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Handyman License: How to Become a Licensed Handyman in the U.S.

Academy / Handyman Licensing

Getting your handyman license isn’t something many people think about, but it’s a crucial entry point to a field with huge demand across the country. Many states require that you have a handyman or contractor license to legally perform this work.  

If you find yourself asking, “are handymen even in demand in the USA?” The answer is a definite yes. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 1.5 million handyman jobs in the U.S. as of 2021 — and that’s expected to grow by 76,300 over the next 9 years. 

Millennial homeowners are less equipped to take up DIY repair and maintenance work, and property management companies often prefer to deal with a handyman versus a fully-licensed trades worker. Both provide a major boost to handyman demand across the country. 

Depending on your state, a handyman license lets you legally perform services like furniture assembly, interior painting, drywall maintenance and repair, tiling, home improvements, and other minor trades work.  

So, if you’re looking to get in on the lucrative, high-demand handiwork field, you need to check whether a handyman license is required in your state.

If you’re serious about getting your handyman license, make sure you bookmark this page! You’ll want to return to this guide if you have any questions about the handyman licensing process or want to find guides for requirements in other states.

Do I need a license to be a handyman?

Whether or not you need a handyman license to work depends on the state you live and work in. Because there is such a wide range of services that fall under “handiwork,” most states base their handyman licensing requirements on the monetary value of the project. 

For example, in Alaska, a handyman license is required for any and all services under $10,000. In California, on the other hand, you need a handyman license for minor work totaling over $500. 

How to get a handyman license (state by state)

Each state has its own requirements for getting your handyman license, as well as different licensing levels. If your state doesn’t have state-wide license requirements, remember that requirements can be made locally. It’s always a good idea to double-check with your local governing body for any regulations before you start any job. 

Alabama

You don’t need a handyman license in Alabama unless you’re working on a project that’s worth over $50,000.

To start the handyman licensing process, contact the Alabama Licensing Board for General Contractors.

Alaska

In Alaska, you need a specific handyman license for any projects valued up to $10,000.

You must have proof of general liability and property damage insurance to get your license.

To start the handyman licensing process in Alaska, contact the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing.

Arizona

In Arizona, handymen are not required to have a license for individual jobs that do not exceed $1,000 in value, as long as the project is minor and does not require a building permit. If a building permit is required, it doesn’t matter if the project is worth less than $1,000; you require a license.

To get your license, you must pass an exam and provide proof of a bond.

For more information on handyman licensing and to get one in Arizona, contact the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.

Arkansas

In Arkansas, you do not need a license to do general handyman work worth up to $2,000. However, if you plan to do any specialty work, which includes flooring and painting, you will need a license, even if it is worth less than $2,000.

To get your license, you will need to provide a financial statement for your business and proof of worker’s compensation insurance.

To start the handyman licensing process in Arkansas, contact the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board

California

In California, you need a handyman license if you work on any job whose total value exceeds $500 — including both materials, your fee, and services from other professionals.

A license isn’t required when providing minor services that don’t permanently affect the structure, like repairing or assembling a piece of furniture.

To get your license, you will need to have:

  • Four years’ worth of work experience
  • A contractor’s bond
  • A certificate of insurance

To start the handyman licensing process in California, contact the California Contractors State Licensing Board.

Check out our California handyman license guide for step-by-step instructions on how this process goes.

Colorado

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Colorado. However, certain regions, like Denver, have specific requirements so be sure to check local requirements before getting started. 

Connecticut

You do not need a license to provide minor handyman services to clients in Connecticut. However, if you offer any services that result in permanent changes to your client’s homes (like installing a fence, pool, or windows), you may need to register with the state as a Home Improvement Contractor.

To register as a Home Improvement Contractor in Connecticut, visit the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection.

Delaware

You do not need a handyman license in Delaware unless you are categorized as a general contractor. If so, you’ll need to obtain a business license and register with the state if you plan to work on projects exceeding a $50,000 value.

To learn more about general contracting in Delaware, visit the Delaware Division of Revenue.

Florida

Minor services like paint touch-ups, replacing trim, or putting up a shelf don’t require a handyman’s license in Florida. But you will need a general contractor license if you plan on doing any work that will affect the structure of a building. For example, building a garage, renovating a bathroom, or installing a new floor. 

To get your license, you will need to have:

  • Four years’ worth of previous handyman experience
  • Completed and passed an exam
  • Proof of workers’ compensation insurance
  • Proof of general liability insurance

To start the process for obtaining a general contractor license in Florida, contact Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation

For step-by-step instructions on how this process goes, check out our Florida handyman license guide.

Georgia

In Georgia, you will need a license to work on any projects worth more than a total of $2,500.

To obtain a license, you will need to:

  • Provide proof of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance
  • Have a minimum of 2 years’ worth of trade experience
  • Complete and pass both a trade exam and a business and law exam

To start the handyman licensing process in Georgia, visit Georgia’s State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors.

Hawaii

In Hawaii, you will need to have a license if you plan to work on any projects that exceed a total value of $1,000, including materials, supplies, and labor.

To get your handyman license in Hawaii, you will need to have:

  • Proof of insurance
  • Four years’ worth of handyman experience
  • Completed and passed a trade exam
  • Completed and passed a business and law exam

To start the process for getting a handyman license in Hawaii, contact Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Idaho

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Idaho.

Illinois

In general, you do not need a license to work as a contractor in Illinois. However, like Colorado, many cities and towns in Illinois, such as Chicago, require you to have a general contractors license if you plan to offer your services there.

Indiana

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Indiana.

Iowa

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Iowa.

Kansas

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Kansas.

Kentucky

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Kentucky.

Louisiana

In Louisiana, you need a license if you plan to work on projects valued at more than $7,500 total, including material, supplies, and labor.

In order to obtain a license, you will need to:

  • Have proof of insurance
  • Pass an exam, depending on the specific services you offer
  • Register any projects valued between $7,500 to $75,000

To start the handyman licensing process in Louisiana, visit the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors.

Maine

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Maine.

Maryland

You will need a license to work as a handyman in Maryland.

To obtain your license, you must:

  • Provide a certificate of insurance
  • Have 2+ years’ worth of handyman or home improvement experience
  • Complete and pass a business and law exam

To start the process of getting your handyman license in Maryland, visit the Maryland Department of Labor.

Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, you do not need a license to work as a handyman. However, if you provide services related to home improvement or repairs, you will need to register as a home improvement contractor.

To register as a home improvement contractor in Massachusetts, visit the Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractor Registration and Renewal website.

Michigan

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Michigan unless you offer services such as masonry, insulation, siding, or roofing. If you do, you will need to obtain a Maintenance and Alteration Contractor License, which requires:

  • 60 hours of educational training courses
  • A completed exam

To find out whether you need a Maintenance and Alteration Contractor License in Michigan, visit the Michigan Department of Labor and Regulatory Affairs

Minnesota

Handymen who make more than $15,000 a year working on existing buildings and structures need to have a Residential Remodeler License. If you only provide services in a single, specific area, like painting or drywalling, you do not need to have a license.  To obtain the Residential Remodeler License, you will need to:

  • Pass an exam
  • Provide proof of workers’ compensation insurance
  • Provide proof of general liability insurance

To learn more about handyman and contractor licensing in Minnesota, visit Minnesota’s Department of Labor and Industry.

Mississippi

In Mississippi, you only need a handyman license if the job you’re working on is valued at more than $10,000.

To get a license, you will need to:

  • Pass a business and law exam
  • Pass a trade exam
  • Provide proof of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance

To start the process of getting your handyman license in Mississippi, visit Mississippi’s State Board of Contractors.

Missouri

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Missouri.

Montana

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Montana unless you have employees. In this case, you must register with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.

Nebraska

You do not have to have a license to work as a handyman in Nebraska, but you do have to register with the Nebraska Department of Labor.

Nevada

In Nevada, you will need a handyman license for any projects that exceed a value of $1000 or that require a building license.

To obtain a license, you will need to:

  • Have four years’ worth of work experience in a managerial or supervisory contracting role
  • Provide proof of insu
  • Complete and pass an exam

For more information, contact the Nevada State Contractors Board.

New Hampshire

You do not have to have a license to work as a handyman in New Hampshire.

New Jersey

You do not have to have a license to work as a handyman in New Jersey, but you do have to register as a Home Improvement Contractor with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

New Mexico

In New Mexico, there is no specific division between handymen and general contractors. Instead, whether you need a license depends on the type of services that you offer.

To learn more about general contractor licensing in New Mexico, visit the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.

New York

You do not have to have a permit to work as a handyman in New York.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, you only need a handyman license if you work on projects worth more than $30,000. You do not need a license if you work on projects valued at less than $30,000 or if you are a subcontractor.

For more information about handyman licensing in North Carolina, visit the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors.

North Dakota

In North Dakota, you need a handyman license to work on any projects valued at over $4000.

To learn more about obtaining a handyman license in North Dakota, visit the North Dakota Secretary of State website.

Ohio

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Ohio.

Oklahoma

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Oklahoma.

Oregon

In Oregon, you will need a handyman license if you plan to work on a project that exceeds a $1000 value.

To obtain a license, you will need to:

  • Complete training
  • Pass an exam
  • Provide proof of both workers’ compensation and general liability insurance

To learn more about getting a handyman license in Oregon, visit the Oregon Construction Contractors Board.

Pennsylvania

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Pennsylvania, but if you make more than $5000 per year through your handyman services, you will need to register with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.

Rhode Island

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Rhode Island. However, depending on which services you offer, you may need to register with the State of Rhode Island Contractors Registration and Licensing Board.

South Carolina

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in South Carolina, but you do need to register with the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.

South Dakota

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in South Dakota.

Tennessee

You do not need a handyman license in Tennessee for projects worth less than $25,000. You do have to have a home improvement license for any remodels valued between $3000 to $24,999.

To obtain a home improvement license, you will have to:

  • Provide proof of general liability insurance
  • Provide proof of workers’ compensation insurance
  • Pass a trade exam
  • Pass a business and law exam

To apply for a home improvement license, visit Tennessee’s Department of Commerce and Insurance.

Texas

You do not have to have a license to work as a handyman in Texas, however, many cities and towns within Texas have specific requirements related to licensing and permits.

Utah

In Utah, you do not have to have a handyman license unless a project’s value exceeds $3000. Projects below a $3000 value are part of the handyman exemption, but if they are worth more than $1000, you must provide proof of insurance and submit an affirmation of exemption.

For projects worth more than $3000, you will need to obtain a license by:

  • Demonstrating a minimum of two years’ worth of professional experience
  • Completing and passing an exam
  • Providing proof of insurance

To learn more about handyman licensing in Utah, visit Utah’s Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing.

For a step-by-step breakdown on how to get licensed, read our Utah Handyman Licensing Guide.

Vermont

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Vermont.

Virginia

In Virginia, you need a handyman license to complete projects that are worth more than $1000.

Depending on the type of license you apply for, you will need to:

  • Complete a board-approved training course
  • Demonstrate two years’ worth of professional experience

To learn more about handyman licensing in Virginia, visit Virginia’s Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

Washington

You do not need to have a license to work as a handyman in Washington, but you are required to register with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

West Virginia

In West Virginia, you will need to obtain a contractor’s license for any projects valued between $2500 to $10,000.

To get a license, you will need to:

  • Provide proof of workers compensation insurance
  • Complete and pass an exam

To find more information about contractor licensing in West Virginia, visit the West Virginia Division of Labor website.

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, you will need a license to work as a handyman. To obtain your license, you’ll need to complete and pass a course through the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Wyoming

You do not need a license to work as a handyman in Wyoming.

How long does it take to get a handyman license?

How long it takes to get your handyman license depends on the licensing requirements and regulations that exist at the state level. In some states, there aren’t any requirements. In others, it may take a few weeks, and in some, it can take multiple years. 

Some of the common requirements for getting your handyman license include:

  • Successful completion of a trade, business, and law exam
  • A minimum of 2 years experience working in home improvement
  • Certificate of insurance
  • Successful completion of state-designated coursework
  • Registering with your state’s contracting body or department of labor
  • Experience working as a handyman apprentice

Once you’ve passed any state-level requirements, it’s also a good idea to look at any local regulations that may apply. 

How much does it cost to get a handyman license?

The cost of obtaining a handyman license varies depending on the state and type of work you want to do, just as the length of time it takes to obtain one varies depending on the state and type of work you want to do. It might take a few hundred dollars in some states, but it can cost thousands in others. 

Handyman licensing exams usually cost around $200 to $350, and there’s often an additional fee of $100-$200 to activate the license. And remember: this is before accounting for the cost of tuition, courses, learning materials, insurance, and other relevant licensing materials. 

The cost of your handyman license might also change depending on the type of services you want to provide. For example, minor furniture repairs don’t require a license but installing windows and doors does.

Does a handyman license increase your earning potential?

Yes! Just like with other trades, getting a handyman license is a great way to increase your earning potential. It gives you the opportunity to take on larger jobs, eliminates costly fines and legal fees, and helps legitimize your business — all of which help put more money in your pocket. 

For example, a handyman in the U.S. makes $54,612 per year on average, but as you progress to the level of an experienced handyman, that average salary jumps to $66,086!

Customers are often more comfortable selecting a licensed handyman, so not only will you be able to charge more, but you’ll also make more on a per-job basis.

For everything you need to know about the impact that a handyman license has on your earning potential, check out our Essential Handyman Salary Guide today.

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