As a handyman, you are skilled at performing many different types of repairs, typically in homes and other buildings. Depending on your particular skill set, you may provide maintenance work, specific types of repairs, or trade skills.
The skills of a handyman are often in high demand, especially in construction areas. You may find that at certain times or during particular seasons, you do not have the ability to do all the jobs for which you’re hired. In cases like this, it’s natural to wonder, “Can a handyman hire subcontractors?”
To avoid getting into any type of legal trouble, it’s important to make sure you understand the answer to this question in detail before you even consider hiring subcontractors.
Here’s a guide to understanding the difference between a handyman vs contractor and whether you can hire subcontractors to help you when times get busy.
Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice. You should consult your local building regulations and a qualified attorney for legal advice.
Can a Handyman Hire Subcontractors?
If you have been wondering “Can a handyman hire subcontractors?” make sure you’re complying with the law in your state and local jurisdiction. This will require doing your homework and checking with local authorities.
If, as a handyman, you have a job that requires outside help, you’re likely moving into general contractor territory and you may not be able to hire subcontractors. It may be allowed if you simply need assistance for basic repairs or cosmetic improvements that don’t require a license or permit.
The answer really comes down to whether the project you’re tackling requires a special license or permit. If it does, you can neither do that job without a license nor can you hire subs. If it does not, you may be good to go, but will want to double-check the local rules.
In general, if you’re thinking about hiring subcontractors, you need to make sure not only you, but also those subcontractors are properly licensed themselves.
Sometimes, states set up sting operations to discover handymen or contractors who are working without the appropriate licenses. If you are caught in this type of operation without the correct license, you could be subject to fines or other legal issues.
To protect yourself, make sure you not only have the appropriate type of license before hiring subcontractors but have also obtained the appropriate type of insurance as well. Insurance requirements for handymen differ by state, so you will need to check with your state to find out what minimum insurance coverage you are required to have as a handyman.
What Kind of License Does a Handyman Need?
If you are one of the more than 91,000 handymen currently providing services in the United States, it’s important to make sure you have the proper licensure to provide handyman services legally. Whether you’re just getting ready to open your handyman business or you’ve been providing your services for years, here are some things you should know about applicable licenses.
Most states don’t issue licenses for handymen. However, it is possible that you may be considered a contractor if you’re working on a large project or if the project cost exceeds a certain amount. In such cases, you may either be required to get a handyman license or a contractor license.
You may also need to get other types of licenses for specific types of work. For example, if you perform HVAC, plumbing, or electrical work, you’ll need to make sure you’re properly licensed since these services are not usually covered under a general contractor or handyman license requirements.
State Handyman License Guidelines
To get a regular handyman license, you’ll need to check with your particular state. Different states have unique handyman license requirements, and some states even require you to get a city license. Here’s a brief overview of handyman license requirements by select states:
- Alabama: The state of Alabama does not require you to have a state handyman license unless the project value exceeds $50,000.
- Alaska: You’ll need to have a license to perform work valued up to $10,000 in Alaska. This license is a General contractor-Handyman license.
- Arizona: In Arizona, you’ll need to get a contractor’s license for any work worth more than $1,000.
- Arkansas: Get a Home Improvement License as a handyman vs contractor if you are providing specialty work at a single-family residence for more than $2,000 in Arkansas. For larger projects, you’ll need to potentially get an Arkansas contractor’s license.
- California: You’ll need a state license in California only if you’re working on jobs worth more than $500.
- Colorado: If you’re wondering “Can a handyman hire subcontractors?” you should know that in Colorado, you’re considered a general contractor if you provide handyman services. If you’re thinking about hiring subcontractors, make sure they are also licensed appropriately.
- Connecticut: Handymen are not required to get a state license in Connecticut. However, if you create permanent changes to properties as a home improvement contractor, you need to get registered with the Department of Consumer Protection.
- Delaware: In Delaware, there isn’t a handyman license. General contractors, however, need to get licensed and registered with the state if they plan to work on larger projects (worth more than $50,000).
- Florida: You don’t need a state license as a handyman in Florida for non-structural work (such as paneling, window repair, minor carpentry, and more). You do need a Florida general contractor license for any structural work (such as roofing work, construction, home renovations, etc.)
- Georgia: In Georgia, any project of more than $2,500 requires the handyman to have a Residential-Basic Contractor license.
- Hawaii: To work on jobs requiring more than $1,000 in material and labor in Hawaii, you’ll need a building permit. The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Professional and Vocational Licensing issues general and specialty contractor licenses.
- Idaho: A handyman in Idaho does not need to get a contractor license.
- Illinois: The state of Illinois does not require handymen to get a state license. There are local jurisdictions in Illinois, however, that do require handymen to get a general contractor license.
- Indiana: Indiana doesn’t have any licensing requirements for handymen. Some cities within Indiana may have local regulations for handyman licensing, though.
- Iowa: If you do business in Iowa as a handyman and make more than $2,000 per year, you need to become registered with the Iowa Division of Labor as a contractor.
- Kansas: You don’t need a handyman state license in Kansas. However, there may be local-level licensing requirements.
For a summary of handyman license requirements for every state in the US, as well as links to detailed state guides, check out our State-by-State Directory of Handyman License Requirements.
You should also consult your state and local governments as well as your state contractors board website. That is the best way to find out if you need a handyman license or a contractor’s license to provide services in your area.
As you can see, the licensing requirements for a handyman are varied and depend on local and state regulations.
The differences in licensing between a handyman vs contractor may be large or minor, depending on where you do business. And that licensing is the primary factor in whether or not you can hire subcontractors.
Sources: The Salt Lake Tribune