How to Get a Maryland Contractor License

If you want to work as a contractor in the State of Maryland, you need to get a Maryland contractor license. The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) and the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) handle the licensing process for contractors. They have established several requirements you must fulfill before you can receive a license.

In this guide, we will break down the various licensing requirements and the steps you need to take to get your Maryland contractor license.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Step 1: Determine what type of contractor license you need

The first step to getting a Maryland contractor license is to figure out the type of license you need based on the work you perform. Here are the different license classifications:

  • Home Improvement License: This license is the Maryland version of a general contractor license. It allows contractors to work on projects that involve repair, replacement, remodeling, or other home improvement work for residential buildings.
  • Plumber’s Contractor License: This license lets contractors work on plumbing projects. There are two subclassifications: master and journeyman.
  • Electrician License: This license lets contractors work on projects that involve electrical work.
  • HVACR License: This license lets contractors work on projects involving heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration components. There are three subclassifications: limited contractor, journeyman, and master.

Step 2: Register your business

The next step to getting a Maryland contractor license is to register your business with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. In addition to the business registration, you will also need to complete the sales and use tax registration.

You can complete the registration online using the Maryland Business Express platform.

Step 3: Get insurance coverage

Home improvement contractors are required to get general liability insurance with at least $50,000 of coverage. A certificate verifying this coverage must be included with your license application.

If your business plans to hire employees, you will also need to get workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

Step 4: Get a surety bond

Home improvement contractors are required to provide proof of financial solvency by providing financial statements verifying a minimum net worth of $20,000. If you do not meet the minimum net worth requirements, you can post a Maryland surety bond in its place. The bond provides financial protection to the state and consumers in the event they are damaged by the contractor’s actions.

The required bond amount for home improvement contractor license bonds is $20,000. You are only responsible for paying a small portion of this amount as a premium. When the surety company issues your bond, they will determine your exact premium by evaluating your professional experience, credit history, and other factors.

Some local jurisdictions require their own Maryland contractors license bonds. This includes Baltimore, Carroll, Calvert, Hagerstown, Prince George's, and St. Mary's counties, among others. You should check with your local municipality to ensure you meet all bonding requirements.

Step 5: Pass the license exam

Home improvement contractors must pass a knowledge test administered by PSI before receiving a license. Tests take place Monday through Friday at various locations throughout the state.

To take the exam, you will need to schedule an appointment in advance and pay the $63 exam fee. The test contains 55 questions (35 for salespersons exams) and you must answer at least 70% correctly to pass.

You can learn more about the exam process on the MHIC website.

Step 6: Submit contractor license application

After you have satisfied all the necessary requirements, you are ready to submit your contractor license application to the Department of Labor. You can find the application here on the DOL website. 

When preparing your application, you will need to include the following supporting documents:

  • Credit report
  • Certificate of liability insurance
  • Financial statements verifying net worth or a surety bond form
  • Copy of any conviction records

Your application must also include the following fees:

  • $250 original application fee
  • $250 fee for each additional company location
  • $100 guaranty fund contribution
  • $20 processing fee

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can send the application packet to the following address:

Maryland Home Improvement Commission
P.O. Box 17409
Baltimore, Maryland 21297-1409

Below are links to the application pages for other Maryland contractor licenses.

Maryland contractor license frequently asked questions

How do you renew a Maryland contractor license?

Maryland home improvement contractor licenses are valid for two years from the date of issuance. The MHIC mails contractors a renewal notice with instructions for renewing the license 60 days prior to the expiration date.

After you receive the notice, you can renew your license online. There is a $250 renewal application fee you must pay when completing the process.

How long does it take to get a contractors license in Maryland?

Once the Maryland Home Improvement Commission receives your application, it normally takes two to three weeks for them to process the application and issue your license.

Do you need a license to be a handyman in Maryland?

If you want to work as a handyman in Maryland you must get a home improvement contractor license from the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

How EZ Surety Bonds can help with a Maryland contractor license

These are the steps needed to become a licensed contractor in Maryland. When you are ready to apply for your license, EZ Surety Bonds can help you get your contractor license bond quickly and affordably. Apply online today or get in touch to learn more.