How to Get a Maryland Contractor License

In Maryland, a contractor license is required if you wish to work on home improvement projects or do electrical, plumbing, or HVACR work.

Below is a quick guide covering everything you need to know to become a licensed contractor in Maryland.


Determine the Type of Maryland Contractor License You Need

The licensing process is handled by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR). The following are the four main types of contractor licenses they offer.

Home Improvement License

Contractors performing any work that involves repair, replacement, remodeling, or alteration of any part of a residential building (including individual condominium units) are required to have a Maryland Home Improvement Commission Contractor License (MHIC License).

Master Electrician License

To perform electrical work, you are required to obtain a master electrician license.

Plumber’s License

If you wish to do plumbing work, you must get a master or journey plumbing license.

HVACR License:

To perform heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration work, you must obtain either a master (restricted), limited contractor, or a journeyman license.


Access Maryland License Application Forms

You can also request a mailed application by calling (334) 272-5030. Both general contractor and subcontractor license applications include a detailed list of requirements.


Fulfill Requirements and Obtain Required Documents

Applicants for the Home Improvement License are required to take the following steps:

  • Register your business name

    Contact the Maryland Home Improvement Commission to check name availability (at 410-230-6309) prior to registering your name. Once your name is confirmed, register with the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation.

  • Provide proof of net worth

    To obtain your Home Improvement License, you are required to provide a financial statement with your application. Note that the net worth (assets - liabilities) must be at least $20,000.

    Note: If you cannot provide a positive net worth, you may obtain a two-year $20,000 surety bond instead (see step 5)

  • Provide real estate and bank statements

    If real estate is listed on your financial statement, you must provide a copy of your current property assessment notice(s). You are also required to enclose copies of the last three months of personal bank statements. Note that business accounts are not taken into consideration.

    Note: Your application should have a notarized signature of co-owner(s) of real estate, bank accounts, or other assets (if any).

  • Provide a credit report

    Along with your application you will need to submit a current, original credit report (no older than 90 days). You can obtain a credit report via Annual Credit Report.

  • Submit certificate of liability insurance

    Proof of general liability insurance of $50,000 or more must be submitted. The certificate must include the name of the applicant and the company’s name and the Maryland Home Improvement Commission should be designated as the certificate holder.

  • Submit a copy of conviction records

    You are required to provide a copy of all conviction records regarding felonies (and any misdemeanor convictions relating to a home improvement transaction) along with a letter of explanation of each conviction plus proof of completion of parole/probation.

Contractor Insurance

There are several types of insurance coverages that are recommended for contractors, but the recommended coverage will vary based on your operation.

If you’d like to learn more about all of the insurance coverages available to you, please read our contractor insurance guide.


Pass the Licensing Exam

To obtain your MHIC License, you must pass a contractors’ exam covering laws and regulations.

Exam Prep

As of December 2016, the contractor’s exam is based on the 6th edition of NASCLA Contractors Guide to Business, Law and Project Management, Maryland Home Improvement Commission. This study guide covers business regulations and practices, home improvement law, licensing requirements, and all other material and information pertaining to the exam and licensure.

Booking Your Licensing Exam

Examination services are handled by PSI and the open-book licensing exam is given daily from Monday through Friday. Testing centers are located in Baltimore, College Park, Salisbury, Frederick, Hagerstown, Lanham, and Crofton. PSI exams are by appointment only and confirmed in writing.

To take the exam you must make an appointment with PSI by contacting them at 1-800-367-1565, by email at [email protected] or via their website. A confirmation of the exam date and time will be sent in writing.

Additional Exam Information

After receiving a passing score on the exam, you have two years to apply for a license before the test score expires. Visit the PSI website for more information, booking, practice tests, or to access their Candidate Information Bulletin.


Obtain Your Contractor License Bond

In the state of Maryland, the MHIC Guaranty Fund will compensate homeowners up to $20,000 if a contractor performs unworkmanlike, inadequate, or incomplete home improvement work. Therefore, all Home Improvement License applicants are required to show financial solvency (a positive net worth statement with their contractor license bond application).

A two-year surety bond in the amount of $20,000 can be filled in place of the financial statement in the event you do not meet the required net worth. The bond must show the person and business name, and be signed by the applicant. The Maryland surety bond forms can be accessed here.

There may also be local requirements for contractor licensing and bonding. Please contact the city or county where you anticipate working for complete information.

Why Do I Need a Maryland Contractor License Bond?

A contractor bond’s purpose is to protect your clients and municipality. It is required to ensure you will complete any contracted work and carry out that work in accordance with building codes and any other local regulations.

How Much Does a Maryland Contractor License Bond Cost?

The cost of a Maryland auto dealer bond is a flat fee that equates to a small percentage (generally 1% - 10%) of the total bond amount ($20,000). The bond cost varies depending on your financial strength, e.g. personal credit. You can also take a look at our most frequently asked surety bond questions.

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Submit Your Maryland Contractor License Application

How to Fill Out Your Application

  • Please complete and print (plainly in ink) your Home Improvement Application. Make sure all fields are completed and all supporting documentation is attached.
  • The Master Electrician and Plumber License applications have to be completed online.

Licensing and Application Fees

A check or money order (with the application fees) must be made payable to the Maryland Home Improvement Commission and sent with the application.

  • New license application:
    • Application fee: $250
    • Each additional company location: $250
    • Guaranty Fund Contribution: $100
    • Processing fee: $20
  • Exam fee: $63

Further information regarding fees can be found on DLLR’s Forms & Fees page.

Mailing Address

Submit your Home Improvement License application package along with a photo and relevant fees to:

Maryland Home Improvement Commission

P.O. Box 17409

Baltimore, Maryland 21297-1409

FAQ & Workshops

Additional application information is available through the Licensing FAQs page on the Maryland Department of Labor website. Additionally, the Maryland Home Improvement Commission frequently holds free workshops for those interested in becoming an MHIC licensed contractor or salesperson. Dates are available here.

Workshop location:

2nd Floor, 500 North Calvert Street

Baltimore, MD 21202

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