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Massachusetts handyman license and insurance requirements

Massachusetts handyman license and insurance requirements

By Alex Dryjowicz
Sep 28, 2022
8 min read
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Massachusetts is one of the best states to work as a handyperson. As one of the top-paying states for maintenance and repair workers, Massachusetts boasts an average handyman salary of $51,930 per year.1 

There aren’t any Massachusetts handyman license requirements. However, you do have to register with the Commonwealth as a Home Improvement Contractor. For larger jobs, you’ll need a Construction Supervisor License (CSL).

To help you become a handyperson in Massachusetts, we’ve put together this helpful guide that covers everything you need to know, including:

Does a handyman need a license in Massachusetts?

While a handyperson in Massachusetts does not need a license, they must register as a Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) with the state’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.2 Registering as an HIC does not require you to take a test, but you do need to pay an application fee. 

A HIC registration only allows you to complete minor repair and maintenance jobs. You will need a Contractor Supervisor License for major home repairs and renovations.3 Massachusetts has three types of CSLs: unrestricted, restricted, and specialty.

With an unrestricted CSL, you can perform construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, removal or demolition on one to two-family dwellings, agricultural structures and buildings less than 35,000 cubic feet in size.

 A restricted CSL limits contractors to working only on one to two-family houses.

A few specialty CSLs also allow you to work on specific construction projects. These specialty CSLs include:

  • Masonry
  • Roof covering
  • Windows, doors and siding
  • Solid fuel-burning appliance
  • Demolition
  • Insulation

What type of work can a handyman do legally in Massachusetts?

Are you wondering what a handyman can do without a license in Massachusetts? As a registered HIC, you can work on minor home repair and maintenance jobs such as trim carpentry, gutters, kitchen cabinets, shelving and exterior painting.

For more complex jobs, you need a restricted, unrestricted or specialty Massachusetts Contractor Supervisor License. The Commonwealth details the requirements for work requiring a HIC registration or a CSL on their website.4 

Handyman vs. Contractor

While handypeople and contractors may take on similar projects, the scope of their work is very different. The following examples can help you determine whether your work categorizes you as handyman or a general contractor.

How to get a handyman license in Massachusetts

While there is no formal application for a handyman license in Massachusetts, you must register as a Home Improvement Contractor. There is a $150 registration fee and a mandatory payment to the Guaranty Fund based on the size of your company:

  • 0 to 3 employees: $100
  • 4 to 10 employees: $200
  • 11 to 30 employees: $300
  • More than 30 employees: $500

You can register through the state’s HIC registration portal or by filling out the HIC registration form and mailing it with a check or money order to the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation in Boston.2

How to get a Massachusetts contractor license

To work as a general contractor in Massachusetts, you need a Construction Supervisor license. Massachusetts contractor license requirements dictate that you must have at least three years of work experience in building construction or equivalent education in the field you are applying for licensure in. There are five steps to getting your CSL:3

  • Complete the CSL registration form. You can mail it to Prometric, the examination service.
  • Schedule your exam appointment. Contact Prometric to schedule an appointment to take your exam ten days after submitting your registration form.
  • Prepare for the CSL exam. Study for your exam using the provided content outlines.
  • Take your CSL exam.
  • Get your license. After passing the CSL exam, your score report will include instructions for obtaining your license through the Board of Building Regulations and Standards. 

How long does it take to get your contractor registration?

After submitting your documents and paying the necessary fees, it takes one to two weeks to receive your Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractor registration card by mail. 

Receiving your CSL takes a bit longer. After 10 days of processing, you can schedule your exam. Then, after mailing in your score report, it takes another 30 days for the Board to issue your card. 

Massachusetts contractor registration renewal

You must renew your Massachusetts HIC registration every two years and pay a $100 renewal fee. You can complete your HIC renewal through the state’s Home Improvement Contractor Registration Portal. Registrations expired for more than 30 days are not eligible for renewal, and you must submit a reapplication.

Massachusetts CSLs also expire every two years, and renewals cost $100. You must complete approved continuing education courses to renew your CSL. Required course hours vary depending on the type of license you have:

  • Unrestricted CSL: 12 hours
  • Restricted CSL: 10 hours
  • Specialty CSL: 6 hours

What kind of insurance does a handyman need in Massachusetts?

Handyperson work can be a risky business, even if you’re running a one-person operation. Luckily, handyman insurance can help protect you and your company so you can focus on the job at hand.

The following types of business insurance are advised for handypersons in Massachusetts. 

General Liability insurance

The most important insurance you need as a handyman is general liability insurance, and many clients will ask for proof before you start work. Many clients will ask for proof before you start work. General liability insurance helps cover costs if your business activities harm someone other than yourself or cause damage to someone else's property.

Workers’ Compensation insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance helps cover costs and pay for wages if you or an employee gets hurt on the job. In Massachusetts, workers' compensation insurance is mandatory for every company with employees, regardless of how many hours they work.5

Tools and Equipment insurance

Handyperson tools and equipment can be expensive yet necessary to do your job. Protect your work gear with tools and equipment insurance. This insurance can protect against damage or theft by helping cover the cost of replacing or repairing gear.

Commercial Auto insurance

All commercial vehicles in Massachusetts are required to have commercial auto insurance.6 This insurance helps cover costs related to accidents, including repairs, towing and medical expenses. 

Commercial Property insurance

Whether you rent or own, you can get protection for the property you use for your handyperson business with commercial property insurance. This insurance can help cover damage to the property itself and inventory or equipment stored inside. 

How NEXT supports Massachusetts handypeople

If you’re looking for convenient and affordable handyman insurance for your small business, NEXT Insurance can help. We’ll ensure you get the correct coverage to protect your business.

Get the coverage you need in minutes by starting a quote from any computer or mobile device. You’ll receive a certificate of insurance immediately after payment. We even include the option to download and share unlimited COIs, making it easy to satisfy your clients who request proof of coverage. 

Get an instant quote online today.

Do you want to work as a handyman somewhere besides Massachusetts? Learn about each U.S. state's licensing and registration requirements in our summary of handyman license requirements.

Sources

1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

2 Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractor Registration and Renewal

3 Massachusetts Construction Supervisor Licensing

4 Work Requiring a HIC Registration or CSL

5 Workers’ Compensation Insurance Requirements

6Massachusetts Commercial Automobile Insurance Manual

Massachusetts handyman license and insurance requirements

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About the author
Alex Dryjowicz is a copywriter, content creator and regular contributor to NEXT Insurance. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and small business owners across all industries succeed. She also enjoys intercultural communications and all things scuba diving.
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