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Texas Handyman License: How to Get Certified as a Handyman in TX

March 27, 2023 7 min. read
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In an uncertain job market, becoming a handyman is a great way to secure your financial situation long-term, especially if you get a contractor’s license to take on larger projects. 

The demand for skilled trades and contractors is growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be 76,000 new general maintenance and repair jobs across the country over the next 10 years—that’s an increase in labor of 5%.

The average salary for a Texas handyman sits at $37,497 for those with under 5 years experience. But that number jumps to $58,867 for those with over 20 years experience, and you can earn even more by starting your own business.

There’s no better time to become a handyman and capitalize on the growing demand in the coming decade. 

Interested in taking on larger projects? This post has everything you need to know about getting your handyman contractor license in Texas:

Make sure you bookmark this page so you can return to this guide if you have any questions about the specifics of the licensing process or starting your own business.

Does Texas require a handyman license?

Currently, there are no handyman license requirements in Texas. Handiwork is any general maintenance and repair work that doesn’t fall under the scope of a regulated trade. As a handyman, you are able to perform the following types of work: 

  • Painting the interior and exterior of residential properties
  • Installing and repairing siding on homes
  • Installing, repairing, and replacing windows
  • Building fences, desks, and small outdoor structures
  • Building and installing custom furniture
  • Fixing door screens and locks

Before you take on any new handyman work, you should also check the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation to determine which types of work require a certificate or license to legally perform them. 

The state of Texas has a business licenses and permits document available online that outlines the types of general contracting work that require a license in Texas. These include: 

  • HVAC and refrigeration
  • Asbestos removal
  • Backflow prevention
  • Boilers 
  • Electrical 
  • Landscaping irrigation
  • Gas piping
  • Plumbing

Texas handyman work license requirements

There are no state-wide handyman license requirements in Texas. You can perform any task that does not fall under the scope of general contracting work. However, some major cities in Texas have regional regulations and requirements for certain types of work.

Here’s a list of the cities in Texas that have additional requirements for performing handyman work:

HoustonHandyman must have a building permit for any work within the Houston city limits that involves construction, remodeling, or repair.
DallasHandyman must register as a general contractor to perform specific types of residential work within the Dallas city limits, including: 

• Roofing
• Fencing
• Demolition
• Concrete
• Pools
AustinHandyman must have a general contractor’s license and one of two types of general permits that corresponds with the scope of the project:

1) General Permit Exemption for projects with a maximum limit of 3,000 square feet or 300 linear feet
2) Formal General Permits for projects that exceed 3,000 square feet or 300 linear feet
San AntonioHandyman must have a home improvement contractor license to perform minor construction, remodeling, or repair work on residential buildings in San Antonio.

How do I get a handyman license in Texas?

There are no state-level prerequisites to performing the general maintenance and repair work of a handyman in Texas. That said, you still need to check local regulations for the city or county where you work to find any regional requirements. 

Below are a few examples of the different licensing and certification steps for working as a handyman in some of Texas’s biggest cities.

Houston Handyman License: 

There are no general contractor or handyman licenses issued by the city of Houston. 

However, a building permit is required for most residential projects inside Houston city limits, and any electrical, HVAC, plumbing, or roofing work must be performed by a licensed contractor who is listed on the permit.

In general, you need to complete the following steps to get a building permit in Houston: 

  1. Submit a completed online building permit application and residential repair spec list.
  2. Complete a Declaration in Support, either as an individual or business entity.
  3. If necessary, include proposed building plans.

Permit fees are assessed based on the valuation of the property. For example, if the project costs $200,001-$300,000, the permit cost is $995.69 for the first $200,000 plus $4.38 for every additional $1,000.

For more information on working as a handyman in Houston, visit the municipal website.

Dallas Handyman License:

To perform handiwork in Dallas, you need to complete the process of registering as a contractor and obtaining a building permit through the city’s Online Services for Contractors portal

  1. Indicate that you will be registering as a general contractor on the application and include your personal contact information.
  2. Include the contact information for the responsible party who has sole authority over project decisions. 
  3. Pay the annual registration fee of $120.
  4. If applicable, list the employees or other contractors in the member assignment section.
  5. Sign the contractor registration affidavit. 
  6. Complete the home occupation declaration to prove you are an established resident of Dallas.
  7. Submit the building permit application.

To apply, and pay fees, you need to set up a Develop Dallas account

Austin Handyman License:

You need a general contractor’s license and a general permit to perform handyman work in Austin. Here are the steps to this process:

  1. Register as a contractor with the City of Austin through the municipal website.
  2. Review the general permit application submittal requirements checklist.
  3. Fill out the general permit request form
  4. Complete the building permit request form and specify whether the project will surpass 3,000 square feet or 300 linear feet. 
  5. Obtain the correct property and general liability insurance for your permit based on the insurance requirements
  6. After permit approval, pay your fees through the municipality’s online portal
  7. Use the city’s official Residential Building Plan Review and Permit Fees schedule to learn more about the typical costs.

You can find more information about becoming a handyman in Austin on the municipal website

San Antonio Handyman License:

To perform the work of a handyman in San Antonio, you need to apply for a home improvement contractor license. This allows you to conduct construction, repair, and remodeling work on existing residential buildings.

Here are the steps to completing the home improvement contractor license application

  1. Identify which type of work you will be performing—roofing, pools and spas, fences, minor repairs, or all of the above.
  2. Complete an FBI background check.
  3. Include authorized agents who may also operate under the registered contractor’s permits.
  4. Provide a certificate of liability insurance that proves you have the adequate coverage for your work and project scope, including: 
  • Property damage and bodily injury coverage of up to $300,000 per occurrence
  • Total property damage and bodily injury coverage of at least $600,000
  • Total for products and completed operations of at least $300,000
  1. Complete the contractor registration application with all contact and personal information.
  2. Sign the registered contractor code of ethics.

For more information about becoming a registered contractor in San Antonio, check out the municipal website.

Does Texas reciprocate licenses?

Reciprocal licenses allow licensed contractors and skilled trades workers from out of state to apply directly for an equivalent license in another state.

Since Texas does not have any state-wide requirements for handyman work, there are no licenses to reciprocate.

Requirements for business owners

Once you’ve submitted the necessary applications and permits to work as a handyman in your Texas municipality or county, it’s time to take the next step towards securing your financial future: opening your own business. 

But first, what exactly do you need to do to start a maintenance and repair business in Texas?

Check with the state and municipal governments and the Texas Department of Insurance to identify all laws and regulations that apply to you. Then take these important steps to ensure the long-term success of your handyman business:

  • Write a handyman business plan
  • Research local handyman license requirements
  • Get startup funding for your handyman business
  • Decide which handyman services to offer
  • Define your business’s ideal customers
  • Set prices for your handyman services
  • Register your handyman business
  • Get small business insurance
  • Start marketing your handyman services
  • Plan to offer amazing customer service
  • Hire other handymen as employees

For an in-depth look at the ins and outs of starting your own handyman business—including getting your financing, buying equipment, and hiring staff—check out our comprehensive guide.

Do handyman contractor licenses in Texas increase your earning potential? 

While you can still perform lots of general repair and maintenance work in Texas without a handyman license, getting a general contractor license will increase your earning potential.

As a handyman, your earning potential increases as you gain more experience. When starting out, you’ll earn about $40,000 per year, and this jumps by 18% in the first five years. Keep going, and your annual income is expected to rise by 55% to $61,140 in the first 20 years.

Are you interested in learning more about this lucrative, flexible industry and what the financial prospects are across the country?

Check out our Essential Handyman Salary Guide and identify where you can put this in-demand skill set to use.

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