Want to work as a handyman, contractor, or builder in Alaska? Then before you even step onto a client’s property, you need to get your contractor’s license for Alaska.
This important piece of documentation (more on this later) doesn’t just make you legit in the eyes of the law; it actually protects you and your business in case you get sued as a result of your work. But getting a contractor’s license involves plenty of paperwork - and if you’re a busy person, you may not have lots of time to research how to get your contractor’s license in Alaska.
The good news — we’ve created a simple guide to help you out.
Why Do I Need to Become Licensed in Alaska?
For handymen and contractors, a license changes everything. It opens doors to bigger and higher-paying jobs. It adds credibility. And, it’s the law.
That’s right, if you don’t have a license and you act as a contractor in Alaska, you’re guilty of a class B misdemeanor. You can risk time in jail and a hefty fine. Yikes. But in addition to helping you be a lawful citizen, getting a license has perks:
- It helps you land legal, higher-paying work.
- It positions your business as professional and trustworthy.
- It protects your business by requiring you to carry general liability and business insurance.
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I know I already mentioned the legal issues you could face if you don’t have a contractor’s license in Alaska, but it’s worth emphasizing again: If you end up working on a project without one, you could get sued by both the client and the state, and end up in jail.
Even if you don’t end up in jail, those lawsuits could be big enough to do serious damage to your business, as well as your personal finances.
It pays to get your contractor’s license, even if it feels like a pain in the beginning. But that single day of hassle can prevent years - and thousands of dollars - of potential risk in the future.
Sold? Let’s talk about how you can get the ball rolling on your license in Alaska.
Getting a Contractor License in Alaska: What You Need to Know
General Requirements for Licensure
Fortunately, Alaska is pretty cut and dry — they just require you to get a license if you’re working as a contractor, handyman, home improvement renovator, and other related industries. The Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development and the Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing require anyone acting as a contractor to get a license before doing any work. If you don’t, you risk criminal penalties.
These laws exist to protect people from scams and unsafe structures. So, even though the process takes time, it happens for a good reason.
First, know which type of contractor license you’re applying for. This means taking a look at the different types of contractor licenses that exist and identifying the one that works best for you. Alaska identifies contractors as follows:
- General contractors
- Handyman contractors
- Mechanical contractors
- Specialty contractors
- Residential contractors
You can find all the forms you need to download at Alaska’s official contractor licensing site. Each application contains specific information you need to submit along with your application, as well as any fees that need to be included with your submission.
In addition to your application, you’ll also need:
- An Alaska business license.
- A registered tax identification number.
- Proof of general liability insurance:
- $20,000 for property damage
- $50,000 for injury or death to one person
- $100,000 for injury or death to more than one person
- Proof of workers’ compensation insurance.
- A surety bond:
- $25,000 - General Contractor
- $20,000 - General Contractor with Residential Endorsement
- $10,000 - Specialty or Mechanical Contractor
- $5,000 - General Contractor Handyman (per project)
- A nonrefundable application fee for $100 plus a license fee for $250 made out to “State of Alaska.”
2. Do you need additional contractor’s licenses?
Possibly. It depends on where you live and work. For example, if you’re a contractor in Anchorage, you’ll need to get a municipality of Anchorage license.
I recommend checking with your local city or county to find out. If you can’t find a website that contains the information you’re looking for, head to your town hall to see if you can get any answers, or ask a local contractor if he or she knows of any additional licensing requirements.
Apply to take the license exam
If you’re applying for the General Contractor With Residential Contractor Endorsement license, you also need to take exams through The Alaska Craftsman Home Program (ACHP) and PSI AK Residential Contractor Endorsement Exam. You can search PSI exam dates and sign up online for the date that works for you, or learn more by contacting:
PSI licensure certification
3210 East Tropicana
Las Vegas, NV 89121
Licensure Phone: 1-800-733-9267
Certification Phone: 1-800-211-2754
Submit your application
When you’re ready, mail all of your application materials to:
Contractor Licensing Section
State Office Building, 333 Willoughby Avenue, 9th Floor
PO Box 110806, Juneau, AK 99811-0806
Email: [email protected]
Get Business Insurance
By now, you’ve probably already secured a plan. After all, your contractor’s license requires proof of general liability and other business insurance, like workers’ compensation. But, if you haven’t yet, getting insurance is one of the most important steps when starting a business.
A good plan protects you and your employees in case there’s an accident, injury, or damage to property, like your tools or vehicle. As you become official as a contractor or handyman, think carefully about choosing the right business insurance plan for you — it can make all the difference in making sure your business sticks around for years to come.
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