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How to Get a Nebraska Contractors License

4-minute read

Emily Thompson

Emily Thompson

3 December 2019

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Are you a handyman or contractor who’s ready to move up? It might be time to get your official Nebraska contractor’s license.

Maybe you’ve been doing construction work for a while, or maybe you’re new to the business altogether. Either way, I’ve put together a guide to help you register with the Nebraska Department of Labor and get your license quickly and easily.

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

Why Do I Need to Become Licensed in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, it’s the law to get a license. Anyone who wants to get paid for construction work has to apply for a contractor license through the Nebraska Department of Labor. The state makes it crystal clear on their website:

“A contractor is any person who engages in the business of construction and includes subcontractors, general contractors and any other person arranging for the performance of work on real property.”

There are a couple of exceptions. If you’re a homeowner doing a handy project, you don’t need a license, of course. If you make less than $5,000 a year, you don’t need a license either. But for most contractors, a license is a must. Fair warning: if you get fined and don’t pay, the state will add you to a public list of contractors who are in violation. Yikes!

The truth is, getting a Nebraska contractors license is a good idea. It makes you appear professional and arms you with the skills and training to do good work. A state license also helps you:

Land bigger, higher-paying jobs. A Nebraska contractor's license opens doors for you. Once you get the state’s stamp of approval, you can work on jobs that are worth more than $5,000. There’s a lot of work in Nebraska for contractors. It’s time to go after it. Show customers you’re trustworthy and credible. Unfortunately, the contracting business has a bad reputation. Scams. Poor quality work. Unsafe practices. That’s why the state requires contractors to undergo a rigorous licensing process. However, once you get your license, customers will trust that you’re reliable and honest. Protect your business and its employees. In the construction industry, anything can happen. That’s why it’s so important to get business insurance, including general liability insurance and workers’ compensation if you have employees. Fortunately, the process for getting a Nebraska contractor's license requires you get insurance at the get-go.

Does getting a contractor's license sound like a no-brainer? I agree! Next, let’s talk about how you can get one.

Get Business Insurance

The first step—get a quote for a business insurance plan, including general liability insurance and workers’ compensation (if you have more than one employee). During the application process, the state of Nebraska will ask you about your insurance coverage.

There’s a good reason why the state is asking about your insurance coverage. A quality business insurance plan helps protect you, your employees, and your business assets, like equipment and vehicles, in case of an accident or loss. You never know what can happen. It makes sense to be prepared early on.

Applying for a NE Contractor’s License?

You may need to show proof of business insurance to get your Nebraska contractor's license.

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

Start My Quote

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

Unlike other states, Nebraska outlines the licensing process on the Department of Labor’s website. Here you can search for registered contractors and start the application process. There’s even a user manual you can download, print, and refer to along the way.

During the application process, you’ll provide:

  • Information about your business (a Federal ID Number, the business type, and a DBA).
  • Details about officers, members, and subcontractors, including their phone numbers.
  • Proof of having workers’ compensation insurance if you have more than one employee.
  • A federal tax ID number.

Once you review your information in the online application, you can pay the $40 license registration fee online.

Getting Additional Contractor’s Licenses

If you’re a specialized contractor, like an electrician, you need to get an additional license. Most specialized contractors also need to take an exam. Here’s where you can learn how licensing works:

Electrical licenses

You can apply for your Nebraska electrical license through the:

Nebraska Electrical Division
1220 Lincoln Mall, Suite 125
Lincoln, NE 68508

It’s easy to fill out the application online. If you have questions, call the Nebraska State Electrical Division at 402-471-3507.

Asbestos licenses

Any contractor who works on asbestos projects in Nebraska needs to get a contractor's license with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Division of Public Health - Licensure Unit
PO Box 94986
Lincoln, NE 68509-4986

You can fill out the application online, and then print and mail it in. You’ll also have to complete and pass an asbestos-specific course, a course that covers Nebraska law, rules, and regulations, and get medical approval from a physician.

Plumbers

Interestingly enough, plumbers don’t need an additional license. If you’re a plumber, all you have to do is register for Nebraska’s general contracting license.

Start Advertising Your Contractor’s License Status

Have the Nebraska contractor license? Congratulations! Getting certified with the state took a lot of time and effort. If you have business cards, a website, contracts, or other advertising materials, feature your license status and number. Your customers want to work with licensed contractors—give them peace of mind by sharing your credentials.

You can also advertise your insurance coverage. Customers appreciate knowing you carry general liability and workers’ compensation insurance in case anything happens.

And if you’re not happy with your current coverage - or the state tells you that your insurance plan isn’t adequate to get licensed - remember, you can always shop for a new plan!

* 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 Q1 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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