Kansas Contractor Licenses

In Kansas, licensing for all contractor trades – whether electrical, plumbing, or roofing – are regulated at the city and county levels. It can be quite confusing at times, but that’s exactly what this guide is for!

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We have done our best to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of all the information mentioned. Nonetheless, specific instances or questions should be directed towards your local licensing offices.

The only licenses that are provided on a state-level are for asbestos work and water well drilling.

Why you should get a contractors license?

Licenses are a great way of showing off all your skills, talents, and experiences. As such, anybody who wishes to make a successful career out of contracting should always think of getting a license as the first step towards that goal. Aside from being able to attract more potential customers, a license also affords you the right to work legally. How? Well, a good number of government units, including most cities in Kansas, put a cap on the value of construction or renovation work that an unlicensed contractor can work on. Getting a license is like hitting two birds with one stone! Need more convincing? Read on and maybe we can do just that for you!

1. Licenses are attractive (to customers)

Attractive, indeed! What better way to jump-start your contracting business by obtaining the ultimate recognition that identifies not only your skills, but also your character? Getting a license requires a rigorous examination of not only your talents, but also delves into your ability to build professional business relationships and compliance with government regulations. Most homeowners are aware of it, and that’s why they put such a premium on a licensed contractor. They think of it as an investment in their homes and ultimately, their future. Which brings us to our second point:

2. Licenses are the safest and most profitable investments

Having established that homeowners think of licensed contractors as investments, it automatically follows that its ultimately an investment on your part as well. Your potential customers only want the best for their homes and properties. They want skills, quality, good managers, and most of all, peace of mind. A license is the first thing you can pop up to prove that you can provide for all those needs. More than that, you have to remember that they’re willing to pay more to get all of those qualities! So don’t think of licenses as mere afterthoughts and something you can eventually get if you feel like it. Because licenses are not just pieces of paper you can display or show off; it literally pays off!

3. Obtaining a license opens up lots of contracting opportunities

Contractors with licenses often have an easier time finding potential customers and projects, as compared to their unlicensed counterparts. As mentioned earlier, licenses are attractive to certain segments of the market; indeed, some wouldn’t even dare hire an unlicensed contractor. Additionally, you will find that contractor agencies highly prefer licensed contractors. So if you’re just starting on your career, these avenues provide ample opportunities to hone your skills even more, and build professional relationships that will prove useful in the future. A license really doesn’t have a downside!

What kind of license should I get?

Nowadays, licenses have become very specific and specialized. There used to be a time when a single license was enough to work on a range of projects. But now, there’s usually a license for every single kind of work, no matter how related they are. For example, despite having a training in electrical work, a contractor would still have to get different licenses for commercial and residential circuit installation. In addition to this, you should consider the following:

1. Do I really need this license?

The primary consideration should always be on the necessity of getting a license. There are two points that factor in here; the stability of your contracting business, and the legality of doing work as a contractor. For the former, we have already discussed the benefits of obtaining a contractors license. Having a license basically gives you an edge over your competitors and hence, expect to haev a more stable stream of customers. As for the legality of your work as a contractor, getting a license is non-negotiable. A good number of construction and renovation projects in Kansas need to be done by a licensed contractor. So if you have any intention on working on projects like these, a license is the only way to ensure that you won’t be prosecuted for doing your work. You should never risk working without the appropriate license. In the long run, it’s better to have no criminal or administrative record that your future customers can come across.

2. Are my skills appropriate for the license?

Always consider how your skills match with the license you want to get. As mentioned earlier, there are sub-categories for licenses nowadays. If you were trained as a home renovation contractor, you probably shouldn’t get a license for working on public projects. This saves you a lot of time and money since you wouldn’t have to go through all the work of processing papers and taking exams, only to be rejected in the end. Also, take into account your interest for the kind of license you want to get. You might be knowledgeable about electrical circuiting, but if you actually have a huge fear of being electrocuted, then getting a license in that field might not be advisable. In the end, it will always be your decision, but we hope that you consider these points as guides on how to answer your dilemmas.

Since trade licenses are regulated at the local level, specific license classifications will be discussed at length in the succeeding chapters of this article.

Don’t want to get a license yet?

It’s okay if you don’t want to get a license yet. But remember, this will limit the kind of work you can work on and consequently, will also shrink your room for growth. Nonetheless, this course of action might be suitable if you really aren’t sure what kind of contractor you want to be. This is the perfect time to start with minor projects on a wide array of fields – from roofing to landscaping, and even low voltage electrical work. This time will allow you to decide which work you really enjoy doing, and at the same time, will enable you to get a good foundation on different kinds of contracting work.

Perks of hiring a licensed contractor

1. Get unmatched quality and craftsmanship with a licensed contractor!

Every homeowner only wants the best for his home or property. More than that, I’m sure that your somebody who wishes to get the most out of your expenses. You can trust licensed contractors to give you just that, and even more! All licensed contractors go through a rigorous application process that is aimed to ensure that they have the knowledge, skills, and most importantly, capacity, to provide the best construction and renovation services to their customers. And trust us, most contractors take this to heart; they definitely apply their knowledge to the more practical situations. And if you do end up in the unlikely situation of having an unreliable contractor, there are regulatory agencies that can reprimand and even revoke the license of your contractor. So there’s really no reason to fret about quality, all you have to do is relax and let the experts work on it!

2. Get comprehensive insurance with a licensed contractor!

Most cities in Kansas require individuals applying for a license to first obtain a general liability insurance, at the very least. For example, in Topeka, contractors must first have insurance coverage worth $300,000. The minimum amount of coverage differs depending on the locality, but nonetheless, all are substantial sums of money and can surely handle all costs in case of emergency. As a homeowner, gone are the days of worrying about accidents and untoward incidents at times of renovation and construction! The peace of mind that a licensed contractor brings to a project is surely worth paying a little more.

3. Compliance with regulations is assured with a licensed contractor!

Compliance with laws and regulations are usually the forte of licensed contractors. This is largely because further renewal of their licenses depends on their compliance with the regulations. As such, expect that they have extensive knowledge on the different kinds of licenses required for your home project. Chances are, small details you won’t notice about regulations are already on the minds of your licensed contractor. More than that, the difficulty of having to line up at your city construction board just to get permits is a thing of the past. You can expect your licensed contractor to take care of all of that. No more taking time off work; saving a few hours, or even days is definitely one of the numerous advantages of having a licensed contractor.

State-Level vs City-Level Regulations: Kansas Contractors License Board

Kansas does not impose regulations that applies all throughout the state, except asbestos and water well drillers. Instead, city and county governments are the establishments which are tasked to issue licenses and promulgate policies pertinent to contracting. This has led to a wide difference of minimum standards that cities across the state impose on contractors. This will be discussed thoroughly later, so keep reading! If your locality isn’t included in our listing, it would be wise to contact your local contractors board to know more about their requirements for prospective contractors.

This also means that Kansas doesn’t have a contractor licensing board like most other states do.

Contractor License Search

Given that everything is basically handled locally, you will need to visit the local websites in order to do a contractor license search and lookup in the state of Kansas.

Wyandotte County – List of Licensed Contractors (Electrical, Plumbing)

Topeka City List of Licensed Contractors

Johnson County Contractor Licensing Lookup System

Lawrence City Contractor License Search
Be sure to have the main details about your contractors because you will need this if you want to verify the validity of their licensing. Useful information includes their full name, business name, license type (for what specialization), office address, or zip code. Having any of the above is usually enough to verify their details online. But, if you wish to conduct your own investigation by calling references, or even third-party establishments, then having as much information as possible would make the task easier.

General Contractors

General contractors are regulated at the local level. Nonetheless, we’ll present you the framework localities use in the licensing of general contractors. These licenses are usually divided into three: License A, B, and C. Here’s how these licenses differ:

1. Class A License (General Contractor)

This license permits its holder to work on projects for both residential and commercial purposes. Typically, this includes most construction and renovation works such as major electrical and plumbing repairs, structural extensions, and demolitions.

2. Class B License (Building Contractor)

This license allows its holder to work on the same projects included in Class A. However, they are limited on obtaining projects that concern structures not more than three (3) stories high.

3. Class C License (Residential Contractor)

The holder of this license allows the contractor to work on the inclusions attached with Class A and B. However, its scope is strictly limited to structures up to two (2) stories high, and which are only intended to be used for residential purposes.

Requirements may vary depending on the locality, but usually, a proof of general liability insurance is required for the aforementioned licenses. Continuing education is also a requirement, but it is much less common. It would be better to contact your local licensing office to know more about their respective procedures and requirements.

Biggest cities in Kansas

Wyandotte County (Kansas City)

Building Inspection Division

The Building Inspection Division is a supervisory and regulatory agency under the Neighborhood Resource Center of the unified government of Wyandotte Country and Kansas City. As such, the area of jurisdiction of the BID is quite extensive and any contractor will benefit from knowing their policies. Any owner who wishes to make construction, demolition, alteration, and extensive repairs on their property must secure the appropriate permit from the Building Inspecting Division before the start of any project. More importantly, contractors who wish to work on this project must also obtain their license from this office, as specified by the local regulatory code on Building Inspection.

The Division is headed by Mr. Anthony Hutchingson, Chief Inspector. To know more information about their products and services, you can visit them from Mondays to Fridays (8am – 5pm) at the NRC Offices, 4953 State Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66102. For more urgent concerns, contact them at (913) 573-8620.

Electrical License

In order to ensure the safety and security of the residents of Wyandotte County, the government regulates the professionals who can work on highly sensitive projects, which includes electrical projects.

The Master Electrician’s license can be obtained if an individual possesses the following documents and qualifications:

– At least twenty-one (21) years old at the time of the application.

– One (1) year practical experience in wiring projects or installation of other electrical equipment, such as lighting, power, and heating apparatus, and an additional three (3) years of work related to these subjects under a qualified master electrician.

– Post-high school electrical certificates may be given credit equivalent to two (2) years practical experience upon approval of the Building Official.

– A surety bond worth at least $5,000.00, subject to increase or revision by the unified government.

Upon receipt of the application form and all other documents attesting to its truth, the Building Inspection Division must then inform the candidate about the exam schedule, thirty days (30) prior to the actual day of the exam. To pass, an applicant must obtain at least 75% correct marks. If an applicant fails on the first try, he may retake the examination after two (2) months.

Plumbing License

Similar to the electrical License, the plumbing license is issued in order to ensure the safety of its citizens, in accordance with the Wyandotte County Building Code. An individual who wishes to obtain the Master Plumber license must also have the following qualifications:

– At least twenty-one (21) years old at the time of the application.

– One (1) year practical experience in planning and installation of plumbing systems, with an additional experience of three (3) years in related subjects under a qualified master plumber.

– Post-high school electrical certificates may be given credit equivalent to two (2) years practical experience upon approval of the Building Official.

Upon receipt of the application form and all other documents attesting to its truth, the Building Inspection Division must then inform the candidate about the exam schedule, thirty days (30) prior to the actual day of the exam. To pass, an applicant must obtain at least 75% correct marks. If an applicant fails on the first try, he may retake the examination after two (2) months.

For both licenses, the unified government may suspend or revoke their validity if contractors violate any provision in the Building Code, use fraudulent documents and information to obtain licenses, fail to adhere to general standards of contracting in their fields, abandon or breach contracts with customers, and other complaints deemed to be valid by the Building Official.

Topeka

Topeka Trade Boards

The Topeka Municipal Code provides for the establishment of different licensing boards for their respective licensed trades. Hence, there is a separate electrical and plumbing licensing board. Nonetheless, they have a mostly similar governance structure, and they are both tasked with being the ultimate authority within Topeka to determine the qualifications that must be set before a professional can obtain a contractors license. Complaints against licensed contractors, and consequent appeals, are also handle by the different trade boards.

For more information about their services, please contact the unified Licensing & Inspections section at 785-368-3905. Also, you can visit their office at 620 SE Madison, Topeka, KS 66607.

Electrical and Plumbing Licenses

In Topeka, the requirements for the plumbing and electrical licenses are almost identical. Applicants must of course first complete the standard application form released by their respective trade boards. To obtain a license depends on their compliance with the following requirements:

– At least two (2) years of practical experience relating to their professional area of expertise.

– Obtain at least 75% correct items on the trade exam conducted by the ICC, with results duly certified and notarized.

– Possession of a general liability insurance which covers incidents individually, worth at leas $300,000.

– Payment of an initial $100 for application fee, and $75 annually as a renewal fee.

All contractors are required to undergo continuing education classes approved by the their respective trade boards. For individuals with an active license, only six units are needed to be accounted for yearly. On the other hand, for individuals who have be inactive for longer than two years, twelve units are required for reactivation.

Johnson County (Overland Park and Olathe City)

Contractor Licensing Review Board (CLRB)

Composed of nine (9) members appointed by the Board of County Commissioners, the CLRB is the main body regulating the issuance of licenses for all contractor-related work, from electrical to demolition. The members of the board are experts on their various fields who can provide timely advice as to the specifications of license requirements. For more information on their work, you can contact them at 913-715-2233. You can also visit their office at 111 S. Cherry STE 1000, Olathe, KS 66061.

Electrical License

The following are the requirements for contractors who wish to obtain a license in electrical work:
– A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree obtained in fields such as Engineering, Construction Science, and other related fields OR

A certified examination score of at least 75% in a standardized test sanctioned by the Contractor License Review Board. (Possible Exams: ICC Kansas Standard Master Electrician Exam [EX ID: K9D] or ETS Master Electrical Exam)

– Journeyman’s certificate with at least four (4) years of practical experience working under the guidance of a master electrician.

– Any valid identification card issued by any level of government.

– Proof of possession of General Liability Insurance

– Accomplished application form submitted personally or by mail to the office.

– Documents attesting to the validity of the information reported by the applicant in his application form.

Upon compliance with these requirements, the applicant must pay the $100 application fee, and $225 serving as a license fee. This license fee must be paid annually, since the electrical license must also be renewed annually.

Plumbing License

The following are the requirements for contractors who wish to obtain a license in electrical work:
– A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree obtained in fields such as Engineering, Construction Science, and other related fields OR

A certified examination score of at least 75% in a standardized test sanctioned by the Contractor License Review Board. (Possible Exams: ICC Kansas Standard Master Plumbing with Gas Exam [EX ID: K9F] or ETS Master Plumbing with Gas Exam)

– Journeyman’s certificate with at least four (4) years of practical experience working under the guidance of a master electrician.

– Any valid identification card issued by any level of government.

– Proof of possession of General Liability Insurance

– Accomplished application form submitted personally or by mail to the office.

– Documents attesting to the validity of the information reported by the applicant in his application form.

Again, the initial amount to be paid is $325; $100 of which is allotted as the one-time application fee and the rest as the license fee to be paid annually.

Holders of both electrical and plumbing licenses must be able to show proof of continuing education in their respective fields to obtain a renewal for their license. For courses recognized by the local board, click here.

Lawrence City

Contractor Licensing Board

The Local Contracting Board of Lawrence was recently established, in July 2017. It was tasked to facilitate the issuance of all trade licenses, as well as handle matters related to complaints against licensed contractors. Composed of nine (9) members, all of them are active practitioners and professionals in different engineering fields, with the exception of the representative of the general public. The Board, upon conduct of public hearings, may take action against guilty licensed contractors in the form of suspension, and even permanent revocation of their contractors license.

For more information, you can visit them at the City Hall complex, or call them via landline at (785) 832-7770.

Electrical and Plumbing License

The Master electrician license is issued to all contractors who aim to provide electrical services such as installation, repair, and servicing of different kinds of electrical systems. On the other hand, the master plumber primarily deals with the designing and/or installation of plumbing systems, as well as supervision of apprentice plumbers. For the purposes of this discussion, the requirements for these licenses will be discussed jointly as they are almost identical.

The following are the prescribed requirements to obtain this license:

– At least four (4) years’ experience doing actual electrical or plumbing work, depending on your chosen license.

– Mark of at least 75% on the standardized examination for master electricians, based on the tests given by the International Code Council.

The applicant must pay an initial $20, serving as the license fee, and subsequently pay $10 annually as a renewal fee. In addition, all contractors must complete at least six (6) hours of continuing professional education before their license can be renewed. For a list of the courses approved by the Contractor Licensing Board, click here.

Emporia City

Electrical and Plumbing License

An individual who wishes to obtain the an electrical or plumbing license in Emporia City must possess the following requirements:

– Two (2) years of experience working on projects directly related to the individuals desired license.

– License Surety Bond of $5,000 to be held by the city government.

– Obtain passing mark (75%) on the trade license examination which must be administered by either Prometric or the International Code Council (ICC)

The license must be renewed annually at the cost of $250.

Kansas License reciprocity

License reciprocity means that there is an agreement between two states recognizing the validity of the licenses that each has issued. For New Hampshire, license reciprocity is as follows:

Wyandotte County: There are no reciprocal agreements with local government inside and outside of Kansas. However, individuals who possess licenses from other jurisdictions may present this to the Building Official for appropriate evaluation. If the Building Official deems the license requirements to be similar to that of the county, the contractor may be allowed to practice professionally within Wyandotte County.

Johnson County: There are no reciprocal agreements posted on the Johnson County website. Nonetheless, you should contact them at the number provided in the previous section to ensure that their reciprocity policies are up to date.

Lawrence City: Upon payment of the required dues, any contractor may submit his license to the Contractor Licensing Board for evaluation. If the Board ascertains that the requirements for the license presented is commensurate with their own requirements, the contractor may be given a license, without needing to take a written examination.

Topeka City: Topeka City has no existing reciprocal arrangements with any other locality as of 2016.

Emporia City: The city government might be able to provide a contractor with a license if his existing license was obtained by meeting requirements similar to those set by Emporia. Contractors who will work in the city for less than 24 months, and only for a single project, may also be given a license upon payment of $250, and submission of a surety bond worth $5,000.

Working With Asbestos Abatement?

If you plan on working with asbestos abatement, such as the removal of asbestos siding, the state of Kansas requires you to be properly licensed for it. The removal of said material is a potentially dangerous job due to the dust it creates, which is why the Kansas Department of Health and Environment regulates the related licenses.