South Dakota

Concrete Contractors: How To Earn Your License In South Dakota

You are ready to start a new business and become a concrete contractor. You already have the experience and training to get started, and now you need to know what’s next. You want to make sure that you are doing everything correctly and according to the law. If you do plan on becoming a contractor, then you will need to obtain a license. However, the process is a lot simpler than you think. Allow us to explain.

Why You Need

A License

The answer is simple: a license offers legal and financial protection for contractors and their clients. You don’t want to hire just anyone to install a driveway or backyard patio. Unqualified contractors can end up doing more harm than good by creating liability issues and performing shoddy work.
South Dakota also requires that you have a business license. It’s similar to having a driver’s license in that it will require you to have general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. If an accident or injury occurs on the job, then your insurance will cover you. You are also protected when your equipment is damaged or stolen.

How To Get

Your License

To apply for your license and meet all the requirements, you will need to contact your local jurisdiction. That’s because the state itself doesn’t regulate the licensing process. Your local county or municipal government will likely have an agency or department that handles everything. Here is what some of the steps may include:

  • Pay application and renewals fees for your license
  • Complete the necessary education requirements
  • Take and pass your exams
  • Obtain insurance coverage

Specialty contractors will need to apply for state-issued licensure. This includes plumbers, electricians and HVAC professionals. As a concrete contractor, or general contractor, you won’t need to meet any statewide requirements.



The requirements to obtain your license tend to vary according to where you live within the state of South Dakota. However, you can expect the following requirements to be common among every jurisdiction:

  • Education & Experience – Many municipalities will require you to have some level of hands-on experience. The amount of experience you need will depend on the license. The licensing agency may require proof of experience or training.
  • Business Registration – You must determine the structure of your company before you apply for a license. Then you will need to register your business with the state of South Dakota.
  • Excise Tax – South Dakota requires contractors to pay 2% of gross receipts from construction projects as an excise tax.
  • Pass Your Exam – Certain local governments will also require to pass a licensing exam. This will determine your skillset and competency as a contractor.
  • Surety Bonds or Financial Solvency – If you don’t complete a project, then you are breaching your contract. Your client is then going to use legal methods at their disposal to receive proper compensation. Surety bonds ensure that you can pay these claims.
  • General Liability and Workers’ Compensation Insurance – You will need insurance coverage to protect you against damage, injury, and accidents. If you are registering as a sole proprietorship, then you likely won’t need workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Application Fee – Once you complete your application and include all the relevant information, then you will need to submit it along with paying the submission fee. You will need to renew your license periodically as well.
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Special Steps

For Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls has several unique steps that you need to follow when applying for a license. First, the city will require you to take and pass a construction supervisor exam if you plan on overseeing a crew of contractors. The test has a time limit, but you can bring in reference materials and use them when taking the exam.

You will also need to show proof that you have insurance and surety bonds. This includes a $20,000 Compliance Bond and at least $300,000 in general liability insurance coverage. You will need to have insurance coverage within 90 of passing your exam.

Special Steps

For Rapid City

Rapid City has nine different classifications of licenses along with six subclassifications. Each license covers specialty trades such as residential contracting or roofing. The subclassifications are based on your level of experience. Contractors will also need to renew their licenses every year.
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Special Steps

For Aberdeen

You will need to apply for your contractor’s license in person if you live in Aberdeen. This includes a visit to the Auditors Division of the Finance office within city hall. Similar to Rapid City, Aberdeen also has different classifications of licensure that correspond to your experience and skillset


We understand that a lot of time and effort goes into earning your license, but we promise that it will be well worth it. Having a license will lead to higher-paying jobs, which in turn will help you grow your business. If you have any questions, the state of South Dakota offers several online resources.
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