If you decided to start your new career journey as a contractor or handyman in Pennsylvania should meet state and local criteria. Researching and finding all the required information can be exhausting and time-consuming especially when there are many unreliable sources. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that.
This article will serve you as a step-by-step guide that will help you to start your authorized contractor work in Pennsylvania.
If you want to check the licensed contractors in Pennsylvania you can visit the Home improvement Consumer Information database. You will be able to verify a home improvement contractor’s license by entering the business name, license number, or location.
To become a contractor in Pennsylvania you likely need to register with the Attorney’s General Office and obtain a license from your local municipality. All the legal procedures including registration and contractor’s licensure in PA are handled at the local city level.
Home Improvement works may include remodeling, repairing, demolition, renovation, installation, etc. Attorney General defines the following activities “when they are done in connection with land or a portion of the land adjacent to a private residence or a building or a portion of the building which is used or designed to be used as a private residence for which the total cash price of all work agreed upon between the contractor and owner is more than $500”.
We will discuss the process of registration as well as contractor’s licensure in the largest cities of PA, separately.
According to the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA), any contractor who performs home improvements in PA should register with the Attorney’s General Office. The law also establishes the minimum insurance requirements for contractors in PA. If you are a handyman and you carry out home improvements in PA earning less than $5,000 per year you don’t need to register with the Attorney’s General. Any other contractor, subcontractor, or business entity earning more than $5,000 a year should register with the PA Office of Attorney General.
Now, let’s talk about the process of home improvement contractor registration.
Here are the main processes you will go through when registering with the Attorney General:
Once you complete the registration you will receive PA Home Improvement Contractor Number (PAHIC#) to be valid for 2 years. This number will verify your legal contractor works in Pennsylvania appearing on Attorney’s General database.
As soon you get your PAHIC number it’s time to head your local municipality and check the licensing requirements in your city. We will discuss the licensing procedures of major cities in Pennsylvania.
Any contractor in Philadelphia who earns $500 or more should apply for a general contractor license. All the application process for licenses and permits is handled by the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections. Keep in mind that contractors should have a supervisor who has successfully completed the OSHA-30 Safety Training course within 5 years.
Here are the outlined documents you will need when applying for a Philadelphia contractor license:
You can send or deliver in person the following materials along with the $20 application fee as well as the $100 license to:
Department of Licenses and Inspection
Customer Care Unit – PSC
1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19102
The Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspection handles the contractor’s licensing registration in Pittsburgh. Here are the main materials you will need to provide when applying for a license:
You can mail or deliver in person all the application material to the following address:
City of Pittsburgh
Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections
200 Ross Street – Room 320
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
If you have any questions regarding the licensing procedures you can call the City of Pittsburgh’s licensing department at 412-255-2858.
If you want to check if your contractor is licensed or not you can visit the Home Improvement Consumer Information website. Here, you will be able to verify a contractor by entering a HIC number or other information. Remember that almost all legal contractors in PA should have a PAHIC# obtained from Attorney General’s Office.
Pennsylvania has minimum insurance requirements for almost all contractors working in this state. If you are not sure whether your contractor is insured or not you can simply ask for a copy of the Certificate of Insurance. Additionally, you can also ask to provide the name of the insurance carrier and agency to make sure your contractor has insurance coverage.