Getting (And Keeping) Your Builder’s License
Before you can get into the construction business, you need to have your Residential Builders License. Too many people are operating without a license because they just aren’t sure what they need to do to get one, or they assume that it is really difficult.
When people operate without a license, they damage the image of the construction industry and make it more difficult for legitimate contractors who have their license. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people operating without being licensed, pretending to know what they are doing when they don’t. This is not only irresponsible, it is illegal.
The truth is, the cost of getting your builders license is a lot less than the risk you are taking by operating without a builders license. While some types of work don’t require that the contractor be licensed, most of them do.
While it varies from state to state, even a painter is supposed to be licensed in Michigan if they are charging over $500 for a job. Operating without a license can lead to stiff fines, and even jail time if the judge decides to drop the hammer.
Getting your builders license in Michigan will cost you around $1000, much less than the potential fines from operating without it. You will be required to attend a mandatory 90 hours of training, which can be done online or in person. This will teach you a lot about construction, as well as basic knowledge required to run a business.
Once you have completed your training, you will need to send proof of that completion and an application to the state, requesting their permission to take the builders license exam. Once you are approved, they send you a letter and you are allowed to schedule your exam.
As long as you know the material, the exam is fairly straight forward. It is taken on a computer, which allows you to get your score instantly and know if you passed or failed before you leave the exam room. If you passed, your license will be mailed to you within a week or two. If you fail, better study up and try again!
Once you have your license, the fun doesn’t stop there. As a new licensee, you are required to take at least 21 hours of continuing education within the first three years in order to renew your license, and 21 hours again during the second three years. After you have had your license for at least 6 years, the rules relax a little and you are allowed to keep your license with only 2 hours per year from there on out.