Kentucky Contractor Licenses

The state of Kentucky is now experiencing a boom in the construction industry. This is thanks in part to the increase of industrial and manufacturing projects in the southeast.

Thanks to its strategic location as it borders the industrial-heavy Midwest, construction projects are aplenty in Kentucky. This is especially true in the cities of Elizabethtown, Bowling Green and Louisville. Of course, it helps that Kentucky has a dynamic automobile manufacturing industry.

This is why there’s an increase in focus on the importance of Kentucky contractor licenses. There’s now a very systematic process of getting a license as a contractor. There are still a lot of steps involved but generally speaking, it’s very easy to get one provided that you’re really qualified. But still, there are a lot of people working in the construction industry without a license to back them up.

Think of it as a necessity for everyone’s benefit. Can you imagine a world wherein everyone with a few tools and some hours spent on YouTube learning how to build houses can go and start building houses? It will lead to low quality and even dangerous projects. It will also lead to dissatisfaction. Worse, it will also lead to proliferation of scams.

Importance of Hiring a Contractor with a License

Project owners will obviously benefit from it. As a contractor, you have to understand that these benefits are sought-after by project owners, so it’s in your best interest to get licensed if required if you want to be sought after.

  • You know that you’re hiring someone who’s qualified and experienced.

As mentioned, a contractor needs to match the qualifications needed to get licensed. This is why having a license shows that he has the qualifications. A license also opens the contractor to more work opportunities – both big and small. Do your homework and make sure the licensed Kentucky contractor is an experienced one.

  • You’re protected.

While some contractors don’t get licensed because they feel that they’re not yet ready, qualified, or they’re simply lazy, a lot of unlicensed “contractors” are basically criminals looking to prey on unsuspecting victims. Getting licensed creates a paper trail, and this is something that criminals tend to avoid. By only dealing with licensed ones, you lessen your chances of dealing with criminals.

Licensed contractors also work hard to ensure that their name is protected. This is why they’ll try their best to do great work. They don’t want complaints against their name so they’re not going to do something on purpose that can lead to a complaint.

They also have insurance. They’re also bonded, so that’s another level of protection.

How to Get a Contractor’s License and Advantages of Getting One

The list of benefits below gives you the importance of getting licensed.

  • It makes you more credible.

It’s technically just a piece of paper, but it gives you and your business an instant credibility boost. This is because this “piece of paper” shows that you have passed tests that make you qualified to work in this industry. It also shows that you’ve submitted the needed requirements.

  • It makes you qualified for higher-paying jobs.

Okay, so you’re in this business because you get satisfaction from building projects from scratch. But at the end of the day, you’re also in this business to make money – as much as you can.

While you can technically work as a handyman without a license, you’re limiting yourself to smaller jobs. You’d have to work more and harder just to make more money. On the other hand, working on higher-paying jobs can help you make more money with fewer projects. This is because these jobs are only given to licensed professionals.

The question is – when’s the right time for you?

Now, it’s important to note that this is not a recommendation for you to go out and get your license right now. You still have to take important things into consideration. For starters, are you ready to get licensed? How good is your business acumen? This is equally important. In fact, a lot of contractors will tell you that it’s more important because it can make or break a business.

For example, how good are you at quoting jobs? Quote too low and you’ll be stuck at a big project with little to no profit potential. You could even end up on the losing end, and that can hit your business really hard.

You should also make sure that you’re getting licensed for the service/s that you want to provide. You wouldn’t want to be limited to services that you don’t really want because that’s what the license allows.

This is why we recommend that you build experience first. Do so as a handyman. Work on smaller jobs first, practice your bidding expertise, and zero in on the service/s that you want to specialize in.

Speaking of getting licensed for the service/s that you want to provide, you also have to be aware of the requirements. Since 2010, the state of Kentucky doesn’t require a license for general contractors. However, some counties and cities do require one for you to do business in their jurisdiction.

On the other hand, you need to get licensed if you’re looking to provide plumbing, electrical or HVAC services.

Kentucky Contractor License Search and Lookup

The Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction of the state of Kentucky has a Public Protection Cabinet program that includes a Kentucky contractor license lookup tool. You can access it here – https://ky.joportal.com/license/search.

Here’s how to use the KY contractor lookup tool:

  1. Choose the division. For example if you want to search for an HVAC license, choose HVAC from the drop-down field.
  2. Choose the License Type. Check all that applies.

From here, you can click on the Search button and all licensed HVAC contractors in KY will show up. If you’re looking to verify the information of a contractor, continue to the third step.

  1. You can enter the License #, Business Name, Last Name and/or First Name for more specific results.
  2. You can also enter the Licensee County.

Here are the details that will be provided to you:

  • CEUs
  • License #
  • License Holder
  • License Expiration Date
  • Type
  • Status
  • Address
  • City
  • County and State

Make sure that you double check the information provided to you by the person that you’re dealing with to ensure that it matches the one on file. Also, take note of the expiration date and the status.

License Classifications

Speaking of division, here are the different classifications:

  • Boiler Inspections
  • Electrical Inspection and Licensing
  • State Fire Marshall
  • Plumbing
  • HVAC
  • Elevator Inspections
  • Modular and Manufactured Housing
  • Building Code Enforcement

Kentucky Contractor’s License Board

The Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction serves as the enforcer of building and construction standards across the state. There used to be 8 boards under the DHBC. That was before Gov. Matt Bevin unified the boards into one advisory committee that represents all divisions and classifications.

The DHBC, since August 22, 2018, follows the 2018 Kentucky Building Code and the 2018 Kentucky Residential Code. Both are based on the 2015 International Building Code and the 2015 International Residential Code.

Here are the goals of the DHBC:

  • Ensure accountability among those involved.
  • Stay highly-committed as a regulatory agency.
  • Improve client relationships.
  • Develop and apply new technology to improve the delivery of service.
  • Ensure professionalism across all the staff of all levels.
  • Educate the community.

The Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction is located at 101 Sea Hero Rd., Ste. 100, Frankfort, KY 40601. They can be reached at the following:

You can also check out its official website. It’s packed with resources including building codes, forms, interpretations, inspection information, safety tips and more.

Electrical License

State laws require electrical contractors and electricians to get licensed. The DHBC has an Electrical Division. Its Electrical Licensing Section is responsible for issuing licenses and running the continuing education program. Right now, it handles and issues over 20,000 licenses a year.

Here are the steps to get licensed:

  1. Gather the following data and requirements:
  • Name
  • Address (both home and business)
  • Phone number (both home and business)
  • Date of birth
  • SSN or identification number as an employer
  • Email address
  • Type of license/s applied for
  • A confirmation via a statement that you haven’t defaulted on educational loans
  • Passport-sized colored ID photo (taken within the last 6 months)
  • Completed Reciprocity Electrical License Application, if applicable

If applying for an electrician or master electrician license:

  • A list of your experience in the industry
  • A list of approved training programs of apprenticeships

If applying for an electrical contractor license:

  • Name and license number of the affiliated master electrician
  • Name of the insurance provider
  1. Submit the completed application form with the date and requirements listed above. Also submit the following:
  • Pay the non-refundable application fee:
  • $200 for an electrical contractor
  • $100 for a master electrician
  • $50 for an electrician
  • Provide proof of experience if applying as an electrician or master electrician. This can be in the form of:
  • Tax returns
  • Business license
  • Sword affidavit
  • Provide proof that you’ve passed the required exams.

Click here for more details – http://www.lrc.ky.gov/kar/815/035/060.pdf.

The Electrical Division is located at 101 Sea Hero Rd., Suite 100, Frankfort, KY 40601. It can be reached at the following:

Electrical License Lookup and Search

If you haven’t read through the whole article, you  might have missed the fact that you can lookup and search for electrical licenses right here, simply by choosing the appropriate category.

Plumbing License

You have to get in touch with the Division of Plumbing for your licensing application. You can either get a master plumber license or a journeyman one. Here are the steps:

  1. Fill up form PLB-1 if for a master plumber or PLB-2 for a journeyman plumber.
  2. Sign the form and have it notarized.
  3. Pay the examination fee. It’s $150 for the master plumber licensure exam and $50 for the journeyman plumber licensure exam.
  4. Submit a Passport-sized colored ID photo (taken within the last 6 months)
  5. When you pass, pay a license fee of $250 for a master plumber and $60 for a journeyman plumber.

Exams are conducted on the following months:

  • February
  • May
  • August
  • November

Click here for more details on examination dates, locations and process. You can also contact the Division of Plumbing at the following:

You can also visit them at 101 Sea Hero Rd., Suite 100, Frankfort, KY 40601.

Plumbing License Lookup and Search

While we did mention it in an earlier section, you can lookup and search for plumbing licenses using this page.

Roofing License

You don’t need to get licensed as a roofing contractor in the state. However, there is the Kentucky Roofing Contractors Association that certifies roofing contractors. They also have a Code of Ethics that they commit to.

They have a Kentucky roofing contractor search tool here – https://krca.org/directory.php.

HVAC License

You’ll be dealing with the Division of HVAC for your licensing needs. There are 3 license types:

  • Apprentice

You can download the application form here. This license is for those who are new to this trade and would like to learn it. An apprentice must be directly supervised by a journeyman HVAC mechanic and should be generally supervised by a master one. The master HVAC contractor should sign the application form.

  • Journeyman HVAC Mechanic

Click here for the application form. You should also submit proof that you’ve worked for at least 2 years and has 3,000 work hours under your belt under the general supervision of a master HVAC contractor.

  • Master HVAC Contractor

You should be a holder of a valid journeyman HVAC contractor license for at least 2 years under the supervision of a Master HVAC contractor. If this is the case and you want to apply for the latter, click here for the application form.

You must be at least 18 years old to qualify for any of these licenses. You should also be actively engaged in the trade. There is an application fee to be paid (except for apprentice) that is dependent on your birth month. You can refer to the fee structure found at the end of the application form.

You can get in touch with the Division of HVAC at the following:

You can also visit their office at 101 Sea Hero Rd., Suite 100, Frankfort, KY 40601.

Louisville

You need to be identified by the Louisville Metro Department of Codes & Regulations if you want to work as a contractor in Louisville as per the Louisville Metro Code of Ordinances 150.083. You can download the application form here.

The following also need to be complied with:

  • Provide an Occupational License number from the Louisville–Jefferson County Revenue Commission. They are located at 617 W. Jefferson St.
  • You need to comply with KRS Chapter 341 for unemployment insurance. Provide an affidavit.
  • If you have employees, submit a certificate of workers compensation insurance.
  • Submit proof that you have liability insurance.

Here are the most common license definitions with the corresponding fees:

  • Building Type A ($125)
  • Building Type B ($50)
  • HVAC ($200)

For more details, you can contact them at (502) 574-3321. You can also visit them at:

444. S. 5th Street

Louisville, KY 40202

Bowling Green

For licensing, the department in charge is the Bowling Green-Warren County Contractors Licensing Board. You can either apply as a general contractor ($250 fee) or specialty contractor ($100 fee). You need to get the former if:

  • You will be pulling permits.
  • You handle construction management.
  • You have at least 2 subcontractors for each project.

You need to get the latter if:

  • You specialize in a specific trade.
  • There’s only 1 subcontractor for each project.

Here are the requirements:

  • Completed application form
  • Certificate of insurance
  • Payment of non-refundable fee
  • Bowling Green occupational license if working within its city limits

Feel free to use the Bowling Green contractor license lookup tool.

License Reciprocity

KY has electrical contractor license reciprocity agreements with the following states:

  • Ohio
  • Louisiana
  • West Virginia
  • Virginia

What this means is you don’t need to take the trade exam in KY if you have a valid electrical contractor license in any of these states.

Reciprocity may also be applied for plumbers looking to be licensed in KY if they have a valid license in a state that complies with the following:

  • It has a plumbing code applied across the state.
  • It has a state exam that’s comparable to the one by KY.
  • The state agrees to enter into a reciprocal program with KY.