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The What, How, and Why of Contractors Licenses


Working for yourself has become the newest iteration of the American dream. Everyone wants to set their own schedule, control their pay rate, and have to answer only to themselves! If you want to start your own business, and have a knack for troubleshooting and repairing problems around your home, consider becoming a speciality repairman or builder.

Handymen and construction workers have one of the most secure job markets, as there will always be building and fixing to do. The high demand for work has created a competitive labour market in this field, however.

Getting your foot in the door and building a respectable client base and work portfolio is difficult for any business. For an independent contractor, this first step can make or break the success of your new business. Without excellent references and examples of your past work, few people will be willing to hand over their homes and belongings into your care.

One of the first steps to stand apart from your competition is getting licensed. The process is fairly straightforward: just contact the experts at contractor training center to start.


However, getting licensed isn't the best solution for everyone, and it may not be the right fit for your business. Stuck at a crossroads? Let's break down licensing to help you determine if you should pursue one.

What is a contractors license?

A contractors license is a certificate from an official board that gives you permission to complete certain types of jobs. Usually, these jobs are financially more lucrative, but also more complex due to the state or federal regulations that must be upheld while completing the work.

How you receive a license depends on the state you work in. There are several types of licenses, but the most common are:

  • Electricians
  • Roofers
  • Plumber
  • General contractors
  • Subcontractors

These different categories will have state-sanctioned rules on the jobs you are allowed to complete. Alternatively, they may limit the work you can complete with a pay wall.


The Pros:

The biggest reason to invest in your business by earning a license is the job opportunities it allows you to take advantage of. Taking on certain jobs without a license is dangerous and illegal. Contractors found in violation of licensing regulations risk high fines and legal battles. They could be found responsible for accidents or injuries caused by improper completion of the work.

A license shows potential clients that you have proven your knowledge and expertise at completing a job to a panel of qualified industry professionals. They will rest a little easier knowing you are a credible expert they can trust to complete the work safely and properly. Trust between a contractor and their potential clients is a key factor for securing bigger and better jobs over time.

The Cons:

Licenses may bring you in more money with bigger and better jobs, but there is a significant upfront cost of both time and money. To gain a license, specific training and testing must be completed within your field. A portfolio of documented work and even a background may be required.

In some cases, a license may limit job opportunities to a specific trade instead of expanding your field. For example, with an electricians license, you would only be able to do electrical work. Without a license, you can take on a variety of jobs, from building furniture to painting homes.

Should You Get a License?

At the end of the day, whether getting a contractors license is right for your business is something only you can decide. On the one hand, it can help prove your merit to potential clients and let you land better jobs. On the other, it may limit your work opportunities to a narrower field than you'd like.

If you decide to get licensed, look up your specific state's requirements and be prepared to handle all of the red tape surrounding the process.


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