Arkansas Contractor Licenses
Construction-related work will never run out. Even more so in such a large and popular state like Arkansas. As a contractor, this is an ideal state to work in, especially now when their construction industry is booming. In fact, reports state that Arkansas is actually experiencing a shortage of workers in the construction industry. This is good news for you and other industry workers!
Interested? This comprehensive guide will show you how to be a contractor in the state of Arkansas, but it will also help homeowners make sure they’re hiring the guys that have the appropriate licenses.
Arkansas Contractor’s License Board
The first thing you need to do when applying for a contractor’s license in any state is to identify who exactly issues the license that you want to apply for.
In this state, contractor’s licenses are generally handled by the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board. Not only does this Board regulate contractor licenses but it also oversees the enforcement of the state’s Contractors Bond Law. It also has a separate Residential Contractors Committee that not only licenses residential contractors but also hears complaints against these contractors who have been accused of committing violations.
To get in touch with the Contractors Licensing Board for your commercial and residential contractors’ licenses, you can go directly to their office, which you can find at 4100 Richards Road, North Little Rock, Arkansas 72117. You can also call the Board’s office at (501) 372-4661, send a fax to (501) 372-2247, or message them via email at [email protected].
Trade licenses are a different story. This is because these trade licenses are issued by different departments of the state.
For HVAC and plumbing trade licenses, these are issued by the state’s Department of Health, particularly its Division of Protective Health Codes under the Plumbing and Natural Gas Section. Their office can be found at 4815 W Markham St, Little Rock, AR 72205 and you can personally go there for your licensing concerns. Otherwise, you may call them at (501) 661-2000.
If you will be applying for an electrical trade license, you need to get in touch with the Electrical Inspection and Licensing Division of the state’s Department of Labor. You can call them at (501) 682-4547 if you have any licensing concerns. The department’s office can be found at 10421 West Markham Street, Little Rock, AR 72205.
Doing asbestos abatement tasks also requires you to be licensed in the state of Arkansas, which is in accordance to Regulation 21 of the state. For that, you need to go to their Department of Environmental Quality. Inquiries and other concerns regarding asbestos abatement licenses may be sent via mail to their office at 5301 Northshore Drive
North Little Rock, AR 72118-5317 or via phone at either their helpline number (501) 682-0923, main switchboard number (501) 682-0744, or toll-free number 888-233-0326.
Even working with alarm systems are regulated by the state, as anyone who will install and maintain these systems must be duly licensed first. These licenses are issued by the Arkansas State Police. To acquire one, it is best that you make your inquiries at their headquarters, located at One State Police Plaza Drive Little Rock, AR 72209, with phone number (501) 618-8900.
Out-of-state corporations may also conduct their contracting business in the state, as long as they are registered with the Secretary of State of Arkansas. To do so, file your registration at their office in Little Rock, specifically at State Capitol Room 058, Little Rock, AR 72201. Inquiries may also be made through phone calls, either at (501) 682-3409 or their toll-free number (888) 233-0325.
Are you interested in doing projects for the state? If so, you should know that the state of Arkansas also allows contractors like you to bid on some of their public works projects, specifically those that are handled by the Department of Transportation. However, you can only bid on these projects if you pass the prequalification conducted by the Arkansas State Highway Commission. Another option is for you to submit a copy of your contractor’s license issued by the state of Arkansas, instead of undergoing prequalification. However, the Commission may have other requirements aside from a copy of your contractor’s license and it is important that you check with them before using this method. All your related concerns may be addressed to the Programs and Contacts Division of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. You may contact them through mail at P.O. Box 2261, Little Rock, AR 72203 or through phone at this number: (501) 569-2261.
In addition to it, the state also has special provisions for former and active duty military personnel and their spouses who want to be licensed. To use this perk, make sure to check the requirements of the respective Boards and Departments of the trade you want to be licensed in.
Contractor Licenses Classifications
When it comes to regulating licenses, Arkansas can be considered as strict. So much so that they have various license classifications available for the different contractor and trade licenses, in order to properly classify anyone who plans to work in the state as a contractor or trade worker. This is why it is important for you to identify which specific license classification you need to be licensed in before you apply for one.
In general, contractor licenses are classified into two types: residential and commercial. These two license types are common in other states as well, but Arkansas has distinct license classifications for these two types that are unique to the state.
Like all other Residential Contractor licenses, the one issued by the state limits a contractor to work on residential structures or property. However, licensed Residential Contractors are only allowed to work on single-family dwellings or residences in the state, unlike some other states allow these contractors to work on multiple-family homes. Do note that the state defines single-family dwellings as those properties that may have up to a maximum of four individual units in that one single property. This license is required for residential property work that will cost $2000 and up. These licenses may also be considered as General Contractor licenses.
For the Residential Contractor license, the following classifications are available:
- Residential Builder License – this allows the license holder to build new residential buildings, as well as do various kinds of residential work
- Residential Remodeler License (Limited) – restricted to doing remodeling work on residences but only for those that won’t cost more than $50,000. This includes restorative work on homes that sustained damages due to storm and fire, changes in the building’s structure, and building additional rooms to an already existing structure
- Residential Remodeler License (Unlimited) – may work on the same remodeling projects without any restriction on its cost or size
- Home Improvement Specialty License (Limited) – allows you to do home improvement work, such as carpentry and painting, that costs a maximum of $50,000, which covers materials and labor
- Home Improvement Specialty License (Unlimited) – does not have cost and size restrictions when working on residential property
Exceptions are made for homeowners who will do the contracting work on their own property, in terms of home improvement and the construction of a new residential building (if that will be his or her only residential project for a calendar year), working as a subcontractor for a licensed contractor, and if the contractor has been issued another type of license and the only work he or she will be doing is related to that other type of license. If you meet any of these conditions, you do not need to be licensed as a Residential Contractor.
Commercial Contractor licenses, compared to Residential Contractor licenses, are generally much more difficult to acquire. This is mainly due to the fact that the licenses under this type are wider in scope and covers work on both private and public properties.
Any construction-related work, except on single-family residences, that cost $50,000 or more in labor, materials, and other expenses require you to acquire the necessary commercial contractor licenses. The classifications under this license type are:
- Municipal and Utility Construction
- Heavy Construction
- Highway, Railroad, & Airport
- Building (both residential and commercial)
- Light Building (both residential and commercial) – note that the total project cost must not exceed $500,000 and the structure itself is only up to two stories high
- Electrical – also requires you to be licensed in the electrical trade
- Mechanical – must also have a trade license in plumbing
- Specialties – certain types may require you to be a license holder of other trades and the work that you can do is limited to those under the trade you have a license in only
Restricted and Unrestricted classifications also apply for these licenses. If your project costs less than $750,000, including the total cost of materials and labor, you will need to file for a Restricted license. Otherwise, the Unrestricted license applies to you.
Anyone in the state of Arkansas who will work on plumbing systems is required to acquire the necessary plumbing trade licenses, regardless of value of the project. The exceptions, however, are those that will work on plumbing systems of their own homes or that of agricultural buildings not located within the immediate vicinity of any city and these buildings must have separate sewer, gas, and water lines not connected to public lines.
The following plumbing trade classifications are licensed in the state:
- Master Plumbing License – may do unlimited work on plumbing systems, such as the piping of natural gas, water supply, and drainages for storms and sanitary purposes
- Journeyman Plumbing License – also allowed to do unlimited plumbing work but a license holder is required to be employed by a Master Plumber
- Restricted Lifetime Master Plumber License – only permitted to work on sewer and water lines and is issued to Master Plumbers whose licenses were valid for 12 years or more.
Apprentice Plumbers are also recognized by the state. However, they are only required to be registered with the Department, not licensed, and must only work under the constant supervision of a Journeyman or Master Plumber. Note that you can only supervise a maximum of 3 apprentice plumbers per project if you are a Journeyman or Master Plumber.
Like plumbers, anyone who will do work on various electrical systems in the state of Arkansas is mandated to have the necessary electrical trade licenses. But unlike plumbers, there are no exceptions as to who will require electrical trade licenses. This means that even if you will be working in your own home or in an agricultural building in the state, you must first have your license to do so.
Electrical trade licenses are classified under the following:
- Master Electrician License – can do all kinds of electrical work, including overseeing installations of equipment and their maintenance work and laying out and planning of electrical systems
- Residential Master Electrician License – may only do the work of a master electrician in single or two-family residences. Otherwise, he or she is required to only do supervised work under the monitoring of a Journeyman or Master Electrician
- Journeyman License – limited to working on electrical equipment and conductors, particularly in terms of their installation, extension, and maintenance
- Residential Journeyman License – does the work on the electrical facilities of dwellings where a maximum of two families reside, but only when supervised by either a Master Electrician or a Residential Master Electrician. The scope of their work includes the installation, maintenance, renovation, repair, and alteration of those facilities
- Industrial Maintenance Electrician – restricted to working in manufacturing and industrial facilities, or any other similar structures. The license holder may only do extensions, alterations, and repair and maintenance works of their electrical power and control systems, specifically their equipment and conductors
- Specialist Sign Electrician – can install and do repair and maintenance works on signs that use electricity and gaseous tubing. This includes connecting the signs to an outlet that is as far as 25 feet away at maximum
- Air Conditioning Electrician – may install, extend, and service the electrical conductors and equipment related to refrigeration, air conditioning, and heating
Apprentice electricians are also regulated in the state, but they only need to register with the Department. These apprentices are limited to working as assistants or helpers of licensed Journeyman or Master Electricians, who are only limited to working with three apprentices in one project. If you will be applying as an apprentice electrician, you can only work on electrical-related tasks if you are under the constant supervision of a Journeyman or Master Electrician.
Don’t be alarmed at the fact that you or your company needs to be licensed to work on alarm systems. This is because the state regulates the installation and maintenance of these alarm systems, particularly fire and security systems.
For this type, there are several classifications available but these are generally divided into Class E and Class F licenses. Class E licenses are only for those who will employ at least five workers, while class F licenses must be issued for those who have a maximum of five employees.
The Class E licenses are:
- Class E Level 1 license – covers all security and fire alarm systems and sprinklers and their relevant equipment. License holders may only install fire alarm systems if the building where it will be installed is classified as a building that does not require the mandatory installation of such systems, as well as dwellings for one or two families that are classified under the Fire Prevention Code as Group R-3
- Class E Level 2 license – similar to the Class E Level 1 license but the license holder may also install fire alarm systems on Group R-1 and R-2 buildings that do not exceed three stories, Group A and Group E buildings with less than 15,000 square feet, Group B buildings not considered high-rise, and all buildings classified as belonging to Group F, Group M, and Group S
- Class E Level 3 license – akin to an unrestricted license, as the license holder may install alarm systems in all buildings
- Class E-M license – limited to the installation of systems used in surveillance and monitoring
- Class E-S license – may install various alarm systems, but the installation of fire systems may only be done on residences that have a maximum of two families
Class F licenses, on the other hand, have three classifications:
- Class F license – similar to the Class E Level 1 license but you may only employ up to 5 people to do the work
- Class F-S license – similar to the Class E-S license, but this license is only issued to companies that employ not more than 5 people and are considered as single-station
- Class F-M license – issued to companies with a maximum of 5 employees and has the same scope as that of a Class E-M license
In the state of Arkansas, even the sales of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (referred to as HVAC/R in the state) units are regulated, not just the work done on them.
Before a HVAC/R contractor can bid on and contract work, he or she must be licensed under one of these classifications:
- Class A License – the license holder may do work on all kinds of equipment, as well as be involved in the selling of units, regardless of their HP or BTUH
- Class B License – also allows the selling and servicing of any HVAC units or equipment, but there are restrictions when dealing with refrigeration and air conditioning units. If you have this license, you are restricted to sell and work on refrigeration systems that do not exceed 15 HP for each unit and air conditioning systems that come with a maximum heating input of 1 million BTUH or cooling capacity of 15 tons for every unit
- Class C License – similar to a Class B license but you are not allowed to replace or install new HVACR units. You are also not allowed to sell any of these units
- Class D License – permitted to do what is considered as “sheet metal work” but only if it is connected to the ductwork of any HVAC/R system. If you are issued this license, you cannot sell or work on any HVAC/R systems and units
- Class E License – can work on refrigeration units and systems only, regardless of their total HP. You cannot sell or install any refrigeration unit, as well as do any kind of work on HVAC units
- Class L License – only issued when you apply for it at age 65 and up and have held a valid HVAC license for some time. This lifetime license is a restricted type and limits your work scope
This trade also recognizes apprentices, which are referred to as Registrants. These registrants must be registered by the state and are required to be mentored by someone holding any of the HVAC/R license classifications, except Class L.
The state knows about the health hazards posed by handling asbestos and any material containing asbestos. This is why work involving on these materials, such as working on asbestos siding, is regulated and may only be done by certified or licensed individuals.
In Arkansas, certificates are issued to those who meet the requirements to do the asbestos abatement work. The following must acquire their asbestos abatement certificates before doing any related work:
- Inspector – someone who is in charge of checking any facility for the possible presence of asbestos, or checking the extent of the effect of asbestos in those structures before commencing any related work
- Air Monitor – any person tasked to collect airborne samples that will be used to check for the presence of asbestos fibers
- Worker – someone employed to personally do the asbestos abatement work
- Contractor/Supervisor – oversees the abatement work done involving materials containing friable asbestos
- Project Designer – a person in charge of designing the actions and activities that should be done in facilities with friable asbestos. These designs must be documented and are required before doing asbestos abatement work
- Management Planner – anyone that draws up plans for the management of a school
On the other hand, licenses are required for the following:
- Asbestos Abatement Consultant – an individual or someone that represents a business who will do the asbestos abatement work, such as renovations, actions in response to the presence of asbestos, and demolitions, in facilities where asbestos or materials that contain asbestos may be found.
- Asbestos Abatement Contractor – has the same role as that of an asbestos abatement consultant
- Training Provider – a business or individual that is recognized and accredited by the Department to oversee training programs in relation to asbestos work
How to Apply for your Contractor’s License and Its Advantages
There’s no denying that getting yourself licensed as a contractor or someone that does certain construction-related trades is a lengthy process that involves time, money, and a little bit of legwork (well, not just a little bit in some cases, if truth be told). However, this is a process that you need to undergo if you want to work legally in any state, not just in Arkansas.
To make it easier and less headache-inducing for you, this guide enumerates the basic requirements and the steps in order for you to acquire the necessary licenses or certificates of the trade you want to practice in the state. Because if you’ve seen the instructions for license applications in any state, you’ve probably noticed how confusing they can get.
Do make sure to file your application a few days before the respective issuing authorities meet, since they generally release the lists of qualified applicants for the licenses after those meetings.
Residential Contractor’s License
If you plan to get any of the license classifications for a residential contractor, the process is fairly straightforward and applies to all three. Before the Board will grant you or the entity you are representing a Residential Contractor license, they will primarily check on your personal or the business’s financial standing, relevant experience, skills and knowledge of the trade, and your adherence to the laws of the state. Do note that there is no online application for this license.
In terms of the relevant experience required, this will depend on the type of Residential Contractor license you are applying for. In particular:
- Residential Builder – has a total experience of 4 years or more working in either residential or commercial projects, or both. The application packet is uploaded at https://www.aclb.arkansas.gov/Websites/aclb/images/New%20App%20RES%20Builder%208-2018.pdf.
- Residential Remodeler – must have worked on the residential or commercial industry for 2 years or more. This rule applies to both limited and unlimited licenses. To apply, you need to use this packet: https://www.aclb.arkansas.gov/Websites/aclb/images/New%20App%20RES%20Remodeler%208-2018.pdf
- Home Improvement Specialty Contractor – no particular work experience is required for both limited and unlimited licenses under this qualification. You can find the application packet for this license type at https://www.aclb.arkansas.gov/Websites/aclb/images/New%20App%20Specialty%20HI%208-2018.pdf.
Before submitting your application packet, remember to include all other necessary documents related to your application, such as:
- A minimum of three reference letters in relation to your work experience. Make sure that these can be verified by the Board
- Either a compiled balance sheet that shows a positive net worth (only if you are applying for a Residential Builder Contractor, Residential Unlimited Remodeler, or a Home Improvement Contractor) or your latest financial statement
- Copies of your registration and all other relevant documents that prove that the business, corporation, or entity you represent can do business in the state
- Evidence that you have a Workers’ Compensation Insurance if you will be employing workers for your projects and Certificate of Insurance named after your business
Make sure to pay for the non-refundable fee for your license at the same time you file your application. The filing fee costs $100 for the Residential Builders license and $50 each for the Residential Remodeler and Home Improvement Specialty Contractor licenses. The fees will also serve as your license fee if you are issued the license.
After filing your application, you need to take the state Business and Law exam, but this does not apply to Home Improvement Specialty Contractors. Once you pass the examinations, only then will you be granted your license. Your license will expire a exactly a year after it was issued and must be renewed annually.
Commercial Contractor’s License
The application process for any Commercial Contractor’s license, regardless of trade, is the same as that of the Residential Contractor’s license application, including taking the Business and Trade examination of the state. Their only differences lie in terms of the requirements, namely:
- Your work experience must be five years or more and should be related to the trade you are applying for. Specialty trade Commercial Contractor licenses also require you to have or employ someone that has the necessary trade licenses. In particular, a Master Electrician license for the Electrical classification, Master Plumbers license for both the Mechanical and Specialty Plumbing classifications, and either a Class A or Class B license for the specialty HVAC/R classification
- You must include a list of all the equipment you have, which you will use for your contracting business
- Have a surety bond worth $10,000 that is made payable to the ‘State of Arkansas’. Note that this applies to all Commercial Contractor licenses
- If you are applying for an Unrestricted license, you also need to present your latest financial statement that has been reviewed or audited by an independent RPA or CPA. For a Restricted license application, you need to present a compiled financial statement
- Meet the minimum net worth requirements, which is $50,000 for Municipal & Utility, Highway, Railroad & Airport, Building, and Heavy classifications, $20,000 for Electrical, Mechanical, and Light Building Classifications, and $5000 for Specialty classifications. As a new applicant, the half of your business net worth must be in the form of cash.
Aside from the listed requirements, you also need to submit proof of Workers’ Compensation Insurance if you have employees, three reference letters that are also verifiable, and copies of your documents that prove that you are legally allowed to conduct business in the state.
Once you have prepared all your requirements, fill out the application packet by downloading it from https://aclb.arkansas.gov/Websites/aclb/images/New%20App%20Comm%208-2018.pdf. No online application is available for these. You also need to pay a non-refundable filing fee of $100 upon application and pass the Business and Law exam of the state.
Licenses expire a day before the exact date of the issuance of your license of the following year. This means that if you license was issued on June 20, it will expire the following year on June 19.
Plumbing Trade Licenses
Will you be working in the state as either a Journeyman or Master Plumber? Fortunately for you, you do not need to start working as an apprentice first, unlike in other states where you need to start again as an apprentice despite having sufficient experience in another state. The bad news though is that there is, again, no online application for this type of license.
For a Journeyman Plumber applicant, you need to have a minimum related experience of four years in the field of plumbing or have worked as an apprentice plumber during that time. Master Plumber applicants, on the other hand, requires either a five year experience in the plumbing trade or has possessed a Journeyman license issued by the state of Arkansas for more than a year before applying for this license.
While you still need to take the trade examinations for the respective plumbing license classification, you are not required to take the state’s Business and Law exam. You can only schedule your examination once you pass your application packet, which you can only get by contacting the Department.
The fees you need to pay for are the application fee, which also serves as your license fee if you will be issued one, and the examination fee. A Journeyman Plumber license applicant must pay $75 each for the application and the exam, while the applicant for a Master Plumber license is required to pay $200 for the application and $125 for the examination.
Both the Journeyman and Master Plumber licenses expire every December 31. In order for you to retain it, you need to renew it within 30 days after its expiration. An exception to this is the Restricted Lifetime Master Plumber license.
For you to be issued the Restricted Lifetime Master Plumber license, you need to be 65 years old and up and must have held a valid Master Plumber license issued by the state for a minimum of 12 years and pay the required fee. You can think of this as a reward for longtime Master Plumbers in the state, since you no longer have to do annual renewals once you get this license.
Electrical Trade Licenses
Compared to the plumbing trade licenses, the requirements for the electrical trade licenses, in general, are much more difficult and time consuming to obtain. This is understandable since the work on electrical systems is quite complicated and requires the right knowledge and skills. After all, even simple mistakes done on anything involving electricity can cost lives.
To be specific, the main experience and technical education requirements for each of the license classifications under the electrical trade are:
- Master Electrician License – you must meet any one of the three conditions: must be an electrical engineering degree holder and have a minimum of two years working in the construction industry, have construction-related experience of a minimum of six years in both commercial and residential work and with two of those years spent licensed as a journeyman electrician and doing related work, or a combination of those two that the Board may deem sufficient
- Residential Master Electrician License – either a minimum of three years’ work experience, with a year spent licensed and working as a residential journeyman, particularly in terms of wiring residences where a maximum of two families reside, or any other experience that may be accepted by the Board
- Journeyman License – you must have a total of 16,000 hours or 8 years at minimum working in the field that must be related to the electrical trade and spent in a classroom learning about an accredited electrical course, have completed an apprenticeship program that is recognized by the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training of the U.S. Department of Labor, or meet the license reciprocity requirements
- Residential Journeyman License – you need to present a letter that was signed by an authorized representative of the school or other accredited institution where you spent hours of education and/or training, at least two years of experience and training combined that is either in an apprenticeship program or any other training that will be approved by the Board, and a minimum wiring work experience of two years in dwellings where a maximum of two families live in
- Industrial Maintenance Electrician – you are required to have undergone supervised work experience for four years or more (guided by a master electrician, industrial maintenance electrician, journeyman electrician, or engineer) and have been part of any training or apprenticeship program that the Board will recognize
- Specialist Sign Electrician – to be qualified, you must have undergone a Board-approved apprenticeship or training program and have sufficient experience, and have worked for either a company specializing in electrical signs or with a licensed electrician for two years or more
- Air Conditioning Electrician – you should have wiring experience with HVAC/R equipment for a minimum of two years, as well as have sufficient training and experience that the Board will find acceptable
Once you meet the work and educational requirements, you will need to fill out the application packet, which you can get at http://labor.publishpath.com/Websites/labor/images/Electrician%20Application.pdf. This packet should be used for all electrical trade licenses applications. Unfortunately, there is still no online application so you need to pass physical copies of your application and other requirements to the Board.
Application and examination fees should also be paid upon your application. The applications fees, which also serve as the license fees, cost $50 for a Master Electrician license and $25 for all other electrical trade licenses. The examination fees, regardless of license classification, will depend on the format you will be using, which is either through pen and paper or computerized, except for the Journeyman and Industrial Maintenance Electrician licenses. It costs $56 for the pen and paper exam and $86 if taking the exam through a computer. The Journeyman and Industrial Maintenance Electrician examinations only come in one format and it costs $25 each.
All classifications of electrical trade licenses will expire a year after your license was issued and at same month. So if you acquired your license on February 2, your license will expire at the end of February next year. You may renew your license yearly or every three years.
Alarm Trade Licenses
The state monitors even the installation of alarm systems, just as how the alarm systems monitor your surroundings. Fortunately, the requirements are not as stringent as it may seem, as long as you or the manager of your company are of good moral character and are 21 years of age or older when you file your application.
Because the issuance of the license is handled by the State Police, it’s a given that they emphasize the character of an applicant. To be precise, you must not have been convicted or have a guilty plea to Felony, Class A misdemeanor, and any other similar crimes, are not addicted to or dependent on any alcoholic or narcotic substances, not declared incompetent due to mental disability or illness by any court, and dishonorably discharged from the military.
Aside from filling out the application form, which you can acquire from the state police, you must also submit other requirements, such as:
- The names and contact information of other people involved in the business, including managers, partners, directors, and officers, if you are applying for a company license. Also include two recent photos and two sets of fingerprints of each person on the list
- List of related work experience that can be verified
- Full disclosure of any criminal records
- Proof of Public Liability Insurance that has a minimum coverage of $300,000 for Class E licenses and $100,000 for Class F licenses. But if you are required to issue Underwriters’ Laboratories certificates, you need to have a coverage of $300,000 regardless of type
- Passing the background check at both state and national levels, which must be conducted by the FBI and the State Police’s Identification Bureau
Specific training requirements for each license are:
- Class E Level 1 and Class F licenses – Level 2-certified by the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association, or its equivalent that would be approved by the Board
- Class E Level 2 – also Level-2 certified by either the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association or the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies
- Class E Level 3 – Level 2 and Practical Fire Alarm Course-certified by the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and Level III-certified by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies, or their equivalent
Do note that you may be required by the Board to take certain examinations before you can be issued your license. You can find all other relevant information, including the fees you need to pay, at http://asp.arkansas.gov/services-and-programs/detail/private-investigators-and-alarm-installation-monitoring.
HVAC/R Trade Licenses
If you plan to do work that focuses on this trade and be licensed in the state, you are required to start first as an HVAC/R Technician. Fortunately, the state only asks you to meet the requirements of your employer for you to be a technician, such as their required qualifications and the acquisition of a federal EPA certificate, and work for a licensed HVAC/R contractor.
Once you gain two years’ worth or more of experience as an HVAC/R technician, you can apply for your HVAC/R Contractor license if you are 18 years old and above. Fill out the application form and submit your relevant requirements, especially the proof of your work experience, for you to be prequalified to take the trade examinations. You should also make the payment of the registration fee when you pass your application, which costs $200 for Class A, $150 each for Class B, D and E, and $100 for Class C. If you are issued a license, it will only be valid for a year and must be renewed afterwards.
All other relevant information can be found at https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/hvac-r.
Asbestos Abatement Certificates and Licenses
Since the state of Arkansas issues both certificates and licenses when it comes to asbestos abatement work, you must first identify which one you should get – a certificate or a license.
Certificates are much easier to acquire, since you only need to fill out the application form found at https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/air/program/asbestos/pdfs/asb_cert.pdf and have the necessary trainings. To guide you with the requirements, you can use the provided checklist, which you can download from https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/air/program/asbestos/pdfs/asb-cert-checklist.pdf. Application fees cost $115 for all types, save for workers who are only required to pay $25.
For license applications, the requirements are much more detailed. If you are applying for a contractor or consultant license, you must fill out the application form uploaded at https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/air/program/asbestos/pdfs/asb_cont.pdf and include the following requirements:
- Proof of Liability Insurance that has a minimum coverage of $1,000,000
- Identification of your business’s Contractor Supervisor (only if you are applying for a contractor license) who works full-time for your business
If you are applying as a Training Provider, you need to fill out the form found at https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/air/program/asbestos/pdfs/asb_tra.pdf for your license application. Aside from that, you also need to provide:
- Proof that the courses you will teach adhere to the Regulation 21 of the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission and the Model Accreditation Plan (MAP), particularly from Appendix C to Subpart E, which is under the CFR Part 763 of Title 40, as well as meet the minimum requirements of Regulation 21’s Chapter 19
- Comprehensive resume of the individuals who will teach the courses
- Samples of your lesson or course plan or agenda
Payment of the $375 license fee, which applies to all license classifications, is also required. Each of these licenses will expire after a year.
Should You Get Licensed?
After seeing how comprehensive the requirements are, how costly they can be, and how online applications are non-existent for most of these licenses, you’re probably thinking of just not applying for one. Why should you go through all that hassle when you can just go under the radar?
If the state is strict when it comes to issuing contractor licenses, they are even more so when it comes to implementing the laws connected to it. Make no mistake, they have penalties for unlicensed contractors. If you are caught working as an unlicensed contractor, you may be fined from $100 to $400 for each day you worked as a contractor. You’ll likely end up spending more in fines compared to the amount you would have shelled out had you gone for the legal route.
Clients nowadays would tend to err on the side of caution, which means that your prospective client is more likely to check your license before deciding to hire you as a contractor. And once they confirm that you do not have one, this would make it very hard for you to convince them to take the risk and hire you.
That being said, you’re less likely to close contracts with high budgets. After all, there are so many risks involved on the part of the client for hiring an unlicensed contractor, despite all kinds of assurance you say to them. You will also be limited to working on small contracts just to stay under the radar and not be caught working unlicensed.
On the other hand, you have the right to charge higher if you work on contracts with a contractor license, compared to unlicensed contractors. This is because your license is proof that you are fully qualified and possess the skills to take on the work. Your clients are assured of the quality of the work that you will provide for them.
There are so many reasons for you to get licensed, but these ones are worth emphasizing. Are you now convinced to get your contractor license?
Why Should You Hire Licensed Contractors?
As a homeowner, you want the best for your home without having to spend too much. This is why so many homeowners take the risk of hiring unlicensed contractors who charge cheaper rates, only to be faced with a lot of disappointments and headshaking (on their part, of course) afterwards. To give you a clearer idea, here are three main issues that involve unlicensed contractors that will also affect you:
- Poor quality work – it’s one of the most common problems encountered by homeowners. After seeing the output, they’d think that they saved a lot of money. But they change their minds after a short time, upon seeing the paint on the walls peeling off, walls starting to crack, and the structures themselves starting to crumble.
- Acting like a magician and suddenly just disappearing – sure they may do a good job at it during the first few weeks but don’t be surprised to see unlicensed contractors and their employees to slowly begin disappearing without ever finishing the project, as soon as they get a huge chunk of the budget. And the office address they gave you? Most likely a fake.
- You are an accomplice to a possible crime – if you knowingly hire an unlicensed contractor and he or she has been caught practicing in the state, you are also likely to face charges in relation to it. Also, you are also complicit to unfair labor practices, since the employees of that contractor likely do not have insurance coverage, or even get fair wages.
A simple search will yield so many horror stories involving unlicensed contractors. Do you want to avoid these issues? Then hire a licensed contractor.
Of course there’s no guarantee that you won’t have issues with licensed contractors, but when you do, you can ask help from the state and even be compensated for your troubles.
Arkansas Contractor License Search & Lookup
Since contractor and trade licenses are issued by different Boards and Departments, checking the status of licenses is a bit more complicated. You need to validate them with the respective issuing authority. Here’s a list where you can validate the different licenses issued by the state:
- Residential and Commercial Contractors – http://aclb2.arkansas.gov/clbsearch.php
- You can lookup plumbing and HVAC Trade License here – https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/hvac-plumbing-publications
- Electrical Trade License can be looked up here – https://www.ark.org/labor/electrician/search.php
- Asbestos Abatement Certificates and Licenses – https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/air/program/asbestos/contractor.aspx for contractors and consultants, and https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/air/program/asbestos/licenses.aspx for those with certificates
You may also contact the respective Boards and Departments to check the status of a contractor or trade license. If you are looking for alarm systems license, you can only check the status by getting in touch with the State Police.
Contractor Licensing in the Biggest Cities
You’re in luck if you acquire a contractor or trade license issued by the state of Arkansas. This is because these state-level licenses are generally recognized all over Arkansas. So if you want to work on projects in cities such as Fort Smith, Little Rock, Jonesboro, Springville, or Fayetteville, you may do so once you get your contractor license anywhere in Arkansas. Of course, you always need to confirm with the cities or towns you want to work in if they have other requirements besides your license.
For you to be issued a permit, you need to have a business license that is either issued by the city of Little Rock (which they refer to as a ‘privilege license’) or from another city in the state. You also need to have a surety bond worth $10,000 payable to the ‘City of Little Rock.’
The city of Fort Smith requires you to register as a contractor if you will be working on both Residential and Commercial properties, as long as it is required by the laws of the state. Electrical, Plumbing, and Mechanical Contractors who will work on these properties must also have a permit and license bond worth $2,000 or more.
A privilege license is also required by the city before you can work as a contractor on any kind of project in the city. However, they will only recognize it if it was issued by the city itself, not by any other city in the state. Use this form https://www.jonesboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/186/Privilege-License-Application-PDF?bidId= to apply for it.
Contractor License Reciprocity
Now that you’ve seen how challenging and time-consuming it can be before you acquire your contractor license in the state of Arkansas, you’d probably wish there was an easier way for you to get one. Actually, there is. It’s called the license reciprocity agreement.
But before you get too excited about it, you should know that not everyone is eligible for it. The license reciprocity method only applies if you have been issued a license from another state where there is a reciprocity agreement with state you want to be licensed in.
For the state of Arkansas, reciprocity exists for the following states:
- Tennessee (excluding electrical trade licenses)
- Oregon (for Journeyman and Master Electricians only)
- Colorado (Journeyman Electricians only)
- Alaska (Journeyman Electricians only)
- Utah (Journeyman Electricians only)
- New Mexico (Journeyman Electricians only)
- Texas (Journeyman Electricians only)
- Minnesota (Journeyman Electricians only)
- Oklahoma (Journeyman Electricians only)
- Montana (Journeyman Electricians only)
- New Hampshire (Journeyman Electricians only)
- Nebraska (Journeyman Electricians only)
With the license reciprocity agreement in place, you may be granted a Commercial Contractor license in the state of Arkansas if you were granted one in the state of Louisiana, for example. Don’t be mistaken into thinking that you’ll automatically be granted the license. This agreement will only waive some of the requirements, and even the examination, for you to get the contractor license. So before you apply for your contractor license via reciprocity, make sure to inquire about the requirements you will still need to submit.
Although there is no reciprocal state for HVAC/R licenses, the state of Arkansas may also grant you a license through the license reciprocity method. However, this is a case-to-case basis and your application will be reviewed by the Division.
So if you qualify for the license reciprocity method, take advantage of it. It will save you time, money, and energy.