Indiana Contractor Licenses

Indiana is rife with opportunities for skilled contractors who want to take advantage of the state’s bustling gig economy. And if you want to take advantage of those opportunities, it’s in your best interests to do everything necessary to acquire a contractor’s license.

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It’s easier said than done, of course. For one thing, sifting through all the procedures and requirements needed to get that license can be a tad overwhelming. We understand the struggle, so we created this comprehensive guide to make the process easier for you.

So, you want to apply for a contractor’s license in Indiana? The first thing you need to understand about Indiana is that contractor’s licenses (with the exception of the plumbing license) are not issued at the state level. If you want to be a licensed contractor, you have to contact the local government of the locale you want to render your services in.

So let’s get right to it! But first, let’s discuss a bit on why obtaining a contractor’s license in the state of Indiana, or any state for that matter, is always one of the best career moves you can make.

The Benefits of Being a Licensed Contractor

Holding a contractor’s license can be very beneficial to your contracting career. Here are the reasons why.

It boosts your credibility

A contractor’s license isn’t just a formality, but it also shows solid proof that you’ve done the necessary work and training to become good at what you do. There are requirements you need to meet to become a licensed contractor, and only those with the intelligence, work ethic, and maturity have a fair chance in meeting them. Customers or prospects know this, and they are more likely to respect your expertise and abilities if you have a contractor’s license to show them.

Increases your earning potential

A contractor’s license is undeniable proof of your credibility within the industry. When you are credible, customers or prospects are more likely to trust you with their money. No homeowner wants a crappy job, and many are willing to part with their money to ensure topnotch work is performed on their property.

Moreover, having a contractor’s license gives you the authority to bid on bigger projects. Bigger projects, of course, mean bigger paychecks.

Full compliance

Being a license holder allows you to legally advertise and render your services. Unlicensed contractors might be able to get away with it, but in the end, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. You might be doing honest work, but in the end, you’re still breaking the law. So you might as well obtain a contractor’s license. Not only will you be able to avoid hefty fines or prevent yourself from getting in trouble with the law, but you’ll become a more respected member of your community as well.

Importance of Hiring a Contractor with a License

Now, this part is for the homeowners. If your home is in dire need of renovation or fixing, you’d do well to hire a licensed contractor every time.

We get it. Hiring an unlicensed contractor would be a less drain on your wallet… at least at first. But here’s the truth: going that route will lose you more money in the end. Most construction jobs are a complex and rigorous endeavor, so much so that there’s a ton of risks involved.

As such, you’re better off hiring licensed contractors because you can rest easy in the fact that you’re hiring someone who can provide you quality work. Moreover, licensed contractors are insured, thus protecting you from financial losses if personal injuries or property damages occur during the course of the project.

Licensed contractors are also more likely to follow a strict protocol when performing their work not only because they were trained that way but also because the law requires them to. This ensures that they’re not cutting any corners and that they’re performing the work the way it should be done. This provides you the assurance that your home will be in good, sustainable condition over a long period of time. Lastly, a licensed contractor makes sure that all the paperwork involved with the construction is in proper order, ensuring that you’re safeguarded against legal and bureaucratic liabilities.

Contractor License Search & Lookup

You’re now entirely convinced that hiring a licensed contractor is the way to go. But how would you know if a contractor is holding a valid license? How would you know if the person you’re about to hire is any good?

The answer, of course, is to verify that individual’s license records against the state or city’s database. Thankfully, the State of Indiana offers you the option to do that through their eVerification page.

After going to the page (click this link), you should see there a search area where you can enter search criteria such as Profession, License Type, License Number, and License Status. You can also do a search using the contractor’s full name, his home state, etc. That’s where you will go to lookup plumbers’ licenses, although you’ll need to seek out the pages on the local municipality pages for a lot of professions.

The provided link will also allow you to lookup licenses for contractors dealing with things such as asbestos, like asbestos siding.

How to Become a Licensed Plumber in Indiana

The State of Indiana issues only one type of construction-related contractor’s license: the plumbing contractor license. The Indiana Plumbing Commission issues three types of plumbing licenses: the Apprentice Plumber’s license, the Journeyman license, and the Plumbing Contractor License.

Contractors License Board: Indiana Plumbing Commission

You can submit your application to the Indiana Plumbing Commission through the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency. If you have any questions, you can contact them through:

Indiana Professional Licensing Agency

Attn: Indiana Plumbing Commission

402 W. Washington St. Room W072

Indianapolis, IN 46204

To access the Indiana Plumbing Commission’s resource page, go to this link.

Before applying, you need to determine first if you have all the qualifications needed to obtain a license. Let’s go over the requirements for each type of plumber’s license.

Apprentice Plumber Requirements

  • Minimum age of 18 years old
  • Completed and notarized Application for Registration as an Apprentice Plumber form
  • Original photograph (passport size)
  • Application fee payment (check or money order made payable to the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency)
  • Signature of the school sponsor, along with apprenticeship agreement and sponsor’s Plumbing Contractor license number

For more information on the Plumbing Apprentice application, go to this link.

Journeyman Plumber Requirements

  • Minimum age of 18 years old
  • Completed and notarized Journeyman Plumber Application
  • Original photograph (passport size)
  • Application fee payment (check or money order addressed to the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency)
  • Signature of the school sponsor, along with apprenticeship agreement and sponsor’s Plumbing Contractor license number
  • The Final Court Order document of pending or finalized charges (If questions 1 to 4 on the background questions are answered with a “yes”)

For more information on the Journeyman Plumber application, go to this link.

Plumbing Contractor Requirements

  • Minimum age of 18 years old
  • Completed and notarized Plumbing Contractor Application
  • Original photograph (passport size)
  • Application fee payment (check or money order addressed to the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency)
  • Signature of the school sponsor, along with apprenticeship agreement and sponsor’s Plumbing Contractor license number
  • The Final Court Order document of pending or finalized charges (If questions 1 to 4 on the background questions are answered with a “yes”)

For more information on the Plumbing Contractor application, go to this link.

Plumbing Corporation Application

Plumbing Apprentice School Application

Biggest Cities

You’ll need a registration certificate or a city license to obtain permits that will authorize you to perform your work within city limits. Each city in Indiana has regulatory boards that manage the licensure process, ensuring that city ordinance codes are always upheld.

City of Indianapolis

Applicants who want to perform their trade in the city of Indiana must apply for a city license through the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services. As per their mandate, the Department issues city licenses to qualified applicants from the Consolidated City of Indianapolis.

The City of Indianapolis issues the following types of licenses:

General Contractor Licenses

If you want to perform work involving construction, land renovation, sewerage, and excavations anywhere in the city, you must list yourself as a general contractor with the City of Indianapolis. Once you meet all the requirements, you may apply for a license with the City of Indianapolis’ Business and Neighborhood Services department.

Minimum Requirements
  • Completed General Contractors Application (signed and notarized)
  • Register a DBA (doing business as) as the Business Name (for sole proprietors and partnerships; Register with the Indiana Secretary of State (for corporations & LLCs)
  • Pay license fees
  • Must have a General Liability Insurance Certificate
  • Must have a Surety Bond or Bond Continuation Certificate
  • Must have Workman’s Compensation Insurance (if you’re employing workers in Indianapolis/Marion County); Must fill out the Workman’s Compensation Waiver section (if you don’t have employees)

For a more detailed list, go to Business and Neighborhood Services’ official PDF document.

Electrical Licenses

As established in Sec. 875-201, you need to obtain an electrical contractor license before you can perform electrical work in the City of Indianapolis. Since Indiana doesn’t issue state electrical licenses, you have to apply from the local municipality to become a licensed electrician.

Types of licenses:
  • Master
  • Residential
Minimum Requirements

You need to submit the following to the Board of Electrical Examiners not more than 10 business days before the second Thursday of each month:

  • Complete the Electrical Exam Application
  • Letterhead documenting 6 years of practical experience with a notarized and signed letter of reference from the employer.
  • A minimum of three customer reference letters
  • A photocopy of your driver’s license
  • Copies of licenses, certificates, and diplomas (where applicable)
How to apply
  1. Submit the application packet to the Trade Board Secretary.
  2. Show up for a scheduled interview with the Board.
  3. If your application is approved, you will receive information on how to schedule an exam with Prometric.
  4. Get a score of at least 75% to pass the exam and sit for a second interview with the board for orientation.
  5. After passing the test, submit proof of surety bond, general liability insurance, and workmen’s compensation coverage along with the requires fees (for more details, go to this link).

You can mail all requirements to:

Board of Electrical Examiners

Lucy West 1200 Madison Avenue, Suite 100

Indianapolis, Indiana 46225

If you have any questions, you can send an email to Lucy.West@indy.gov

HVAC Contractor Licenses

Do you want to work with heating and cooling systems (as per Sec. 875-301) in the City of Indianapolis? If so, you’d do well to obtain an HVACR Contractor License with the Business and Neighborhood Services. You must submit the following requirements to the Board of Heating & Cooling Examiners not more than 10 business days prior to the board meeting, which happens every second Monday of each month.

Requirements
  • Completed Heating and Cooling Exam Application
  • Resume (include your work experience)
  • Letterhead documenting 5 years of experience in the HVAC trade with a notarized and signed letter of reference from current or former employer/s.
  • A minimum of three customer reference letters
  • A photocopy of your driver’s license
  • Copies of licenses, certificates, and diplomas (where applicable)
How to apply
  1. Submit all requirements to the Trade Board Secretary. The deadline is at least 10 business days prior to the board meeting (go here to see all deadlines and board meeting dates).
  2. Appear before the Board for a scheduled interview.
  1. After the Board approves your application, they will send you information on how to schedule an exam with Prometric.
  2. Get a score of at least 70% to pass the exam and meet with the board members for your orientation.
  3. After passing the test, submit proof of surety bond, general liability insurance, and workmen’s compensation coverage along with the requires fees (for more details, go to this link).

For more forms and information relevant to the HVACR license, visit this page.

Plumbing Licenses

You’ve already obtained a plumbing contractor license from the Indiana Plumbing Commission which means you can go ahead and perform your trade in Indianapolis, right? Not so fast. Before you can do that, you need to register your state license with the City of Indianapolis first.

Minimum Requirements
  • A copy of your current Indiana Plumbing Contractor License
  • Completed Craft License Holders application
  • Pay license fees
  • Register a DBA (doing business as) as the Business Name (for sole proprietors and partnerships; Register with the Indiana Secretary of State (for corporations & LLCs)

For a more detailed list, go to Business & Neighborhood Services’ official PDF guide.

Also, go here to access more forms and information relevant to the plumbing license.

Wrecking Licenses

Contractors who wish to engage in the demolishing of structures and any other activity defined in Sec. 875-401 in Indianapolis need to obtain a wrecking license from the local government.

Requirements
  • Completed Wrecking Exam Application
  • Resume along with work experience
  • 4 signed reference letters from customers or employers
  • A minimum of three customer reference letters
  • A schedule of wrecking projects
  • A photocopy of your driver’s license
  • Copies of licenses, certificates, and diplomas (where applicable)
How to apply
  1. Submit all requirements to the Board of Wrecking Examiners. The deadline is at least 10 business days prior to the board meeting (go here to see all deadlines and board meeting dates).
  2. Sit for a scheduled interview with the Board.
  3. After your application is approved, the Board will send you instructions on how to schedule an exam with Prometric.
  4. Pass the exam (minimum score of 75% for the “A” license and meet with the board members for your orientation.
  5. After passing the test, submit proof of surety bond, general liability insurance, and workmen’s compensation coverage along with the requires fees (for more details, go to this link).

For more forms and information relevant to the wrecking licensure process, go to this link.

City of Evansville

Contractors are required to obtain a contractor’s license from the Building Commission to perform their trade anywhere in the city of Evansville. While plumbing contractors don’t need to obtain a license, they’ll need to register with the Board before engaging in plumbing work in Evansville.

For a full list of the city’s license categories including their definitions, refer to this link.

Steps on how to apply for a contractor’s license in Evansville

  1. Fill out the application form and submit supporting documents.
    1. License Application
    2. Apprentice Tradesman License Application
    3. Background Form
  2. Once your application is approved by the Board, they will send you specific instructions on how to schedule an exam with Ivy Tech (phone: (812) 429-1418).
  3. Wait for the exam results (the Licensing and Disciplinary Board reviews exams every fourth Thursday of the month)
  4. Complete the licensing application by paying the license fee (check or cash is accepted) and submitting proof of insurance and surety bond.

For more detailed instructions, go to this page.

If you have any other questions about the licensing process, you can always contact the Building Commission using the following information:

Building Commission

1 NW Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

Civic Center Complex, Room 310

Evansville, IN 47708

  • Fax:  (812) 436-7869
  • Phone:  (812) 436-7880
  • Business:  (812) 436-7885

Email: cevenson@evansville.in.go

The Building Commission is open from Monday to Friday, between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.

City of South Bend

Contractors who wish to render their services in South Bend and St. Joseph County are required to register or apply for a license with the Building Department. Residential owners or occupants, however, may perform work on their own single-family dwelling after signing the required affidavit.

The Building Department issues licenses for the following categories: Building, Electric, Sign, Demolition, HVAC, Plumbing, Fire Suppression, Hood Installation, Refrigeration, Irrigation and Excavation, Above or Underground Storage Tanks

How to register or apply for a Contractor License

You can register or apply by sending your application, supporting documents, and payments in person or by mail to the following address:

City of South Bend/ St. Joseph County Building Department

125 S. Lafayette Blvd., Suite 100

South Bend, IN 46601

After submitting your application, you have to wait for the results for a couple of weeks at most since application reviews are normally completed within 10 business days. The Board will notify by phone or email (whichever you prefer) once they’re done with the review.

Applications for a new or renewed license and registration can be processed instantly.

Electrical Contractor License Requirements

Class A – Electrical Contractor’s License
  • Surety Bond (Original)
  • $125 annual fee (paid via cash or check)
Class B – Industrial Electrical License

Building Contractor Registration Requirements

Demolition Contractor Registration Requirements

Sign Contractor Registration Requirements

  • Specify the City of South Bend/St. Joseph County as the Certificate Holder
  • Limits of Liability should be $100,000 per individual, $300,000 for every occurrence and $50,000 for every property damage
  • Annual registration fee of $125 (cash or check)

Plumbing/Excavation Contractor Registration Requirements

Plumbing Contractors
Excavating Contractors

HVAC Contractor License Requirements

  • Submit pre-licensing requirements
  • Completed HVAC Contractor Application form
  • A copy of your photo ID
  • Minimum age of 21 years
  • A statement issued by the police department from your local county documenting criminal records (if you have any)
  • At least 4 years of experience (or the equivalent) working with HVAC equipment or systems
  • Letter of reference from contractor included in the apprenticeship verification section of your application
  • Application fee of $50 (cash or check)
  • Original Surety Bond
  • Annual fee of $125 (cash or check)

The fact that the state of Indiana doesn’t license HVAC contractors on a state-level also means that there’s no convenient way to go and lookup the claimed licenses, meaning if a contractor claims to have one, you would need to seek out its validation on a local level. The same is the case if you wish to search for general contractor licenses in Indiana.

City of Hammond

You can’t work as a contractor in the City of Hammond without the appropriate license. To register or apply for a license, you need to contact the Building Division. The Division, headed by Building Commissioner Robert Vale, is also responsible for issuing permits and performing inspections for projects within the city’s jurisdiction.

Applying for the exam

To become eligible for a contractor’s license, you need to pass the relevant exam and receive approval from the appropriate Board first. You can apply for the exam by meeting the following requirements.

You need to submit your application not more than seven business days prior to the Board meeting or exam date. Failure to attend will result in the forfeiture of your exam. You have to pay a retesting fee of $50 to take the exam again.

Applying for a license

So your application has been approved by the Board? You’re well on your way to obtaining your license! But first, you need to submit the following items prior to receiving your license.:

  • A Certificate of Insurance listing the “City of Hammond, 5925 Calumet Avenue, Hammond IN 46320” as the Certificate Holder, with liability amounting to 50,000 property damage and 100,000/300,000 personal injury.
  • Workman’s Compensation or a Proof of Waiver
  • A $5,000 bond listing “Board of Lake County Commissioners, all Cities, Towns and Municipalities of Lake County, Indiana” as the “obligee.”
  • Pay the required fees ($200 license fee, $100 renewal fee)
  • For out-of-state corporations: A Certificate of Authority issued by the Secretary of State Office in Indianapolis (www.in.gov.)
  • A Street Opening bond worth $1,500 (if required)
  • A copy of your driver’s license or state ID

If you need a more detailed list of all requirements, refer to this link.

To access a full list of relevant license or permit applications, refer to this link.

If you have any further questions, you can contact the Hammond City Hall using the following contact information:

Hammond City Hall, Room G1

5925 Calumet Avenue (map)

Hammond, IN 46320

Phone: 219-853-6317

Fax: 219-853-6543

Email: Click here

City of Gary

All contractors (and subcontractors) who wish to render their services in the City of Gary are required to register or obtain a license with the Building Department. Residential occupants who want to work on their own property are an exception to this rule.

You can contact the Building Department through the following information:

Building Department

401 Broadway, Suite 307

Gary, IN 46402

(219) 881-1377

(219) 881-1425 Fax

Requirements

To qualify for a contractor’s license, you need to submit the following:

  • Completed Contractor’s License Application
  • Application Fee of $20
  • Examination Fee of $150 (disregard if you’re applying for a Specialty License)
  • Exam results (disregard if you’re applying for a Specialty License)
  • Two affidavits (signed and notarized)
  • Certificate of Liability and Property Insurance (not less than $100,000)
  • General Surety Bond (name of the obligee should be: Board of Commissioners of the County of Lake, State of Indiana and all other Cities, Towns and Municipalities Therein)
  • Get your General Business License application approved.

Applicants have to sit for an interview with the Contractor’s Licensing Board every last Thursday of each month at 1:00 pm. Once your application is approved, you need to pay the following fees:

  • License Fee of $120
  • General Business License Fee of $150

Taking the Exam

The City of Gary provides the following written exams:

  • Demolition
  • Drywall
  • Electrical
  • Fire Protection Systems
  • General Contractor – Limited
  • General Contractor – Unlimited
  • Mechanical – Limited
  • Mechanical – Unlimited
  • Roofing – Limited
  • Roofing – Unlimited

To register for the exam, you must complete and submit the registration form, indicating the Name of the Test, and the Date of the Test. Test fee of $150 should be paid via check, cashier’s check, or money order made payable to “City of Gary”

To learn more about the exams being administered by the City of Gary, along with examination dates, testing locations, and reference guides, refer to the Contractor’s Licensing Examination Packet.

Contractor License Reciprocity

A lot of states such as Texas, Connecticut, Georgia and Arkansas have more elaborate licensing requirements on a state-level, and that typically also means that they have some sort of reciprocity program in place, however since the requirements at a state-level are very limited in Indiana, your chances of obtaining the necessary licenses in such a fashion is a lot more unlikely if you’re just moving to the state.