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What Does It Mean to Be a Licensed Contractor?

“Are you a licensed contractor?”

Consumers searching for contractors often hear, “Make sure your contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured.” However, getting licensed often has bonding or insurance requirements, meaning consumers generally only need to make sure their contractor has an up-to-date license.

What does it mean to be a licensed contractor?

In order to obtain a contractor’s license in Maryland, an individual must:

  1. Meet the experience requirement for each classification
  2. Have an owner or qualifying party pass a written exam
  3. If a contractor represents a corporation, articles of incorporation and a certificate of good standing from the Department of Assessments and Taxation must be submitted
  4. Provide proof of current $50,000 liability insurance must be filed with the application for licensure;
  5. Pay a license fee which includes a fee to the Contractors’ Recovery Fund.

(For more information, visit the Maryland Home Improvement Commission site.)

Delaware, on the other hand, requires a state business license and a local license for each jurisdiction. For instance, there is a license for the town of Bethany Beach, a different license for Ocean View, and another for Fenwick Island. There is no “Home Improvement” license in Delaware, so if the contractor is not licensed in another state, you may have to rely on references from former clients and other local professionals.

Using an unlicensed contractor to save money is never a good idea. The potential for unnecessary stress and liability for you, the owner, is never worth it.