The Commonwealth of Kentucky does not have a statewide requirement for general contractor licenses, much less a Kentucky handyman license. The three largest metropolitan areas — Louisville, Lexington, and Bowling Green — do license general contractors, but only Bowling Green has a specific handyman license among its specialty licenses. This article will explore how to get a handyman license in Kentucky.
Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice. You should consult your local regulations and a qualified attorney for legal advice.
Do You Need a License to be a Handyman in Kentucky?
Only in Bowling Green, KY, are you required to have a license to be a handyman in Kentucky. There is no statewide license for general contractors, much less a handyman license, so the decision is left up to individual municipalities.
Is There a Specific Handyman License in Kentucky?
There is a specific handyman license in Bowling Green, KY. You can get licensed as a handyman by filling out the contractor license application and checking the Handyman box on the list of specialty contractors.
Kentucky Handyman License Requirements
The three biggest metropolitan areas in Kentucky are Louisville, Lexington, and Bowling Green. Each city has different requirements.
Louisville does not have a specific handyman license, so you may want to pursue a general contractor license. You should apply for a Building “B” license, which allows you to pull one permit per year; in general, people working as a handyman don’t pull permits, so this restriction is not an issue.
To apply, you can download the application or call the Louisville Board of Construction Review, which is a division of Codes and Regulations, at (502) 574-3321 to get the ball rolling. After you have your license, renewal can be done in person or via mail. There are no online options for obtaining a license in Louisville.
On the Lexington contractor license application, which you can get from the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government, you can indicate two fields in which you specialize, including doors and windows; drywall, electrical, flooring, painting, landscaping, plumbing, and tile. There’s also a box for “Other,” in which you could write “Handyman” and get licensed.
Bowling Green, in Warren County, offers a handyman license. Bowling Green and Warren County act as one entity for purposes of contractor licensing.
The Bowling Green-Warren County Contractors Licensing Board oversees all contractor licensing in the county, including handyman licenses. Bowling Green doesn’t have any limits on what work you can do as a handyman except that you can’t pull permits, and you can’t hire subcontractors. The scope of work and the dollar value of the job, including materials and labor, don’t matter.
It’s important to protect yourself with sufficient insurance. In this section, you’ll learn how to apply for a Kentucky handyman license with the proper insurance in place.
Louisville requires significant insurance coverage for its contractors. You have to file a certificate of insurance verifying that you’ve obtained liability insurance of at least $250,000 per person per occurrence and $500,000 aggregate coverage. If you have employees, you must have workers’ compensation insurance as well.
In Lexington, specialty contractors, such as handyman license holders, are required to carry Premises and Products and Completed Operations Liability Insurance Coverage. You need $100,000 per occurrence coverage. If you plan to employ anyone to help you, you are also required to have workers’ compensation insurance. If not, you can file an affidavit of exemption, affirming that you are a sole proprietor with no employees.
Bowling Green also requires $100,000 in liability insurance. They offer the same affidavit of exemption that Lexington does, so you can eliminate the need for workers’ comp insurance if you have no employees.
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Kentucky Handyman Licensing and Registration Fees
Licensing and registration fees vary across the board, depending on where you live. Here is a breakdown of the three cities’ fees as of March 15, 2022, which may be subject to change.
- Initial fee: $40
- Yearly fee: $30
- Total first-year fee: $70
- Bowling Green Specialty Contractor License: $100/year
Handyman Training and Certification Programs
There’s really no such thing as formal handyman training or certification like there is with electricians, plumbers, or general contractors. However, there are some adjacent areas you might be interested in learning about.
For example, you might take some courses at your local community college in construction technology, electrical technology, or welding technology. Or you could teach yourself things like painting, laying tile, or installing carpet by watching YouTube videos.
Specific certifications or memberships, such as obtaining a home inspector certificate or joining The Association of Certified Handyman Professionals, can lend credibility to your business. It is also essential to understand fundamental business principles, which you can gain through an online training program.
Handyman License Kentucky FAQ
Even after learning what handyman license requirements Kentucky lays out, you may have questions. Here are a few of the most common questions people ask.
1. What Happens If I Do Not Have the Right License?
If you don’t have the right license in Louisville, the consequences could be harsh. You could be fined up to $2,000 per day that a job site is in violation of the Louisville civil code. If you’re found criminally negligent, you could be facing up to a year in jail.
In Lexington, the penalties for working without the correct license are far less severe. You could be fined between $50 and $500 for each offense, with each day being a new offense.
Bowling Green’s penalties are also per offense, but it’s not clear if each separate day is a separate offense or not. For doing contracting work without a license, the first offense is $250. The second offense is $500, and the third is $750.
2. How Long Is My Kentucky Handyman License Valid?
Each city’s licenses are good for one year. However, the period of “one year” differs. In Louisville, it seems that the year is a calendar year. It’s not clear if there’s a prorated licensing fee or if you must pay the full fee no matter when during the year you register.
In Lexington and Bowling Green, it appears that the year starts on the day of your application. Both jurisdictions look like they notify you 30 days in advance that your renewal date is coming up.
3. Who Can I Contact If I Have Questions?
You may have further questions that aren’t answered in this article. If that’s the case, here’s who you can reach out to with any questions:
- In Louisville: call the Louisville Board of Construction Review at (502) 574-3321.
- In Lexington: call the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government’s Contractors Registration division at (859) 258-3247.
- In Bowling Green, call the Bowling Green-Warren County Contractors Licensing Board at (270) 781-3530.
If you’re in one of the three largest metropolitan areas in Kentucky, you now know how to get a Kentucky handyman license where you live. Hopefully, getting your handyman license will kickstart a rewarding new career for you in the Commonwealth.