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For every state, and even each AHJ there are always huge differences in how we go about doing things legally for residential work. It's only through CT that I have realized just how large the differences are. I think it would be interesting to summarize the differences by state. It seems that Florida and California have the most strict rules.

ILLINOIS

Only plumbers, roofers, architects, engineers, and interior designers are required to be licensed.

Electrical licenses are granted via exam through several towns throughout the state. They are reciprocal with nearly every AHJ in the state except Chicago where they run their own show.

Sorry for any omissions, but I think that's all the trades that have any licensing here.

For pulling a residential permit for most work, each AHJ requires a copy of a license where applicable, a certificate of GL naming the AHJ as a certificate holder, a permit/surety bond for $10,000 to $20,000 for each AHJ, and a registration through the AHJ (usually $50-100 annually).

We are also required to provide a pamphlet to homeowners that they have to sign if the work is to exceed $1000. This is statewide, but most contractors don't know about it.

Our RRP rules are still governed by Uncle Sam so those are obvious.

Since there are dozens of AHJ's around here, I only go through the processes when I get a permit worthy job in a particular AHJ.

So that's Illinois in a nutshell.

PLEASE no whining in this thread about what we have to go through, or what they SHOULD do, etc. I'd like to make this thread a sticky when we have more state's procedures "in a nutshell" for an "at a glance" thread of the differences. I think we will find amazing differences.

I'll repost the Illinois version according to my understand below to set the pace. Omissions and errors are welcome for debate, but don't get too technical. It's just for generality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
ILLINOIS

Only plumbers, roofers, architects, engineers, and interior designers are required to be licensed.

Electrical licenses are granted via exam through several towns throughout the state. They are reciprocal with nearly every AHJ in the state except Chicago where they run their own show.

Sorry for any omissions, but I think that's all the trades that have any licensing here.

For pulling a residential permit for most work, each AHJ requires a copy of a license where applicable, a certificate of GL naming the AHJ as a certificate holder, a permit/surety bond for $10,000 to $20,000 for each AHJ, and a registration through the AHJ (usually $50-100 annually).

We are also required to provide a pamphlet to homeowners that they have to sign if the work is to exceed $1000. This is statewide, but most contractors don't know about it.

Our RRP rules are still governed by Uncle Sam so those are obvious.

Since there are dozens of AHJ's around here, I only go through the processes when I get a permit worthy job in a particular AHJ.

So that's Illinois in a nutshell.
 

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IOWA

In Iowa, we just started with state licensing for electricians last year. Before that, I guess it was handled by the union and from municipality to municipality.

Statewide licensing for plumbing also started. Before the same.

Licensing for guys to buy refrigerant.

Lots of bogus licensing for every "contracting" business, which is just a $50 fee to "register" with the state as a "contractor". Also the usual registration as a business, again a chance to spend $50.

I'm sure there is some licensing for people who install septic systems, abate radon and asbestos, etc. Of course you have your land surveyors and engineers. I think there is same for exterminators, home inspectors, blah blah blah.

No licensing that I know of for carpenters, general contractors, concrete guys, tile layers, masonry guys, plasterers, roofers, handymen, etc.

Hope this is the kind of information you are looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Bump-I'd like this to be a reference that we can all use from time to time. I cannot really make it a sticky without more input from more states.

The input so far is great, just need more.

Remember-just basic generalities only.
 

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WASHINGTON

I'd like to hear from a WA contractor. My understanding is that there is no "contractors license" but only a business license and liability insurance are required. Correct me if I'm wrong.

There is a contractors license requirement in Washington. See link below.

http://www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/LicensingReq/LicensesRegistration/default.asp

Also required with the contractors license is a business license, liability insurance and a bond just like Calif. Then if you have employees a account with L & I for workmens comp, and a account with employment security for unemployment. Then you will also need a account with the Department of Revenue for the collection and payment of sales taxes, and then payment of other taxes such as B & O, etc.




As to the OP's question,

Electricians and plumbers, etc,. see link above are required to have a license. To get a license as a Journeyman you would need 8,000 hours of verifiable experience, and pass a test, etc. And as a electrical contractor you would also need a electrical contractors license, no such requirement for a special license for a plumbing contractor as they can use a General Contractors license.

As a example I am a licensed plumber and electrician, and have a general and electrical contractors license. Also have a license as a electrical administrator which is required for the electrical contractors license.
 

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WEST VIRGINIA

In West Virginia you have to take a Business and law exam along with your trade exam. Some specialties only require the Business and Law exam though.
Work performed under $2,500.00 (materials and labor, total contract not just the work you are performing) does not require a license, other than a West Virginia State Tax Business License.
 
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CALIFORNIA

I'll expand on the above post for California. All contractors performing a job over $500 must be licensed. No splitting jobs up into small portions, either. A license bond for $12,500 must be posted to the CSLB (contractor state license board) continuously or the license will be deactivated. GL is not required in this state, but you are required to disclose whether or not you have it for Home Improvement Contracts. WC is required if you have one or more employees, or if you have a C-39 (roofing contractors) license, regardless if you have any employees. A General Building Contractor (B License) may bid and/or perform all trades with the exception of fire sprinkler systems and water well drilling. To perform either, you must have the appropriate Specialty License. To obtain a licence, you must have 4+ years in the trade that you are applying for at the journeyman level, and you must pass a two part te

st: law and business, and the trade test.

Adriel
 

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ALABAMA

Quick site with state by state reqs (minus the poor sparky's & plumbers?) http://www.nationalcontractors.com/licensing.htm

Alabama has a board for almost everything - HVAC, Comm, Resi, Elec., plumbing, design, etc...
Now for the funny parts - no license required for Resi unless you do 10K, and 50K for commercial
Specialty trades - you had better not even look at anything funny, unless your licensed

Oh & the state runs the RRP part now - $300 a year for the firm cert & $100 a year to the university to keep track of your training
 

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WASHINGTON

Strictly speaking, WA state doesn't have licensing, they have registration. As has been pointed out, you have to register as a business entity, carry liability and W/C, and post a bond. The registration as a business entity is to make sure you pay the retail sales tax on your projects. The W/C doesn't have to be through the state, it can be through any carrier. We carried ours through State Farm for a number of reasons. The "nice" part about the bond is that you can use what they call an "assignable account": a chunk of cash in a Washington state financial institution that lets WA state have first dibs in a dispute: for GCs that is $12K. The advantage is that you can use a range of interest-bearing instruments and you keep the interest. A year after you stop doing business in the state, the money reverts to you. One thing this allows is you to become a registered contractor in the state in one day!

My home state, Idaho, only requires W/C and CGL.
 

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WASHINGTON

To clarify my earlier post about WA state W/C comverage: you don't need to participate in Washington's State Insurance Fund if you're bringing in your employees from another state that has a reciprocal agreement with WA. Since all of our employees were ID employees, we could work in WA under our existing W/C (with a private insurance company).

We finally dropped our WA registration mainly because of the sales tax, B & O tax, and trying to keep track of the differences between WIOSH (WA) and OSHA (ID).
 

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

No building or construction license of any kind needed or even available.
Electric license is needed
Plumbing license is needed
HVAC no license needed

Funny thing, I see all kinds of advertising for builders/remodelers in NH saying
"Fully Insured"
"Fully Licensed" :censored:

The Communist State of Massachusetts
CSL (Construction Supervisors License) 3 different levels, but still cannot pull a permit without one of these, HIC (Home Improvement Contractor) but you still need another to do masonry buildings

we are license in MA but I try real hard to avoid any work there :whistling
 

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WASHINGTON

To even further clarify Washington -

We do have the specialty licensing requirements as stated prior - but they differ based on the type of work. 01 Electrician (requires 8000 hours training), electrical contractor registration (fee based registration), 01 administrator licensing (test based license, this is the admin on your staff to deal with permits and be the responsible party - can be the same person in a small company). 01's can do all electrical installations. Then they split down to 02 for residential (6000 hours training, I believe), 03 for pump/irrigation (unlimited scope within pumps, approx 4k hours training), 03A for residential pump (7-1/2 HP and 100 GPM max scope, approx 4k hours training), limited energy systems (alarm, irrigation, etc), sign electric (neon signs, etc), HVAC electric....there's a list that just keeps on going on.

An electrical company is required to have a certain number of administrators on staff for every multiple of electricians - a 1 to 3 ratio or something, depending on the licensing levels. The admin and the electrical company are fined separately and equally for all violations.

Plumbers are state licensed and are considered Journeyman or Specialty plumbers, but do not have to have a specific Plumbers Contracting license/registration like the electricians, but can be registered as specialty/general contractors instead.

Water well drillers / resource protection drillers have about a 4000 hour training cycle, plus written tests and on site testing.

Engineers, water well drillers, resource protection drillers, surveyors, architects, realtors, appraisers, home inspectors.....I can't think of the others, but pretty much everyone has to have some licensing or another, or a combination.

Also, most cities/towns require a local license if you do any work within the city limits.

At last count, I have following licenses/endorsements:

Water well drilling license (water wells, geothermal wells)
Resource protection drilling license (monitoring wells, exploration wells, geotech borings, etc)
03A domestic pump specialty electrical administrator
03A domestic pump specialty electrical journeyman
03A domestic pump specialty plumbing journeyman
Specialty combined electrical/general contractor registration
Washington State Corporate Business License
CDL Class A drivers license, including:
  • CDL Tanker endorsement
  • CDL Combination endorsement
  • CDL Air brake endorsement
Plus a bunch of random town/city licenses, and the registrations with the various agencies mentioned in prior posts - Department of Revenue, Department of Labor & Industries for workers compensation/industrial insurance, and Department of Employment Security for workers unemployment insurance.

We've escaped having to be licensed as crane operators two years in a row now, but I'm not sure we'll be able to keep that up in the legislator.

There is some form of reciprocity between state licensing, but L&I reserves the right to reject out of state licensing on a whim.

One big gripe is that we can't self insure for workers comp, unless we have in excess of something like 50 million in revenue per year. So, even with a sub 1.0 workers comp rate modifier/coefficient, we're still paying anywhere from $2 to $4 per hour for workers comp per employee.
 

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Oregon
Hard not to provide specific information because this state's requirements are very specific - nothing "general" about them. You guys from New York and New Hampshire want to stay away from Oregon.

Information from the State of Oregon Contractors Construction Board (CCB) website:

"Who Needs To Be Licensed
Oregon law requires anyone who works for compensation in any construction activity involving improvements to real property to be licensed with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB). This includes roofing, siding, painting, carpentry, concrete, on-site appliance repair, heating and air conditioning, home inspections, tree service, plumbing, electrical, floor covering, manufactured dwelling installations, land development and most other construction and repair services.

A CCB license is also required for:

those who purchase homes, fix them up themselves and resell them.
material suppliers that receive compensation for installing or arranging the installation of the materials.

Special Certifications/Licenses
In addition to a CCB license, by law individuals or businesses performing specific work may be required to have special individual or business certifications and licenses."
(Note : This applies to plumbers, electricians, landscape designers, locksmiths, and home inspectors. In addition, a special license is required for lead paint removal - Oregon is one of those states which regulates lead paint removal instead of the EPA. Pass the course, pay $50 per year.)

"Steps to Become Licensed
To become a licensed contractor in Oregon you must:

Complete the prerequisite training and pass CCB’s statewide test. This is the person who becomes the Responsible Managing Individual (RMI).
File your assumed business name, corporation or LLC at the Oregon Corporation Division.
Obtain and submit a CCB surety bond in the required amount(s).
Obtain and provide proof of general liability insurance in the required amount.
Provide evidence of worker’s compensation and other employer account numbers if applicable.
Submit a completed CCB application with the $325 fee for two years."

Continuing education requirements have recently been implemented for both commercial and residential contractors and these requirements must be met in order to renew your license (which are good for two years). The commercial CE requirements are fairly complicated so I won't detail them here. Residential contractors need to take 16 or 8 hours of CE depending on what level of residential license they have (which is determined by the amount you gross and how many trades you may be involved in).
 
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I'd like to hear from a WA contractor. My understanding is that there is no "contractors license" but only a business license and liability insurance are required. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Hi Phil,

I manage 213 Contractor's licenses for my company. You're correct Washington's license is little more than a business license.

Bill
 

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Oregon
Hard not to provide specific information because this state's requirements are very specific - nothing "general" about them. You guys from New York and New Hampshire want to stay away from Oregon.

Information from the State of Oregon Contractors Construction Board (CCB) website:

"Who Needs To Be Licensed
Oregon law requires anyone who works for compensation in any construction activity involving improvements to real property to be licensed with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB). This includes roofing, siding, painting, carpentry, concrete, on-site appliance repair, heating and air conditioning, home inspections, tree service, plumbing, electrical, floor covering, manufactured dwelling installations, land development and most other construction and repair services.

A CCB license is also required for:

those who purchase homes, fix them up themselves and resell them.
material suppliers that receive compensation for installing or arranging the installation of the materials.

Special Certifications/Licenses
In addition to a CCB license, by law individuals or businesses performing specific work may be required to have special individual or business certifications and licenses."
(Note : This applies to plumbers, electricians, landscape designers, locksmiths, and home inspectors. In addition, a special license is required for lead paint removal - Oregon is one of those states which regulates lead paint removal instead of the EPA. Pass the course, pay $50 per year.)

"Steps to Become Licensed
To become a licensed contractor in Oregon you must:

Complete the prerequisite training and pass CCB’s statewide test. This is the person who becomes the Responsible Managing Individual (RMI).
File your assumed business name, corporation or LLC at the Oregon Corporation Division.
Obtain and submit a CCB surety bond in the required amount(s).
Obtain and provide proof of general liability insurance in the required amount.
Provide evidence of worker’s compensation and other employer account numbers if applicable.
Submit a completed CCB application with the $325 fee for two years."

Continuing education requirements have recently been implemented for both commercial and residential contractors and these requirements must be met in order to renew your license (which are good for two years). The commercial CE requirements are fairly complicated so I won't detail them here. Residential contractors need to take 16 or 8 hours of CE depending on what level of residential license they have (which is determined by the amount you gross and how many trades you may be involved in).
The current law was written by the Associated General Contractors and passed at their request. Frankly I don't believe it makes a lot of sense. There are limited licenses (<40K gross per year) but there is no difference between levels 1 & 2 except for the bond amount. A residential contractor can do small commercial projects or any project that does not exceed $250K.

Here's a link to the rules:
http://ccbed.ccb.state.or.us/WebPDF/CCB/Slideshows/LicensingEndorsementPowerPoint.pdf
 
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