Construction Contractor Registration

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Becoming a Registered Contractor

Who is required?

  • All construction contractors with employees must register.
  • A construction contractor is defined, simply, as anyone who adds to or takes away from a structure, project, development, or improvement attached to real estate (39-9-102, MCA).

Why is it required?

  • Construction Contractor Registration (CR) helps level the playing field in the construction industry by assuring that all construction contractors are in compliance with the Montana Workers’ Compensation (WC) Act.

How to obtain a CR

  • Read, complete, and submit an application form with a non-refundable $70 fee to the Department of Labor and Industry.

Construction contractors can be fined up to $500 per violation for:

  • Performing work without a CR if required to obtain one;
  • Performing work with a suspended CR; or
  • Transferring their CR to another person.

When Hiring a Construction Contractor

Make sure you:

  • Have a written contract that states what is to be performed, materials used, start and completion dates, payment based on completed project, and liability for failure to complete the project.
  • Obtain references and check them out to ensure they are experts in their field of work.
  • Check periodically to confirm that they have valid CR and WC insurance on their employees.
  • Ask for proof of their CR and verify it is in good standing by searching on our website or calling our office at (406) 444-7734.


  • Protection from Employee Liability – A person who hires a registered contractor is not liable as an employer for workers compensation coverage under 39-71-405, for unemployment insurance coverage, or for wages and fringe benefits for the registered contractor or its employees, or any subsequent subcontractors and their employees. Protections may not apply if the registration is found to be invalid.
  • Credibility – Those who complete the paperwork and pay attention to the law may also be more likely to care about the quality of their work.
  • Opportunity – Getting registered may make it easier to obtain work. Many will not hire unregistered construction contractors.


Construction Contractor Registration (CR) - Frequently Asked Questions

    • To assure all construction businesses in Montana are in compliance with Montana workers' compensation laws.
    • All businesses in the building and construction industry that have employees.
    • This includes businesses that are corporations and manager-managed limited liability companies even if the only employees are officers of the corporation or managers of the manager-managed limited liability company.
    • The CR ensures that all construction businesses working in Montana are competing fairly by paying the same premiums for workers’ compensation insurance on their employees.
    • Many general contractors will hire only registered contractors to protect themselves from upward migration of liability.
    • Also, please read next question.
    • If a contractor hires an unregistered contractor, (even if that person has an ICEC), the contractor is taking a risk and assuming the liability for workers' compensation should an individual be hurt on the job.
    • Construction contractors can be fined up to $500 per violation for:
      • Performing work without a CR if required to obtain one
      • Performing work with a suspended CR
      • Transferring their CR to another person
    • No test is required. The CR certificate is not a license and does not ensure quality of work.
    • Completion of a CR application.
    • Proof of Montana workers' compensation coverage on employees.
    • A completed ICEC application or proof of workers' compensation for all listed individuals. (Unless listed individuals are officers of the corporation)
    • A non-refundable $70 application fee.
    • Limited Liability Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, and Corporations must be registered with the Montana Secretary of State’s office.  You may contact their office at (406) 444-3665 or visit their website at
    • The law exempts independent contractors in the construction industry that do not have employees from registering, although they can choose to register.
    • The ICEC exempts the owner of a business from being required to cover themselves under workers’ compensation insurance.
    • The CR monitors workers’ compensation compliance and ensures a fair playing field for all businesses in the construction industry that are competing in Montana.
  • I'm an out-of-state contractor bidding work in Montana. Are there any special requirements I might want to know about?
    • Montana's workers' compensation law does not allow coverage from other states' workers' compensation plans in the construction industry.
    • If you are only bidding jobs in Montana, you may apply for a "Bid Only" registration on the CR application.
    • However, when you come to work in Montana, you must upgrade the “Bid Only” certificate to an "Employees Only" certificate by providing proof of a workers' compensation policy specific to Montana.
    • Yes, if the spouse or child was already listed on the CR application.
    • No, if ownership of the business completely changes, the business must reapply for the CR.
    • We will mail you a renewal application approximately 60 days before your CR expires to the last known address on file.
    • The renewal application forms will be preprinted with the information you provided the last time you applied.
    • Please cross out any errors, make the correction in ink, and initial the change.
    • The application fee is $70 non-refundable.
  • Do I need to notify the CR unit to update my CR if my phone number, mailing address, business structure, or business name(s) changes?
    • Yes.  There is no additional application fee to make any changes to an existing CR certificate.
    • Phone number - You must mail, email or fax us a request in writing to make those changes.
    • Mailing address - You must mail, email or fax us a request in writing to make those changes.
    • Business Structure – If you are changing from a manager-managed limited liability company or corporation to a sole proprietor, partnership, or member-managed limited liability company and vice versa, your business must reapply.
    • Business Name – You must mail, email or fax us a request in writing to make those changes.
    • Ownership Change – The business must reapply for CR.
    • If you mail the application, processing time can take about 5-7 business days, sometimes longer depending on the volume of applications at the time.
    • You can overnight the application to our physical address (301 South Park Ave., Floor 5, Helena, MT 59601) using FEDEX or UPS to speed up the mailing time.
      • Do NOT use the US Postal Service to overnight your application because your application will be mailed to our Po Box which results in delayed mailing times.
    • You may visit the Helena office to have it processed in person IF you have all required materials available, same day processing not guaranteed.
    • Send the original application form, proof of Montana workers' compensation coverage on employees, a completed ICEC application or proof of workers' compensation for all listed individuals (unless corporate officer), and the $70 non-refundable application fee to our mailing address:

    Construction Contractor Registration Unit
    PO Box 8011
    Helena, MT  59604-8011

    Physical location in Helena (for overnight mailing and walk-in customers, same day processing not guaranteed):

    301 South Park Avenue, Floor 4
    Helena, MT 59601

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