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Obtaining a Contractor's License in Wisconsin
A license is a must-have to practice as a contractor in the state of Wisconsin. You may already have lofty dreams of great projects in the works, but that needs to come to a halt until you have the certification and licensure required to practice.
While some states offer an all-encompassing general contracting license, Wisconsin breaks it down more specifically. It requires budding professionals to seek tailored licensure relevant to the unique fields in which they intend to work. There will be different fee structures, required education, examinations, and licenses for different focus areas.
Today, we’ll walk you through the nitty-gritty details of obtaining a contractor's license in the beautiful state of Wisconsin, so you’ll know what to expect at every turn.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM US
At Contractor Training Center, we believe that everyone should have access to knowledge and support that can empower them to achieve their career goals. We offer application assistance so that you can go through the process confidently with a dedicated license specialist.Contact us
The Benefits of Having a Contractor's License in Wisconsin
While having a contracting license to work on construction projects in Wisconsin is the law of the land, there are also many benefits that can put you ahead of the competitors. Here are a few:
An active license adds immense value to the validity of your business. When you have a license, it is a signal to prospective customers that you take your craft seriously and have gone through the required steps to make it happen. Licensing can help build trust with clients. Additionally, having valid licensure shows that you have proper insurance and protections in place that can put to bed any anxieties a client may have about the safety of a project.
As we will discuss more in-depth, licensing proves that you have attained a certain level of education in your field and passed relevant examinations. It is a great way to build client confidence in your abilities, but the educational requirement also allows you to refresh your skills and industry knowledge! The better you know the ins and outs of your work, the more satisfied your customer base will be.
Higher Earning Potential
A bonus of the licensing requirement in Wisconsin? You can bid on higher-level projects, and people will be willing to pay your higher rates. When customers can trust that their construction company is certified and highly skilled, they will be happy to pay a higher price for that higher level of expertise. Over time, your earning potential will skyrocket. You’ll have greater freedom and financial flexibility to engage in projects you believe in and make the most of your time.
HOW TO GET A CONTRACTORS LICENSE IN WI
When you’re ready to get started, here are the basic steps you’ll need to take to get your contracting license in Wisconsin.
Step 1: Decide What Type of License Your Business Needs
There is a myriad of licenses that you can obtain for different types of construction projects. For the sake of this article, we're going to focus on one- and two-family dwellings.
Dwelling Contractor’s License
The standard Dwelling Contractor’s License in Wisconsin is as close to a General Contractor’s license as you can get in the state. It allows your business to work on one- and two-family dwelling projects of any size and cost, without limitations. Because of the freedom this licensure allows, you will need to show proof of insurance and have a bond of at least $25,000.
Dwelling Contractor’s Restricted License
This restricted version of a Dwelling Contractor’s License gives businesses the ability to work on smaller-scale projects that come in at or under $25,000. Because of the limitations, there is no general liability insurance requirement for this type of licensure, and businesses must secure a bond somewhere between $5,000 and $25,000.
Dwelling Contractor Qualifier License
No matter which route you go for your business license, an individual from your business will need to obtain a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier License. This licensure goes to an individual for completion of the necessary education and examinations. You'll need to obtain it for your business to qualify for a license!
Which Exam Should You Take?
While these licenses are different, there is not one that is innately better than the other. It would be best if you made the calculation based on the goals of your business and the scale of projects you hope to land.
Step 2: Complete 12-Hour Qualifier Course
To get your Dwelling Contractor Qualifier License, you will need to take an initial 12-hour course. This course teaches the necessary information about building standards and safety, local laws and regulations, best practices, and more. Here is a list of qualified courses.
Upon completion of the course, you will successfully earn your certificate. This certificate is a required component of your licensure application, so you must study and prepare!
Besides the initial 12-hour course, you will need to seek continued education in future years to ensure the continued validity of your license. The state of Wisconsin requires that you engage in 12 hours of continued education curriculum every two years. Many of the qualified course providers for the initial 12-hour course also offer continued education opportunities.
The educational side is crucial for maintaining good standing for your business, so be sure that the Dwelling Contractor Qualifier maintains certification through continued education.
Step 3: Complete Your License Application
To successfully apply for a Wisconsin Dwelling Contractor’s license for your business, you’ll need to compile all the required components of the application. While it can feel like a lot of moving parts, don’t stress! Contractor Training Center has services to walk you through the process from start to finish.
The business representative who applies must be the Dwelling Contractor Qualifier who completed the 12-hour course. Here is a rundown of the items you will need to submit with your application.
Completed Application Form and Fee
The breakdown of the fee is a $15.00 application fee and a $25.00 credential fee.
Worker’s Compensation Insurance
You will have to sign guaranteeing that your company has secured the correct level of worker’s comp insurance.
Unemployment Compensation Insurance
Similarly, you will have to sign guaranteeing that your company has secured the correct level of unemployment comp insurance.
Proof of Financial Responsibility
You'll need to furnish evidence that you have acquired either 1) a bond of at least $25,000 or 2) liability insurance of at least $250,000 per occurrence of harm.
Step 4: Submit the Application
You can submit applications through this online platform or mail paper applications to:
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services
4822 Madison Yards Way
Madison, WI 53705
Preparing for the Contractors Exam
To complete your 12-hour qualifier course, you may need to pass an exam, based on your license type.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
It sure is! As with many fields, professionals in the contracting industry must continue their education over time. It helps to ensure that everyone is up-to-date with the latest laws and regulations and is an excellent opportunity to refresh your knowledge.
You will need 12 hours of state-approved education in every two-year licensing period. You can complete these hours all at once in one course or over time.
Step one is making sure you have enough continued education under your belt for the two years! If you do, the rest is a breeze.
Four to six weeks before you can renew, you will receive a notice from the state of Wisconsin detailing when your licensure is set to expire and informing you of the next steps. You will receive a card if you’ve finished your continued education. The state will send out paper renewal forms to those who still need to complete their educational requirement.
You can conveniently renew online here.
Starting a new business is exciting! But it can also be a daunting process to undergo alone. You can streamline the process by visiting the One-Stop Business Registration page. The platform allows new business owners in Wisconsin to register their company with the Department of Financial Institutions, the Department of Revenue, and the Department of Workforce Development simultaneously.
Depending on the type of business you plan to register, you may need different forms. A complete guide to different types of business licenses and what forms you will need to submit is available here.
You can expect to submit evidence of relevant licensure, certification, and liability insurance. You will need to request an EIN for tax purposes. It is also a good idea to start strong by securing your company name with a trademark! This copyright can help protect the image of your business for the long haul.
Once you come up with the perfect name, you’ll want to make sure that no other companies have the same name or are in the process of applying for licensure with that business name.
Conveniently, a business entity lookup tool allows you to double-check the availability of the name you want before you submit your paperwork! You can find the name registry checker here.
Contact Contractor Training Today
Starting a contracting company in the state of Wisconsin requires immense dedication and commitment. The payoff, though, is a fulfilling career that gives you freedom, stability, and independence to work on projects that excite you.
If you’re hoping to break into the contracting business, Contractor Training Center has all the resources and supportive services you need to make that dream a reality. Reach out today and take your first step towards your contractor license in the great state of Wisconsin!