As a homeowner, you may be wondering what type of work can a handyman do legally do in your home or on your property. The answer may surprise you! A handyman is typically allowed to perform many basic tasks, such as painting, changing light bulbs, and fixing leaky faucets.

what type of work can a handyman do legally
Installing security cameras is a great handyperson project that is within a handypersons purview

However, handypeople are not allowed to do more complex tasks, that require a license such as installing electrical wiring or plumbing. If you need more complex work done in your home, be sure to hire a qualified, licensed professional!

In this blog post, we’ve assembled some of the most common handyman (handyperson) services to help spark some ideas on potential tasks and chores you’d like to get off your plate so you can get back to enjoying life at your home or cottage!

Let’s get into it!

Although it seems like there are an endless number of jobs a professional handyman can do, you may find that some handymen prefer to stick with jobs they are familiar with, or enjoy doing.

What Type Of Work Can A Handyman Do Legally?

Interior Handyman Projects

  • repair holes in drywall
  • painting rooms and painting touch-ups
  • assemble furniture
  • mount TVs on the wall
  • hang curtains and shades
  • update hardware
  • replace electrical outlets and switches
  • install ceiling fans and light fixtures
  • garbage disposal installation
  • repair bathroom plumbing
  • hanging pictures or mirrors
  • installing closet organizers & shelving units
  • tiling floors or backsplashes

Exterior Handyman Projects

  • deck repair
  • cleaning gutters
  • repairing fences, decks, patios, and driveways
  • cutting and removing fallen tree branches
  • anchor and repair wobbly or unseated railings
  • repair broken windows and doors
  • tasks that are a result of damage.

Preventative Maintenance

Handymen can also do preventative maintenance to avoid larger problems down the road. Handymen know what to look for when completing a repair that could lead to problems further down the road and can address the concerns proactively.

By taking care of small problems now, handymen can help prevent big problems from happening later. Preventative maintenance tasks a handyman can do include:

  • checking the home for any potential safety hazards
  • repairing any damage that is found before it has a chance to become worse
  • inspecting gutters and downspouts to make sure they are clear of debris
  • checking the roof for any loose or missing shingles
  • tightening screws and bolts around the home to prevent them from becoming loose over time
  • painting areas of the home that are starting to show wear and tear.

By taking care of these tasks, handymen can help keep homes in good condition and prevent larger, more expensive repairs from becoming necessary.

Handymen can also often do more complex home improvement tasks such as:

  • installing new countertops
  • installing backsplashes
  • laying tile floors
  • hanging drywall
  • installing trim and molding.

Related Article: Top 100 Handyman Services List (2023)

What type of work can’t a handyman do legally?

If the work you need to be done requires a license it is NOT within the purview of a handyperson. These types of projects include:

  • major renovations or additions
  • structural roof repair
  • adding electrical or plumbing lines, breakers, and shutoffs to the home
  • gas fitting

Homeowners who are considering any type of home improvement project should always consult with a professional handyman first to get an estimate of the scope and cost of the project.

Does a handyman need a business license?

There are many different types of work that a handyman can do, and not all of them require a state handyman license. In some states and provinces, only certain types of work require a license, such as plumbing, electrical, HVAC, gas fitting and carpentry.

Handyman State License Requirements In The U.S.

As you can see from the chart below, with the exception of 3 states, a handyman/handywomen/handyperson state license is not required to provide your services. However, most state have exemptions and limitations to the size of the project, or income generated.

StateRequiredExemption & Qualifications to Handyman State License Requirement
AlabamaNoRequired for all projects over $50,000
AlaskaNoRequired for all projects over $10,000
ArizonaNoOnly exempt on projects under $1,000unless a permit is required
ArkansasNoRequired for all projects over $2,000 at a single family residence
CaliforniaNoRequired for all projects over $500 – unless work is NOT part of a * fixed structure
ColoradoNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
ConnecticutNoIf you make permanent changes to a residential property, check requirements
DelawareNoNo handyman licenses. General contractors need a license on projects over $50,000
FloridaNoUnless you make structural changes to a residential property, check requirements
GeorgiaNoRequired for all projects over $2,500
HawaiiNoRequired for all projects over $1,000
IdahoNoNeed to register with Idaho Contractors Board
IllinoisNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
IndianaNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
IowaNoContractor license required for all projects over $2,000
KansasNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
KentuckyNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
LouisianaNoRequired for all projects over $7,5,00
MaineNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
MarylandYesNeed to obtain a license with Department of Labor
MassachusettsNoMust register as a Home Improvement Contractor – fee applicable
MichiganNoDepends on work being done. Check local regulations and requirements.
MinnesotaNoRequired if you make more than $15,000 annually. Issued by Department of Labor
MississippiNoRequired for all projects over $10,000
MissouriNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
MontanaNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
NebraskaNoNo state handyman license required. Need to register with Nebraska Dept. of Labor.
NevadaNoOnly exempt on projects under $1,000unless a permit is required
New HampshireNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
New JerseyNoNo state license required. Register with New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
New MexicoYesHandyman may be considered Contractors – Check for local requirements.
New YorkNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
North CarolinaNoRequired for all projects over $30,000. Also required if acting as a subcontractor.
North DakotaNoRequired for all projects over $4,000. Check for local requirements.
OhioNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
OklahomaNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
OregonNoOnly exempt on projects under $1,000. Check for local requirements.
PennsylvaniaNoRequired if you make more than $5,000 annually – need to register
Rhode IslandNoRegistration required: Rhode Island Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board..
South CarolinaNoRegistration required: South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
South DakotaNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
TennesseeNoRequired for jobs over $25,000 or remodeling jobs worth between $3,000 and $24,999
TexasNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
UtahNoRequired for all projects over $3,000. Check for local requirements.
VermontNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
VirginiaNoRequired for all projects over $1,000. Check for local requirements.
WashingtonNoRegistration required: Washington Department of Labor, Licensing
West VirginiaNoRequired for all projects over $2,500. Check for local requirements.
WisconsinYesRequire a Wisconsin Dwelling Contractor Qualifier license
WyomingNoNo state handyman license required. Check for local requirements.
Handyman State License Requirements

Notes:

  • Project Costs are based on Materials + Labor = Total Project Cost
  • A project defined above (California) as not being a fixed structure can include work such as hanging pictures or TV’s, or assembling furniture.
  • Handypersons are not qualified to work as electricians, plumbers, or HVAC service providers. Some minor repairs are allowed but check with local authorities before accepting work.
  • In most states a handyperson cannot serve as a subcontractor, or hire contractors to work on their jobs.
  • If as a handyperson you place ads for your services, it is recommended that you clearly state in your ads that you are not a licensed contractor.
  • For further clarification on your rights and obligations as a handyperson in your local area, we recommend reaching out to your local Contractors’ Board. You can find your local board through a Google search by entering “Your State” and Contractors Board. (You can also ask to speak to their investigator for compliance certainty.)

Disclaimer: The Handyman State Licensing Requirements above are for informational purposes only. This information is not legal advice. Please seek qualified attorney for legal advice before you commence work as a handyman in your state

Summary

Handymen can play an important role in keeping homes in good condition and can save homeowners time and money by taking care of small tasks before they become big problems.

Homeowners should always insist on the handyperson providing proof of insurance before allowing him or her to work on their property, and to get a written estimate for all work in advance.


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