Maryland Home Improvement Contractor License Guide

Maryland Home Improvement Contractor Bond License Guide

The Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) requires contractors file a license with the state’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR). Maryland statutes §8–101 define home improvement work as the alteration, remodeling, repair or replacement of a building or part of a building used as a residence. Home improvement also includes work done on individual condominium units.

By reviewing and following this guide, applicants will walk away with a comprehensive understanding of Maryland’s home improvement contractor licensing requirements.

1. Determine your contractor license type.

The Maryland Department of Labor does not require general contractors to be licensed, but it does require contractor licenses for the following trades:

  • home improvement contractors
  • electrical contractors
  • HVACR specialists
  • plumbers
  • gas fitters

If you will not be working as a home improvement contractor, this guide doesn’t apply to your licensing process.

2. Register your business.

Before beginning the licensing process, you’ll have to register your business entity with the Maryland Business Express portal. To form a corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, or limited partnership, you’ll register with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT).

Corporate registration requires articles of incorporation and a Certificate of Good Standing from the Department of Assessments and Taxation.

The state does not require sole proprietors or general partnerships to register their businesses.

3. Take your state exam.

You must pass the state Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) license exam with a minimum score of 70%. The examination consists of 55 questions based on home improvement laws and regulations.

PSI Examination Services provides the exam for $63 Mondays through Fridays at their testing centers in Baltimore, College Park, Salisbury, Frederick, Hagerstown, Lanham and Crofton.

To schedule your exam, call 1-800-367-1565 or email [email protected]. You can find answers to frequently asked exam questions here or from the PSI Candidate Information Bulletin.

4. Provide your required financial statements.

All applicants must provide a Contractor’s Personal Financial Statement, a recent credit report, and real estate and bank statements.

You’ll have to provide proof of financial solvency based on the scope and size of your registered business, such as total assets, liabilities, a full credit report, and net worth of at least $20,000.

5. If applicable, purchase and file a surety bond.

If you do not meet the minimum financial requirements outlined above, you’ll have to purchase and file a $20,000 Maryland Home Improvement Contractor Bond to guarantee your compliance with the Annotated Code of Maryland, Business Regulation Article, Title 8.

Maryland home improvement contractor bonds cost as low as $400 for the state-required 2-year term. The exact premium you’ll pay will be based on an underwriter’s review of your credit.

Find out how much you can save on your bond when you request a free, no-obligation quote from the experts at

6. Purchase general liability insurance.

The Maryland Home Improvement Commission requires all contractors to get a minimum $50,000 general liability insurance policy that includes the name of the applicant, the company’s name, and MHIC listed as the certificate’s holder.

7. Determine if worker’s compensation insurance is required.

If you plan to hire employees, you must have worker’s compensation insurance. You can find more information about related requirements from the Maryland Worker’s Compensation Commission.

8. Provide your proof of experience.

You’ll need to provide proof you have at least two years’ experience working in home improvement, construction, and/or related education.

9. Submit your completed application.

Once you’ve completed all steps outlined above, complete your application and mail the full packet to:

Maryland Home Improvement Commission
P.O. Box 17409
Baltimore, Maryland 21297-1409

License and registration fees include:

  • $250 license fee
  • $250 per each additional business location
  • $100 guaranty fund assessment fee
  • $20 application processing fee

When do I need to renew my Maryland home improvement contractor license?

Maryland home improvement contractor licenses expire every two years and must be renewed before expiration. Contractors can renew their licenses online through the Maryland Department of Labor Portal.

Renewal fees include:

  • $250 application fee
  • $250 per each additional business location
  • $125 guaranty fund assessment

Need a surety bond for a home improvement contractor license in Maryland?

If you’re a Maryland home improvement contractor looking for a surety bond provider, call 1 (800) 308-4358 to talk to a surety expert or get a free, no-obligation quote.

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