Idaho Contractors License Guide
If you're thinking about becoming a licensed contractor in Idaho, the good news is that the process is much easier compared to most states. While specialty contractors still need to get an Idaho contractors license, general contractors only need to be registered with the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses. This registration process has no set requirements for formal education, experience, or exams.
The guide below dives into everything you need to know to register as a contractor in Idaho, including which application you need and the associated fees.
Who Needs a Contractors License?
While there are no general contractor licenses in Idaho, registration with the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses (Idaho Contractors Board) is still required to conduct business. This also allows contractors to appear on the Idaho contractor license lookup list.
According to Idaho law, a contractor is anyone that does one or more of the following:
- Undertakes or proposes to undertake a construction project
- Claims to have the capacity to undertake construction
- Submits a bid to conduct construction
- Performs construction management services (construction manager)
Note that some exemptions apply (see Idaho Code 54-5205). For example, homeowners working on their own residence do not need to be registered. Additionally, projects where labor and materials total under $2,000 may also be exempt (except when part of a larger construction project).
Specialty contractors are licensed by the state through the Division of Building Safety. Unlike general contractors, these designations often require examinations, previous experience, and education.
Idaho Electrical Contractor:
For any person or entity providing or offering to provide electrical contracting services, including, but not limited to, submitting a bid. Must either be or employ at least one (1) full-time Idaho Master Electrician.
Other Idaho electrician licenses available include apprentice, journeyman, master, and specialty (elevator, irrigation sprinkler, limited energy, manufacturing and assembling, lineman, sign, well driller).
Idaho Plumbing Contractor:
For any person or entity providing or offering to provide plumbing contracting services, including but not limited to submitting a bid.
Other Idaho plumbing licenses available include apprentice, journeyman, and specialty (appliance, water pump, mobile home).
Idaho HVAC Contractor:
For any person or entity providing or offering to provide any service or work, including but not limited to installing, maintaining or repairing heating, ventilation or air conditioning appliances, or gas-fired equipment that requires special venting or gas supply piping systems or subsystems.
Idaho Public Works Contractor:
For all contractors or subcontractors who wish to construct, repair or reconstruct any project that involves public funding of contracts/purchase orders with the State of Idaho or any other political subdivision of the state authorized to let or award contracts for public work if the estimated cost of the entire project is $50,000 or more.
Idaho Contractors License Requirements
Important Note: As the education, contractor license bonds, and application requirements vastly vary across specialty Idaho contractor licenses (electrical, HVAC, plumbing), the following information applies mainly to general contractors. Please visit the Idaho Division of Building Safety licensing and continuing education page for more information on specific contracting licenses.
Licensure through the Idaho Contractors Board is the main requirement for general contractors as there are no state level requirements. Here is what you will need to register:
- Pick the Right Application
There are two types of Idaho contractor applications. The one you fill out will depend on your business structure.
Business Entity Contractor Application: for business entities including but not limited to general or limited partnerships, LLPs, LLCs, and corporations.
- Complete the Application
Information you will need when completing your application for an Idaho contractor license includes:
- Your name and business name
- Structure of business (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, LLP, corporation)
- Name of ABN/DBA (if applicable)
- Social security number (SSN)
- Employer Tax Identification Number (EIN) (business applications only)
- Business address and mailing address
- Phone number and email
- Past contracting license history (if applicable)
- Construction Code (your primary type of construction): 001 General Commercial Builder, 002 General Residential Builder, 003 General Remodel Builder, 004 Supplier
Note that the construction code you choose will not limit the work you perform. In this section of the application, you will also find subcontractor types you can identify under, such as insulation, decks, handyman, roofing, septic systems, etc.
- Proof of Identification
A clear and readable color copy of a government-issued photo ID such as a passport, military ID, or valid driver's license for each listed owner.
- General Liability Insurance Policy
Coverage must be a minimum of $300,000.00 single limit.
All registrants must hold a current, effective general liability insurance policy (including products and completed operations). Note that your application will not be processed without this.
- You will need to attach the certificate of liability insurance to the application. The applicant's name and name on the policy should match.
- Worker's Compensation Insurance Policy
The application will ask you if you hold a Worker's Compensation Insurance Policy
- If you hold a worker's compensation policy, attach it to the application. The applicant's name and name on the policy should match.
- Don't hold a policy? An explanation will be required. For example, not staffing any employees or any other exemption per Idaho Code 72-101 - 72-230.
- Current Public Works or Construction Manager License (optional)
If you hold a current public works or construction manager license in Idaho, you are not required to pay the registration fee for your application.
- You will need to attach a copy to the application and provide your registration number.
- Criminal Conviction Disclosure Form
This is the last page of the application, and it is only required for those convicted of a felony in Idaho or any other state. This form requires information such as sentencing, a brief description of the crime, and rehabilitation efforts.
- Attach any official court documents, probation and parole documents, and other relevant information to the application.
- Application Fee
There is a $50.00 fee for every application
- Enclose your payment. Checks should be payable to the Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses (IDOPL). Note that a $20.00 fee is charged for cheques that don't cash.
How to Get an Idaho Contractors License
Once you fill out the Idaho contractor registration forms and gather all the required documents, you will need to either mail them or drop them off at the address below:
IDAHO CONTRACTORS BOARD
Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses
11351 W. Chinden Blvd., Bldg. #6
Boise ID 83714
Emails and faxes are not accepted—original documents are required for an Idaho contractor registration to be processed.
Important Note: Many other online contractor application guides state that the "700 West State Street" mailing address is where your application needs to go. However, current applications no longer have this address. Please double-check the mailing address stated on your forms before sending off your application.
How Much Does the Contractor Registration and Renewal Cost in Idaho?
General Contractor Registration Fee - $50.00 (waived if you hold a current public works or construction manager license in Idaho).
General Contractor Renewal Fee - $45.00
Electrical Contractor License Fee - $15.00 application fee + $125.00 registration
Electrical Contractor Renewal Fee - $100.00
Plumbing Contractor License Fee - $22.50 application fee + $2,000 surety bond (bond generally costs anywhere from $20.00 - $200.00)
Plumbing Contractor Renewal Fee - $108.00
HVAC Contractor Application Fee - $35.00 application fee + $2,000 surety bond (bond generally costs anywhere from $20.00 - $200.00)
HVAC Contractor Renewal Fee - $150.00
- There may be additional registrations with license fees required by certain cities, counties, and municipalities across Idaho state. Always check with your local laws to see if any other permits are needed to operate legally.
- Many specialty contractor licenses require an Idaho surety bond. For example, Idaho plumbers need to secure a $2,000 surety bond for their licensure. This will cost anywhere from $20 - $200, depending on the applicant's credit and past bond history.
To find out more about surety bonds and who needs one, take a look at our guide: What is a Surety Bond?.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Idaho Contractors License?
An Idaho contractor license generally only takes a few weeks to process. You can ensure you get it as quickly as possible by filling all forms correctly and attaching all required documents. Dropping it off instead of mailing it can also speed up the process.
Does the Idaho Contractors Board Recognize Reciprocal States?
No. Since the Idaho Contractors Board is not a licensing board, they do not have reciprocity for contractor licenses. Therefore, all contractors operating in Idaho are required to register.
Does a Handyman Need a License in Idaho?
A handyman does not need a license in Idaho. However, just like general contractors, they should register with the Idaho Contractors Board. Without this registration, they may be subject to fines if they work on construction projects over $2,000. They also risk running into occupational issues, such as not being able to pull building permits with registration.
Have additional contractor registration questions? Contact the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses at (208) 334-3233 or [email protected].