North Carolina handyman license and insurance requirements

North Carolina handyman license and insurance requirements

Ashley Henshaw
By Ashley Henshaw
Sep 29, 2022
8 min read

A career as a handyperson appears to be relatively popular in North Carolina. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 44,000 general maintenance and repair professionals call North Carolina home. In addition, the state’s Southeast coastal area ranks fourth in the nation among nonmetropolitan areas with the highest employment for this profession.1

You may be wondering, do I need a license to be a handyman in North Carolina? If you become an N.C. handyman, license requirements shouldn’t be an issue. This state does not issue North Carolina handyman licenses, and contractor license requirements only apply if you work on projects valued at over $30,000.2

If you’re interested in becoming a North Carolina handyperson, read through this guide covering key topics about handyman work and contractor licensing, including:

Does a handyman need a license in North Carolina?

Before you start working in this state, you need to find the answer to one question: Is a handyman license required in North Carolina? The answer is no because the state does not offer one.

Although there is no handyman license in North Carolina, you may need a North Carolina general contractor license if your work involves major projects worth more than $30,000. The North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors issues these licenses.

What can a handyman do without a license in N.C.?

Because the state does not require a handyman license, NC workers in this profession can take on a wide variety of projects as long the value of each job stays below $30,000. 

Handypeople usually work on minor repairs and maintenance, like fixture replacements, furniture assembly and small carpentry tasks. Most handyman jobs don’t require the help of additional employees. 

Your projects must not involve any plumbing or heating work, as these two trades require licensing in North Carolina.

Contractors typically work on much larger projects involving major renovations to a property. This could include adding a new room, building a deck and other projects that usually require a building permit.

The chart below offers helpful examples to determine whether your work categorizes you as a handyman or general contractor.

Handyman vs. Contractor

North Carolina contractor license requirements

To apply for a North Carolina general contractor license, you must fulfill the following requirements:3

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Possess good moral character (as determined by the Board)
  • Provide evidence of financial responsibility (as determined by the Board)
  • Plan to bid on, construct, superintend or manage projects costing $30,000 or more

Financial requirements

When you fill out your application, you must select a license limitation based on your business finances. There are three limitation categories available:4

  • Limited license (for projects up to $500,000 each): Requires $17,000 working capital, $80,000 net worth or a $175,000 surety bond
  • Intermediate license (for projects up to $1,000,000 each): Requires $75,000 working capital, an audited financial statement or a $500,000 surety bond
  • Unlimited license (for projects of any size): Requires $150,000 working capital, an audited financial statement or a $1,000,000 surety bond

How to get a contractor license in North Carolina

Complete the following steps to get your North Carolina general contractor license:

Register with the Secretary of State

Before you begin the application process, make sure to register your business with the North Carolina Secretary of State. For the application, you must have copies of the Articles of Organization, Articles of Incorporation or Certificate of Authority.

Submit your application

When filling out the application, note which license classification you plan to test for, such as Building Contractor or Residential Contractor, and select your license limitation. You must also include three character references.

Pass the licensing exam

Upon approval of your application, you may schedule your licensing exam through the test administrator, PSI. You must take the exam that corresponds to your chosen license classification and achieve a score of 70% or higher to pass.5

In addition to the PSI exam, the Board also accepts a passing score on the National Accredited Building Examination administered by the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA).6

Contractor license renewal

North Carolina general contractor licenses expire on January 1 of each year. You may renew your license as early as October of the year prior. The Board issues licenses year-round, so you must renew licenses issued in December for the following year.

You must complete eight hours of continuing education to qualify for renewal. When renewing your license, you must provide a current financial statement. 

What kind of insurance does a handyman need in North Carolina?

Protecting your business is a top priority whether you work as an unlicensed handyperson or a licensed general contractor. With the right insurance coverage, your business can remain financially stable even if accidents happen.

Review the following types of business insurance recommended for handypeople and general contractors in North Carolina.

General Liability insurance

General liability insurance helps cover costs related to certain types of accidents involving a third party, such as damage to someone else’s property or an injury to someone other than an employee. Many handyman and contractor clients request proof of general liability insurance coverage before they agree to hire someone for a job.

Workers’ Compensation insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance provides important protections for your business if workplace injuries occurs. This coverage helps to pay for medical expenses, lost wages and other benefits if an employee gets hurt on the job.

In North Carolina, all businesses with three or more employees must have workers’ compensation insurance or qualify as self-insured employers.7

Tools and Equipment insurance

Most handypeople and contractors have work gear that is essential for their projects. Tools and equipment insurance protects that gear by helping to pay for repairs or replacements for damaged or stolen items.

Commercial Auto insurance

If you use a work vehicle to drive to different job sites, you should have commercial auto insurance. If you get into an accident while driving your vehicle for work, this coverage can help pay for towing, repairs, rental reimbursement and other related expenses.

Commercial Property insurance

Commercial property insurance helps cover damage or vandalism to a property you own or rent and any inventory and equipment stored in that location.

How NEXT Insurance supports North Carolina handypeople

NEXT Insurance offers affordable and convenient small business insurance options for handypeople and contractors. We customize every insurance package to help protect your business.

You can start a quote from any computer or mobile device, compare coverage options and get a certificate of insurance for your business. Log in anytime to download and share unlimited COIs at no extra cost or make adjustments to your coverage.

Ready to get started? Get an instant quote online from NEXT today.

Do you have handyman projects outside North Carolina? Find out which states require licenses in our summary of handyman license requirements.


1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

2 General Contracting in North Carolina

3 NC Licensing Board for General Contractors - License Applicants

4 Application for License to Practice General Contracting in the State of North Carolina

5 Candidate Information Bulletin

6 FAQ for Contractors

7Employers' Requirement to Carry Workers' Compensation Insurance

North Carolina handyman license and insurance requirements


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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