Landscape Contractors Licenses

— Written By Keith Wood
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In early August 2014, the general assembly passed the Landscape Contractor Licensing Statute (Chapter 89D of the General Statutes, 2014). If you are in the landscaping business, this law may apply to you.

August 1, 2015 is the Grandfathering Period deadline for landscape contractors licenses and it cannot be extended. If you miss the deadline, the only way to obtain your license is to apply for and pass extensive licensing exams.

Here are some websites that have the actual legislation. The NCLCRB or the NCNLA at  or the Green Industry Council.

The following is a frequently asked set of questions regarding this new law prepared by Dr. Barbara Fair NC State University Landscape Extension Specialist.


  1. A property owner landscaping on their own property.
  2. Anyone working on or operating a golf course.
  3. Any landscaping work where the price of all contracts for labor, material, and other items for a given job site during any consecutive 12-month period is less than thirty thousand dollars ($30,000).
  4. A licensed general contractor who is classified as a building contractor, a residential contractor, or a public utilities contractor.
  5. Anyone licensed as an electrical contractor who designs, installs, or maintains any electric work, wiring, devices, appliances, or equipment.
  6. Anyone licensed as a plumbing contractor who installs pipes, fixtures, apparatus, or appurtenances to supply water or sewage or other waste, including installation, repair, or maintenance of water mains, water taps, services lines, water meters, or backflow prevention assemblies supplying water for irrigation systems or repairs to an irrigation system.
  7. A licensed professional engineer.
  8. A licensed, professional landscape architect.
  9. An individual or a business engaged in any of the following activities while performing that activity: clearing and grading plots and areas of land; erosion control; arboriculture, including consultations on pruning and removal of trees; installation of sod, seed, or plugs by sod producers; landscape construction performed by utility contractors for the purpose of grading and erosion control; lawn mowing, turf edging, and debris removal services; turf management or lawn care services only, including fertilization, aeration, weed control, or other turf management or lawn care practices other than mowing or edging; design, installation, and maintenance of on-site wastewater disposal or reuse systems within the on-site wastewater permit specifications; any person performing landscaping work on a farm for use in agriculture production, farming, or ranching.

In addition, a landscape contractor licensed under Chapter 89D does not need to obtain a license as a general contractor if the licensed landscape contractor is performing landscape construction or contracting work valued at an amount greater than thirty thousand dollars ($30,000).
You will be required to renew your license on or before the first day of August every year. If you fail to do so, your license may be revoked. You must also obtain the continuing education requirements set by the Board- currently at 7 credit hours per year.


Once you apply, and pay the fees you will be eligible to sit for the exam if you submit evidence demonstrating your qualifications for licensure. You must also meet the following qualifications:

  1. Is at least 18 years of age.
  2. Is of good moral character as determined by the Board.
  3. Provides evidence of business identification as required by the Board.
  4. Files with the Board and maintains a corporate surety bond executed by a company authorized to do business in this State or an irrevocable letter of credit issued by an insured institution. The surety bond or the letter of credit shall be in the amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Any person who, on or before December 31, 2014, meets at least one of the following criteria shall be issued a landscape contractor’s license without needing to sit for the exam, upon submission of a completed application and payment of the application fee on or before August 1, 2015:

  1. Is registered as a landscape contractor.
  2. Is licensed as an irrigation contractor.
  3. Is certified as a turf grass professional.
  4. Has three years of documented experience in the person’s own business as a landscape contractor or three years of documented experience as an employee in a landscape contracting business and meets all other requirements and qualifications for licensure as a landscape contractor. Educational experience can be applied toward the three-year experience requirement as follows:
    1. One year of credit for a two-year degree in related educational training.
    2. Two years of credit for a four-year degree in related educational training.
    3. Up to two years of credit for education or business experience in general business management.

Landscape contractors currently registered under Chapter 89D of the General Statutes shall not be required to renew the registration for the 2015 calendar year to qualify for the landscape contractor’s license, as enacted by Section 3(b) of this act.

So, what should you do now?

If you qualify under the grandfather provision of the statute, go ahead and submit your application (GF001 or GF002, and CL001 if your business is not a sole-proprietorship), fees, and an original surety bond (SB01 or irrevocable letter of credit issued by an insured institution in the amount of $10,000) to avoid delays. August 1, 2015 will be here before you know it.


If you are a current Registered Landscape Contractor, Licensed Irrigation Contractor, or Certified Turf Professional:

Landscape License Application (GF001)

If you are an individual who has three years of documented landscape contracting experience by December 31, 2014:
Landscape License Application (GF002) – for 3-Year Experienced Co. Only

If your business is not a sole-proprietorship but is a corporation, partnership, Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) or other business entity, you are required to have a corporate license (Form CL001) in addition to an individual license.