Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Licensed Independent Contractor

Every state has its own criteria and requirements for those who want to be licensed contractors, may it be in construction, plumbing, roofing, or any like trade or industry.

While some places only require a specialized exam for your trade of choice, most places require a second examination that is required for contractors in all fields.

In Arizona, this general exam you have to take is called the Arizona Statutes and Rules Exam. Here’s everything you need to know about this test:

What to Expect

The Statutes and Rules Exam is composed of 80 questions, which you have to complete in three hours. In order to pass, you need to score at least 70%. That translates to 56 correct answers.

How to Prepare

Indeed, a 70% passing rate is on the high end of the spectrum, so you definitely have to prepare for this exam.

Even though it is an open book exam, the 180-minute time limit makes it challenging for you to pore over the reference materials if you don’t even know where to look.

Fortunately, there are groups and organizations that offer preparatory courses and easy-to-understand study materials to help you prepare for the licensing exam.

Coverage

Here are the topics covered in the 3-hour Statutes and Rules Exam:

  • Arizona Registrar of Contractors Statutes
  • Arizona Registrar of Contractors Rules
  • Arizona Registrar of Contractors Workmanship Standards
  • Business Management
  • Business Mathematics
  • Contracts and Agreements
  • Insurance and Bonding
  • Safety
  • Record Keeping and Reporting
  • Labor Laws and Employment Regulations
  • Financial Management
  • Tax Laws
  • Liens
  • Environmental Laws and Regulations

As you may notice, these courses are not only required material for the sake of the exam but are essential information you should know to conduct a legitimate, safe, and legally compliant business after you get your contractor’s license.

So the more you take studying these topics seriously, the better chances you’ll have not just of obtaining a license, but of putting it to good, lucrative use right after.

Fees

To sit for the exam, you would have to pay a fee of $75.

Taken With the Contractor Specialization Exam

The Statutes and Rules Exam is not the only test you have to pass to secure your license. You also need to pass a separate contractor exam. For instance, if you want to be a licensed electrician for commercial projects, you have to take the commercial electrical license exam.

It’s Just the Beginning

While there are no continuing education requirements for contractors in Arizona, obtaining your license is just the beginning.

How so?

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Well, as comprehensive as the Statute and Rules Exam is, there are a lot of things that you can only learn from experience.

These include practical skills such as knowing the exact perfect time to install a roof or getting knowledgeable about solar power installation.

Soft skills such as building rapport with clients so that they feel comfortable about working with you is another thing you don’t learn from books and prep courses, but something you learn from years and years of working on projects and dealing with clients.

Also, charging fair fees require you to do extensive market research as to how much the competition is charging, and how much your actual operating expenses are for a certain project.

You would have to do these on your own if you should choose to be an independent contractor.

Being a contractor requires hard work, so you must never think of your license (if you do manage to get one) as an unconditional ticket to success as a contractor.

You may be able to ace the exam if you prepare enough (or if you enroll in a very good prep course), but the true test of how successful you’ll be is what you will do with the license afterward.

As a contractor, paying clients are going to be entrusting their property and safety with you, and you must prove that you’re worth it. You have to keep track of the information about your clients, scheduling, payments and many other things.

If you’re willing and ready to do this, then you are ready to take the licensing exam. So, best of luck!

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