If you’re thinking of starting your own handyman business, a logical first question is how to get a handyman license in South Dakota. Handyman businesses have it pretty easy in most parts of South Dakota. Throughout most of the state, there are no licensing requirements for handyman services or general construction. If you have basic experience in construction and home remodeling, you can find many opportunities to make money.
While you can’t perform electrical work or plumbing without a license, you can generally handle things such as cabinetry, flooring, deck building, roofing, door installation, painting, and similar services without a license. Of course, even when it’s not specifically required, having professional training can make it more likely for business owners and homeowners to hire you.
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 South Dakota?
On paper, you don’t need a license to work as a handyman in South Dakota. In practice, the answer can change depending on the city where you work. Some of the larger cities in South Dakota have licensing requirements for businesses that perform different types of construction or remodeling work. It’s important to check the local requirements at City Hall before you open your business.
Even general contractors aren’t required by the state to hold a license. The only professionals in construction trades that must have a state license are electricians, plumbers, architects, engineers, surveyors, and boiler technicians. Handyman business cannot provide any type of electrical work, plumbing services, asbestos removal, or structural planning services without carrying the appropriate license.
Is There a Specific Handyman License in South Dakota?
There are no state handyman licenses or general contractor licenses in South Dakota. Several cities in the state have requirements for building contractors, though, including Rapid City and Sioux Falls. To avoid running into problems, you need to check if there are any revenue limitations for handyman businesses in the city you work in.
In Rapid City, you can find further information about contractor’s licenses, licensing for building inspectors, and building permits by calling the Building Services office at (605) 394-4120.
In Sioux Falls, any handyman business or contractor that performs residential work requiring a building permit must have a Residential Building Contractor’s License. This license is for single-family or two-family homes in Sioux Falls. Here are some of the situations when you need a Residential Building Contractor’s License:
- Replacing or installing sheetrock
- Replacing or installing exterior doors and windows
- Finishing a basement
- Performing roofing services
- Building, remodeling, or expanding a home
- Repairing, replacing, or installing siding
- Building decks or sheds
- Demolishing existing structures
- Installing fencing
There are a few types of work that a handyman in Sioux Falls can perform without a license, though. For example, you can take care of painting, installing floor coverings (tile, carpet, wood floors, etc.), and cabinets. These jobs don’t require a building permit, so it’s not necessary to have a Residential Building Contractor’s License for them.
South Dakota Handyman License Requirements
Though having a South Dakota handyman license or general contractor license isn’t required in many parts of the state, you may benefit by having formal training and certification in construction trades. Some businesses and homeowners only hire certified professionals. It’s helpful to have accurate information about different types of insurance, bonds, taxes, and accounting practices when running your own handyman business.
There are also several important steps to take to legally operate a business in the state. For example, you must register your business name and choose a structure for your business (e.g., sole proprietor or partnership).
Next, you have to apply for a contractor’s excise tax license with the South Dakota Department of Revenue Business Tax Division. The state takes tax payments very seriously. Any company that performs remodeling services, equipment installation, building, or construction — which includes handyman businesses — must have this excise tax license.
South Dakota state laws don’t require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. That said, many business owners do this because of the possibility of being sued for workplace accidents. Unlike some other states, South Dakota allows employees of a business to file a civil lawsuit against the employer unless workers’ compensation insurance is provided.
Rather than requiring business owners to carry private unemployment insurance, South Dakota applies payroll taxes to most companies that have employees. This is known as Reemployment Assistance Tax in South Dakota. Payment of these taxes is compulsory for employers.
In Sioux Falls, residential building contractors must have general liability insurance with coverage of at least $300,000. Other South Dakota cities may have similar requirements.
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South Dakota Handyman Licensing and Registration Fees
There are no official handyman license requirements in South Dakota. You should check with local city governments for more information.
In Sioux Falls, SD, the examination fee is $75.00. Applying for a Residential Building Contractor License once you’ve passed the exam costs $100-$300, depending on how much time is left before the next license expiration date. For example, applying in 2022 for a license that expires in 2025 costs $300. Applying for the same license in 2024 costs $100.
In addition, building contractors (including most handyman businesses) are required to hold a $20,000 compliance bond with the city of Sioux Falls and general liability insurance.
South Dakota Handyman License Education Requirements and Exam
In Sioux Falls, SD, obtaining a Residential Building Contractor’s License for handyman work or building projects requires passing the Construction Supervisor Examination. The exam covers information from the International Residential Code Handbook. A passing score is 80%.
Handyman Training and Certification Programs
Several trade schools and universities in South Dakota provide education related to construction trades. For example, the Southeast Technical College in Sioux Falls, SD offers certification for general construction, residential construction, HVAC, and construction management. The Lake Area Technical College in Watertown, SD covers education related to building trades and business. Mitchell Technical College in Mitchell, SD offers certification in architectural design and building construction.
If you want to become a registered home inspector in South Dakota, you must take a 40-hour training course from this approved list of home inspector courses. After getting approved as a Registered Home Inspector, working for a year, and performing at least 100 home inspections, you can become a Licensed Home Inspector.
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 South Dakota FAQ
Do you have questions about obtaining a building license or training? Here are several frequently asked questions about South Dakota handyman license information.
1. What Happens If I Do Not Have the Right License?
If you perform work that you need a license for, such as electrical work or plumbing, but you don’t have the needed license, it’s a class 2 misdemeanor in South Dakota. This is punishable by 30 days in jail, a fine of $500, or both.
Doing work without a contractor’s excise tax license is a class 1 misdemeanor, which can land you in jail for up to a year and cost you $1,000 in fines. If you keep working once you’ve been notified of the failure, you can be charged with a Class VI felony. This can result in up to two years in state prison and fines of up to $4,000.
2. How Long Is My South Dakota Handyman License Valid?
The South Dakota contractor’s excise tax license never expires. For building contractor licenses, you need to check local requirements in the city you’re operating in. For example, Sioux Falls residential building contractor licenses expire every three years.
3. Who Can I Contact If I Have Questions?
For more information about obtaining a contractor’s excise tax license, contact the South Dakota Department of Revenue at 445 East Capital Ave., Pierre, SD, 57501-3185. You can also call (605) 773-3311.
For more information about getting a Residential Building Contractor License in Sioux Falls, SD, contact the city’s Building Services department. You can call (605) 367-8672 or send an email to [email protected]
A handyman in South Dakota can make an average of $16-$20 an hour, or around $35,000 a year. If you enjoy residential projects or construction work, working as a handyman can be an excellent idea. You may not need a South Dakota handyman license, but learning more about the construction trades is a great place to start.