A “handyman” isn’t just a person that owns a basic tool box and knows how to fix a leaky sink. In most states, being a handyman is a profession you need a license to practice.
If you’re an unlicensed handyman, before starting any handyman project, you should always check the specific licensing requirements in your state and on a local level to make sure you protect yourself, your customers, and your business.
That being said, if you plan on going beyond the odd repair and becoming a professional handyman, it’s wise to obtain a license. Here’s what you need to know.
Determine your local and state level handyman laws
Some states don’t require you to get a handyman license. In other states, however, you do need a license depending on how much the job costs. Many states don’t require a license for small repairs, although limits might still be imposed in these cases.
In addition to checking your state laws to determine if you need a handyman license, make sure to check your local laws. In many states, contracting laws are mandated by the city or county. You can find this information online or by contacting your state’s contractors board.
Get a business license in your city or state
If you want to start a handyman business, apply for a business license in your city and state. First, you’ll need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Similar to a Social Security Number, an EIN lets the federal and state government know who to tax.
For a business license in your state, you can visit your state’s Secretary of State Website to find out what is required and how to register. You could also hire an attorney to apply for a license for you. There are also sites online (LegalZoom being one) that can guide you through the process of applying.
You’ll also need to secure a business license for your city. You can do so by visiting your local chamber of commerce. Some cities have this process available online.
Obtain a handyman license
If required, you’ll also need to get a license to practice as a handyman in your state. In fact, you may need several licenses depending on what services you plan to offer. In most cases, you’ll need to demonstrate proficiency as a handyman by completing various courses at a trade school, community college, or a state or local handyman association.
In most cases, you’ll also have to take an exam before you’re issued a handyman license. You can get test dates and locations for this exam from your state contractor board. Once you’ve passed the exam, you can fill out the application for the license. Test scores are generally valid for at least one year after successfully passing the test.
By following your state and local laws when it comes to getting a handyman license, you are ensuring that you can legally perform as a handyman in your area while avoiding costly fines.