How to Get a Wisconsin Contractor License

Published: Oct 12, 2016
Wisconsin contractor license

 

A range of construction professions require obtaining a Wisconsin contractor license, so that contractors can operate legally in the state.

If you would like to run a dwelling, blasting and fireworks, mechanical, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fire sprinkler, conveyances or inspection business, you will have to get licensed with the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. Obtaining your license involves a number of administrative steps, including posting a contractor license bond.

Let’s review the licensing requirements for all contractor types, so you can prepare for the application process and go through it with ease.

Wisconsin contractor license types and requirements

The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services regulates nine different types of contractor licenses. Below is an overview of the licensing requirements for each of them.

Dwellings, Structures and Sites

General contractors can obtain a Wisconsin Dwelling Contractor license or Dwelling Contractor Restricted license. Within this category, there are also Soil Tester, Welder and Weld Test Conductor licenses.

The main licensing requirements include:

  • Duly filled application form
  • Payment of relevant fees
  • Workers’ compensation requirements compliance
  • Post liability insurance or surety bond as a sign of financial security ($25,000 for dwelling contractors)

The license is active for one year and needs to be renewed afterwards.

Blasting and Fireworks

If you’d like to operate a blasting contractorship, you will need to obtain a Blasting license in the respective class (running from 1 to 7).

Besides completing the correct application form for your license type, you will have to present the following:

  • Payment of application fees
  • Criminal background check
  • 640 hours of experience
  • Trade profession examination

Fireworks manufacturers also need to get an inspection report and a federal license.

Mechanical

HVAC contractors and liquified gas suppliers represent another set of license types. To obtain a Wisconsin HVAC contractors license or gas supplier license, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Payment of application fees
  • Completed application form
  • Business representative documents
  • General liability insurance for gas suppliers

Plumbing

Plumbers can choose from ten different licenses, including journeyman, master, and plumbing apprentice. Utility contractors can apply for a Wisconsin utility contractor license.

The typical requirements for these types of licenses include:

  • Completed application form
  • Payment of due fees
  • Proof of relevant experience or education/degree
  • Passing the required examination

Electrical

Electrical contractors need to obtain one of the 11 types of Wisconsin electrical contractor licenses. These include journeyman, apprentice, industrial electrical contractor and others.

The licensing requirements are (in the general case):

  • Duly filled application form
  • Payment of fees
  • Business representative documents
  • Workers’ compensation requirements compliance (if applicable)
  • Unemployment compensation requirements compliance (if applicable)

Conveyances

Elevator and lift contractors can be licensed under nine different types of Wisconsin contractor licenses. Among them are apprentice, helper, and mechanic options for both elevator and lift specialties.

In most cases, contractors need to meet the following requirements:

  • Completed application form
  • Payment of license fees
  • Business representative documents
  • Workers’ compensation requirements compliance (if needed)
  • Liability insurance
  • Apprenticeship paperwork (if applicable)

Fire Sprinkler

Fire sprinkler specialists need to get one of the seven available license types to operate legally in Wisconsin, including apprentice, tester, fitter maintenance and journeyman fitter.

Licensing requirements that apply in most cases are:

  • Filled application form
  • Payment of applicable fees
  • Proof of meeting experience and education requirements
  • Certification paperwork
  • Passed relevant examination

Inspection

The last option for contractor license in Wisconsin is for inspection. There are 14 different types of inspection licenses, some of which are building, electrical, plumbing, elevator, and HVAC inspectors. The licensing requirements vary, but in most cases they include the following:

  • Completed license application for the exact license type
  • Payment of license fees
  • Proof of passing successfully the required examination

Getting your Wisconsin contractors license bond

Wisconsin contractor license bond

One of the main Wisconsin contractor license requirements for general contractors (Dwelling) is posting a financial security in the form of insurance or a surety bond. If you choose the bond option, you will need to obtain a $25,000 contractor license bond for the regular license, and $5,000 for the restricted one.

The purpose of the bond is to guarantee that your contracting business will abide by all applicable rules and regulations in Wisconsin. In case you transgress from your obligations, your clients will be financially protected.

To get bonded, you don’t need to pay the full amount. In fact, you only have to cover a small percentage of it called the bond premium, usually between 1%-2.5% of the bond amount. This is your surety bond price.

Your bond premium is formulated on the basis of your personal and business finances, such as your credit score, financials and assets and liquidity. You can expect to pay less for your bond if your profile is strong. 

Are you ready to start your licensing and bonding? You can start today by completing our online application to get your free bond quote. For any questions, just call us at 866.450.3412. Lance Surety Bonds’ specialists will be happy to assist you.

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Victor Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates, Inc. He began his career as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving two combat tours. As president of Lance Surety, he now focuses on educating and assisting small businesses throughout the country with various license and bond requirements. Victor graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.