West Virginia has a relatively low population compared to other U.S. states, so you might not expect it to offer a high number of job opportunities. However, that’s not the case for a handyman, partially due to its shared borders with more highly populated areas.
The greater Washington D.C., Arlington and Alexandria area includes parts of West Virginia. It's also ranked tenth nationwide among metropolitan areas with the highest employment level of general maintenance and repair workers. On top of that, the Weirton and Steubenville area of West Virginia and Ohio ranks sixth among U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of jobs for this line of work.1
This state also makes it easy to join the profession since there are no West Virginia handyman license requirements. If you’re wondering what type of work can a handyman do legally in this state, you’ll be pleased to discover that you won’t need a license unless you work on projects worth more than $5,000.
Learn more about the state’s requirements for handypersons and get details about West Virginia contractor license requirements in the following guide:
- Does West Virginia require handyman licenses?
- How to get a handyman license in West Virginia
- How long does it take to get your contractor license?
- West Virginia contractor license renewal requirements
- Contractor license reciprocity
- What kind of insurance does a handyman need in West Virginia?
Does West Virginia require handyman licenses?
This state does not have any requirements for a handyman license. West Virginia does, however, require a contractor license if your handyman projects exceeds $5,000 for work on a residential property or $25,000 for a commercial property, including both materials and labor.2
For most handyperson jobs that involve minor repairs and maintenance, project costs aren’t high enough to require a license. But if you plan to work on larger jobs that exceed these amounts, you must have a contractor license issued by the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board.
What can a handyman do without a license?
A West Virginia handyperson without a license may work on residential projects worth $5,000 or less or commercial projects worth $25,000 or less.
Keep in mind that these amounts are set for a total project cost, not the cost paid to individual subcontractors. As a West Virginia handyman without a license, you will likely work on smaller projects like minor repairs and maintenance instead of major renovations.
The example handyman jobs listed in the following chart would not require a license in most cases. On the other hand, the general contractor jobs would typically require a license due to total project costs.
Learn more about the differences between handyman vs. contractors
How to get a handyman license in West Virginia
While you do not need a handyperson license in this state, you might need a contractor license depending on the value of the projects you work on.
To obtain a license, you must fulfill the following West Virginia contractor license requirements.3
Verify your license classification
Contact the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board at email@example.com. Include your scope of work to verify which contractor license classification suits your needs and which exams you must take.
Schedule your exams
Contact testing provider ProV to schedule your exams. Contractors must take the West Virginia business and law exam as well as a trade exam. You must score 70% or higher to pass each exam.4
Register your business
You must register your business with the West Virginia Secretary of State. In addition, you must obtain a business registration tax number from the West Virginia State Tax Department.
Provide proof of insurance
If you have employees, you must provide workers’ compensation insurance and unemployment coverage. Submit a copy of the certificate of workers’ comp insurance and the most recent quarterly report showing that you pay into unemployment.
Complete the application
Fill out and submit your application once all the previous steps are complete. Include a check or money order for the $90 application fee.
You must complete the wage bond status affidavit included with the contractor license application, even if you are not required to post a bond. Bond requirements do not apply for the following types of businesses:5
- Only works on residential properties
- Has no employees working in West Virginia
- Has been in business with employees in West Virginia for at least one year
- Has been in business in another state for at least five years
- Is a subsidiary of a parent company that has been in business for more than five years
- Has $100,000 or more in available assets
How long does it take to get your contractor license?
The timing for the licensing process depends on how long it takes to register with each agency. After completing registration with the Secretary of State, State Tax Department, Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment as needed, you may submit your application. Once received, it takes approximately 24 hours to process a fully completed application and issue and mail the license.
West Virginia contractor license renewal requirements
West Virginia contractor licenses expire 12 months from the date of issuance, with the expiration date noted on the license. You will receive a mailed renewal notice approximately 45 days prior to expiration. Online and mail-in renewals are accepted with a required $90 renewal fee.
Contractor license reciprocity
West Virginia offers reciprocity agreements with the following states for certain types of contractor licenses:
- Alabama: HVAC classification
- North Carolina: Electrical classification
- Ohio: Electrical, HVAC, Manufactured Housing Installer or Plumbing classification
- Tennessee: Electrical, General Building, HVAC, Multi-Family, Plumbing, Residential or Sprinkler and Fire Protection classification
If you have a contractor license in one of these states, you must submit a separate reciprocity agreement application to get approval from the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board.
What kind of insurance does a handyman need in West Virginia?
Whether you work as a handyperson or a licensed contractor, you need the right business insurance in West Virginia to protect your business. The following types of insurance are highly recommended for professionals in this line of work.
Workers’ Compensation insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance provides a safety net for your business if workplace injuries occur. It helps cover the costs of medical treatment, lost wages and other benefits if you or an employee gets hurt on the job.
All employers in West Virginia must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This applies to both unlicensed handypeople as well as licensed contractors. You must submit proof of workers' comp coverage before receiving a contractor license in this state.6
General Liability insurance
General liability insurance provides financial protection for accidents which can occur at work. It helps pay for the costs associated with damage to someone else's property or injuries that harm someone other than you or an employee.
Tools and Equipment insurance
As a handyman, you likely have a number of tools you use for maintenance and repair work. Tools and equipment insurance protects your gear if damage or theft occurs by helping to pay for repairs or replacements.
Commercial Auto insurance
Many handypeople drive to different job sites, so they likely need commercial auto insurance. This insurance can help cover towing, repairs, medical bills and other expenses related to an accident in your work vehicle.
Commercial Property insurance
Commercial property insurance helps protect brick-and-mortar locations you lease or rent for work and inventory or equipment stored inside. If damage or theft occurs, it can help cover the repair or replacement costs.
How NEXT Insurance supports West Virginia handypeople
NEXT makes it easy to get the handyman insurance you need at affordable monthly rates. We customize insurance packages to help thousands of professionals like you protect their business, meet state licensing requirements and comply with local laws.
You can easily view your policy options, apply for coverage and get an instant certificate of insurance in a matter of minutes. It’s easy to log in at any time to download and share additional COIs free of charge or make changes to your coverage.
Get an instant quote online today.
Do you want to work as a handyman in another U.S. state? Learn more about the requirements in our guide to handyman licensing.