Minnesota Contractor License: Your Easy Guide

Published: Apr 24, 2019
minnesota contractor license


If you’d like to start a contracting business in Minnesota, you will need to make sure that you meet the state criteria for practicing your profession. For many types of contractors, this entails obtaining a Minnesota contractor license or registering your business.

The licensing and registration processes include meeting certain requirements that guarantee your suitability for working as a contractor. In some cases, they include posting a Minnesota contractor license bond. It guarantees your legal compliance and protects the general public in the state.  

For your convenience, in the guide below you can find the essential details about the license types and their respective requirements.

The Minnesota contractor license requirements

All types of contractor licenses in Minnesota are provided by the state Department of Labor and Industry. It oversees the activities of construction specialists and ensures that their customers’ rights are protected.

Residential contractors, remodelers and roofers license

You need to obtain a license as a residential contractor, remodeler or roofer in case you meet the following criteria:

  • You are an individual or a company working directly with residential owners and provide services in more than one specialty area
  • You own residential real estate and want to build or improve homes for resale
  • The residential project is up to four units

The difference between residential contractors and remodelers is that the later cannot build but only can improve existing constructions.

The specialty areas include excavation, masonry/concrete, carpentry, interior finishing, exterior finishing, drywall and plaster, roofing, and general installation.

If you are required to obtain a license, you have to follow the procedure set by the Department. It entails completing an application form and providing a list of paperwork:

  • Pass the necessary licensing exam
  • Provide Certificate of compliance under Minnesota Workers' Compensation law
  • Criminal background check
  • Background disclosure
  • General liability and property damage insurance

In addition, roofing contractors have to provide a $15,000 surety bond.

The Contractor Registration Program

Even if you do not need a license from the Department, you will have to enlist in its Contractor Registration Program.

It applies for:

  • Commercial contractors
  • Subcontractors who do not work directly with owners
  • Residential contractors working on buildings with more than four units

You can check with the Department whether a simple registration will suffice, or if you will need the full license described above.

Plumbers, electricians, high-pressure piping contractors, and elevator contractors

Additionally, the Department of Labor and Industry also provides licensing for other specialty contractors. These include plumbers, electricians, mechanical contractors, high-pressure piping contractors, and elevator contractors.

The requirements for each specialty vary, but the general criteria include:

  • Proof of hands-on practical experience
  • Liability insurance
  • Surety bond

In addition, mechanical contractors (HVAC) need to provide a surety bond, but are not required to get a state license.

You can find more details about the specific requirements for your license type on the Department’s website.

Posting a contractor license bond

minnesota contractor license

As noted in the previous section, plumbers, mechanical contractors, electricians, pipe laying and elevator contractors have to provide a contractor license bond. The bonding amount for these contractor types is $25,000. Roofing contractors and high-pressure piping contractors have to post a $15,000 bond. The purpose of the bonding is to ensure that you will adhere to the applicable state laws in your operations.

In order to get bonded, you have to cover a small percentage of the $25,000 bond amount. Your surety bond cost depends on the strength of your personal and business finances. The better your overall profile is, the lower your bond price would be. The typical rates for applicants with a good credit score are in the range of 1% to 5%, which means between $250 and $1,250 for a $25,000 bond, or $150 to $750 for a $15,000 bond.


Have further questions about getting a Minnesota contractor license and bonding? You can speak with our specialists by calling us at 877.514.5146.

Ready to get your FREE surety bond quote? Apply with Lance Surety Bonds and get bonded in minutes.
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