How to Get a Contractor’s License in Maryland

maryland contractor license

 

In Maryland, general contractors do not need to undergo a state licensing process. However, if you want to operate as a home improvement contractor, electrician, plumber and gas fitter, or HVACR specialist, you need to obtain a Maryland contractor license.

The licensing entails providing proof of your suitability to conduct your work as a contractor professional in a certain field. Thus, you will need to meet licensing criteria that demonstrate your ability to do your job, as well as your financial stability as a business. In some cases, you may need to provide a Maryland contractor license bond as a part of the process.

In this guide, you can find the essentials about getting a license as a Maryland contractor.

The licensing requirements for Maryland contractors

For each of the four specialty contractors who need licensing in Maryland, the procedures are different, and so are the requirements you have to satisfy. The licensing body is the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Maryland Home Improvement Contractors (MHIC)

This type of contractor needs to obtain a license from the Department’s Home Improvement Commission (MHIC).

You have to provide the following documents:

  • Business and trade name registered with the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation
  • Real estate and bank statements
  • Credit report
  • Certificate of Liability Insurance – $50,000
  • Personal information about the owner
  • Copy of any conviction records
  • Financial solvency documents – if you don’t meet the minimum net worth requirement of $20,000, you have to post a surety bond in this amount
  • Successful passing of the licensing exam
  • Payment of $250 licensing fee, $100 Guaranty Fund Contribution, $20 processing fee and $63 exam fee
  • Proof of at least two years of experience in home improvement work, construction and/or related education

All paperwork should be submitted to:

Maryland Home Improvement Commission

P.O. Box 17409

Baltimore, Maryland 21297-1409

Electricians

Electricians have to get licensed with the Department’s Board of Master Electricians.

If you want to become a master electrician, you have to provide proof for:

  • Seven years of experience under a master electrician, or a similarly qualified employee of a governmental unit
  • Successful passing of the Master Electrician exam
  • General Liability Insurance in the amount of at least $300,000 and Property Damage Insurance in the amount of at least $100,000

Plumbers and Gas fitters

The Department’s Board of Plumbing provides licensing for plumbers and gas fitters in Maryland. The licensing requirements are different for Master Plumber/ Gas Fitter license and for Journeyman license.

For Master Plumbers/ Gas Fitters:

  • Proof of journey license for at least two years
  • Completed 3,750 hours of training under the direction and control of a licensed master plumber
  • Comprehensive written examination

For Journey Plumbers/ Gas Fitters:

  • Apprentice license for at least four years
  • Completed 7,500 hours of training under the control and direction of a licensed master plumber
  • 32 hours of training in backflow prevention device testing
  • Comprehensive written examination

There are separate criteria for natural gas fitters, propane gas fitters, and plumbing inspectors.

HVACR specialists

HVACR contractors in Maryland need to get licensed with the Department’s Board of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors (HVACR).

In order to obtain a master’s license, you have to provide the following:

  • Three years of licensure as a journeyman under the direction and control of an HVACR master
  • Minimum of 1,875 hours in the last year
  • Passed the master examination with a score of 70%
  • Currently hold a journeyman

There are also other licensing options, such as master restricted license, limited license, and a journeyman license, which all have different requirements.

Obtaining a contractor license bond

maryland contractor licenseOnly home improvement contractors in Maryland may be required to post a contractor license bond. It may be needed in case you don’t meet the requirements for financial solvency. In case your net worth is less than $20,000, you may have to obtain a $20,000 surety bond instead. The purpose of the bond is to guarantee your legal compliance.

In order to get bonded, you have to cover a small percentage of the required bond amount. This is the actual bond cost, which is typically between 1% and 3% of the actual amount, depending on the strength of your finances. The bond price is formulated after careful consideration of your personal credit score, company finances, and any fixed or liquid assets you may have. The stronger these factors are, the lower your bond cost would be.

Do you have further questions about obtaining a Maryland contractor license and bonding? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 877.514.5146.

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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.

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