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Your Guide to Getting a Contractor’s License in Kentucky

6 minute read.

Getting your Kentucky contractor’s license means you can work on larger projects, like this contractor framing a house.

Hammer and nails? That’s your forte. Paperwork? Not so much. Don’t worry—if you’re ready to get your contractor’s license in Kentucky, I’ll help you get through the process, quickly and easily.

This guide includes all of the steps you need to take, as well as information about getting a license in Kentucky’s biggest cities. If you’re ready to get started, read on.

Why Do I Need to Become Licensed in Kentucky?

Do you want to work as an electrician, plumber, or with elevators or HVAC systems? If so, the Kentucky Department of Housing, Building, and Construction requires you to get a license. That’s right, folks, it’s the law.

But it’s for a good reason. The state is protecting consumers from scams and unsafe work practices. And as a contractor, there are a ton of benefits for you too. For example:

  • A license helps you score bigger, higher-paying jobs. Without a license, you’re limited to working on smaller handyman projects—and you can’t do specialized electrical, plumbing, HVAC, or elevator work. Plain and simple. Get a license, and you’ll earn more.
  • It makes your business look credible. A stamp of approval from the state looks great on your resume/CV. New clients can find you in the state’s database of licensed contractors, and they’re more likely to hire you because they know you have training and certifications.
  • It safeguards your business and its employees. You probably don’t want to imagine worst-case scenarios. But, when you’re starting a business, it’s important to take precautions. After all, you never know what could happen. A license requires you to carry general liability and other business insurance, like workers’ compensation, in case of an accident, injury, or loss.

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Getting a Contractor License in Kentucky: What You Need to Know

First, take a deep breath. The paperwork might seem stressful, but it’ll pay off—literally. You can earn more with a contractor’s license. Just follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to holding a license in your hand.

Get an Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC, or Elevator Contractor’s License in Kentucky

Electrical licenses

To get your electrical license, send in a completed application form as well as:

  • A copy of your passing test results.
  • A notarized letter from your employer, former employer, electrical inspector, or another person you’ve worked under that proves you have the experience requirements . The letter should describe some of the work you’ve done.
  • A nonrefundable application fee .
  • A passport size color photo.
  • A copy of your driver’s license or birth certificate.

When you’re ready, mail your application to:

Public Protection Cabinet
Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction
Electrical Division
101 Sea Hero Road, Suite 100
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601-5412

Elevator licenses

To get your elevator contractor license, fill out the application form and include:

  • Proof of liability insurance.
  • Information about your work experience.
  • Information about your business and the number of employees you have.
  • Details about the mechanic you work with and their license number.
  • A required criminal background check.
  • The application fee.

Mail your application to:

Public Protection Cabinet
Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction
Division of Building Codes Enforcement Elevator Section
101 Sea Hero Road, Suite 100
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601-5412

HVAC licenses

Just like the elevator contractor license, fill out the application form and include:

  • Proof of liability insurance.
  • Information about your work experience.
  • The application fee.

Then send your application to:

Public Protection Cabinet
Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction
Division of HVAC
101 Sea Hero Road, Suite 100
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601-5412

Plumbing licenses

Last but not least, if you’re ready to be a licensed plumber, fill out the application form . Include with it:

  • Information about your work experience.
  • The application fee.
  • An exam fee of $150.

You can mail your application to:

Public Protection Cabinet
Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction
Division of Plumbing
101 Sea Hero Road, Suite 100
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601-5412

Didn’t see the correct form here? Check out all of the licensing forms on the Kentucky Department of Housing, Building, and Construction’s website.

Get Your General Contractor’s License in Your Local City or County

Next up — if you’re a general contractor, we’ll go over getting your license with your local municipal department too. If you’re an electrician, plumber, or an HVAC contractor you might have to get a second license. And be warned: every city and county in Kentucky handles the process a little differently. To help, I’ve researched how it works in a few of the Kentucky’s biggest cities.

Louisville, KY

You can get your license through the Louisville Metro Department of Codes and Regulations . There are a couple different types of licenses to choose from (Building A and Building B). Choose a Building Type A license if you’re a contractor looking to get multiple permits for single or multi-family homes.

To apply, you’ll need:

  • A completed application form .
  • Proof of general liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance.
  • And unemployment affidavit.
  • Depending on the type of license, proof of experience and training.
  • A $125 application fee for Building Type A licenses.

Send your application to:

Louisville Metro Department of Codes and Regulations
444. S. 5th Street
Louisville, KY 40202

Lexington, KY

The Lexington Fayette Urban County Government handles all licenses. You can apply for a general contractor’s license or to be a specialty contractor (for demolition, electrical, and HVAC work).

You’ll need:

  • A completed and notarized application form .
  • Information about your business name and structure.
  • A list of your current licenses.
  • Proof of general liability insurance and workers’ compensation or an exemption affidavit from the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Act.
  • A certificate of business license.
  • A mediation selection and certification.
  • An application fee.

Send your application to:

101 East Vine Street, 2nd Floor
Lexington, KY 40507

Bowling Green, KY

Live in Bowling Green? Head to the Bowling Green/Warren County Contractors Licensing Board to apply for a license. You can get a general contractor’s license or a specialty contractor’s license.

Just like other counties in Kentucky, you’ll need:

  • A completed and signed application form .
  • A certificate of insurance showing you have a minimum of $100,000 in general liability insurance and workers’ compensation (if you don’t have employees, ask for an Affidavit of Exemption form).
  • An application fee payable to Contractors Licensing Board ($250 for general contractors and $100 for specialty contractors).

Send your application to:

1141 State Street, Suite 200
PO Box 1268
Bowling Green, KY 42102-1268

Get Business Insurance

See a common thread here? Hint: It’s business insurance. Most licenses require that you get general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. These plans protect you, your employees, and your business’s property in case there’s an injury, accident, or loss.

Don’t wait until you’re ready to apply to get insurance. In fact, it should be one of the first steps you take toward becoming official. Look around and get a quote today.

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.

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