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South Carolina Contractor License and Residential Builder Bonds


South Carolina Contractor License or Residential Builder Bond Information

The South Carolina Residential Builders Commission requires that contractors post a surety bond as a method of authorization to engage in residential construction activities. Per the Code of Laws of South Carolina, surety bond requirements by classification are as follows;

The South Carolina Contractor’s Licensing Board now accepts a surety bond for both initial applications and renewals for General Contractor Licenses and Mechanical Contractor Licenses. The surety bond satisfies the minimum net worth qualification requirement. An applicant furnishes a surety bond in the amount of two times the net worth requirement of the contractor’s tier or Group Level. The surety bond amounts for General and Mechanical Contractors range from $7,000 to $500,000 as outlined below.

In addition to the state residential builder and other contractor bonds described above, many cities and counties (including Charleston County, Columbia, North Augusta, Rock Hill, Spartanburg and Richland County) require certain contractors to post surety bonds. If this bond is for a job that you are bidding or a contract that has been awarded to you, the surety bond you need is a Contract/Construction Bond rather than a Contractor License Bond.

How Much Does a Contractor License Bond Cost in South Carolina?

Most Common Bonds

Residential Builder Bond

$15,000 Bond

Contractor's License Bond for General Contractors

Bonds $20,000 or more up to $500,000

Contractor's License Bond for Mechanical Contractors

Bonds $7,000 or more up to $400,000

Additional Bonds

Registered Specialty Contractor Bond
Licensed Residential Specialty Contractor Bond

$10,000 Bond

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Contractor License Bond - Filed with City, County or Other Local Government

Bonds up to $25,000

1-Year Bond Starts at $100.00
1% of the Bond Amount


2-Year Bond Starts at $175.00
1.75% of the Bond Amount

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What does a Contractor License Bond Protect Against?

These residential builder and specialty contractor surety bonds require compliance with the rules and regulations pertaining to the South Carolina Residential Code and Health and Safety requirements in South Carolina. No complaint may be maintained to enforce any liability against this surety bond unless the complaint is brought within eight years after the event triggering the cause of action. No right of action will pertain to this contractor bond to or for the use or benefit of anyone other than the Commission or a homeowner sustaining financial loss or damage within the scope of this surety bond for payment.

The South Carolina General and Mechanical Contractor license bonds must remain in effect for as long as the applicant maintains the license issued by the department or until the applicant submits a financial statement showing that he or she meets the net worth requirements for the corresponding license group.

The surety bond is not in lieu of any other surety bond required of the applicant by state or local law. The bond protects anyone damaged by any unlawful act, or act or omission that constitutes a breach of construction contract or a contract for the furnishing of labor, materials, or professional services for construction undertaken by the applicant.

Getting Your South Carolina Business License or Registration

The following is an overview of key South Carolina contractor licensing requirements.

Additional items may be needed and exact requirements may vary based on applicant, license type or obligee discretion. Please see obligee and state links in the Other Helpful Information and Links section below or contact the obligee directly for more information.

South Carolina Residential Contractor License Requirements

To become licensed as a homebuilder in South Carolina, you are required to:

  • File a written application as required by the Commission.
  • Submit a certified check, cashiers check or money order for the application fee.
  • Submit an affidavit showing proof of at least one year of actual experience under the supervision of a licensed builder.
  • Pass an examination given by PSI
  • Pay a license fee
  • Submit a $15,000 surety bond

South Carolina Licensed Specialty Contractor Requirements

To become licensed as a plumbing, HVAC or electrical specialty contractor in South Carolina, you are required to:

  • File a written application as required by the Commission.
  • Submit a certified check, cashiers check or money order for the application fee.
  • Submit a letter on the company letterhead from your employer showing one year of experience.
  • Pass the examination given by PSI.
  • Pay a license fee
  • Submit a $10,000 surety bond if the work will exceed $5,000.

South Carolina Registered Specialty Contractor Requirements

To become registered as a specialty contractor in South Carolina, you are required to:

  • File a written application as required by the Commission.
  • Fee must be a certified check, cashiers check or money order only.
  • Submit three reference letters from individuals that knows your work.
  • Submit a $5,000 surety bond if the work will exceed $5,000.

The surety bond amounts required by license groups (tiers) for General and Mechanical Contractors are as follows:

  • Group 1 General Contractor Bond: $20,000 for contracts up to $50,000
  • Group 2 General Contractor Bond: $80,000 for contracts up to $200,000
  • Group 3 General Contractor Bond: $200,000 for contracts up to $500,000
  • Group 4 General Contractor Bond: $350,000 for contracts up to $1,000,000
  • Group 5 General Contractor Bond: $500,000 for unlimited contract amounts
  • Group 1 Mechanical Contractor Bond: $7,000 for contracts up to $17,500
  • Group 2 Mechanical Contractor Bond: $20,000 for contracts up to $50,000
  • Group 3 Mechanical Contractor Bond: $40,000 for contracts up to $100,000
  • Group 4 Mechanical Contractor Bond: $80,000 for contracts up to $200,000
  • Group 5 Mechanical Contractor Bond: $400,000 for unlimited contract amounts

Other Helpful Information and Links

South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

Key South Carolina Residential Builders Commission Definitions

"Residential builder" means one who constructs, superintends, or offers to construct or superintend the construction, repair, improvement, or re-improvement of a residential building or structure which is not over three floors in height and which does not have more than sixteen units in any single apartment building, when the cost of the undertaking exceeds five thousand dollars. Anyone who engages or offers to engage in such undertaking in the State of South Carolina is considered to have engaged in the business of residential building.

"Residential specialty contractor" means an independent contractor who is not a licensed residential builder, who contracts with a licensed residential builder, general contractor, or individual property owner to do construction work, repairs, improvement, or re-improvement which requires special skills and involves the use of specialized construction trades or craft, when the undertakings exceed two hundred dollars and are not regulated by the provisions of Chapter 11. Residential specialty contracting includes the following areas of contracting and other areas as the commission may recognize by regulation: (a) plumbers; (b) electricians; (c) heating and air conditioning installers and repairers; (d) vinyl and aluminum siding installers; (e) insulation installers; (f) roofers; (g) floor covering installers; (h) masons; (i) dry wall installers; (j) carpenters; (k) stucco installers; (l) painters/wall paperers.