Indiana Contractor License

Written by: Nik Ventouris

If you’re looking to become a contractor in Indiana or expand your contracting business, it’s important to know that Indiana does not issue contractor licenses at a state level.

Instead, licensing requirements are handled on a local level, with each county and/or city imposing their own unique rules and regulations.

In this Indiana Contractor License Guide, we’ve detailed everything you need to understand in order to successfully launch your contracting business in the state.

Tip: If you’re planning to work as a general contractor in Indiana, we recommend forming an LLC. This is an affordable business structure that protects your personal assets against debt and/or lawsuits.

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Do You Need a Contractor License

In Indiana, not all contractors are required to obtain a specific license. Instead, licensing requirements vary depending on your specific trade and the location you’re based in.

Let’s take a look at a few examples below.

City of Indianapolis

In the City of Indianapolis, the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services (BNS) is responsible for licensing businesses and individuals in construction, covering a range of license types including general, electrical, HVAC, wrecking, and plumbing.

Keep in mind that these regulations apply specifically to Indianapolis, excluding other Marion County cities (e.g., Lawrence, Beech Grove, Speedway, Southport, etc.).

Allen County

In Allen County, contractors engaged in building, HVAC, electrical, or plumbing projects will need to be licensed by the Allen County Building Department. This licensing process ensures that your work adheres to the county’s local safety, health, and energy conservation standards.

East Chicago

Contractors in East Chicago will need to adhere to Title 5 of the Municipal Code by obtaining the necessary licenses from the City of East Chicago’s licensing department. This requirement covers general contracting, subcontracting, HVAC, and electrical work.

Clarksville

Contractors in Clarksville must adhere to regulations overseen by the Building Commissioner’s office if they’re involved in mechanical, electrical, or plumbing work, or if they’re undertaking construction or remodeling projects.

This involves getting the appropriate licenses and permits.

How to Get a Contractor License in Indiana

Since contractor licenses are handled on a local level, it’s a bit difficult to definitively state the exact process through which you can become a contractor in the state — since this will inevitably depend on your location and niche.

Even so, we’ve included the main steps that you’ll (generally speaking) almost always need to follow in order to get started.

Step 1: Choose Your Business Structure

Before starting the application process for a contractor license, you’ll first need to decide on the structure of your business. Since this decision will impact your liability, tax obligations, and how you run your business, it’s vital you’re informed about the details of each structure so that you can effectively determine which one is best suited to your needs.

Many contracting businesses in Indiana, particularly smaller ones, decide to structure themselves as a limited liability company (LLC) because it grants them tax flexibility, limited liability protection, and credibility in the eyes of their clients.

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Step 2: Meet the Basic Requirements

After forming your business, you’ll need to confirm that you meet the minimum basic requirements. While the specifics of these requirements will vary depending on the license you are trying to obtain, you’ll generally need to:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a US citizen or legally reside in the country
  • Have no convictions of a disqualifying offense
  • Demonstrate a certain number of hours of on-the-job training and experience. For example, to become a licensed electrician in Indianapolis you would need either 6 years of work experience or 4 years of experience coupled with a relevant college course

Note: While you will receive your license from the local government of the city where you are employed, you can practice statewide, as compliance laws and practice standards remain constant across Indiana.

Step 3: Submit an Application

Once you’ve confirmed that you meet the basic requirements of the license your business needs, the next step is to complete and submit the appropriate application form to the relevant regulatory body along with any associated fees.

Since Indiana does not have a statewide regulatory board for specific contractor licenses, this process will need to be carried out at the local level.

For instance, if you’re seeking an electrical license in the City of Lafayette, you will need to apply through the city’s online portal and pay the applicable fee(s).

Step 4: Pass a Licensing Exam

While not a universal requirement, prospective contractors in Indiana often need to pass a licensing exam in order to qualify.

For example, to perform or supervise electrical work in the City of Elkhart, you will be required to pass the Prometric Master Electrician test, which is selected by the local Electrical Examining Board as the standard for licensing.

To sit for the exam, you will need to apply in person at the city’s designated office 30 days prior to your chosen exam date.

This exam requires a minimum of 75% to pass and is administered four times per year on the second Monday of January, April, July, and October.

Note: Many candidates struggle with these exams as they will often test both their knowledge of the trade and their understanding of Indiana’s specific regulations and laws. To avoid this, many applicants take advantage of online study guides and preparatory courses in order to get ready for these exams.

Step 5: Satisfy Insurance Requirements

In order to protect both your business and the client in case of accidents and damages, most contractors in Indiana will need to provide proof of insurance coverage in order to get licensed.

For example, in Indianapolis, contractors will be required to maintain a general liability insurance policy with at least $500,000 in coverage for each occurrence of death or bodily injury and a minimum of $100,000 for each occurrence of property damage.

Alternatively, contractors can have a combined coverage of $500,000 for both bodily injury and property damage per occurrence.

Additionally, the policy must name the “Consolidated City of Indianapolis” as an additional insured party on the front of the applicable insurance certificate; this needs to be done without any language that necessitates a contract or agreement for coverage.

Be sure to check the specific insurance prerequisites for the license you’re seeking as well as the surety bond requirements of your local municipality, as these requirements can be unique to each trade and city.

Other Licenses You May Need

Below, we’ve explored the various additional licenses and permits that your Indiana contractor business may need in more detail.

State Business Licenses

While general contractor licenses aren’t required at a state level in Indiana, there are certain state business licenses you may need to obtain before you can get up and running.

Because the building materials and services a general contractor provides to their clients as part of a construction project are generally taxable, for example, you’ll likely need a sales tax permit.

Additionally, your general contractor business may require an environmental permit from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management if it takes on certain types of projects with the potential to impact the environment.

For more information on the local licenses and permits you may need, please visit the Accelerate Indiana Municipalities website.

City and Municipal Licenses

Many local municipalities often impose their own additional requirements that you may be required to satisfy for your business to operate legally in that area.

For example, contractors planning to do outside work (e.g., external plumbing, etc) from the street to a structure in Bloomington will need to get a Water & Utility License from the city.

Indiana Contractor License FAQ

How do I get a contractor’s license in Indiana?

To get a contractor’s license in Indiana, you will need to first check the requirements of your local city or county, as there are no state-level licenses.

Next, you will need to form your business and submit an application to the relevant local authority, ensuring you include proof of compensation insurance.

Interested in finding out more? Check out our Indiana Contractor License article.

Does a handyman need a license in Indiana?

In Indiana, handymen do not need a state-level license for minor repairs. Having said that, local regulations may differ, so it’s crucial to check with your local municipality to see if a license is required for the work you plan to do.

To learn more about the process, including how to ensure your completed application meets all requirements, see our How to Get a General Contractor License article.

How do I verify a contractor’s license in Indiana?

To verify a contractor’s license in Indiana, you will need to contact the local municipal or county licensing authority where the contractor is based or where the work will be performed.

This is because Indiana does not have a centralized state system for contractor licensing, and so verification is carried out at the local level.

Do you need a roofing license in Indiana?

While the state of Indiana doesn’t mandate a specific roofing license at the state level, local regulations, such as those in Marion County, might require one.

To ensure you’re operating legitimately, we recommend always consulting with your local municipality in order to understand the licensing requirements that relate to your area.