Handyman Licensing in Massachusetts - Housecall Pro

Massachusetts handyman license:
everything you need to know

Working as a handyman in Massachusetts gives you the opportunity to earn money. There’s a demand for home repairs and improvements. By becoming a licensed professional, you can expand your options and possibly start your own handyman business. This guide will explain the different levels of handyman work in the state and how to earn your Massachusetts handyman license.

Do you need a license in Massachusetts to become a handyman?

In Massachusetts, you can do a great deal of home improvement and repair work without a license. You can become a home improvement contractor by registering with the state. Home improvement contractors are unlicensed professionals who do smaller projects in one or two-family homes. They are not allowed to do major construction or demolition. These workers can make an average of $50,000 per year.

If you want to work on larger projects that involve construction, you will need to receive your construction supervisor license. There are two types of general construction supervisor licenses : unrestricted and restricted. 

An unrestricted license allows an individual to do construction and repair on any structure less than 35,000 cubic feet, including one and two-family dwellings and agricultural buildings. A restricted license allows for general contracting, but only on family dwellings. With a construction supervisor license, you can earn anywhere from $75,000-$100,000 a year. The average salary varies based on experience, specialty, and location. A handyman in the Boston area can charge significantly more than in other parts of the state.

There are several specialty construction supervisor licenses: masonry, roof covering, windows, doors and siding, fuel-burning appliance, demolition, and insulation. These licenses allow the handyman to do specialty work on buildings less than 35,000 cubic feet. A single contractor can hold licenses in several specialties.

How much does it cost to get a handyman license in Massachusetts?

To register as a home improvement contractor through the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, the cost is $150 for a two-year license.

The Massachusetts Board of Building Regulation and Standards grants construction supervisor licenses. Each exam costs $100. The unrestricted construction supervisor license fee is $150. Specialty licenses can be bundled, so you only pay $150 for a license with multiple specialties.

How to get a handyman license in Massachusetts

To receive any Massachusetts handyman license, you must be 18 years old with three years of documented building experience. The work experience requirement is not specific. Generally, people spend a few years as a registered home improvement contractor doing small projects or working under a construction supervisor. The length of experience will total three years at 40 hours per week. Once you pass your exam, you can receive your license from the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulation and Standards. The Board issues licenses about 30 days after a passing exam grade.

The state offers exams regularly throughout the year. There is no formal classwork required to take the exam. However, there are a number of online preparation courses. A few community colleges also offer a test preparation course. The test focuses on state construction codes, safety procedures, and general contracting best practices.

How to use your handyman license to get a job

Once you receive your construction supervisor license, there are a number of directions you can go to get a job. Many building companies post positions on online services. Some larger organizations, like hospitals or universities, need a crew of handymen on staff for repairs and small projects.

You also may want to consider going into business for yourself. Both a registered home improvement contractor and a licensed construction supervisor can work independently. There are different challenges to running your own business. An independent handyman will have to acquire his or her own tools, advertise services, and handle expenses.

The building and home improvement industry are constantly producing new tools, materials, and products. To stay on top of new trends, you will want to follow blogs specific to your licensing area. There are also trade shows across the country every year. 

Because of the growing concern for the environment, you will want to pay attention to sustainable building practices and green materials. Attending a conference like the Greenbuild Expo could be a sound investment in your career.

Is my handyman license only valid in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts does not have reciprocity with any other state for its handyman licenses. If you have an out-of-state license, it can count as proof of your three years of work experience, but you will have to take the exam and pay the Massachusetts’ fees.

If you need a duplicate card or to update information on your current license, you can handle any licensing issues through the website of the Board of Building Regulation and Standards.

How often do I need to renew my handyman license in Massachusetts?

A Massachusetts handyman license must be renewed every two years. There is a $100 fee for license renewal for all license types.

Twelve hours are required to renew an unrestricted license. Ten hours are required for a restricted license. Six hours are required for specialty licenses. These classes focus on new state codes and safety practices.