Interested in becoming a licensed contractor in Indiana, but aren't sure where to start?
Look no further! You've come to the right place. There's a lot of information out there, so I've streamlined everything for you into a single, cohesive guide.
Like most states, depending on what type of contractor license you're after will determine the steps you need to take as well as the requirements.
In this post, we'll cover everything you need to know about getting an Indiana contractor license, including important things like:
Ready to get started? Let’s begin with the most pressing question right now.
Generally speaking, yes. Contractors need to be licensed in Indiana to work legally, but the process may depend on where you work.
Indiana handles licensing a bit differently than other states. Some states require that contractors obtain their permits through the state, but Indiana requires licensure at the local level. That means it’s up to those municipalities to determine who needs a license.
In any case, there are plenty of good reasons why you should get an Indiana contractor license.
To begin with, it will make you instantly more credible—and trustworthy—than those who are not licensed. When potential clients see that you're licensed and insured, it takes away a lot of the risk that many people worry about when searching for a contractor.
Another benefit is that it may increase your earnings. Having a license allows you to tackle larger and potentially more profitable jobs. Plus, many customers are more inclined to pay higher rates and licensed contractors than unlicensed ones.
According to the State of Indiana, a contractor is "any person engaged in converting construction material into real property on behalf of another person." This includes general contractors, electricians, plumbers, HVACR, and other trades.
Good question. There are no licensing requirements for handymen at the state level in Indiana. However, there may be regulations at a local level. Before you do any work, check with the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency to ensure whatever you do falls within the law.
The easiest license to get all depends on your skills and the services you want to provide. Consider what your focus is, and decide.
For contractor work that mostly involves general home repairs and remodeling, you should apply for a general contractor license. If you’re a plumber by trade, then, of course, it makes sense for you to pursue a plumbing license.
Bear in mind that if you do not have a license for a particular trade, you cannot provide that service — even if you have the skills. So without an electrician’s license, you can’t legally rewire a room (even if you know how.)
On the other hand, If you don’t have any experience and want to obtain a license to perform work, there’s another option. One of the easiest ways is to get licensed as an RMO (Responsible Manager Officer) or RME (Responsible Managing Employee).
As an RMO, you’re a licensed contractor who allows your license number to be used by an existing business to take on construction projects over $500. It’s the same for RME, except the contractor qualifying the company is an employee.
Obtaining your contractor’s license is just the beginning. You’ll need to have several things in place to operate your business, but consider this an exciting first step to getting your business off the ground.
In Indiana, all contractors must acquire a license at the city level. This includes general contractors, electricians, HVACR, and wrecking contractors. The exception is for contractors who want to obtain their plumbing licensure. Plumbers must go through a slightly different process than all other contractors, which we'll get to later.
There are several things you need to do to operate as a contractor in Indiana legally. Let's take a look at the basics.
The requirements for contractor's licenses vary from state to state. Some states require that contractors obtain their permits through the state, and some require licensure at the local level—as is the case for contractors living in Indiana.
In Indiana, all contractors must acquire a license at the city level, except for those who want to obtain their plumbing licensure. Plumbers must go through a slightly different process than all other contractors, which we'll get to later.
Because each municipality handles contractor's licenses differently in Indiana, the processes and fees will vary from county to county.
One crucial detail to note if you want to register your business: If you're going to register as an LLC, a limited partnership, or a corporation, you'll need to do so before you apply to get your Indiana contractor's license. If you know you want to get your business license, make sure you're all set with the Indiana Secretary of State before you do anything else.
But generally, it's always a good rule of thumb to contact your local government to make sure you have all your ducks in a row.
Below are links to a few local contractors licensing resources in major areas across Indiana:
Renewals are issued the same way as the licenses themselves: at the city level. Some cities can renew licenses instantly. Others may take longer to process or require a fee. Your local government can help you figure out what steps you'll need to take if you need to renew your Indiana contractor license.
As I mentioned above, plumbers who want to obtain their plumbing license in Indiana must do so through the state, not through your city.
The State of Indiana issues three types of plumbing licenses: the Apprentice plumber license, the Journeyman plumber license, and the Plumbing Contractor license. Once you know which license you want to apply for, submit your application to the Indiana Plumbing Commission via the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency.
However, before you apply for any of the licenses, it's essential to make sure you meet the requirements in Indiana. The last thing you want is to be missing a crucial piece of the puzzle!
Below are the explicit requirements for each type of license:
To keep your license current and to avoid any business-related hiccups, make sure you stay on top of renewing your contractor's license. Renewal notices are sent about 90 days before the license is about to expire, which gives you plenty of time to get it done.
You can renew your license either online, which takes only minutes to complete and is available for verification the next business day. Or you can choose to submit your renewal form via mail. You can find the renewal forms for each type of plumbing contractor license listed on the State of Indiana’s website.
For more details on how to get your plumbing license in Indiana, visit the Indiana Plumbing Commission’s website.
Just like the application process, the exam requirements vary from city to city. For the most part, you can expect a written exam and a fee to accompany it.
For some municipalities, applicants may have to take and pass the exam before applying and vice versa. Also, the minimum passing score varies, as well. As I said, it just depends on your local government.
Make sure you’re well-prepared for your exam since your business’s success depends on your expertise. You’ll be asked knowledge-based questions about your specific trade, so it’s your time to shine. You got this!
As much as we try to plan in business, the unexpected can happen. Before you start operating, make sure you get business insurance and general liability coverage to protect you and your business from potential loss.
It goes without saying that without any insurance—both business insurance and liability coverage—you could be putting your business at significant risk. Why take chances by being uninsured? Now is the time to safeguard your business.
We get it. With so many insurance coverage options to consider, it’s confusing at first. But we understand contractors and small business owners. We work with people like you every day, so we know how to help you find the best coverage to suit your needs.
And we make it easy to get insured. We’ll fit it into your schedule on your terms — whether you prefer a phone call after hours or an online quote, it will only take about 10 minutes of your day.
Business insurance includes an array of coverage that business owners—like you!—can purchase to safeguard against incidents like losses and liabilities while you grow your business. Liability coverage—also referred to as general liability insurance—is insurance that covers any costs from third-party accidents, bodily injury, and property damage.
For contractors in Indiana, different cities require you to have different levels of coverage depending on the type of contract work you do.
For example, if you use a vehicle to conduct your work, you'll likely be required to have auto insurance for your work vehicle. Or your city could have a minimum dollar amount required depending on the type of contractor license you want.
Here’s a quick breakdown of some of types of insurance coverage that we can help with:
General liability - This can protect contractors like you from damaging claims, such as:
These things could result in big claims. In fact, the average claim for property damage or customer injury is a hefty $30,000. Your business would not want to suffer a financial hit like that.
Worker's compensation insurance - Most businesses with employees must have worker's compensation insurance to cover the cost of medical treatment if an employee is injured on the job. In Indiana, the number of employees at a business has no bearing on the requirement.
If an employee gets sick or injured while working for you, workers compensation could financially cover those resulting claims, up to the limits of your policy.
Inland marine insurance - Your tools are critical to your livelihood as a contractor. Inland marine insurance can help financially protect the tools and equipment you use while in transport or on a job site.
Inland marine coverage can financially protect your business from occurrences like:
And if someone else’s property is stolen or gets damaged, your Inland marine insurance can provide coverage for those losses. So if you’re renting or leasing tools, your insurance may cover repairs and replacements, up to the policy’s limit.
Have more questions or want to get started with a free quote? Give us a call at 844-654-7272. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8 am to 8 pm (ET).
We work with the nation’s top insurers, and we can find you the most competitive quotes for the coverage you need. We’ll help you pick the best coverage and a price that works for you and your budget.
That's it! If you have more questions about contractor licensing, the process, or the requirements, leave a comment below!
I’m a writer who specializes in creating value-packed blog content for eCommerce and SaaS companies and small businesses. When I'm not writing, I’m probably out running, checking out a thriller novel—or two—from the library, or trying to pet the nearest dog.
Kat writes on a number of topics such as small business administration and business license requirements.
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