If you intend to work as a handyman in Wisconsin it is important to have a full understanding of the state requirements for licensing. Wisconsin laws can be complex and difficult to understand on this matter and may vary depending on the scope of projects you intend to take on.
This Wisconsin Handyman License Guide will give you pertinent information on licensing, training, and insurance requirements for handymen in this state.
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 Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, it is possible to do some minor maintenance and repair jobs without a license. However, if you intend to work on one or two-family homes, take jobs over $1,000, or accept work that requires you to take out permits, you will need to get a Dwelling Contractor Certification.
A licensed Dwelling Contractor can perform many of the jobs usually associated with a general contractor in other states. Whether you are a licensed handyman or not, you are not permitted to perform electrical, plumbing, or HVAC work. These jobs must be contracted out to professionals who carry the appropriate license for those projects.
Is There a Specific Handyman License in Wisconsin?
There is not a specific handyman license per se; however, given the variety of tasks that handymen perform, the Dwelling Contractor Qualifier license best suits that title. Depending on your business goals, you may need additional licenses:
- Dwelling Contractor Qualifier – This is the main license for individuals wishing to perform handyman work and general contracting duties.
- Dwelling Contractor – This is an additional business license that is needed if you wish to establish a business entity and have employees.
- Dwelling Contractor Restricted – This is the business license for those who cannot meet the bonding requirements for the Dwelling Contractor license.
Licensing for contractors in Wisconsin is governed by the Department of Safety and Professional Services.
Wisconsin Handyman License Requirements
When looking at how to get a handyman license in Wisconsin, there are three basic steps to follow.
- Complete a state-approved 12-hour Dwelling Contractor Qualifier certification course
- Apply for a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier license
- Optionally, apply for a Dwelling Contractor business license or a Dwelling Contractor Restricted business license
If you decide to own your own business as a dwelling contractor, you will need to follow state regulations to register your business with the State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue as well.
As a licensed handyman in Wisconsin, your insurance requirements are determined by which license you hold.
Dwelling Contractor Qualifier License
You are under no legal requirement to hold any insurance; however, commercial liability insurance is strongly encouraged.
Dwelling Contractor License
If you have three or more employees you must have workman’s compensation insurance. You are also required to have one of the following:
- A minimum of $250,000 general liability insurance
- A surety bond of $25,000 or more
Dwelling Contractor Restricted License
You must have workman’s compensation insurance if you employ at least three employees. Additionally, you must hold a surety bond of $5,000 to $25,000. You are legally prohibited from taking on projects that exceed the amount of your bond.
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Wisconsin Handyman Licensing and Registration Fees
The fees associated with getting a Wisconsin handyman’s license are low. At the time of the writing of this article, the fees were as follows:
- For the Dwelling Contractor Qualifier license, there is a $15 application fee and a $30 credential fee. Renewal fees are $30 every two years.
- For the Dwelling Contractor license, there is a $15 application fee and a $25 credential fee. Renewal fees are $25 a year.
Submit your application and fees to:
Department of Safety and Professional Services
Trades Credentialing Unit
4822 Madison Yards Way
Madison, WI 53705
Wisconsin Handyman License Education Requirements and Exam
Handyman license requirements in Wisconsin include a 12-hour initial training course from an approved course provider. The exam is administered by the course provider. Upon passing the exam the provider will issue you a certificate of completion which you will submit to the state for licensure.
Handyman License Exam Details
The cost of the exam is included in the tuition for the training course. Tuition will vary depending on your choice of the course provider. The average cost of tuition is in the $100 range.
Handyman Training and Certification Programs
Beyond the required 12-hour Dwelling Contractor Qualifier certification course, there are several certifications that may prove useful to a handyman in Wisconsin such as the lead-based paint certification.
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.
Wisconsin Handyman License Application
The application for the Dwelling Contractor Qualifier license is brief. It includes a single page of instructions and a two-page application. Along with your application, you will be required to submit all necessary fees and verification that you have completed an approved 12-hour initial qualifier course. You will receive verification from your course provider.
With the application for a Dwelling Contractor license, you will be asked to include all necessary fees, proof of business ownership and registration, and proof of liability insurance or a surety bond.
Handyman License Wisconsin FAQ
1. What Happens If I Do Not Have the Right License?
Unlicensed contracting is a misdemeanor offense in Wisconsin. Penalties will be cash fines and, in rare instances, possible jail time.
2. How Long Is My Wisconsin Handyman License Valid?
The Dwelling Contractor Qualifier license is valid for two years from the date it is issued. The renewal fee is $30. You will also need to complete 12 hours of continuing education every 2 years.
The Dwelling Contractor license must be renewed every year. The renewal fee is $25. There is no continuing education requirement.
You can renew your license in the Department of Safety and Professional Services online portal.
3. Who Can I Contact If I Have Questions?
If you have questions about becoming a licensed handyman in Wisconsin, contact:
The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services
4822 Madison Yards Way, Madison, WI 53705
Phone #: (608) 266-2112
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 Wisconsin, click on a link below to learn more about the licensing requirements: