New York City Home Improvement Contractor Licensing Guide

Before you can begin work as a general (home improvement) contractor in New York City, you must be licensed through the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP), formerly the Department of Consumer Affairs. SuretyBonds.com has developed this quick and easy guide to becoming a licensed home improvement contractor in New York so you can get started today.

Do I need a home improvement contractor license in New York?

You must have a home improvement contractor license if you or your business are involved in construction, repair, remodeling, or other home improvement work to any residential land or building in New York City. The DCWP provides a general explanation of additional work requiring a license, including the construction, replacement, or improvement of basements, driveways, fences, garages, landscaping, patios, porches, sidewalks, swimming pools, terraces, and other improvements to structures or land next to a home or apartment building.

How do I get a home improvement contractor license in New York?

The DCWP will deny applications that do not include the correct documents and information. Follow these steps closely once you’ve made sure that your line of work requires licensure:

1. Complete the Basic License Application.

The application will ask you to:

  • Identify your business’s legal structure.
  • Provide business and contact information.
  • List the sole proprietor’s and/or individual partners’ information (if applicable).
  • List the business’s general partners’, corporate officers’, shareholders’, and members’ information (if applicable).
  • Answer background questions on behalf of all individuals named on the application.

2. Submit your Sales Tax Identification Number or Application Confirmation Number.

Visit this page to apply for a Certificate of Authority in order to collect sales tax.

3. Provide proof of addresses.

To furnish proof of your business address, submit a copy of one of the following documents in the name of either the business or an individual whose name is on the application:

  • Utility bill from the past 90 days
  • Current lease/deed
  • Current rent/mortgage bill
  • Insurance document/bill
  • Correspondence from a government agency
  • Current license/permit/certificate issued by a city/state/federal government agency

To furnish proof of your home address, submit a copy of one of the following documents for each individual whose name is on the application:

  • Utility bill from the past 90 days
  • Insurance document/bill
  • Correspondence from a government agency
  • Current license/permit/certificate issued by a city/state/federal government agency
  • College/school correspondence
  • Current rent/mortgage bill
  • Driver’s license
  • Municipal ID card

4. Submit proof of workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

You will be required to provide a copy of one of the following documents as proof of workers’ compensation insurance:

  • An insurance certificate for workers’ compensation insurance from a private carrier or the New York State Insurance Fund Office; the certificate must name the DCWP as the certificate holder and include the Department’s address
  • A Certificate of Attestation of Exemption from the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board

If your business ceases to qualify for a workers’ compensation exemption, you must provide DCWP with proof of workers’ compensation insurance. ACORD forms are not acceptable proof of New York State workers’ compensation coverage.

5. Submit proof of EPA certification and/or a signed affirmation.

As of August 2020, home improvement contractor license applicants must submit proof that they are certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in regards to safe lead practices and/or confirm that certification is not required based on the business’s type of work.

Depending on the type of work your business does, you will be asked to submit one of these sets of documents:

  • Copies of EPA Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RPR) certification and EPA Lead-Based Paint Activities (Lead Abatement) certification; these must include the name, EPA certificate number, and EPA certificate expiration date
  • Copy of either EPA RRP certification or EPA Lead Abatement certification and signed Home Improvement Contractor Affirmation indicating that the other EPA certification is not required
  • Signed Home Improvement Contractor Affirmation indicating that both EPA certifications (RRP; Lead Abatement) are not required

6. Obtain a New York City Home Improvement Contractor surety bond.

If you are not enrolled in the DCWP Trust Fund, you are required to submit a copy of a properly signed surety bond in the amount of $20,000, as well as a copy of the bond receipt. Posting this surety bond is an important step to becoming licensed that is required in order to protect both clients and contractors.

The copy of the bond must name the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection as the certificate holder and your corporate Doing-Business-As (DBA) name and address must be the same on all documents.

7. Review the Contractual Compliance Agreement and Model Home Improvement Estimate Final Contract.

Review these documents to make sure your contracts will be meeting the legal requirements once you begin work.

8. Pass the Home Improvement Exam and schedule a fingerprinting appointment.

A sole proprietor, general partner, corporate officer, principal, director, member, or shareholder owning 10% or more of company stock must schedule an appointment to take the Home Improvement Exam at the DCWP Licensing Center between 8:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The exam consists of 30 questions, with a score of 21/30 being required to pass. If you fail the exam twice, you must pay the fee again to retake it.

Preparation materials for the Home Improvement Exam can be found here.

All sole proprietors, general partners, corporate officers, principals, directors, members, and shareholders owning 10% or more of company stock must schedule an appointment to get fingerprinted at the DCWP Licensing Center. Bring one of the following forms of identification:

  • Driver’s license or non-driver’s license ID issued by any U.S. state
  • License or permit
  • Passport
  • Green card
  • City/state/federal employee ID card
  • Municipal ID card

9. File your application

Once you’ve compiled all the required documents and completed your application, you must:

  • Use a laptop or desktop computer to submit your application online or
  • Schedule an in-person appointment to file your application at the DCWP Licensing Center or NYC Small Business Support Center by emailing [email protected] or calling (212) 436-0441 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Department of Consumer and Worker
Protection Licensing Center
42 Broadway, Lobby
New York, NY 10004
NYC Small Business Support Center
90-27 Sutphin Blvd, 4th Floor
Jamaica, NY 11435

How much does a home improvement contractor license cost in New York?

There are various fees associated with becoming licensed as a home improvement contractor in New York:

  • Surety bond premium: $200
  • Exam fee: $50
  • Fingerprint processing fee: $75

The price you will additionally pay for a license fee depends on the time of year you will be receiving your license. The license period is two years, and licenses expire on February 28 of odd years.

  • If you file your application between March 31 (odd year) and August 31 (odd year), you will pay $100 for a license expiring February 28 of the next odd year (valid for at most 24 months).
  • If you file your application between September 1 (odd year) and February 28-29 (even year), you will pay $75 for a license expiring February 28 of the soonest odd year (valid for at most 18 months).
  • If you file your application between March 1 (even year) and August 31 (even year), you will pay $50 for a license expiring February 28 of the soonest odd year (valid for at most 12 months).
  • If you file your application between September 1 (even year) and February 28 (odd year), you will pay $25 for a license expiring February 28 of the soonest odd year (valid for at most 6 months) OR you will pay $125 for a license expiring February 28 of the next odd year (valid for at most 30 months).

How do I renew my home improvement contractor license in New York?

Your license is valid for up to 30 months and expires on February 28 of every odd-numbered year. Before your license expires, the DCWP will mail you a license renewal application and instructions. You must submit your renewal application, required documents, and the $100 renewal fee at least 15 days before the license is set to expire.

You may renew online, by mail, or in person.

Need a surety bond?

If you’re a New York City home improvement contractor in search of a surety bond, call 1 (800) 308-4358 to talk to a SuretyBonds.com surety expert or get a free, no-obligation quote.