How to Get a Contractor’s License in New York

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Learn how to get a contractor’s license in New York below, and work with Surety Bond Professionals to get a contractor license bond.

Who Needs a Contractor’s License in New York?

There is no statewide licensing of contractors in the state of New York except for contractors involved in the removal of asbestos and for crane operators. All other contractor licensing is done at the municipal level.

Downstate Counties

Anyone who wants to work as a general contractor in New York City, Long Island, or the downstate counties of Suffolk, Nassau, Westchester, Putnam, or Rockland needs to obtain a license. In most of these jurisdictions, this will be a home improvement contractor’s license, but in some, it’s a general contractor’s license. Some jurisdictions require licensing of specialty contractors, while others don’t.

Some downstate jurisdictions have reciprocity agreements with others. For example, a master electrical license issued in Putnam County is valid in Westchester Country and vice versa.

Upstate Counties

Upstate New York is another story. Few upstate counties or cities license construction contractors other than electricians. If you plan to work as a contractor upstate, be sure to contact the county and ask if there are any licensing requirements for the kind of work you will be doing.

The Licensing Process

Because New York contractors are licensed at the local level rather than statewide, you’ll need to find out from the jurisdiction you will be working in if any specific licensing requirements exist. We’ll use the licensing of contractors in New York City as an example, but the requirements you will have to meet could be different if you will be working in another jurisdiction.

NYC Contractor Licensing Requirements

New York City contractors who will be doing either commercial or residential work, or both, must obtain a home improvement contractor license, which allows them to make repairs, remodel, or otherwise improve private homes and apartment buildings. The application can be downloaded from the NYC Consumer Affairs website.

The following must be submitted along with the completed application form:

  • Sales Tax Identification Number (STIN) from the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance Certificate of Authority
  • Proof of current home address
  • Proof of Workers’ Compensation Insurance
  • Proof of enrollment in the NYC Trust Fund OR a $20,000 surety bond

Additionally, most license applicants will need to have their fingerprints taken at the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs and undergo a background check. In most cases, license applicants will also be required to take a Home Improvement exam within 30 days of their application date.

The purpose of such requirements is to protect consumers and other project owners from financial loss due to the incompetence or the unlawful or unethical actions of a construction contractors.

Get Bonded Today

The Surety Bond Professionals Team

With a specialization in construction surety, Surety Bond Professionals has years of experience helping New York contractors understand their bonding requirements and obtain the surety bonds they need. Contact us today to discuss your bonding needs or request a quote.