The application process for your Michigan contractors license will largely depend on your scope of work and the value of your project. For instance, a Michigan Builders License is regulated at the state level. Alternatively, regulations for a Commercial Construction License will be overseen at a local level. Both licenses are relevant to a general contractor, but becoming a licensed contractor will involve a different application process. To become a licensed contractor in Michigan, you’ll first have to determine the value of your project, which agency to apply to, meet the requirements of that agency, and pay all associated licensing fees as well as obtaining liability insurance.
A contracting company will also have to register through the Michigan Department of Treasury. Properly registering includes obtaining all tax and employee ID numbers and insurance. As with most states, becoming a licensed contractor in Michigan takes careful consideration to ensure you are performing contractor services within the law.
Michigan General Contractor Licenses
Projects over $600 will require either a residential builders license or a maintenance and alteration contractors license. For these licenses, you must apply to the Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs department. Both of these licenses will be regulated at the state level. The Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs division maintains a set of pre-licensure requirements you must meet before applying.
In general, to gain approval from this department, you will have to meet educational requirements including pre-licensure courses and exams. Your requirements for a commercial builders license will be established at your local city or county level. Naturally, there will be fees to be paid along the way. Michigan offers three main licenses for a general contractor, and their corresponding agencies will set your application and licensure process.
Michigan Builders License
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs offers a residential builders license for contractors who will be performing any construction on a residential or combination residential and commercial structures. This includes demolition, improvement, replacement, alteration, or repairs. A residential builder will have to subcontract electrical, mechanical, and plumbing work to contractors licensed in these respective trades.
Michigan Maintenance and Alteration Contractors License
As a maintenance and alteration contractor, you will be licensed to perform one of the following forms of contracting work:
- Insulation Work
- Painting and Decorating
- Screen and Storm Sash
- Tile and Marble
- House Wrecking
- Swimming Pools
- Basement Waterproofing
Your application to become a contractor in Michigan, whether it is a residential builder or a maintenance and alteration contractor, will be the same form. For more information on the work parameters of a residential builder and maintenance and alteration contractor, visit the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Licenses and Requirements website.
Michigan Commercial Builders License
A Michigan Commercial Builders license, or general contractors license is, different from the above contractors licenses in that it is not regulated at the state level. Your local municipality will license contracting work strictly on schools, offices, factories, and other commercial structures. If you are unsure if you need a residential builders license — who works on residential and commercial structures — or simply a commercial builders license, contact your local city or county governmental body.
Michigan General Contractor License Requirements
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will require you to meet several criteria to become a residential builder and/or a maintenance and alteration contractor. An overall summation of standards to become a licensed contractor in Michigan includes:
- Being at least 18 years old.
- Maintaining a Michigan driver’s license.
- Completing 60 hours of approved pre-licensure courses.
- Passing your residential or maintenance and alteration contractor exam.
- Paying all application and licensing fees.
Michigan Pre-Licensure Courses
You will be required to take at least six hours of the following courses before you take your exam and submit your application:
- Business Management, Estimating, and Job Costing
- Design and Building Science
- Contracts, Liability, and Risk Management
- Marketing and Sales
- Project Management and Scheduling
- The Michigan Residential Code
- MIOSHA Construction Safety Standards
- 18 hours of other courses on the approved course list
Michigan Contractors License Test
Your Michigan contractors exam will be conducted through PSI Exams. All scheduling, test center locations, and payment instructions will be given to you as you create your PSI Exams account.
Licensing and Registration Fee Summary
The cost of becoming a licensed residential builder and a maintenance and alteration contractor will be the same:
- $195 license fee
- $185 renewal fee
Your fee may be waived if you are an Armed Forces Veteran. Otherwise, checks or money orders should be made payable to the State of Michigan, and be submitted with your application.
State of Michigan Business Licenses and Registration
To register your new business, you will complete an eRegistration through the Michigan Department of Treasury. The department’s Michigan Treasury Online services will walk you through how to register your business in Michigan successfully.
Michigan Tax Identification Numbers and Registration
Businesses that operate within Michigan are required to register for one or more tax-specific identification numbers, licenses or permits, including income tax withholding, sales and use tax (seller’s permit), and unemployment insurance tax. Contact the Michigan Department of Treasury Business Taxes website for more information about business registration and your tax obligations.
Michigan Builders License Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Requirements
The licensing law for residential builders licensing does not require the license holder to be insured or bonded. However, a certificate of insurance or bond insurance is typically required to obtain a permit for the project from the municipality, or by a homeowner who is seeking contracting services. While getting insured or bonded may not be a legal requirement, contractor liability insurance is a good precautionary measure that financially protects both the contractor and the client in the case that something happens during the project, or the project does not go as planned.
The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity manages workers compensation for the State of Michigan. The Workers’ Disability Compensation Act covers both public and private employees that are subject to the Act. There are standards and regulations that detail the necessity of providing workers compensation insurance, dependent upon the number of employees, and the hours the accrued within a set of weeks within a 52-week time span. Some employers are self-insured, and sole proprietors are responsible for their own insurance and workers comp, as they are considered self-employed, and not covered by the act.
When pursuing licensure, it is important to navigate the details of coverage for workers’ compensation for the state of Michigan to see if you, your company, and your employees are included or exempt from the Act.
Michigan Contractor License Search and Verification
Create an account through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ Citizen Portal. Here, you can use the LARA license lookup to perform a search of any type of license in Michigan, including doing a Michigan Builders license lookup as well as a Michigan business license search.
See General Contractor Licensing Information in Nearby States
- Wisconsin contractors license
- Illinois contractors license
- Indiana contractor license
- Ohio contractors license
For More License and Career Guides
To find out how to become a General Contractor in another state, start here.
For information on other trades in Michigan, click on a link below to learn more about the licensing requirements: