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Washington Handyman License: Everything You Need to Know

As a handyman professional, you want to maximize your opportunities. Registering for a Washington state handyman license shows employers and customers your commitment to the handyman industry. This guide contains everything you need to know about registering as a home service professional in this state.

Do You Need a License in Washington to Become a Handyman?

Washington does not offer a handyman license. However, general contractors and specialty contractors are required to register with the state's labor and industry board. Handyman professionals are referred to as specialty contractors who perform minor work on existing properties with a value less than $2,000.

Specialty contractors must register to perform one handyman trade or craft. Examples of trades/crafts include appliance installation, asbestos/lead management, window installations, and construction clean up. Here is a list of specialty contractor trades as defined by the Washington state legislature. To register as a specialty contractor, applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED.

  • Register their businesses with the Washington Secretary of State ($180).

  • Apply for a business license ($19 - $24).

  • Get an employer identification number from the IRS.

  • Complete a contractor application.

  • Purchase liability insurance (at least $250,000) and a surety bond ($6,000).

General contractors in Washington state are authorized to perform work in a variety of trades/crafts, including (but not limited to) boiler/steam fitting, cabinetry, and closet installations. To register as a general contractor, applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED.

  • Register their businesses with the Washington Secretary of State ($180).

  • Apply for a business license ($19 - $24).

  • Get an employer identification number from the IRS.

  • Complete a contractor application.

  • Purchase liability insurance (at least $250,000) and a surety bond ($12,000).

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries issues general contractor and specialty licenses. It is against Washington state law to perform handyman work without registering with the state's department of labor office.

You should know that the registration does not include building and business permits. As a handyman professional working in Washington state, it is your responsibility to obtain the required permits to perform handyman services.

Licensed independent general contractors in Washington charge as much as $125 per hour. As an unlicensed handyman professional, expect to earn between $15 and $30 per hour.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Handyman License in Washington?

The cost of a Washington state handyman license is $117.90.

How to Get a Handyman License in Washington

Washington state does not have education and examination requirements for general and specialty contractors. You are required to register as a business with the state, possess insurance, and get a bond. Although you are not required to take general contractor courses, it is a good idea to enroll in a training program to develop your skills.

General and Special Contractor Training Programs

Program Requirements

  • Be at least 18 years old.

  • Possess a high school diploma or GED.

  • Pass a general aptitude test.

On-the-Job Experience

  • Install appliances, awnings, and garage doors.

  • Replace windows and roofing materials.

  • Modify, repair, and alter existing structures.

  • Demolish existing structures.

  • Renovate residential and commercial kitchens and bathrooms.

  • Install residential and commercial fencing.

  • Install cabinetry, lighting, and fixtures.

Program Courses

  • Project Management

  • Safety Codes

  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

  • Basic Construction Principles

  • Washington Construction Regulations

Washington General and Specialty Contractor Courses: Expect to pay at least $250 per course. Online and classroom courses are available. Financial aid is generally available for students who attend accredited schools.

Washington Contractor Exam Information: The state of Washington does not require general and specialty contractor registrants to take an examination.

How to Use Your Handyman License to Get a Job

After you register as a general or specialty contractor, you can apply for a job. Here are a few resources to increase your chances of success:

Where to Find Handyman Jobs

Handyman Job Search Tips

  • Submit bids for contract work with government agencies and corporations.

  • Attend local and virtual career fairs.

  • Advertise your contractor services on classified ad websites.

  • Upload your resume to job search sites.

  • Develop relationships with hiring managers in the construction industry.

  • Apply for at least three jobs a day.

Useful Handyman Job Interview Tips

  • Arrive at least 15 minutes before your job interview.

  • Prepare for your interview by practicing your communication skills.

  • Wear business attire to the interview.

  • Be positive and professional.

Handyman Industry Trends

The handyman industry in the United States generates over $126 billion a year. Whether customers need installation or repair services, they hire contractors to get the jobs done.

Customers are using apps to book services with handyman professionals online. These apps allow customers to schedule services at convenient times and pay for them online.

Handyman industry trade shows offer an opportunity for contractors to learn about the latest trends. Popular contractor trade shows include:

Is My Handyman License Only Valid in Washington?

Handyman professionals in Washington are licensed as general or specialty contractors.

Washington state does not offer reciprocity agreements for general or specialty contractors in other states.

I already have a license but:

How Often Do I Need to Renew My Handyman License in Washington?

Washington state handyman licenses are valid for two years. The renewal fee for each license is $117.90. Registrants who fail to renew their registrations before the expiration date must pay an additional $55.70 to renew their contractor registration.


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