Don't spend a lot of time studying for a Nevada handyman license since Nevada does not require someone working as a handyman to obtain a professional license. However, depending on the type of work required, a person doing maintenance or minor construction work may need a contractor's license.
It pays to get a thorough understanding of Nevada's handyman/contractor distinction before starting work. The state imposes fines and even criminal penalties on those who should have a contractor's license, but don't.
No Handyman Licensing Requirements in Nevada
There is no requirement for a handyman to have a license in Nevada. However, be sure to get a complete understanding about how the state defines "handyman" before taking on jobs. Generally, a handyman is someone who does small repairs, carpentry or minor maintenance jobs. Typically these jobs involve only one person.
The basic rules break down as follows:
- If a worker is performing minor or casual work for which the price, including labor and materials, is under $1,000, the individual does not need to get any type of license in Nevada.
- If the worker performs a larger project for which they charge $1,000 or more, or work that requires a building permit, the individual must first obtain a contractor license in Nevada.
General Advice to Handymen
The best advice about whether a person without a contractor license should take a handyman-type project in Nevada is to look before leaping. It is generally a bad idea to take a project if the work involved would usually be performed by someone with a plumbing, electrical, refrigeration, heating or air-conditioning contractor's license.
It also pays to be careful if the work is part of a larger project. A handyman is expected to be able to tackle their tasks by themselves. And a handyman should not take any job that can affect the health and safety of the homeowner or an occupant of the building. This type of work is reserved for those with contractor licenses.
Starting a Handyman Business
As long as an individual stays within these job limitations, they are free to open their own handyman or handy-person business in Nevada. They will need to decide on the form they want their business to take. Most are sole proprietorships, but it is also possible in Nevada to form a limited liability company, an S-corp or a partnership. Some of these may require legal assistance to form.
Registering a Business Name
After determining the form of the handyman business, the person should decide whether to give the business a name. This fictitious name is termed a Doing Business As, or DBA. Under Nevada law, the DBA must be registered.
In fact, Nevada requires that anyone doing business under a fictitious name or even a name that does not show the real name of each person who owns part of the business, must register the name.
They must then file a fictitious firm name (FFN) certificate with the county clerk of each county in which the business is being conducted. In some counties and cities in Nevada, the handyman might also need to apply for a Nevada business license.
Types of Nevada Contractor License Classifications
Nevada has several different classes of contractor licenses. The type of license required depends on the work the individual intends to perform:
- Engineering contractor license: Requires a Class A license. Subclassifications of Class A licenses are available for some work projects like bridges, highways, residential pools and industrial piping.
- General building contractor license: Requires a Class B license. Subclassifications are available for commercial remodeling, premanufactured housing, and prefabricated steel structures.
- Specialty contracting: Requires a Class C license, with Class C-1 license required for plumbing and heating contracting; Class C-2 license for electrical contracting; and Class C-3 license for other specialty contracting, including carpentry, maintenance and minor repairs.
Most self-employed handyman-type workers may need only a C-3 license to work.
Preparing for Nevada Contractor License
Before an individual gets a Nevada contractor license, they must complete several key steps, including:
- Visiting Nevada’s business portal to register the business.
- Going to the Nevada State Contractors Board website or offices to apply for a license.
- Taking and passing the contractor trade and management exams.
- Obtaining contractor business insurance and meeting Nevada's bond requirements.
Nevada Contractor License Application
Applying for a license with the Nevada State Contractors Board is not a simple process. In addition to the business ID number obtained from the Nevada Secretary of State, the applicant will need to submit a financial statement. This specifies the monetary limit the person is seeking, meaning the maximum dollar amount of a client contract. Categories include:
- $10,000 or less.
- More than $10,000, but less than $50,000.
- $50,000 or more, but less than $250,000.
- $250,000 or more.
A background disclosure statement and authorization form consenting to a background check and fingerprinting is mandatory for a contractor license in the state. In addition, the applicant must outline their experience to fulfill two “qualified individual” categories:
- The Management Qualified Individual must be qualified to oversee the day-to-day transactions of the business.
- The Trade Qualified Individual must be qualified to perform the actual work and must have four or more years of work experience as a journeyman, foreman, supervising employee or contractor in the trade category specified on the application.
One license applicant can fulfill both of these "qualified individual" roles. Alternatively, an applicant can list one person as the Management Qualified Individual and one as the Trade Qualified Individual.
Nevada Contractor License Exams
Nevada requires two examinations for a contractor license. One for each of the "qualified individual" categories:
- A CMS or general business and law examination that the Management Qualified Individual must take.
- A trade-specific examination that the Trade Qualified Individual takes.
Costs for Nevada contractor exams are $140 for both. Alternatively, if the exams are scheduled apart, they are $95 each.
- The type of contractor's license you need will depend on the work you do. Class B is for general building; class C-1 is for plumbing and heating contracting; C-2 is for electrical contracting; C-3 is for carpentry, maintenance and minor repairs. If you are a self-employed handyman you may only need a C-3 license to work.
- If you don't get a license and are caught working on a job that requires a building permit or costs more than $1,000 you could be fined $1,000 and spend up to six months in jail. If you are caught a second time, the fine is between $2,000 and $4,000 and up to a year in jail.
Teo Spengler earned a JD from U.C. Berkeley Law School. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an MA and an MFA in English/writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.