West Virginia handyman license and insurance requirements

West Virginia handyman license and insurance requirements

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

A West Virginia handyman license is often not required for jobs that involve minor repairs and maintenance. But if you plan to work on larger jobs in the state, you must have a contractor license and all of its associated mandates in place.

In WV, a handyman license is issued by the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board. It’s your job as the sole proprietor and business owner to know when a contractor license is required in West Virginia. Usually this is the case if a project exceeds $5,000 for work on a residential property or $25,000 for a commercial property, including both materials and labor.

To learn more about state requirements and licensing jump ahead to read about:

How to get a West Virginia handyman license

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:

1. Verify your license classification

Contact the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board at clboard@wv.gov. Include your scope of work to verify which contractor license classification suits your needs and which exams you must take.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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 businesses that:

  • Only work on residential properties
  • Have no employees working in West Virginia
  • Have been in business with employees in West Virginia for at least one year
  • Have been in business in another state for at least five years
  • Are a subsidiary of a parent company that has been in business for more than five years
  • Have $100,000 or more in available assets

Insurance for a handyman 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.

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 many 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. It can help cover the repair or replacement costs if damage or theft occurs.

How long to get a West Virginia general contractor license?

If your project scope requires a general contractor license in West Virginia, the timing for the licensing process depends on how long it takes to register with each agency.

You may submit your application after completing registration with the Secretary of State, State Tax Department, Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment as needed. Once received, it takes approximately 24 hours to process a fully completed application and issue and mail the license.

West Virginia general contractor license renewal

West Virginia general 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 in West Virginia

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 can a West Virginia handyman do without a license?

A West Virginia handyperson without a license may work on residential projects under $5,000 or commercial projects under $25,000. Here are a few examples of that scope of work:

west virginia handyman content chart

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.

Learn more about the difference between a handyman and a general contractor.

How NEXT helps support a West Virginia handyman

NEXT makes it easy to get the handyman insurance you need at affordable monthly rates. We customize insurance packages to help thousands of professionals 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 under 10 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.

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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