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How to Get Your Contractor’s License in New Jersey

3-minute read

Getting your contractor’s license in New Jersey means your work - and tools - are protected, like this contractor is discovering.
Emily Thompson

Emily Thompson

18 November 2019

Are you a general contractor or handyman in New Jersey who wants to get licensed? We’ll map it out for you.

The good news is it’s easier than you might think.

Why Do I Need an NJ Contractor License?

Simply put, it’s the law. When it comes to licensing, every state is a little different. New Jersey requires anyone who sells or makes home improvements to register before doing any work. If you don’t, you open yourself up to civil or even criminal penalties. And those penalties are pretty high.

Fortunately, there are many benefits to getting a license (in addition to obeying the law). A license:

  • Gives you a stamp of approval from the state.
  • Makes you appear serious about your work and more professional.
  • Gives you a competitive edge over other contractors.
  • Requires you to carry general liability and business insurance — which protects you and your company’s assets.

As you can see, there are a ton of benefits to being official. Now, here’s how you can get your license quickly and easily.

Getting an NJ Contractor License: What You Need to Know

It doesn’t matter if you’re full-time or part-time. If you get paid for doing any “home improvements,” you must be licensed. Check out the New Jersey Contractor Registration Act to learn more. It’s best to read the law on your own—but here’s a quick recap.

If you work as a business and do any of the following activities, you must get a license first:

  • Remodeling
  • Altering
  • Painting
  • Repairing
  • Renovating
  • Restoring
  • Moving
  • Demolishing
  • Modernizing

This includes work on driveways, sidewalks, swimming pools, terraces, patios, landscaping, fences, porches, windows, doors, cabinets, kitchens, bathrooms, garages, basements, fire protection devices, security protection devices, heating and AC equipment, water softeners, heaters, purifiers, solar heating or water systems, insulation, siding, and carpeting and flooring.

Whew. That’s a lot. Your best bet?

Just get a license before doing any work. The only exception is a landscaper who only mows lawns and trims shrubs. If that’s your business, you don’t have to register with the state. But, if you plant flowers, shrubs, and trees, or lay sod or establish lawns — you must register first.

When in doubt, call the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General Division of Consumer Affairs at 1-888-656-6225 to ask.

Applying for a NJ Contractor’s License?

You may need to show proof of business insurance to get your license.

That’s where we come in. Compare free insurance quotes for policies as low as $25.95/month.*

Start Here >

General Requirements for Licensure

To get your license, fill out the application first. With your application, you’ll need:

  • Your business name, address, and phone number.
  • Information about the type of business you own (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC, or LLP).
  • A copy of your Alternate Name Form C-150G or Trade Name Certificate (if you have another business name).
  • Proof of general liability insurance that’s a minimum of $500,000 for each occurrence.
  • A Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).
  • Your Social Security Number.
  • A signed disclosure statement.
  • A non-refundable check or money order for $110 made out to the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs.

If you have a criminal record, you’re in default of a loan, or if you’re not a U.S. citizen, you might have to send in additional paperwork.

But overall, New Jersey is more lenient than other states during the licensing process. They don’t require you to provide proof of education or experience, or even letters of reference.

Get Business Insurance

As you pursue your contractor’s license, getting business insurance is just one step along the way. But, it’s an incredibly important one. A high quality insurance plan, whether it’s worker’s compensation or general liability insurance, will help protect you, your employees, and your business if there’s an accident or loss of property. Plus, it adds a level of professionalism that complements your new license.

Do You Need Additional Contractor’s Licenses?

No. In New Jersey, it’s cut and dry. There’s just one license that you get through the state. This license and registration allow you to work on residential and commercial spaces throughout the state.

Submit Your Application

Once you have your application materials together, send them to:

State of New Jersey,
Division of Consumer Affairs,
Regulated Business Section,
Home Improvement Unit,
124 Halsey Street, 7th Floor,
P.O. Box 46016,
Newark, NJ 07101

And there you have it - your guide to getting a contractor license in New Jersey!

It may seem like an arduous process to get licensed, but don’t let that hold you back - your license is one of the most crucial tools you can get to protect the longevity of your business. Without it, you’re putting yourself - and your personal finances - at huge risk.

Don't forget, you may also need to get a NJ business license, so check out our guide on that too!

* Monthly payment calculations (i) do not include initial premium down payment and (ii) may vary by state, insurance provider, and nature of your business. Averages based on January - December 2020 data of 10% of our total policies sold.

Emily Thompson

Written by

Emily Thompson

I earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (go Bucky). After realizing my first job might involve carrying a police scanner at 2 am in pursuit of “newsworthy” crimes, I decided I was better suited for freelance blogging and marketing writing. Since 2010, I’ve owned my freelance writing business, EST Creative. When I’m not penning, doodling ideas, or chatting with clients, you’ll find me hiking with my husband, baby boy, and 2 mischievous mutts.

This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer

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