can purchase your residential contractor bond online on Surety Bonds Direct website. If you have any questions about your bond, or if you would prefer to purchase your bond over the phone, call a bond specialist at 1-800-608-9950.

Surety Bonds Direct   Owen Hardy  

What is a Contractor License Bond?

What is a Contractor License Bond?

Getting your contractor license & need to purchase a surety bond. But what is a surety bond? Find out in this video and how to buy it for very little.

What is a South Carolina Residential Home Builder Bond?

What is a South Carolina Residential Home Builder Bond?

This video is going to help you understand at a high level what a Residential Home Builder license is and its required.

5 Steps To Obtain Your South Carolina Residential Builder License

5 Steps To Obtain Your South Carolina Residential Builder License

Getting your South Carolina Residential Builder license only takes 5 simple steps. This post outlines the steps and helps with the surety bond requirement.

South Carolina General Contractor License

South Carolina General Contractor License

Getting your South Carolina general contractor license requires 3 high level steps. Learn these these steps and make the process easy to get through.

The 4 Steps To Get Your Electrician License In South Carolina

The 4 Steps To Get Your Electrician License In South Carolina

Learn the 4 steps to getting your electrician license in South Carolina. This post will make getting through the state's requirements easy to follow.

Can't find what you need?

Let our bond experts help!

Get Started »
No obligation, takes 2 minutes

If you'd prefer, call us at 1-800-608-9950

Get a Free Quote For Your Bond »

Or Call a Bond Specialist

It's Fast, Free & No-Obligation

#1 Surety Company... Four Years In a Row


Investopedia Rated Surety Bonds Direct the Best Overall Surety Company for 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024!