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Handyman Insurance and Licensing: Here’s What You Need to Know

3-minute read

Mariah Bliss

Mariah Bliss

1 August 2018

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Ask any handyman or contractor if you need business insurance. We’re willing to bet that 9 times out of 10, the people you asked responded with a resounding YES.

So why is handyman business insurance so important?

Simple: It ensures that everyone involved in a project - the business owner, the client, and even the employee - is protected from disaster. Let’s say you’re hired to repair some leaks on a client’s roof. You breeze through this seemingly easy project, but then a rainstorm reveals that you actually didn’t do as great a job as you thought. The client’s bedroom is ruined - and you have to pay up.

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Or you’re competing with a few other local handymen to land a long-term project with a property developer. The project could completely change the trajectory of your business, so you’re ready with your portfolio, customer testimonials, and even a few free estimates. You’re 100% confident you’ve got this job in the bag - but then the property developer rejects your proposal simply because you’re not insured.

Business insurance is no joke - and if you want to own a successful handyman company, you have to have it. Clients won’t work with you if you’re not insured. In fact, in many states, you can’t even get licensed without business insurance.

Don’t worry, you don’t need anything too complicated when you’re starting out your business. Most handymen will need to start with a general liability insurance policy, which typically covers accidents, property damage, and anything else damaged while running your business. Handymen with employees should also secure a workers compensation policy, which covers the medical costs and wages of any employee who is injured on the job.

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Now that we’ve covered why you need handyman insurance - and how to get it - let’s tackle how to figure out if you need your handyman business license.

Do You Need a Handyman License to Start Your Business?

It’s not exactly the most exciting question to ask yourself, but trust us - you’ll want to figure out if you need a business license ASAP.

Don’t worry, there’s nothing too complicated associated with this question, because the answer is most definitely YES. A handyman license shows that you’ve been vetted and tested by the state; plus, most customers will only want to work with a licensed handyman.

But what exactly is involved with the process of getting a license for your handyman business?

While each state has its own special requirements, follow these basic steps to get your handyman business licensed and ready to rock:

  • Check out your state’s specific requirements for getting licensed. Most handymen will actually need to get a contractor’s license, which you can get more information about here.
  • Find out if you’ll need one general license, or if you’ll need to be licensed in each specific area you specialize in. You can click here to get more information about your specific state’s requirements.
  • Get enough training to suit your state’s licensing requirements. If you’re brand-new to the handyman world, you may want to join up with a local community college or handyman association to get training. If you’ve worked with another contractor or handyman association, you could use your on-the-job experience to fulfill these requirements.
  • Pick out your business name. Remember, this is the name that will go on all documentation, including your taxes - so make sure you like it.
  • Fill out and submit your licensing application. You’ll get all the applications and forms you need by contacting your state’s small business department or Secretary of State. Don’t take too long to submit your application, as most licenses are only good for about a year. Keep in mind that you may be asked to provide proof of business insurance (more on that later) and any fees associated with getting your license.
  • Figure out if you want to register your business as a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company (LLC). For more information on how to do this, check out our guide on how to start a handyman business. It’s full of great advice on all the legal steps you need to take to get your handyman business up and running!

Getting your business license doesn’t have to be a complicated experience, but it is a necessary one. Customers are far more likely to work with handymen who are licensed and insured, so don’t end up missing out on them just to avoid some paperwork.

Even if not a handyman, you can run a contractors insurance quote to ensure you're covered.

Mariah Bliss

Written by

Mariah Bliss

I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!

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