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Obtaining a Contractor's License in Michigan
From electricians to carpenters, all construction and maintenance professionals must gain a contractor's license to work in Michigan. As in most states, this is the case for both combination and residential contractors, mainly if your projects are worth over $600.
You'll have to meet various legal requirements before you can qualify for your license. That's where Contractor Training Center comes in.
If you want to start contracting, we can help you obtain the right contractor's license. Our experts will guide you through the process from start to finish and provide advice on the rules and regulations you'll need to know.
You can expect to take an exam if you want to become a contractor in Michigan:
- Business & Law is a closed-book, multiple-choice exam to test whether you understand the legal requirements of operating a business in Michigan.
- The Maintenance and Alteration Trades Exam is a technical test to assess whether you have the necessary skills to professionally practice your trade. The nature of your trades exam will depend on which license you’re applying for.
There are two types of contractors' licenses in Michigan:
- The Michigan Residential Builders License
- The Maintenance and Alteration Contractor License
There are three main steps you'll have to complete to obtain either:
- Submit your application to Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)
- Pass the Business & Law exam
- Pass the trades exam
What You Can Expect From Us
Contractor Training Center is committed to supporting you through every step of the application process.
So far, we've helped more than 30,000 contractors gain their licenses all over the country. We understand the ins and outs of obtaining your license in Michigan and are proud of our extremely high first-time pass rate. If you don't pass the first time, we'll offer all your classes again for free until you qualify.
Want to learn more about how we can help you practice the trade you love? We'd be delighted to hear from you. Call us on 888-585-7350 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
The Benefits Of Having A Contractor's License In Michigan
If you're hoping to work in Michigan, there are many benefits of having a contractor's license.
Expand Work Opportunities
Without one, you can't work on residential projects worth more than $600 in labor and materials, which severely limits the scale of work you are qualified to do.
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs makes it easy for people to verify contracting licenses on its website. This means that your potential employers can check your licensing credentials before hiring you. If they are trying to choose between your business and somebody else's – and only one of you holds a state license – it's not hard to see which they will hire.
Gain Easier Access to Insurance
Gain Easier Access to Insurance
A valid contactor's license will also make it much easier for you to gain liability insurance. This is a vital way of protecting your business from accidents, injury, or property damage. Many employers will be hesitant to hire contractors without liability insurance, which will greatly boost your credibility.
Avoid Penalties and Fines
What happens if you're not licensed? According to LARA, contractors who accept projects without the appropriate licenses can be forced to pay fines of up to $25,000 per violation. In severe cases, they may also be subject to criminal penalties.
How to Get a Contractor's License in Michigan
How To Get A Contractor's License In Michigan
The process of obtaining your contractor's license in Michigan may seem confusing at first, but don't worry, at Contractor Training Center, we've broken the process down into three straightforward steps.
Before we move on, it's important to make sure that you meet the following criteria. If you don't, you won't be eligible for a contractor's license:
- You are at least 18 years old
- You hold a valid Michigan state driver's license or state ID card
- You have the means to pay all the necessary fees, including the cost of your pre-licensure courses (these alone can be around $400)
Step 1: Complete 60 Hours of Approved Pre-Licensure Courses
Before you can submit your application, you will need to complete (and pass) a total of 60 hours of pre-licensure courses. LARA must have approved these courses, and each will last six hours, meaning you will study 10 courses overall.
LARA states that seven courses must be in the following specific subjects:
- The Michigan Residential Code
- Design and Building Science
- Contracts, Liability, and Risk Management
- Scheduling and Project Management
- Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) Construction Safety Standards
- Sales and Marketing
You can spend the remaining 18 hours, representing three courses, on whatever pre-approved subjects you choose.
Once you've passed all of your training, then congratulations! You'll receive Certificates of Completion to include as part of your contractor's license application.
Step 2: Decide What Type Of License Your Business Needs
As we mentioned earlier, there are two types of contractor's licenses in Michigan. To help you decide whether your business needs the Residential Builders License or the Maintenance and Alteration Contractor License, we've outlined both types below.
The Residential Builders License:
The Residential Builders License will enable you to carry out repairs and improvements on an existing home, as well as to build new properties from scratch. You may need to subcontract the work for specialist services such as mechanics, plumbing, or electrics.
This type of license is similar to what's known as the General Contractor license in many other states. Contractors who hold a valid Residential Builders License will receive a wall license and pocket card.
The Maintenance and Alteration Contractor License:
The Maintenance and Alteration Contractor License will license you to carry out specific trades. You will need a separate license for each trade, although there is no limit to the number of licenses you can hold. If somebody hires you to perform work that falls outside the remit of your license, you could be fined.
Contractors who hold this license will receive a pocket card. This carries the letter code associated with their licensed trade. Each trade covered by the Maintenance and Alteration Contractor License has a corresponding letter code, as we can see below:
- Basement waterproofing (T)
- Carpentry (A)
- Roofing (M)
- Siding (K)
- Tile and marble (P)
- Gutters (O)
- Insulation (G)
- Excavation (D)
- Screen and storm sash (N)
- House wrecking (R)
- Swimming pool installation and maintenance (S)
- Masonry (I)
- Concrete (B)
Which Exam Should You Take?
For both the Residential Builders License and the Maintenance and Alteration Contractor License, you will need to sit the state Business & Law exam. However, your trades exam will vary depending on which licensure you have chosen:
The Residential Builders Trades Exam features 100 questions. To pass, you will need to get a score of 73%, meaning you'll need to answer 73 questions correctly. Overall, you're allowed 150 minutes to complete the exam.
If you're applying for a Maintenance and Alteration Contractor License, you will need to take a separate trade exam for each trade you wish to practice. The number of questions on each exam can vary from 25 to 50.
To find out more about the exam that's required for your particular trade, give us a call on 888-585-7350.
Step 3: Submit Your Application
The next stage of the process is to submit your application to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth (DLEG). You will need to include:
Your pre-licensure course Certificates of Completion
- A valid driver's license or ID
- A credit report
- An application fee of $195
You may be wondering why you need to supply a credit report as part of your application. Because applicants need to pay for their license and exams – and will be expected to manage money once they have become a verified contractor – the Department wants to check that you are financially stable.
If you are not currently financially stable, there's no need to worry just yet. In general, the state expects applicants to have an acceptable credit score and no history of bankruptcies. However, there can be room for negotiation if you can prove that you are highly skilled and taking steps to improve your financial situation. (You must also have a legitimate way of paying your fees).
If you have any queries about this, always contact the DLEG before making an application. A professional at the Department will be able to discuss your situation and offer advice if necessary.
Once you are happy with your application, you can submit it to the DLEG. Typically, you should hear back about whether your application has been accepted within a couple of weeks to a month.
Step 4: Take The Exam
If the DLEG approves your application, you can go ahead and register for your exams. PSI conducts all of Michigan's contractor licensing exams.
If you're trying to get a Residential Builders License, you need to register for the Business & Law exam and your Residential Builders trades exam.
For a Maintenance and Alteration Contractor License, you need to register for the Business & Law exam and the correct trades exam for your chosen specialism.
First-time students will pay $111 to cover the cost of their exam. If you need to re-take the test, you can do so for $106. This will enable you to re-take both test papers.
Exam Times And Date
To register for your exam, call PSI. If you want to speak to a representative, you'll need to phone between 7.30 AM and 8.00 PM ET. Alternatively, you can use their automated registration system, available 24 hours a day.
You can arrange your exam for any date that suits you, but we recommend booking well in advance to give yourself enough time to study.
You'll have 75 minutes for your Business & Law exam. To pass, you'll need to score at least 36/50. As we mentioned above, your trades exam will last 150 minutes, and you must score 73.
Contact Contractor Training Center Today
If you're ready to start applying for your Michigan contractor's license, get in touch with us today at email@example.com or give us a call at 888-585-7350.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
In Michigan, you can take your exams at test centers in the following areas:
- Grand Rapids
Yes, every contractor needs to complete the full 60 hours without exception.
No, your Michigan license won't be valid in other states.
Your license won't enable you to carry out plumbing, electrical, or mechanical work.
In Michigan, commercial builders don't require the same licensing as residential contractors. Licensing is only required for residential properties and combination residential-commercial properties, such as apartment blocks or offices.
Yes. Every three years, you'll need to complete a 3-hour Code/Law/Safety course if you want to renew your license.