Whether you’re looking into becoming a remodeling contractor or you’re a homeowner ready to tackle some home improvement projects, you may be wondering about contractor licenses and how they apply to your situation. Contracting licensure is tricky and the specific licensing requirements you must follow depend on the types of home renovation projects you’re taking on, the scope of the work, and your local laws.
If you’re a remodeling contractor who’s just starting a career or moving to a new location, a license may set you apart from other professionals. As a homeowner, before you determine whether you should hire a contractor or complete a remodel on your own, consider local licensing laws as they apply to your project. There are some home renovation projects you shouldn’t DIY because they involve complicated processes, such as rewiring.
Whether you want to remodel your home yourself or you’re considering a career as a contractor, earning the proper licensure is key. Review the information below to find out more about contractor licensure requirements and processes in different states.
Do All States License Home Improvement Contractors?
Contractor licensing requirements may vary by state, county, city, or municipality. In addition to licensure regulations, it’s also important to get information on your state’s contractor insurance requirements. To legally take on a home remodeling project, you may be required to have certain insurance coverage, such as general liability or workers’ compensation.
When pursuing information about your state’s contractor license requirements, consult an updated and trustworthy resource, such as the following:
- State general contractor license requirements.
- State electrical contractor license requirements.
- State plumbing contractor license requirements.
There are only a few states that legally require a contractor license or registration. Review these requirements and ensure you adhere to them before you begin work.
How To Get Your Home Improvement Contractor License In Connecticut
As a licensed general contractor in Connecticut, you can legally enter a contract with a homeowner and complete permanent home improvements to the property, such as installing a pool or fence. You’re only required to register with the state if the improvements total $200 or more for a single contract or $1,000 worth of improvements throughout the year.
Even if you’re registered as a contractor, you may not be eligible to perform electrical work unless you obtain an electrical license in Connecticut. Plumbing work is also not covered under the home improvement contractor license. You must earn your Connecticut plumbing license to perform plumbing work in the state.
To register, you must provide:
- Your contact information.
- Details on the type of work you perform.
- Your Secretary of State Business ID Number (if registering as a business).
Depending on the type of work you perform, you may need to complete additional training and registration or show proof of insurance.
To register with the state as a home improvement contractor, you must:
- Fill out an application: If you’re an individual, complete the Connecticut Home Improvement Contractor Application for an Individual or Sole Proprietor. If you own a Corporation, LLC, LLP, or Partnership, fill out the Home Improvement Contractor Application for Legal Entity.
- Submit your application: Submit your home improvement contractor application along with your $220 registration fee.
- Renew annually: Your registration expires on November 30 every year. If you continue to perform work, renew your registration annually, completing the same application and providing the same fee.
Upon completion, you’ll receive a registration number, which must be included in your advertising and provided to customers upon request.
How To Get Your Home Improvement Contractor License In Maryland
You must obtain your general contractor license in Maryland if you plan to alter, convert, remodel, repair, or replace any part of a building. If your project involves electrical work, you’re also required to obtain a Maryland electrical license first. Before taking on a project that includes plumbing work, you must be licensed as a plumber with the state of Maryland.
To qualify for a general contractor license in Maryland, you must:
- Prove your business is registered with the state.
- Provide a certificate of insurance for general liability insurance and a surety bond.
- Provide conviction records and a credit record, if applicable.
There are several tasks you must complete to get your home improvement contractor license in Maryland, including the following:
- Pass the exam: The Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) requires that you pass a home improvement contractor license exam with a score of at least 70% before you can apply for the license. The exam is administered through PSI Examination Services and it costs $63 each time you schedule.
- Fill out the application: You must complete a Contractor Original Application and a Contractor’s Personal Financial Statement. If your business has a co-owner, the Co-Owner’s Signature document must also be completed.
- Submit the application: Submit your application, supporting documentation, and application fee ($250 per business location) to the MHIC.
License approval usually takes two to three weeks. Upon approval, you’ll receive your license by mail within 10 days.
How To Get Your Home Improvement Contractor In Massachusetts
You must register as a home improvement contractor in Massachusetts if you bid on work or perform work on any residential buildings in the state, as an individual or company owner. You may need to apply for additional licensure depending on the type of work you plan to do.
When you apply for your home improvement contractor license, you’ll need:
- Proof that your business is registered.
- Your application fee.
- Your Federal Tax ID Number.
To register with the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, you must:
- Register your business: If you’re a corporation, you must provide proof that you’re registered with the Secretary of State. If you’re operating as a DBA, you must provide your business certificate.
- Submit an application: Complete the Application for Registration as a Home Improvement Contractor or Sub-Contractor and submit it with your application fee, which varies based on the size of your company.
- Renew your registration annually: Each year, renew your registration online and submit the $100 registration renewal fee.
Once approved, your registration card arrives by mail in one to two weeks.
How To Get Your Home Improvement Contractor License In New York
You’re only required to obtain a general contractor license in New York state if you’re handling asbestos or plan to use a crane on your project. For other home improvement projects, you must consult with the city or county for guidelines on licensure and insurance requirements.
If you need to obtain an electrical contractor license in New York, you’re also required to go through the city or county. You must also apply for a plumbing license in New York with your local city or county if you plan to do plumbing work.
NYC Home Improvement Contractor License Requirements
In NYC, any individual or business that performs repairs or remodeling on a home must have a home improvement contractor license through the NYC Consumer Affairs office.
When you apply for a license, you must provide:
- Proof of business and/or home address.
- Workers’ compensation insurance information.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification.
- Copy of $20,000 surety Bond or $200 DCA Trust Fund enrollment fee.
- Proof you’ve passed the Home Improvement Exam, if required.
- A $75 processing fee per applicant.
To obtain your license with NYC, follow these steps:
- Pass the Home Improvement Exam: You must pass a Home Improvement Exam within 30 days of your application date. The exam costs $50 and you must submit proof you’ve passed.
- Fill out an application: Complete the NYC Basic License Application and provide your Tax ID Number or Employer Identification Number (EIN), along with your business and contact information.
- Submit your application and fee: File your application in person or online, along with supporting documentation. The application fee you’re responsible for depends on when you file your application.
How To Get Your Home Improvement Contractor License In New Jersey
Home improvement contractors in New Jersey must get licensed before they can perform work. In a residence, home improvement work is:
Most general work is covered under this license but you may need to obtain a New Jersey electrical contractor license if you plan to perform electrical work. A plumbing license is required in New Jersey if you’re working with plumbing systems.
To apply for a home improvement contractor license with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, you must provide:
- Copies of all documents requested on the application, including a completed disclosure page.
- Proof of a commercial general liability insurance policy with at least $500,000 of coverage per occurrence.
- The $100 application fee.
To obtain your home improvement contractor license, follow these steps:
- Fill out the application: Complete the Home Improvement Contractor Application for Initial Registration and provide your FEIN or Social Security number (SSN), information on your business, and certification information.
- Submit the application: Send in your application, application fee, and proof of insurance.
- Renew your license: If you continue working, your license must be renewed every year by March 31.
You must provide your license number to all clients, in all contracts, and all home improvement business advertisements.
How To Get Your Home Improvement Contractor License In Pennsylvania
If you own or operate a business that offers home improvements to residents, you must apply for a home improvement contractor license in Pennsylvania. Before you perform electrical work, you may need to apply for an electrical license in Pennsylvania with your city or county. Plumbing work also cannot be completed until you have a Pennsylvania plumbing license with the local county or city where you’ll be completing the project.
To register your home improvement business with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, you need:
- Proof your business is registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State.
- Your FEIN, if applicable.
- Proof of liability insurance with at least $50,000 in personal injury and at least $50,000 in property damage, or self-insurance coverage.
- A $50 application fee.
Before you can get your home improvement contractor license, you must complete the following steps:
- Fill out your application: Complete the Home Improvement Contractor Registration Application and provide information on your business, insurance, and the work you plan to perform.
- Complete your certification: Sign and date the certification, agreeing that all information you provided is truthful.
- Submit your application: Mail in your application or submit it online, along with your application fee, and any other supporting documentation as necessary.
Once you receive your license, you must include your corresponding license number in all advertisements and on all contracts, proposals, or estimates.
How To Get Your Home Improvement Contractor License In Washington D.C.
If you’re involved in construction projects, you’ll need to obtain your contractor license in Washington D.C. However, if the work you perform for clients only involves improvements, repairs, or installations, you may simply need a home improvement contractor license.
If your projects involve electrical work, you must earn your electrical license in Washington D.C. before you begin. A Washington D.C. plumbing license is also required before you can tackle any projects that involve plumbing.
Before you can apply for your home improvement contractor license in Washington, D.C., be prepared to provide:
- A home occupation permit or certificate of occupancy.
- Two pre-printed copies of your standard home improvement contract.
- A criminal history report.
- Business registration information with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
- Proof you have a $25,000 surety bond.
- A letter designating at least one home improvement salesperson.
- Tax and corporate registration information.
- The $288.20 application fee.
To complete the application process for your home improvement contractor license, follow these steps:
- Register with the state: Apply for your Corporate Registration and Employer ID number and certificate of occupancy, if you don’t already have them.
- Complete tax registration: Register your new business with the Office of Tax and Revenue, if you haven’t already.
- Fill out the application: Complete the Basic Business License Application, including the Clean Hands statement.
- Submit the application: Turn in your completed application, application fee, and additional documentation as needed.
To keep your license active, you must have at least one home improvement salesperson designated with the state at all times.
Whether you own a home remodeling business or you’re a homeowner tackling some remodeling projects, it’s important to understand the licensing regulations in your state, city, and county. Obtaining the proper licensure ensures you’re performing work legally and that you have the proper knowledge to complete these improvement projects.