Are you interested in having a Missouri-issued contractor’s license? If so, you need to know that this state issues contractor licenses not at the state level but only at the municipal level.
This means you can only get yourself licensed in the city or county you plan to work in. If you acquired your contractor’s license in one city and want to work in another municipality in the state, you will likely have to repeat the process of getting licensed.
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This is unlike other states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Georgia that issue state-level licenses that allow licensed contractors to work anywhere in that state. This is the biggest downside of getting a contractor’s license anywhere in Missouri.
That said, you need to check the requirements for contractor licenses in each city or county you plan to work in. They may have their own specific requirements, aside from the standard ones that are common in most cities or counties.
Given this issue, you might ask yourself if it is still worth it to go through the process of getting a contractor’s license. If you ask us, it is always a resounding yes!
There are so many reasons why you should go for it, but among the most important are in terms of your credibility and the potential to have a bigger market and charge higher.
Credibility is always important for any professional, contractors included. Clients will go to you if they know you are a reliable and skilled contractor that they can rely on for any projects they might have. But with the advent of social media, it’s hard for homeowners and potential clients to weed out who is telling the truth and who is just claiming to be one.
Having your contractor’s license is definite proof for them that you are one of the real ones. And if you successfully complete the project, they may even promote you on various social media networks. They have already tried and tested your services and it’s good enough for them to recommend on Facebook, Twitter, and other websites. It’s the same as word-of-mouth promotion, but it reaches a much wider audience.
Your license is already proof that you have the right knowledge, skills, and experience to take on related projects. Clients will know that they are more likely to get their money’s worth when they hire licensed contractors over unlicensed ones, and they are willing to pay the premium for it. You have the right to charge higher if you are licensed and your clients will hardly bat their eyelashes over it.
Do you prefer landing high-budget contracts more than small-scale projects? If so, you need to know that you are more likely to get bigger projects if you have a contractor’s license. These high-paying clients are going to consider contractors who can prove that they are capable and a contractor’s license is the one they will always check on.
Judging from our discussion, it should already be obvious to you that the pros of getting yourself licensed as a contractor far outweigh the cons you have in mind.
The Importance of Hiring a Contractor with a License
Are you a homeowner? Or have you ever attempted to build a house?
If your answer is yes to both, you already have an idea that this is definitely not as easy as it seems. It is not enough that you know how to properly use a hammer to nail two pieces of wood together.
This is why it is always better for you to get the services of licensed construction contractors. Not only will they save you the trouble and unnecessary headaches, but they are also knowledgeable when it comes to the laws and building codes involving the construction industry. The latter is important because Missouri does not strictly enforce building codes or industry standards for construction projects in the state. You will have to rely on licensed contractors for that.
One thing you should consider when hiring contractors for your projects are the safety of the workers and your property. With unlicensed contractors, you will bear the brunt of the expenses when accidents happen to both the workers and your property. But if you hire licensed contractors, they have to provide insurance to their workers and this means you would not have to pay for hospital bills in case of accidents. They may also reimburse you for property damage.
You are assured of the quality of work that licensed contractors will provide. But sometimes, issues will arise in a finished project, no matter how good a contractor is. If you experience this, you can reach out to your contractor about it. But if you hired an unlicensed one, there’s a chance that you will no longer be able to contact him or her after working with you, if he or she actually doesn’t pull a disappearing act while in the middle of the project.
If you are just too excited to move in to your new or remodeled home, one of the questions you will find yourself asking often is, “how long is this still going to take?” Licensed contractors are able to easily answer that question for you, even if they encounter delays. We can’t say the same for the unlicensed ones.
Have you finally decided to go for licensed contractors? Then, you need to make sure the contractor you are eyeing is up for the job. Don’t hesitate to check out more than one contractor. You can request their portfolio and ask the people you know if they are familiar with them, so that you will have an idea of what you can expect with their work.
You should also confirm that the license of the contractor you plan to hire is the right type and is valid throughout the duration of the project. Fortunately, it is easy to do so nowadays, because there are databases for you to personally check on it.
Missouri Contractor’s License Search
Since contractors’ licenses in the state of Missouri are handled at the municipal level, you would have to check their statuses with the city or county government.
Despite not having a state-maintained database, you can still do the lookup of contractor licenses online through various websites, such as the Missouri Contractor Licenses Directory and the Missouri Division of Professional Registration. Take note that these databases may not be up-to-date or they may not have the license classification you want to verify.
This is why it is advisable to get in touch with the issuing authority in the municipality where you are hiring a contractor. You can usually contact them through phone or email and when you do, you need to provide important details, such as the following:
- Name of the contractor
- Name of the business or contracting agency
- Business address of the contractor
- Details of the license, such as the license number and issuance date
Contractor License Classifications
Despite not having state-issued licenses, Missouri still has various licenses available for contractors who want to work within the state. These classifications are actually standard; you’ll likely find them in any city or county you wish to work in.
To give you an idea, we have come up with this comprehensive guide that details the basic classifications of contractor licenses issued within the state.
Electrical Contractor’s License
At present, this license classification is still issued by either a city or county.
However, things will change in just a few months. This is because the state has finally changed the statute pertaining to the issuance of licenses to electrical contractors. Electrical contractors may finally acquire a state-level contractor’s license soon.
Once this takes effect, it is expected that the state will still require you to post the required amount of bond applicable to you to the city or county you plan to work in. This bond is a common requirement across states before anyone can be issued a contractor license, regardless of classification.
As of this time, it is projected that applicants for this license will have to pay $200 for their application. Once they are issued their license, they are required to renew it triennially and must pay the $200 renewal fee each time.
Issuing state-level electrical contractor licenses in Missouri will begin sometime in 2019. When they finally start accepting applications, you need to check the website of the Office of Statewide Electrical Contractors for all the necessary details and requirements. You can also get in touch with them right now at OSEC@pr.mo.gov or (573) 522-3280 for your concerns.
Plumbing Contractor’s License
All counties and cities in the state of Missouri have their own set of rules when it comes to plumbing and sewage. Not only will those who will work on such projects have to acquire their licenses, they must also be able to secure the right permits before starting on the project.
Below are the general types of licenses related to plumbing and their common requirements:
- Apprentice Plumber – you should be 18 years old or up when you apply for apprenticeship and have acquired a high school diploma
- Journeyman Plumber – the minimum age for this type of license is 21 years old and you must have worked as an apprentice for at least 5 years before applying. You must also have adequate skills when it comes to installing plumbing, sewer, and drainage systems and know how to meet health standards in relation to it
- Master Plumber – before applying, you are required to have spent 3 years or more working as a licensed journeyman plumber and must be at least 25 years old. You should also be capable of handling workers under your employ
To apply for any of these plumbing contractors’ licenses, you need to get in touch with the local issuing authority in the county or city where you have contracts in. If you were issued the license, they are usually valid for one year. The application and renewal fees will also depend on the municipality.
Roofing Contractor’s License
Generally speaking, licenses for roofing contractors are not required in the state of Missouri. However, there are talks that businesses involved in the installation and maintenance of roofing might be eventually required to take trade examinations and get their licenses. At present, this is still a bill pending at the senate.
General Contractor’s License
In any state, the license classification most contractors apply for is the general contractor license. Missouri is no exception to this, but you still need to apply for this license at the local level. The local issuing authority in the municipality will provide you with their list of requirements.
State-level licenses are still not available even for this classification.
Whether you are working as an individual contractor or representing a business, you may need to provide proof that you passed the required examinations, your academic records or transcript, and evidence that you have posted a surety bond and provided insurance for your workers.
But before you can be granted your license, you might be required to present your current subcontractor’s license. This is because the state also requires subcontractors to be licensed and a number of contractors in the construction industry also get the services of subcontractors for various projects.
You may also be required to apply for a specific general contractor’s license, which is either an individual contractor’s license or a business contractor’s license. Individual license applicants must provide proof of their relevant education and training, while those applying for business licenses may be asked to present their tax information and details about the business, such as the owners, partners, and subcontractors they employ.
Before being granted a license, you may also be asked to submit to a background check. Some cities or counties require applicants to have zero criminal records.
Do take note that even if you submit your application to the respective licensing agency at the local level and were granted the license, they may require you to apply for permits before you can work on your contract. These permits may be valid for a certain amount of time, regardless of the number of contracts you want to work on, or each project may require you to get a new permit.
Acquiring Contractor Licenses in the Biggest Cities
We kept talking about how contractor licenses are generally issued only by the city or county, not the state. To make it easier for you, we came up with a list of some of Missouri’s biggest cities and their requirements before you can work on contracts there.
Aside from submitting the requirements, Kansas City also generally requires applicants to pass the trade examinations first before they can be issued their licenses. The city has a comprehensive website that explains in detail the application requirements for each of the license classification they offer, and you can access that at http://kcmo.gov/planning/contractor-licensing-2/.
City of Springfield
Aside from being duly licensed as a contractor, the city of Springfield also requires you to secure the right permit for your projects if you are working anywhere in the city. Permits are required not just for the construction of new building but also the renovation, alteration, and upgrading of existing structures.
The city has a checklist that enumerates what you need to submit when applying for your permit. You can access their Code and Zoning Plan Checklist at https://www.springfieldmo.gov/DocumentCenter/View/545/Code-and-Zoning-Plan-Checklist-PDF?bidId=.
Here is a list of the trade permits they issue and their scope:
- Building permit – required if you intend to build new ones and alter existing ones. This also covers reinforcement work and alteration to increase or decrease the occupancy rate in that building, as well as make revisions in the available exits and sanitary systems. A building permit is also required if you need to keep the building up-to-date, in terms of adhering to the latest building code
- Gas permit – you must secure a gas permit if you will be dealing with gas-related work. But if you are just working with heating appliances that are portable or appliances fueled by gas that are used for non-commercial purposes, particularly in terms of their connection or replacement, you don’t have to get this permit
- Electrical permit – all kinds of electrical-related work require you to secure an electrical permit. Exceptions apply if you are just doing minor work, specifically the replacement of lamps, the replacement of electrical appliances working above maximum capacity, and connecting portable electrical appliances to a new vessel permanently.
- Plumbing permit – like the electrical permit, a plumbing permit is required for all kinds of plumbing work, except minor ones that will not alter fixtures and piping, such as repairs and replacement of faucets and their valves, and unclogging pipes.
- Mechanical permit – save for work involving equipment that is regulated by the Mechanical Code, portable HVAC equipment, and the replacement of any of the minor parts of those type of equipment, you need to secure a mechanical permit for all kinds of mechanical work
City of St. Louis
Similar to the city of Springfield, the city of St. Louis also requires contractors to secure not only their licenses but also the necessary trade permits. To be precise, this city will issue electrical, mechanical, and plumbing permits.
The electrical permits are issued not only to electrical contractors but also to homeowners. This is because the city allows homeowners themselves to do electrical work in their own homes, as long as they personally own and live in those single-dwelling homes.
For homeowners, their work is limited to rooms only, namely in terms of alterations, additions, and repairs of electrical systems. They must also be passers of the trade exam, specifically the Electrical Section, and have the necessary equipment for the job.
Contractors who are issued the electrical permit are allowed to install the following:
- Electrical outlets
- Fuse or panels of circuit breakers
- Light fixtures
- Electrical service, including alterations to a branch circuit that already exists
The plumbing permit requirements are quite similar to that of the electrical permit. This type of permit may also be issued to contractors and homeowners alike.
Homeowners who want to engage in plumbing work are also limited to working in their own homes, which must also only house one family. They must also have the required equipment and have passed the section of the trade exam dedicated to plumbing.
If you are a contractor, master plumber, or certified drainlayer, and were issued a plumbing permit in this city, you may also conduct inspections and partake in plumbing work at the same time. Plumbing works you can do include bathroom and kitchen remodeling, vent pipe replacement, and installation of pipe connections.
When it comes to mechanical permits, you should first be licensed as a mechanical contractor in the city. The coverage of this permit includes the installation and replacement of HVAC units in the residential setting.
Missouri License Reciprocity
Given all the steps and processes involved in getting yourself licensed, not just in Missouri but in other states as well, you might wonder if there is a much easier way for you to do so.
Actually, there is. This is in the form of the license reciprocity agreement.
License reciprocity agreements between states, and even at the local level, is something that only licensed contractors in one location but also want to get the same type of license in another city, county, or state can apply for.
However, this does not apply to all licensed contractors. The place where they got their license from must first have a reciprocal agreement in the state or municipality they want to get their new license in.
If this applies to you, you can expect a lesser number of requirements that you have to submit, and even an exception from taking the required trade examinations.
In the case of the state of Missouri, you would need to inquire about the license reciprocity with the county or city within the state that you want to get the same type of license in. Take note that not all municipalities will offer and recognize license reciprocity agreements.
License reciprocity with other states is out of the question, since there is no Missouri state-issued contractor’s license at present.