Do I still need a contractor's license if I do landscaping or build fences, but not houses?

You will need to check with your local contractors licensing board to find out whether you need a contractor's license for jobs such as fencing or landscaping. In most jurisdictions, specialty contractors include those who build fences, landscape, paint, or do limited types of tasks. These types of contractors have different bond requirements.

Contractors' licenses are certifications and permissions given by a local government to someone working in the construction or renovation industry. Certain requirements must always be met when obtaining a contractor's license such as a certain amount of training and passing a builder’s exam.

In addition to the knowledge requirements, all jurisdictions require that the license holder maintain a bond as insurance against faulty work. This requirement is meant to protect the public as well as the builder.

Who Will Need a Contractor's License

Under most jurisdictions, anyone whose business is building must obtain a license. This includes plumbers, welders, electricians, sprinkler system installers and even fence builders. The only exception to this rule is if you are building a personal residence on your own property, because that residence will not be visited regularly by the public.

Benefits to Obtaining a Contractor's License

Having a contractor's license is a legal requirement, so the greatest benefit is that you can work legally. Your jurisdiction’s licensing agency can verify your status and also assist you with any complaints that may arise. In fact, some jurisdictions even offer mediation for disputes between clients and builders.

In addition, a contractor's license adds credibility to your business. You will be able to advertise as a licensed and bonded builder. Such advertising assures customers that you are a professional, and that the work you complete will be done properly and in accordance with all necessary building codes.

How Do I Obtain a Contractor's License?

Contractor's licenses are generally obtained from your Contractor's State License Board, depending on where you live. If you are unsure how to find it, consult your local business or government directory listing service, or search online with the name of your state, city or county and the words, “Contractor’s License.”