Virginia handyman license and insurance requirements

Virginia handyman license and insurance requirements

Ashley Henshaw
By Ashley Henshaw
Jan 23, 2024
9 min read

If you’re wondering what kind of work a handyman can do with a Virginia handyman license and without, the truth is that a professional license is not required for many jobs. However, you will likely need a Virginia general contractor license to take on larger jobs.

Jump ahead to learn more about the state’s licensing and insurance requirements:

Is a Virginia handyman license required?

If you plan to perform mostly minor repairs and basic maintenance as a handyperson, it’s unlikely that you need a license.

A common question we get asked is: does a handyman need a license in Virginia? You only need a license in Virginia if you plan to perform certain types of jobs beyond the scope of minor repairs. If your work will become a finished part of the structure (such as replacing flooring in an entire room) and the total for the project exceeds $1,000, you must have a general contractor license.

How to get a Virginia handyman license

Since no Virginia handyman license application exists — as there isn’t a license for this type of work — you must have a contractor license issued by the Board for Contractors in the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

Virginia defines a contractor as “any person, that for a fixed price, commission, fee, or percentage undertakes to bid upon, or accepts, or offers to accept, orders or contracts for performing, managing or superintending in whole or in part, the construction, removal, repair or improvement of any building or structure.”

You must apply for the correct license type based on the projected value of your projects as a handyperson. Virginia offers three contractor license classifications:

  • Class A. Single contracts of $120,000 or more and a total annual value of all contracts of $750,000 or more.
  • Class B. Single contracts of $10,000 to $120,000 and a total annual value of all contracts of $150,000 to $750,000.
  • Class C. Single contracts of $1,000 to $10,000 and a total annual value of all contracts of less than $150,000.

For most handypeople, a Class C license is sufficient to cover their scope of work. It also comes with fewer requirements in terms of testing, work experience and financial documentation.

Applicants must also select a specialty for their contractor license. Virginia’s home improvement contracting (HIC) specialization applies to most handypeople. This license designation covers repairs and improvements to existing building structures.

You must complete the following three steps to apply for a Virginia contractor license:

1. Register your business

You’ll need to register as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC or corporation with the State Corporation Commission and Virginia Department of Taxation.

2. Complete the pre-license education course

The course covers regulations, statutes and requirements for business owners, lasts at least eight hours and must have approval from the Board for Contractors.

3. Submit the application

Fill out the application and provide any additional documentation as needed. You must also include the appropriate application fee:

  • Class A: $385
  • Class B: $370
  • Class C: $235

It takes approximately 30 days to process most Virginia contractor licenses. Incomplete applications or missing documentation may result in a delay.

Other factors contributing to a longer processing time include past criminal history, adverse financial history or disciplinary history.

handyperson lightswitch

Insurance for a Virginia handyman

Small business or self-employed handyman insurance can help protect your business. The following types of Virginia business insurance are available for professionals in this industry.

Workers’ compensation insurance

All Virginia contractors with more than two employees (including subcontractors) must have workers’ compensation insurance. This coverage can help provide wage protection and other benefits if injuries occur on the job.

General liability insurance

General liability insurance can help cover work-related, nonemployee accidents and damage to someone else’s property.

Tools and equipment insurance

Tools and equipment insurance can help cover your work gear by providing coverage for repairs and replacements if damage or theft occurs.

Commercial auto insurance

If you drive for work, commercial auto insurance can help cover costs related to accidents, such as property damage and medical expenses.

Commercial property insurance

Commercial property insurance can help provide coverage for damage or vandalism that affects a property you own or rent and inventory or equipment stored at that location.

Virginia contractor license requirements

Specific Virginia contractor examination requirements apply to each license classification. Applicants must complete one or more of the following exam portions:

  • General: General administrative and business knowledge
  • Virginia: State laws and regulations for contractors
  • Advanced: Administrative and business knowledge for contracting on major projects

Class A applicants must pass the General, Virginia and Advanced portions of the exam. Class B applicants must pass the General and Virginia portions of the exam. Class C applicants don’t need to complete any of these three exams.

All applicants (Class A, B and C) must qualify for their chosen specialty. This requires holding an additional license or certification or completing a technical examination. Applicants must also submit an Experience Verification Form that shows their years of experience for the corresponding classification or specialty:

  • Class A: At least five years of experience
  • Class B: At least three years of experience
  • Class C: At least two years of experience

Class A and Class B license applicants must meet the minimum net worth requirements (at least $45,000 for Class A, at least $15,000 for Class B). No net worth requirement applies for Class C licenses.

To fulfill this requirement, Class A and Class B applicants must submit one of the following:

  • Financial statement form
  • CPA review/audit
  • Surety bond form

You must renew your contractor license every two years. The state sets expiration dates at the end of the month in which the license was issued.

What’s the difference between a handyman and a general contractor?

Before we get into the details of how to obtain a license in Virginia, it’s important to clarify what it means to be a handyman — because this will affect whether or not you need a license and what type of insurance you’ll need.

A handyman or handywoman is someone who does small repair, carpentry or minor maintenance jobs. Typically, these jobs only involve one person.

If you work on larger projects, such as renovating a bathroom or wiring a new kitchen, you could be considered a contractor and need the appropriate license and insurance coverage. A handyperson is usually someone who can complete a job on their own.
So what can a handyman do without a license? Here are some examples to help figure out if the jobs you perform mean you’re a handyman or a general contractor.

Handyman vs. Contractor

west virginia handyman content chart

How NEXT helps support a Virginia handyman

When you need the right handyman insurance to protect your business, NEXT has the expert services that you need.

Simply get a quote, see your coverage options and get a certificate of insurance in under 10 minutes. You can access your account from any computer or mobile device to make changes to your coverage or download additional COIs at no extra charge.

We specialize in small business insurance, and have helped thousands of professionals like you get insurance packages customized to meet their unique needs for an affordable monthly rate.

Start a free quote with NEXT.

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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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