Mississippi Contractor Licenses

Mississippi is one of the states that has very strict contractor license requirements, and basically the only things that doesn’t need a license is very small projects.

This guide will contain all the information you need on contractors licenses in Mississippi. It’s both aimed to help contractors and homeowners in their search to ensure proper adherence with the law, and we strive to keep it accurate, although since regulations change, inaccuracies may occur.

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HOW TO GET A CONTRACTOR’S LICENSE AND ADVANTAGES OF GETTING ONE

Some people might consider getting a contractors license as an unnecessary step. However, there’s a reason why states put up these standards in the first place. We are basically dealing with our customers’ lives here! Think of these licenses as a way of being able to meet the standards of safety. I’m sure you’d want to comply with that, right?

But other than that, there are also two other primary reasons why you should opt for a license:

  1. You can EARN MORE – People are more likely to pay higher rates for licensed contractors and with good reason too. Contractors are subjected to the most rigorous standards, and your customers probably think of paying more as an investment for their peace of mind and safety.
  1. It allows you to do work LEGALLY – Yes, basically, if you’re planning to work on the following:

Commercial jobs worth $50,000 (what you need is a commercial license) or Residential construction worth $50,000* (residential building license). Remodeling worth $10,000 (residential remodeling license). Roofing worth $10,000 (residential roofing license)

*you can also participate in commercial undertakings if area in question does not exceed 7,500 sq.ft.

A license is needed before you can start contracting on these projects in the State of Mississippi. All home construction and expansion work must done by licensed contractors. Just sending a quote without a license can actually cost you thousands of dollars in penalties imposed by the state board! The Board of Contractors also conducts routine inspections all over the state, and lurks online to verify the licenses of contractors. So you better get that license before you start on a project!

What kind of license should I get?

Think of what services you want to provide. Basically, before you can provide a certain service, you should get the license that corresponds with it. There are seven (7) major classifications offered by the Mississippi Board of Contractors, namely (1) Building Construction, (2) Highway, Street and Bridge Construction, (3) Electrical (4) Mechanical, (5) Heavy construction, (6) Municipal and Public Works, and (7) Fire sprinkler installation and repair. If you decide to get license in a major classification, you are also authorized to perform all specialty work under it. For example, getting a license in the major classification of electrical enables you to perform not only energy management, but also telecommunication and even traffic control projects, among others. Here’s a comprehensive list of license classification offered by the Mississippi Board of Contractors.

Word of warning though; getting a specific license might limit your ability to work on other projects within that major classification. For example, a carpenter’s license would hinder you from being able to provide painting and tile services legally, a general contractor license would be needed instead. Occasionally, even a general contractors license might prevent you from doing other services.

But that being said, If you’re planning to provide many services, then a NASCLA Accredited Examination for Commercial General Building may be suitable for you. It’s intended to elude repetitious licensing requirements, and allows you to contract in a variety of other states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Georgia, among others.

If you’re planning on doing minor repairs and other similarly priced projects, then getting a contractors license might not be the most cost-effective plan.

Do I really want to do this kind of work?

Before spending all that money and effort, be sure that you really intend on practicing what that license allows you to. Without experience in a certain field, it’d be difficult to determine what kind of projects you enjoy and what kind of projects you’re really good at, skill-wise. So put a lot of thought on that before getting your license. If you’re really not comfortable with electrical stuff, then don’t force yourself to do it, lest you want to spend every waking day of your career thinking of being shocked and all.

Undecided?

If you’re really undecided, then maybe you can try being an all-around repairman first. This would acquaint you with different kinds of work and maybe then you can finally decide which field of contracting you can concentrate on.

You can also take this time to learn the tricks of the trade and save enough money for that contractor’s license. With all that experience under your belt, you’ll have an edge over other licensed contractors in the market!

Always remember to check with your state or local regulations to ensure that what you’re doing is legal and professional.

IMPORTANCE OF HIRING A CONTRACTOR WITH A LICENSE

Hiring a contractor with a license has many benefits. Homeowners out there usually say that they have a peace of mind and just generally more comfortable when they hire licensed contractors. This is why:

  1. You’re sure that city and state requirements are complied with

The more complicated your construction or renovation project is the more regulations you will have to comply with. But you don’t have to worry about all those numerous regulations and permits anymore when you hire a licensed contractor! You are assured that they know all the pertinent requirements, and that they would have complied with all of it beforehand. If a building inspector suddenly comes to your home or business, you can rest easy knowing that your licensed contractor can handle all of that business by himself.

  1. Licensed contractors are extremely qualified

As mentioned previously, getting a contractors license is particularly tedious. And that’s aside from the rigorous tests that they have to pass to be considered for a license. With a licensed professional, you know that all aspects of the project are being handled in accordance with all the principles of home construction and improvement. Moreover, you’re assured that the person you are dealing with isn’t just going to bail out on you with all that money.

  1. You’re insured!

Whatever injury or destruction is incurred in the course of the project, the licensed contractor can take care of it. You won’t have to worry about any unexpected or emergency expenses. Your cousin comes to visit the site but he falls into a hole? Any hospital expenses should be shouldered by your licensed contractor. In the state of Mississippi, all contractors must show proof of coverage of general liability insurance before they can be given a license, although it’s still a good idea to check the validity of insurance.

MISSISSIPPI CONTRACTORS LICENSE REQUIREMENTS

What you need to know about state-level versus city-level requirements.

When a procedure or practice isn’t regulated at the state-level, don’t forget about local regulations that might still apply. Check with your city or county by checking their websites or calling them before finalizing a course of action. Regulations of some cities will be discussed later in this article.

MISSISSIPPI CONTRACTOR LICENSE SEARCH

Before finally settling on your licensed contractor, don’t forget to verify all of the information that he has provided you. Make your own research and contact provided references so you can determine their value for money and quality of work. You can use this checklist to narrow down your search. Make sure that you have their business name, office address, full name, and license number. The last two are EXTREMELY important because this is the data that you can use to verify their license. You can access the database to lookup a contractor’s license in Mississippi right here.

CONTRACTOR LICENSE CLASSIFICATIONS

There are seven major classifications in contractor licensing in Mississippi, namely: (1) Building Construction, (2) Highway, Street and Bridge Construction, (3) Electrical (4) Mechanical, (5) Heavy construction, (6) Municipal and Public Works, and (7) Fire sprinkler installation and repair. Below are some examples of specialty classifications under the major classifications, although the full list of classifications can be found here:

Building construction

Access flooring

Conveyor systems

Industrial painting

Acoustical and drywall treatment

Detention equipment

Landscaping, Grading and Beautification

Air pollution control

Elevated storage tanks

Residential roofer

Concrete paving

Elevators and escalators

Swimming pools

Highway, Street and Bridge Construction

Excavation, Grading and Drainage

Asphalt milling and Recycling

Construction and repair of cranes

Athletic fields and Golf courses

Right of Way Clearing

Road sweeping

Bridges

Demolition

Seal Coating

Concrete Paving

Pavement sealants

Soil drainage wicks

Electrical

Alarm and Access systems and Security equipment

Installation of Automated Meter Reading Apparatus

Distribution and Transmission Lines

Energy management

Telecommunications

Traffic Control

Mechanical

Air pollution control

Ductwork for heating, A/C and Ventilation

Refrigeration

Boiler installation and repair

Plumbing

Underground Utilities

Heavy construction

Welding

Fencing

Irrigation systems

Oil refineries

Fireproofing

Chemical cleaning

Conveyor systems

Fueling systems

Tunneling

Municipal and Public Works

Masonry, brick and stone

Landfill construction

Swimming pools

Irrigation systems

Flood Mitigation Measures, Reservoirs, and Dams

Waste disposal

Fire sprinkler installation or repair (Separate and distinct classification effective 7/10/2014)

For a more comprehensive list of specialty classifications, access the link here. Those written in BOLD require an exam, you can find information on how to contact them about this in the next section.

MISSISSIPPI STATE BOARD OF CONTRACTORS

The Mississippi State Board of Contractors (MSBOC) is responsible for handing out licenses to contractors based in the state. It is comprised of ten board members representing the following sectors:

  1. Two (2) contractors representing the building sector
  2. Two (2) contractors representing the road sector
  3. Two (2) contractors representing home builders
  4. One (1) contractor representing the electrical sector
  5. One (1) contractor representing plumbing or Heat practitioners
  6. One (1) contractor representing roofing practitioners
  7. One (1) contractor representing the water and sewer sector

These people are responsible for selecting an Executive Director, who in turn oversees the formulation and implementation of policy regarding standards in contractor licensing. The MSBOC aims to ensure the general welfare of the public by requiring any person engaged in construction to be licensed, enforcing laws related to licensing fairly but thoroughly, and educating potential customers of contractors so that they can make wise choices as to their contracting needs. In the pursuit of these undertakings, the Mississippi State Board of Contractors is also given the authority to issue public reprimands if a contractor infringes on pertinent regulations. Moreover, the MSBOC has recently been given the authority to compel general residential contractors whose authorizations were dispensed after July 1, 2015, attendance in at least two (2) hours of continuing education per year.

The MSBOC is located at 2679 Crane Ridge Dr. Suite C, Jackson, MS 39216. You can ring them at 601-354-6161 or (800) 880-6161. You can also contact them via email at info@msboc.us

MISSISSIPPI ELECTRICAL LICENSE

There are two ways in obtaining an electrical contractors’ license in Mississippi. The first is through your city or locality, while the second is through the State Board of Contractors.

When obtaining your electrical license through your city, you typically must have 8,000 hours of job site experience, as well as another 1,000 hours of classroom instruction. If you meet these requirements, you become qualified to take an exam derived from the National Electric Code. You are allowed to bring and utilize a copy of the National Electric Code, during exams. You can also bring a copy of the Code of Federal Regulations pertaining to Occupational Safety and Health of Electricians (1926 subpart K) and Ugly’s Electrical Reference. The following competencies of Motors, Irradiated signs, overcurrent protection, and general electric knowledge, among others, are usually covered.

Based on your locality, obtaining correct answers equivalent to 70 – 75% of the exam is enough to merit a passing score. You should visit your local certification and licensing board for more information.

When obtaining your electrical license through the Mississippi State Board of Contractors, the key difference is that you’ll be able to practice all throughout the state. But to be even considered you must have the following qualifications:

  1. Document certifying attendance or training in an Electrical Trade School and work experience of at least four (4) years under a master electrician OR
  2. A four-year degree and at least one (1) year of work experience under a master electrician.

If you are eligible based on these criteria and have expressed interest in pursuing a license, the State Board of Contractors will send you a package containing all necessary information about the test, including fees, schedules, and coverage. In addition to a trade examination conducted by the PSI exams, you will also have to pass the Mississippi Law and Business Management Exam. The two examinations costs $240. The trade exam is composed of 80 questions, and you must obtain 70% correct marks, and finish the exam within three hours to pass. The following outline is the distribution of questions in the exam, as released by PSI Exams:

Subject Area

# of items

Subject Area

# of items

Service, Feeders, and Branch Circuits

10

Motors

6

Conductors and Cables

10

Overcurrent Protection

6

Grounding and Bonding

7

Safety Information

5

General Electrical Knowledge

6

Irradiated Signs

2

Raceways and Boxes

7

Detecting Fire and Alarm Systems

3

Special Occupancies and Equipment

7

Lighting

3

Electrical Power

6

Low Voltage

2

You may also use the references mentioned for local certifications during the exam. However, you must be providing your own copies of these as they will not be provided by the testing center. Don’t forget to remove any temporary attachments like post-it notes on the books because they are prohibited.

For the Mississippi Law and Business Management Exam, you must obtain 70% correct marks in a 50-item test in 2 hours. The following outline is the distribution of questions in the exam, as released by PSI Exams:

Subject Area

# of items

Subject Area

# of items

Estimating and Bidding

7

Project Management

5

Licensing

5

Contracts

6

Environmental Safety

5

Risk Management

4

Financial Management

5

Business Organization

2

Tax Laws

5

Lien Law

1

Labor Laws

5

You may bring a copy of NASCLA Contractors Guide to Business, Law and Project Management with you. Remember to bring your own copy as well, and remove any attachments like post-it notes!

MISSISSIPPI PLUMBING LICENSE

Plumbing licenses in Mississippi are regulated at the state-level. Obtaining this license is most important for contractors who wish to administer and supervise projects worth $50,000+ for public projects, and $100,000 for private projects. Applicants for this license must have total assets of at least $20,000. There are no specific experience requirements to take the exam, but it is expected that the applicant must have a level of understanding and practical knowledge of plumbing, and must be able to demonstrate these skills by documenting specific instances in their respective application. As with the electrical license, applicants must also pass the Mississippi Law and Business Management Exam. The exam fee is $240, inclusive of the trade exam and the Law and Business Management Exam. For the distribution of questions of the Law and Business Management Exam, please refer to the table below:

Subject Area

# of items

Subject Area

# of items

Estimating and Bidding

7

Project Management

5

Contracts

6

Licensing

5

Environmental Safety

5

Risk Management

4

Financial Management

5

Business Organization

2

Tax Laws

5

Lien Law

1

Labor Laws

5

You may bring a copy of NASCLA Contractors Guide to Business, Law and Project Management with you. Remember to bring your own copy as well, and remove any attachments like post-it notes!

As to the distribution of questions in the trade exam, the following table discusses them based on the outline released by PSI Exams:

Subject Area

# of items

Subject Area

# of items

Drain, Waste, and Vent

15

Hangers and Supports

3

Isometric Analysis

12

General Plumbing Guidelines

4

Fixtures and Equipment

10

Backflow

3

Cleanouts

4

Traps and Interceptors

4

Water Heaters

2

Developed length

2

Piping, valves, controls

3

Safety

4

Water supply

6

Joints and Connections

3

Composed of 70 questions, the applicant must answer 70% of the items correctly, within 3 hours. The following reference materials may be referred to by the applicants during exams:

Again, applicants must bring their own copies of these references. Any attachments such as post-it notes are prohibited and must be removed for the duration of the exam.

Want to practice your skills? We’ll help you get the right training to make sure you pass the exam.

MISSISSIPPI ROOFING LICENSE

There are two possible roofing licenses that can be obtained in the State of Mississippi. First is the Residential Roofer license, which is appropriate for contractors who wish to work on roofing projects in residential structures not more than 3 stories high. Second is the Roofing, Sheet Metal, and Siding license, which allows its holders to provide limitless roofing and siding installation and repair for the duration of the validity of their license. Let’s first discuss the Residential Roofer license.

To obtain a Residential Roofer license, the applicant must pass both the trade exam and the Mississippi Law and Business Management Exam. The distribution of questions in the trade exam is as follows:

Subject Area

# of items

Subject Area

# of items

Materials

18

Rooftop Structures

6

Installation of Roof Coverings

21

Safety

9

Roof Drainage

6

Out of 60 questions, the applicant must obtain 70% correct answers in two hours to pass the exam. As with the other licensing exams, applicants are allowed to look at their reference materials during the exams. However, attachments such as post-it notes are prohibited. The following are the materials allowed by PSI Exams:

To obtain the Roofing, Sheet Metal, and Siding license, the applicant also needs to pass the trade exam for his specialty. The distribution of questions in the trade exam is as follows:

Subject Area

# of items

Subject Area

# of items

Safety

6

Roofing – Built-up Bituminous

7

Roofing –Substrate

8

Siding – General Knowledge

8

Roofing – Steep

17

Sheet Metal and Flashing

3

Roofing Repairs

4

Roofing – Elastomeric

7

Out of 60 questions, the applicant must obtain 70% correct answers in two hours to pass the exam. Applicants can bring the following materials during the exam as sanctioned by PSI Exams. Don’t forget to remove all attachments from your books!

In addition to their respective trade exams, applicants must also pass the Mississippi Law and Business Management Exam. Again, you can bring your references with you during the exam so take note of the NASCLA Contractors Guide to Business, Law and Project Management. The following table shows the topics covered and their respective number of items in the exam:

Subject Area

# of items

Subject Area

# of items

Estimating and Bidding

7

Financial Management

5

Contracts

6

Licensing

5

Environmental Safety

5

Risk Management

4

Project Management

5

Business Organization

2

Tax Laws

5

Lien Law

1

Labor Laws

5

GENERAL CONTRACTORS

If you don’t want to do away with repetitive requirements and examinations associated with individual licensing, you can always opt to take the NASCLA Accredited Examination for Commercial General Building. This license was made with commercial general building contractors in mind. For an examination fee of $106, this license is already valid in different states across the South, and even beyond.

BIGGEST CITIES IN THE STATE

Jackson

Applicants for an electrical license in Jackson, Mississippi must possess the following qualifications to be considered for a license:

  • Must be at least 21 years old.
  • For class C* certificate – must have at least two years of hands-on experience as an electrician in an acceptable school or college, or a qualified HVAC contractor.
  • For class B* certificate – must have at least four years of experience under a journeyman electrician in the specific field that he wishes to engage in, or must be a graduate of an acceptable technical school or college, or any other equivalent experience deemed suitable by the Board of Electrical Examiners.
  • For class A2* certificate – must have at least two years of training as an apprentice electrician in an acceptable school or college, in addition to the other requirements of a class A1 certificate.
  • For class A1* certificate – must have at least four years of training as an apprentice electrician in an acceptable school or college, and another four years’ minimum experience as a journeyman electrician. If the latter is not met, he can be considered if he has been in charge of industrial and commercial electrical jobs for two years in an electrical contractor capacity.

For A1-A2 certificates, they shall be evaluated based on:

  • Experience – 30%
  • Familiarity with the National Electrical Code – 25%
  • Practical wiring questions – 10%
  • Practical questions on electrical equipment – 10%
  • Familiarity with applied business procedure – 15%
  • Familiarity with quantity survey – 15%

For class B and C certificates, they shall be evaluated based on:

  • Experience – 40%
  • Familiarity with the National Electrical Code – 30%
  • Practical wiring questions – 15%
  • Practical questions on electrical equipment – 15%

To pass, an applicant must obtain a general average of 80%. The examination fees shall be $75 for all classes, and renewal for A1-A2 certificates are at $25 while for B and C certificates the amount is $15. A bond of $5,000 is also required of all contractors.

*Class C – Must be a licensed HVAC contractor prior to engaging in installing, retaining, altering, or fixing electrical circuit within 20 ft. in length from existing circuits to connect HVAC equipment.

*Class B – employed by a person owning any business establishment. Certificate is only valid as long as he is employed in this capacity.

* Class A2 – engaged in installing, retaining, altering or fixing electrical wires, materials, and equipment in residential buildings or grounds and locations contiguous to such buildings.

*Class A1 – engaged in the installing, retaining, altering, or fixing electrical wires and other electrical appliances in all types of buildings and structures.

Click here for the best general contractors in Jackson, Mississippi.

McComb

To become a contractor (Electrical, Plumbing, Roofing) in the City of McComb, an applicant must be in possession of the following:

  • License from the Mississippi State Board of Contractors OR Contractors license from current location of habitation
  • Accomplished contractor license application form
  • Certification from the City or State licensed stating that the applicant has held the license for at least a year, and is has not been involved in any altercation which would affect his standing.
  • Insurance with a surety bond of at least $5000 written for the City of McComb.
  • Certificate of Liability Insurance with the City of McComb as the certificate holder with a minimum of $200,000/100,000 for Residential contractors and $600,000/300,000 for Commercial contractors.

Click here for a list of certified contractors in McComb, Mississippi.

Vicksburg

To become a contractor in Vicksburg, the applicant must have the following:

  • Valid state license given by the Mississippi State Board of Contractors.
  • Conformity of the valid license to a license recognized by the city comply with pertinent laws.
  • Pass the written exam
  • Obtain a $5,000 bond prior to being able to receive a permit for any project.

If successful, the contractor must pay $25 initially, and pay the same amount every October 1 for renewal purposes.

Click here for a list of licensed contractors in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

MISSISSIPPI CONTRACTORS LICENSE RECIPROCITY

Basically, contractor license reciprocity means that some requirements for licensing are waived, thus making it easier to obtain a license to practice contracting beyond the borders of a certain state. Reciprocity is not automatic; there must first be a state-state agreement which recognizes the validity of each other’s licenses. The Mississippi State Board of Contractors have reciprocity agreements with the following states:

  • Alabama (all fields, except Mechanical and Plumbing via the General Board, Electrical Board, Heating and Air Boards of Alabama)
  • Arkansas (all fields, except Mechanical via the Contractors Licensing Board)
  • Georgia (Board of Residential and General Contractors)
  • Louisiana (all specialties, excluding Electrical and Mechanical via the Licensing Board for Contractors)
  • North Carolina (Electrical Board)
  • South Carolina (limited to Building and Electrical classification via Contractors Licensing Board)
  • Tennessee (Board for Licensing Contractors)

Additionally, contractors are only considered qualified for the reciprocity agreements if they have had held their license for three (3) consecutive years in the partner state. Only specialty exam will be dropped; contractors are still compelled to take and expected to pass the Mississippi Law and Business Management Exam before being able to become a licensed contractor in Mississippi.