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Do I need a business license for a handyman service in Pennsylvania?

Feb 14, 2022 · 5 minutes to read

Handyman with tools
Are you looking to know about the licensing requirements to be a handyman in the keystone state of Pennsylvania? Well, you’ve landed on the right page!

From job security, competitive pay to being your own boss, running your own handyman business has a lot to offer. Starting your own business is part of the American dream but standing in your way is a bunch of complicated licensing criteria that you’re not sure where to stand.

Fear not! From licensing, registration to insurance for handymen in Pennsylvania, this handyman guide will unpack the requirements and set you on your way to being a handyman in the state of Pennsylvania.

So, do I need a business license?

The answer is not exactly. Pennsylvania does not have a state license to work as a handyman. However, if you do more than $5,000 worth of ‘home improvement’ work per year, you must register with the Attorney General’s Office. Once registered, you will get a certificate and an official Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor number. The registration number must be included in any advertisements, contracts, estimates and proposals that you use in Pennsylvania.

Some licenses may be required if you wish to undertake certain jobs such as plumbing or electrical work. Some areas and certain types of construction-related jobs may require you to hold specific permits.

What is considered a handyman in Pennsylvania?

The term ‘home improvement’ is a rather vague term and unregistered handymen can get into trouble if they are not sure what tasks they can do. In Pennsylvania, a “home improvement” is considered any “replacement, remodelling, demolition, removal, renovation, installation, alteration, conversion, modernization, improvement, rehabilitation or sandblasting done in connection with a private residence”.

This includes the construction, replacement, installation or improvement of driveways, swimming pools, pool houses, porches, garages, roofs, siding, insulation, flooring, patios, fences, gazebos, sheds, cabanas, painting, doors and windows, according to the Pennsylvania Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act.

What you cannot do as a handyman in Pennsylvania includes constructing a new home and doing any jobs that require a license that is relevant to your area. Examples could include plumbing, landscaping, or electrical work.

The state considers handymen as a contractor as long as the home improvement is for money and the handyman is paid for their services.

What else do I need?

While you may feel at home fixing greasy pipes or installing cabinets, you will need to get your hands dirty in paperwork to start your handyman business.

Firstly, you will need to do is register your handyman business with the state of Pennsylvania. This will make your business legal to operate in the state. During this process, you will also need to choose the business structure for your new venture. Many electrician businesses will choose to start as a sole proprietor. Sole proprietorships are informal business structures that do not provide personal asset protection. Basically, it allows you to take home 100% of the profits but you will also be 100% personally responsible for any problems you may encounter.

The main alternative is structuring your business as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), which protects your personal assets in case your business is sued.

Lastly, you will need to open a new business account at your local bank. This will be under your business name and will be for your payments so you can keep track of your expenses and profits.

What about handyman contractor insurance in Pennsylvania?

As someone who is considered a “jack of all trades”, you are right at home when it comes to using your hands and solving problems. But no matter how skilled you are, accidents can still happen. You may need to be prepared for this, just in case. Getting handyman contractor insurance in Pennsylvania is essential to protecting your small business.

Here’s an example:** You’re working in a customer’s home, and accidentally damage some of their floorboards while installing a cabinet. They demand that you pay to replace the floorboards. Would this type of expense be affordable for your business?

General Liability insurance* helps protect handyman businesses against customer or other third-party injury and property damage lawsuits. It may be sold as Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance or “slip and fall” coverage, and typically covers your legal expenses and the cost to fix the situation, up to the policy limits. General Liability insurance protects you even if a false claim is made against you.

General Liability coverage is available through BizInsure. With just a few clicks or a single phone call, you can get multiple competitive quotes from leading insurers for your handyman contractor insurance in Pennsylvania.

Select your preferred policy and get coverage instantly, so the only thing you need to worry about is adding a bit of spark to your client’s day.

*As with any insurance, the cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this web page is general only and should not be relied upon as advice.
**The provision of the claims examples are for illustrative purposes only and should not be seen as an indication as to how any potential claim will be assessed or accepted. Cover for a claim will depend on the specific circumstances around the loss and would be subject to the terms and conditions of the policy concerned. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained in this webpage is general only.  Coverage for claims on the policy will be determined by the insurer, not BizInsure, and will depend on the specific facts and circumstances involved.

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