Georgia handyman license and insurance requirements

Georgia handyman license and insurance requirements

Ashley Henshaw
By Ashley Henshaw
Feb 1, 2024
8 min read

Georgia is a popular place to work as a handyperson. In fact, Atlanta ranked seventh in the U.S. among the metropolitan areas with the highest employment level of maintenance and repair workers. With the state’s population set to grow by 19.5% between 2020 and 2040, there’s sure to be an increased demand for these types of professionals.

Curious about what type of work a handyman can do legally? You’ll be pleased to hear that there’s no need to get a handyman license in Georgia. However, you must obtain a Georgia contractor license if you plan to take on larger jobs valued at $2,500 or more.

Learn more about the Georgia handyman license exemption and the requirements for contractor licenses in this guide:

Does a handyman need a license in Georgia?

Georgia does not have any handyman license requirements. This state does not require a license as long as the value of any project you undertake as a handyperson does not exceed $2,500.

Although this exemption means you don’t need a handyman license, Georgia requires a contractor license if your work projects exceed that amount.

What can a handyman do without a license?

You must stick to relatively minor maintenance and home repair projects to work as a handyman without a contractor license. Most jobs that fall within this scope are the kind that a handyperson can complete on their own, like putting up drywall, repairing windows or assembling furniture.

Not sure whether you’re a handyman or a general contractor? Get a better idea of the types of jobs you can take on in each role by looking at the following comparison chart.

Handyman vs. Contractor

Content chart

How to get a handyman license in Georgia

According to Georgia handyman laws, you only need a license if any of your work contracts exceed $2,500. Those whose projects exceed this amount must have a contractor license issued by Georgia’s State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors. The application process involves the following steps.

Choose a license classification

The state of Georgia offers several types of contractor licenses. People with a handyman business may be interested in these license types:

  • Residential-Basic Contractor: For work on detached one-family and two-family residences and one-family townhouses not over three stories high
  • Residential-Light Commercial Contractor: For Residential-Basic Contractor work plus projects on multi-family and multi-use light commercial buildings and structures
  • General Contractor: For industrial commercial work
  • General Contractor Limited Tier: Limited to commercial contract amounts of $500,000 or less

Most handypeople in Georgia who take on projects of $2,500 or more apply for the Residential-Basic Contractor classification.

Submit an application

Your application must include the following documentation:

  • Assets
  • Taxes
  • Judgments
  • Bankruptcy documents
  • Net worth affirmation
  • Surety bond with power of attorney
  • Line of credit
  • Proof of general liability insurance
  • Proof of workers’ compensation insurance
  • Secure and verifiable document
  • Affidavit of citizenship
  • Disciplinary action/sanctions (if applicable)
  • Immigration documents (If applicable)

In addition, you must include a non-refundable application fee of $200. You may submit your application by mail or online.

Pass the exam

If the board approves your application, you will receive a notification via email. That message will include instructions on how to schedule your licensing exam.

Within one year of your application approval, you must pass two exams:

  • Business and law exam
  • Trade exam

To pass, you need a minimum score of 70% on each exam. You’ll immediately receive a notification of your score after completing the exam.

Georgia contractor license requirements

To apply for a Residential-Basic Contractor license in Georgia, you must demonstrate the following qualifications:

  • At least two years of work experience as a residential contractor or in the employment of a residential contractor
  • Successful completion of at least two projects falling within the Residential-Basic Contractor scope of work

How long does it take to get a Georgia contractor license?

The Georgia Board of Residential and General Contractors processes most contractor licensure applications within 20 business days of receipt. Applicants may check their application status online.

Georgia contractor license renewal

Georgia contractors must renew their licenses by June 30th of every even-numbered year. The Georgia Board of Residential and General Contractors website features an online renewal option. You must pay a renewal fee of $100.

Local Georgia handyman business license requirements

The state-level requirements are the first step to starting a handyperson business in Georgia. But you also need to check local requirements since these often require additional work.


In Atlanta, some professions and trades require a city license in addition to the Georgia state license. However, the law does not explicitly state that handymen are among these professions. Check with local authorities for any specific regulations on handypersons.

Atlanta doesn’t mandate any city-level insurance other than the state requirements.


If you operate as a mobile handyperson without a fixed location in Augusta, you might need a Transient Business License. This applies if you solicit business within the city limits but don’t have a permanent office or shop.

While the Transient Business License focuses on mobile operations, obtaining a standard business license might be beneficial if you plan on a fixed location in the future.

Similar to Atlanta, there are no specific insurance requirements in Augusta other than the ones required by the State of Georgia.


All businesses operating within Columbus, including handyman services, must obtain an occupational tax certificate. This applies regardless of whether you have a storefront or operate as a mobile service.

Additionally, a certificate of occupancy from the Department of Inspections and Code is mandatory for businesses located in Columbus. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 mandates most private employers seeking a business license in Georgia to register with and use the federal E-Verify program.

Like Atlanta and Augusta, Columbus does not require additional insurance besides the ones mandated by Georgia.

What kind of insurance does a handyman need in Georgia?

Regardless of whether your work requires a license, you should obtain the right handyman insurance to protect your business. The following types of coverage are recommended for handypeople and contractors in Georgia:

General liability insurance

This type of insurance helps pay for expenses related to property damage and other accidents that could happen while working as a handyman or contractor. Georgia contractor license applicants must provide proof of at least $300,000 in general liability insurance coverage.

Workers’ Compensation insurance

Georgia employers with three or more employees must submit proof of workers’ compensation insurance coverage. This insurance can help cover medical expenses and lost wages for employee injuries on the job.

Any business owner can apply for workers’ comp insurance even if they are not required to by state law. For example, an individual business owner with no employees can also benefit from this type of coverage if they get hurt at work.

Tools and Equipment insurance

If damage or theft affects your work gear, tools and equipment insurance can help cover repair or replacement costs.

Commercial Auto insurance

Most handypeople need commercial auto insurance since they regularly drive to different job sites. This insurance helps pay for accident-related expenses, such as towing, repairs and rental reimbursement.

Commercial Property insurance

If you own or rent business property for your business, commercial property insurance can help pay for costs related to damage or vandalism to the property or the inventory or equipment stored there.

How NEXT Insurance supports Georgia handypeople

NEXT offers affordable business insurance in Georgia. With our convenient online services, it only takes minutes for small business owners to apply for and secure the coverage they need.

Once you’ve purchased your coverage, you’ll get unlimited free downloads for your certificates of insurance. You can go online anytime to access your account and make changes to your insurance.

Get an instant quote online today.

Are you planning to work as a handyman in another U.S. state? Learn how to get the proper professional credentials in our handyman license requirements guide.

This information has been provided as a service. It is correct and up-to-date to the best of our knowledge; however, it is in no way intended to offer legal advice and you must always consult with local authorities before you make any business decisions. Regulations and requirements may change at any time.

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Ashley Henshaw
About the author

Ashley Henshaw was a contributing writer at NEXT. She specializes in small business topics, covering everything from insurance and branding to web hosting and cryptocurrency.

Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, AOL City's Best, Citysearch, USA Today, The San Francisco Chronicle and Livestrong.

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