If you’re confused by the contractor license rules in Idaho, then you’re not alone, which is why we have put together this extensive article to give you a better understanding of the different requirements. General contractors aren’t regulated on a state-level, whereas other trades such as plumbers and electricians are.
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State of Idaho Contractor’s License Board and License Requirements
The State of Idaho requires that contractors working anywhere in the state must first be registered before they can take on any projects. The Idaho Contractor’s Board, under the State of Idaho, Bureau of Occupational Licenses, handles all state-level contractor licenses.
The general contractor licenses are issued both at the state level and at county level, depending on the type of license they wish to apply for. So, contractors must check if they should also obtain licenses at the counties they will work in, aside from registering at the state level.
Those who want to register as licensed contractors in the state can contact the office of the Bureau of Occupational Licenses at 700 West State Street, P. O. Box 83720, Boise, Idaho 83720-0063, send a fax at (208) 334-3945 or email at [email protected], or call them at (208) 334-3233. County-level licenses are obtained at the respective county offices, so contractors must direct their inquiries to the local offices.
For specialized contractors, particularly the construction manager, electrical, plumbing, public works, and HVAC contractors, they must obtain their licenses at the Division of Building Safety. But if they are also doing other contracting work outside the scope of their license, they must also be registered with the Idaho Contractor’s Board. These specialized contractors may contact the Division through fax at 877-810-2840 and through phone and 800-955-3044 (toll free), or at any of their three offices in the state:
- 1090 E. Watertower Street, Suite 150, Meridian, ID 83642, with phone number (208) 334-3950
- 1250 Ironwood Drive, Suite 220, Couer d’Alene, ID 83814
- 2055 Garrett Way, Building 1, Suite 4, Pocatello ID 83201
Out-of-state corporations that want to register to be able to work on projects in the state are required to file their registration with the Idaho Secretary of State. General inquiries can be done through mail at P. O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0080, through phone at (208) 334-2300, and via fax at (208) 334-2847.
How to Obtain a Contractor’s License and the Advantages of Getting One
Those required to register with the Idaho Contractor’s Board are both contractors and sub-contractors of both commercial and private projects. The State of Idaho does not require contractors to have a certain amount of experience nor educational requirement before they can apply for registration.
Both individual contractors and companies are allowed to register at the state level. To do so, they must fulfill and submit the following requirements:
- Social security number of the individual contractor or the employer tax identification number of applicants representing a company
- Name and address of the applicant if applying as a solo contractor or the business name and address of the company
- If applying on behalf of a company, the names and addresses of those sharing in the ownership of the business, such as partners, principals, members, and shareholders, must also be listed.
- Certificate of Insurance (general liability policy) that proves that the applicant or business is qualified to do business in the State of Idaho and also the Worker’s Compensation Insurance Certificate. For applicants that are not required to provide the worker’s compensation insurance, they must explain the reason for such. The insurance must have a single limit coverage that has a total value of $300,000 or more and should be paid for by the employer only, not the workers.
- Statement indicating the type of construction work to be undertaken and that the applicant and those with controlling interests in the business have never been issued a contractor license and/or registration that has been revoked, denied, or surrendered in any state. Otherwise, they must indicate the reason for the surrender, revocation, or denial of the said registration and/or license.
- Application form that has been completely filled-out and must be notarized.
- If applicable, the Construction Manager Certificate and/or Public Works Certificate.
- Payment of the registration fee of $35 through check or money order. This should be made payable to the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses.
All these requirements must be submitted via mail to the office of the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses.
The State of Idaho has the right to file misdemeanor charges against individuals who will do contracting work without having to register first with the board. Unlicensed contractors will also waive their lien rights and collect the appropriate dues, as well as to sue those they have entered contracts with but have been unable to pay them for contracts and/or construction work.
The Importance of Hiring A Contractor with a License
Although the State of Idaho is quite lenient when it comes to registering contractors, it is still highly recommended that only licensed contractors be hired to work on projects. This is because licensed contractors primarily have insurance coverage that assures their clients of payment in case the project is left incomplete or there has been some damage to the property. Also, there is also insurance for workers of licensed contractors, so these workers are covered if accidents should occur at the construction site. Receipts are also issued by licensed contractors and they are also required to disclose certain information about themselves or the company. Licensed contractors are also required to present disclosure statements to their clients if the project is valued at $2,000 or more.
Contractor License Search and Lookup
Idaho maintains a database of all the licensees and registration of general contractors at this website: https://secure.ibol.idaho.gov/eIBOLPublic/LPRBrowser.aspx?Profession=CON&DefaultBoard=Y.
For other types of contractors, their licenses may be searched here: https://web.dbs.idaho.gov/etrakit3/.
The licenses of the contractors can also be checked by directly contacting the Board, Division, or Office that issues those particular contractor license types.
Contractor License Classifications
Most contractor licenses in the State of Idaho are valid throughout the state, except for general contractors’ licenses that may be required by specific individual counties. The rules regarding general contractors are regulated at the local level, but most of them follow the state-level requirement of contractors being registered only.
General Contractor’s License
Only the General Contractors are not required to take an exam in the state, since it is a requirement for them to be registered only, not licensed. This is because the general contractors are not issued licenses by the Idaho Contractor’s Board.
While general contractors must be registered, there are contractors that are exempted for doing so. Those who are not required to be registered include:
- Contractors that have licenses and are regulated by the state, as long as they will not do contracting and construction work outside their specialization,
- Employees of a contractor,
- Volunteers of a non-profit charitable activity,
- Participants of any activity required by a legitimate educational institution as part of the curriculum,
- Representatives of the state, political or municipal organizations related to the state, or the United States government,
- Suppliers of materials, equipment, or supplies but are not involved in their installation or fabrication, as well as in their use during construction activities,
- Public utilities that are under the public utility commission of the state,
- Farmers and ranchers involved in agriculture, poultry or stock operation, farming, dairy production, horticulture, and viticulture,
- Workers that are part of discovery operations and drilling of gas, oil, and minerals,
- Those individuals working on projects that have a value of less than $2,000 and are considered as minor, casual, or inconsequential. This does not apply to work that is part of a larger construction project,
- Individuals involved in constructing agriculture buildings that are on the exception list of the building code of Idaho,
- Contractors working on their own private or commercial property, unless he or she is constructing or making various improvements with the intent to sell it. This will apply for 12 months after the work has been completed,
- Contractors involved in constructing buildings that are designed for industrial chemical processes that are covered under the Idaho Code Section 39-4103,
- Those belonging to the logging industry and are creating forest access roads to harvest and transport logs that come from the forest to the mills,
- Water management or water delivery entities, as well as operating agents of irrigation districts that have the directors of member districts as part of their board,
- Workers of projects involving the clearing of land in rural areas and other similar activities for the purpose of fire prevention,
- Those involved in the creation of readily movable modular structures in the state but will be transferred and installed on another state, and
- Licensed real estate brokers assisting clients in minor repair and maintenance work of properties that are to be transferred.
You can read more under the Idaho Contractor Registration Act.
Electrical Contractor’s License
Electrical contractors who will work within the State of Idaho are required to obtain their license from the Division of Public Safety after successfully accomplishing all the requirements and passing the required examinations. The requirements to obtain an electrical contractor’s license are as follows:
- The individual applicant must either be a master electrician licensed by the State of Idaho or at least have one under his or her employment. He or she must be the one personally applying for a license and must completely fill out the application form and pay the application fee of $15.
- For those applying as an entity, the person submitting the application is required to be an employee that has a supervisory position in the company and will be their representative. The company should also have a master electrician licensed by the Idaho Board working as their full-time employee and who is available during working hours in order to oversee electrical works. The representative is required to submit a filled-out application form and pay the $15 application fee.
Once the applicant or company representative has passed the exam, which must be taken within 60 days after the application has been approved, he or she must pay the license fee of $125 and also submit the Worker’s Compensation Insurance Certificate and Liability Insurance that has a coverage that is worth $300,000 or more. For those exempted from the Worker’s Compensation Insurance, they should also submit their statement of exemption. Applicants who fail to take the exam within 60 days must re-file their application.
The above requirements are also applicable for electrical specialty contractor applicants, with the exception being the qualifications required to apply. For those applying for this license:
- The individual applicant must be an electrical specialty journeyman licensed in the state and who is from the same category as that of an electrical specialty contractor with a license for a minimum of 2 years.
- Business entity applicants must be part of a company that has an employee that is a licensed electrical specialty journeyman whose license was issued by Idaho. The electrical specialty journeyman must also have the same category as that of an electrical specialty contractor who has a valid license of two years or more. This employee must be present to supervise electrical works done during working hours.
The specialty electrical licenses are classified under the following:
- Well Drillers and Water Pump Installers
- Manufacturing or Assembling
- Limited Energy
- Irrigation Sprinklers
- Refrigeration, Heating, and Air Conditioning
- Outside Wireman or Lineman
The other electrical-related occupations that are also licensed by the state include:
- Apprentice Electrician
- Journeyman Electrician
- Master Electrician
- Specialty Trainee Electrician
- Specialty Journeyman Electrician
Electrical License Lookup
The easiest way to lookup an electrical license is by visiting eTRAKiT.
HVAC Contractor License
Contractors in Idaho that work with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems and appliances, or HVAC, are also required to obtain their licenses in the state of Idaho. Their scope of work includes the installation, repairs, and maintenance of such systems. They can also work on equipment that is gas-fired and needs gas supply piping systems or subsystems, as well as special venting. These contractors, when licensed in the state, are allowed to work on various equipment such as pool heaters, oil or electric-fired water heaters, boilers, air filters connected to air conditioning units, and more.
The requirements to apply for and obtain the HVAC contractor license are:
- Proof that the applicant has worked as an Idaho-licensed HVAC journeyman for a minimum of 2 years
- Application form that has been completely filled out
- Payment of $35 for the application fee
- Passing the examination within 1 year of application
Specialty HVAC contractors, which have the same scope of work with the HVAC contractors but deal with specialized fields, are also required to be licensed by the state. Idaho has four different types of Specialty HVAC licenses, namely:
- Waste Oil,
- LP Gas Limited Heating, and
- Fuel Gas Piping
To obtain a specialty HVAC contractor License, the applicant must accomplish and provide the following:
- Proof that he or she has been employed as an HVAC specialty journeyman that has either been licensed by the state or, for out-of-state applicants, notarized Employer’s Verification Form(s) proving that the applicant has work experience in the same category, with both for a minimum of 2 years
- Completion of the application form
- $35 payment for the application fee
- Passing the examination, which must be done within a year after filing the application
Applicants who pass the exam for both HVAC contractor and specialty HVAC contractor licenses will be given a certificate of competency and they must pay the required license fee and provide a $2,000 compliance bond. This certificate expires exactly a year after it was issued or at the last day of the month of the period of certification. Licensees may also request for early renewal at a maximum of 60 days before the date of expiration. It is also possible for those with expired licenses to have theirs revived, as long as they pay the revival fee of $35 and the full annual renewal fee, as well as any penalties and permits due if available, within 1 year of expiration starting from the first day of the certification period’s final month. If more than a year has passed, the licensee must reapply for his or her license.
The state of Idaho also issues licenses for other HVAC-related applicants, particularly:
- HVAC Apprentice
- HVAC Journeyman
- Specialty HVAC Apprentice
- Specialty HVAC Journeyman
Plumbing Contractor License
Plumbing contractors are also required to be licensed in the state first before they can bid on and later work on different projects within the state. To acquire this license, the contractor must:
- Have an active journeyman plumbing Certificate of Competency issued by the Idaho Plumbing Board. This is also applicable for out-of-state applicants who are also previously licensed as a journeyman in another state.
- Have worked as a journeyman plumber for a minimum of two and a half years for applicants with a license issued by Idaho and for out-of-state applicants with licenses from another state. For out-of-state applicants who have never been issued licenses, their experience must be a minimum of four years and proof must be in the form of three sworn affidavits.
- Complete the application form and pay the application fee of $22.50
- Pass the examination, which must be taken within a year of submitting the application
Specialty plumbing contractors are also required by the state to get their licenses. Three license types are available for specialty plumbing contractors, and these are:
- Water Pump Specialty
- Appliance Specialty
- Mobile Home Specialty
Before a specialty plumbing contractor can take the exam, he or she must first have the following qualifications:
- Individual applicants must have experience as a licensed plumbing specialty journeyman for a minimum of two and a half years, either in Idaho or another state, that is in the same category or specialty being applied for
- Out-of-state applicants must also have the same minimum number of work experience but must also submit three Employer’s Verification Forms that are notarized
The Plumbing Board also requires applicants who pass the exam to pay the fees to obtain their licenses, as well as provide a surety bond of $2,000. Only the licensed mobile home specialty contractors are not required to provide this bond.
Plumbing License Lookup
The easiest way to lookup plumbing licenses is with eTRAKiT.
Public Works Contractor
Contractors working on projects considered as public works must first be licensed before they can take on this kind of work. They can work on projects that are considered:
- Heavy construction – including for drainage, sanitation, irrigation, flood control, railroads, elevated highways, transmission lines, and hydroelectric developments
- Highway construction – such as roads, curb settings, tunnels, bridges, and highways
- Building construction – like homes and other dwellings
- Specialty construction
Eight different classifications fall under the public works contractor license. These are:
- Unlimited – for contractors that will engage in public works contracts with a value that exceeds $5,000,000. They must have a $1,000,000 minimum net worth and $600,000 working capital. The license fee is $600 at maximum.
- Class AAA – applicable for those whose contracts have an estimated cost that is less than $5,000,000. It costs a maximum of $500 to obtain this license.
- Class AA – suitable for contractors that have projects with a value of less than $3,000,000 and whose license fee must not cost more than $400.
- Class A – applies to contractors whose projects have a $1,250,000 value. Those acquiring this license must pay a license fee not exceeding $300.
- Class B – for contractors with projects worth less than $600,000. He or she must pay a license fee not more than $150.
- Class CC – applicable for contractors that have contracts with a value of less than $400,000. They must also pay a license fee that is less than $150.
- Class C – for contractors whose contracts are worth less than $200,000. The license fee for this type costs less than $100.
- Class D – suitable for contractors with contracts that are not more than $50,000 in value. This type of license must have a fee of not more than $50.
The general contractor’s license in the state of Idaho may be regulated at the city or county level. This is true for the state’s biggest cities, including City of Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Caldwell, Coeur d’Alene, Twin Falls, Lewiston, and Post Falls.
City of Boise
The City of Boise follow’s the state when it comes to general contractors. It does not issue any general contractor’s license but only requires them to be registered with the Idaho Contractor’s Board. Not included in this requirement are those exempted under the Idaho State Code 54-5205.
City of Meridian
Like the City of Boise, the City of Meridian also does not issue licenses for general contractors. Instead, they require contractors to present proof of registration with the Idaho Contractor’s Board before they can be issued the necessary permits for their projects within the city.
City of Pocatello
General contractors who wish to bid and work on projects in the City of Pocatello are required to have contractors’ licenses. Depending on the requirements, contractors can apply for any of the 13 classifications available for this license. Its Building Department is the office responsible for issuing these licenses.
Specific classifications that fall under the general contractor’s license in Pocatello are:
- Building Class A-1 – allows contractors to work on both residential and commercial buildings of any size. It has a $150 license fee and requires a $1,000,000 combined single limit liability insurance and a permit and license bond of $50,000. This requires a commercial construction work experience not less than 5 years.
- Building Class A-2 – holders of this license are only allowed to work on residential projects, regardless of size and type. It requires contractors to have a residential construction experience of 5 years at minimum. The license fee for this type is $100 and licensees must have a liability insurance of $500,000 (single combined limit) and a license and permit bond amounting to $25,000.
- Building Class B – contractors with this license can only do a limited number of construction-related work. This includes the repair, installation, and maintenance of sprinkler systems for irrigation, roofing, windows, tiles, counters, cabinets, concrete work, sheet-rock, siding, carpets, and paint, among others. Those with this license must pay a license fee of $50, have a $10,000 license and permit bond, and $300,000 combined single limit liability insurance.
- Housemover – requires a license fee of $50, a bond of $10,000, and a combined single limit liability insurance of $1,000,000
- Excavator – the required license fee costs $50, and licensees must also provide a combined single limit liability insurance worth $100,000 and a license and permit bond of $10,000
- Sign Contractor – also requires a $500,000 liability, a license and permit bond of $10,000, and payment of the license fee worth $50
- Electrical Contractor – only requires a license and permit bond of $10,000 and combined single limit liability of $500,000
- Electrical Apprentice
- Electrical Journeyman
- Plumbing Contractor – must pay the $25 license fee and provide a $10,000 license and permit bond, as well as a combined single limit liability insurance of $500,000
- Plumbing Apprentice – only requires the payment of the $7.50 license fee
- Plumbing Journeyman – must only pay the license fee of $15
- Mechanical Contractor – requires a combined single limit liability insurance worth $500,000 and license and permit bond worth $10,000
- Mechanical Apprentice
- Mechanical Journeyman
Before being issued a license in the city, the contractor is required to be registered with or licensed by the State of Idaho and submit a copy of their license or registration together with their application. Also, the liability insurance must indicate “The City of Pocatello” as its certificate holder. Contractors must also provide Workman’s Compensation Insurance for all of his or her workers for the project.
City of Idaho Falls
Obtaining a building contractor’s license issued by the city of Idaho Falls is a requirement for contractors. Aside from filling out the application form, contractors must also submit proof of their general contractor registration with the state, pass the ICC examination issued by the city, and pay the $100 application fee.
Four types of building contractor’s license are available in this city, and these are:
- Class A – for contractors working on all types of buildings, with a license fee of $200
- Class B – applicable for contractors with building projects with a maximum height of 3 stories, also with a $200 license fee
- Class C – suitable for contractors that will only work on residential homes that will house only 1 or 2 families; its license fee is also $200
- Class D – only for sub-contractors, they are only limited to doing masonry, roofing, framing, drywall, and concrete works. The license fee for this type is $125.
State of Idaho Contractor License Reciprocity
Contractor license reciprocity agreements allow license holders to obtain the same kind or category of license from another state, which has this agreement, much faster and easier, as other requirements for obtaining these licenses are waived. Oftentimes, licensees must only submit documents and other requirements and are no longer required to take the exams required by the other state. Granting licenses under these agreements are still under the discretion of the different states.
There are no state-level general contractor reciprocity agreements present between the State of Idaho and another state because the general contractors are only required to be registered at the Idaho Contractor’s Boar. This board does not issue licenses for general contractors.
Only the electrical and plumbing licenses, particularly journeyman licenses for both, have license reciprocity agreements with other states. Electrical contractors, as well as plumbing contractors, are not covered by these license reciprocity agreements. The electrical licensense reciprocity covers Colorado, North Dakota, Maine, Oklahoma, Montana, Oregon, Nebraska, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Texas, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
The plumbing reciprocity agreements include Montana, Oregon and Washington.
HVAC contractors with licenses issued by the state of Idaho are also not under any license reciprocity agreement with another state.