As the smallest state in the U.S. — but with a population of over one million residents — Rhode Island packs a lot into a tiny space. When handymen and contractors take jobs in this highly populated and metropolitan state, they should take care to review up-to-date licensing and insurance information. If you are thinking about becoming a handyman in Rhode Island, consider our guide below as you start on your educational and practical journey.
Do You Need a License To Be a Handyman in Rhode Island?
Yes, you need a license to work as a handyman in this state. You may be confused about handyman licensing in Rhode Island because you are not seeking employment in a specialized trade such as plumbing or electrical work that requires a certain amount of experience and licensing, but you should strive to obtain a license as a general contractor so that you are able to gain the highest quality of jobs available to you.
Don’t be fooled by the jack-of-all-trades job description that often accompanies handyman work. Obtaining a license is an important first step to gaining client trust, getting the jobs you desire, and potentially starting your own business as a handyman.
Is There a Specific Handyman License in Rhode Island?
While there is no specific “handyman” license in Rhode Island, you may wish to pursue a general contractor’s license so that you are permitted to do any sort of structural work in this state. The differences between the terms are minor, but a handyman may work on smaller, odd jobs and a general contractor typically works on bigger jobs that involve pulling together specialists and obtaining additional licenses.
Rhode Island Handyman License Requirements
Rhode Island has relatively straightforward guidelines for those who wish to obtain a contractor’s license to work as a handyman in this state. The Rhode Island Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board handles licensing and inquiries about licensing in this state. Before you are allowed to work with clients, you must do the following:
- Undergo Pre-Education Courses that go over best practices for performing work on residential structures (if you are a new applicant). Commercial structure applicants do not need to complete these courses.
- Pay a $150 fee.
- Obtain appropriate liability insurance for the type of work you intend to pursue.
You must have a certificate of at least $500,000 in liability insurance before you book a job. In addition to insurance, if you plan to register your business as a limited liability company or another type of corporation, you should register with the state of Rhode Island before purchasing this insurance. Be sure to have your business’s tax identification number on hand when you are purchasing your insurance and submitting the necessary paperwork to the state. Get a free insurance quote below from one of our partners:
Handyman Training and Certification Programs
You may not go to school to become a handyman, but you could consider asking a mentor for tutorials or working for someone until you learn the ropes yourself. While formal schooling is not required for this occupation, it is worth gaining additional certifications such as home inspection as well as mold, lead, and radon testing.
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 Rhode Island FAQ
If this is your first time becoming licensed as a handyman in Rhode Island, you likely have concerns about the process. Below are two commonly asked FAQs and their answers.
1. What Happens if I Do Not Have the Right License?
If you wish to work as a handyman on smaller jobs, you will not be penalized if you hold the wrong license — or if you are not licensed at all. Remember, handymen are able to work without a license in most states. If you plan to do work with other contractors, or if you need to obtain licenses for the work you’ll be performing on the job, you will need to work and be licensed as a general contractor.
If you do not hold the right license, you could be fined or the license you do hold could be suspended indefinitely. Obtain the correct license as well as liability insurance to ensure that you and your business are protected as thoroughly as possible before taking jobs.
3. Who Can I Contact if I Have Questions?
Contact the Rhode Island Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board with further questions about licensing, insurance requirements, and potential additional certification information. Feel free to ask questions of your mentors as well. They have likely been through this process several times to renew their own licenses and are well aware of its guidelines and requirements.
Anyone can use the term handyman. Let your future clients know that you are certified by getting your general contractor license and keeping it up to date for the years to come. Understand the requirements behind licensing and review pertinent information in General Contractor License Guide today.
For More License and Career Guides
To find out how to become a Handyman in another state, start here.
For information on other trades in Rhode Island, click on a link below to learn more about the licensing requirements: