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Understanding the Indiana Contractor License and Licenses

Understanding the Indiana Contractor License and Licenses

Indiana does not have a state level contractor license requirement. Rather individual counties, municipalities, and towns have their own licensing and/or permitting requirements. This article will go over the licensing process for some of the more common contractor licenses we work with.

Use the list below to skip to the section of this article that applies to your needs:

  • City of Indianapolis
  • City of South Bend
  • City of Lafayette
  • City of Terre Haute
  • Other cities

The named cities in the list are all cities that require a surety bond before a license can be issued and/or construction project can begin.

Each city follows a typical pattern of requirements to obtain a license with a few differences here and there.

Let's look at the common steps to obtaining a contractors license. Then we'll look into each city and cover the differences.

The Common Steps Getting Licensed in Indiana

The common steps to getting a contractor license include an application process, choosing the correct license, experience and examination requirements, purchase a surety bond if required, buy the required insurance policies and submit your application.

The Application Process

Obviously each license requires an application and application fee. The application requires:

  • Personal information
  • Business information, type, and registration
  • Selection of the license type or classification
  • Experience information with personal contacts if required
  • Liability insurance and workers compensation details
  • Sworn affidavit about the accuracy

Depending on the city, the license and or permit application can be submitted via email, mail, or completed online.

The biggest mistake we see when helping contractors across the country is not using the same name across the:

  • Application
  • Registration with Secretary of State
  • Surety bond requirement
  • Insurance policies

Make sure you use the same legal name and registered business name or your:

  • Application will be delayed
  • Surety bond rejected

Experience and Examination

In Indiana, examination requirements are typically required for the speciality licenses like:

  • HVAC
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical

The examination requirements are different from city to city, but passing the exam demonstrates to the licensing board the individual knows the building codes and understand the proper methods for performing their craft.

The experience requirements also differ from city to city. The experience is either:

  • A total number of years of in the field experience
  • Or a mix of accepted education and/or degree plus a minimum number of years of in the field experience

Many of these specialty licenses have the following levels:

  • Apprentice
  • Journeyman
  • Master or Contractor

Progressing up this ladder is how licensees gain the experience and knowledge to become fully licensed contractors in their specialty.

Insurance Requirements

The insurance requirements include a surety bond for many licenses, liability insurance to protect you and your customers from injury, and workers compensation if you have employees.

There are three main types of insurance that are typically required when getting your contractors license. Keep in mind this is not always the case, some licenses like a Demolition contractor in South Bend, have no liability insurance requirement.

The three types of insurance are:

1. The Surety Bond

Similar to liability insurance, each city has its own requirements when it comes to surety bonds.

A surety bond in this case is called a contractor license bond. It's a type of insurance you're required to purchase that acts as a guarantee that you will:

  • Follow all state and city building codes and regulations
  • Service your customers with fair and ethical business practices
  • Pay any required taxes on jobs, if state taxes are applicable

In simple terms this is insurance you purchase to protect your customers.

City licensing agencies require a bond because by issuing you a license. By issuing you a license, they're telling the public you're an expert, ready to be hired and trusted.

The contractor license surety bond is one of the primary tools the city uses to hold contractors accountable to the promises they make to their customers.

Who Is Surety Bonds Direct?

At Surety Bonds Direct, we help contractors get the bond they need and pay as little as possible for it.

Click here to learn more about Indiana contractor bonds.

You'll learn about the:

  • Different bond amounts
  • The requirements for each city
  • See pricing examples

Plus you can request pricing for the bond you need. We'll price shop for you and find the lowest possible price so you can get the bonding process done fast.


2. Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is insurance you purchase to protect you and your business from injuries sustained on your companies property or on the job site.

Contractors liability insurance policies also protect you from claims accidental damage to your customers property while on the job site.

Liability policies typically come with three main protections:

  • Occurrence of death
  • Occurrence of bodily injury
  • Occurrence of property damage

Remember, not every license application requires proof of liability insurance. This does not mean you should not purchase liability insurance.

If you need to show proof, it will be clearly stated on the application.

Workers Compensation

If your business has employees, you'll likely have to show proof of adequate workers compensation insurance.

Workers compensation is insurance you purchase for the protection of your employees if they're hurt on the job. It helps to cover for lost wages due to accidental work injuries.

There is no minimum amount of coverage because it's based on the:

  • Number of employees
  • Type and danger of work performed
  • Payroll

If you don't have any employees, you can waive this requirement but you must show proof of having no employees.

Indiana State Plumbing Contractor License

Indiana does have a state-wide plumbing contractor license.

Like the specialty licenses already mentioned, you work your way through two levels of experience before you can apply to become a plumbing contractor:

  • Level 1 - Apprentice
  • Level 2 - Journeyman
  • Level 3 - Contractor

Click here to see the requirements for obtaining your plumbing license.

It's not a complicated process. But like all specialty licenses, you need to have the appropriate level of experience and pass the required examinations.

There is no bonding requirement for the Indiana state plumbing license.

There are many cities that have a bonding requirement: Indianapolis, South Bend, Lafayette, Terre Haute, Evansville, and many others.

Indianapolis Contractor Licenses

Indianapolis licenses:

  • General contractors
  • Electrical contractors
  • HVACR contractors
  • Wrecking contractors

Each license has a similar series of steps in Indianapolis:

  • Application
  • Craft license holder application
  • Proof of business registration
  • Certificate of insurance (liability and workers comp is applicable)
  • Surety bond requirement
  • Licensing fees

A craft license is required when a business entity is getting licensed. The craft license holder is the individual who is responsible for passing the required exams and satisfying the experience requirements.

Click here to find the applications and requirements for each type of Indianapolis contractor license type.

Here are the contractor bond requirements for each license:

Bond Type Bond Amount Get Pricing
General Contractor $10,000 Get Instant Pricing
Electrical Contractor $10,000 Get Instant Pricing
HVACR Contractor $5,000 Get Instant Pricing
Wrecking Contractor Type A $30,000 Get Instant Pricing
Wrecking Contractor Type B $20,000 Get Instant Pricing
Wrecking Contractor Type C $10,000 Get Instant Pricing

City of South Bend (St. Joseph County) Contractor Licenses

The City of South Bend have applications for the following contractor types:

Click here to download the appropriate application.

  • Building contractor registration
  • Cell Tower registration
  • Demolition registration
  • Electrical registration
  • Fire Alarm registration
  • Fire Suppression registration
  • Hood Installer registration
  • HVAC registration
  • Industrial Process Piping registration
  • Irrigation registration
  • Lead Abatement registration
  • Metal Fabrication registration
  • Moving registration
  • Plumbing and Excavation registration
  • Radon registration
  • Refrigeration registration
  • Sign contractor registration
  • Store Tank registration
  • Water Softener registration

Remember, plumbing contractors have a state level licensing process.

And as we've mentioned, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical contractors have a little more in-depth process with:

  • Examination requirements
  • Experience requirements

Each license or registration in South Bend required a $5,000 contractor bond except the Demolition contractor which requires a $10,000 bond.

Click here and you can instantly purchase the bond you need for one low fixed price. No credit check required.

Bond Type Bond Amount Get Pricing
Demolition $10,000 Get Instant Pricing
All Other Bonds $5,000 Purchase for $100
Plumbing and Moving N/A No Bond Requirement

Other Cities in Indiana

Click on the city to go to their city page where you can find the licensing information.

Keep in mind, while the license process will be similar, make sure you look into the details.

We're Ready To Help You Purchase Your Surety Bond Fast and for Less

When you need a bond, Surety Bonds Direct is ready to help find you the lowest price and get issue your bond fast.

I hope this article gives you a high level overview of the contractor licensing process in Indiana.

While some of the details may be different, the overall process includes the same set of steps.

If the license or licenses you're applying for have a surety bond requirement, we are ready to help you.

In many cases we offer low fixed price bonds with zero credit check. This means you can purchase your bond today and have it in your email inbox within 24 hours.

If the bond you need requires a custom quote, we will price shop for you and find the lowest possible price. You're under no obligation to purchase once you get pricing. But you will have the information you need to make a good business decision.

Click here and go to our Indiana contractor license bond page.

You can find the bond you need and request your free quote today.


Surety Bonds Direct   Owen Hardy  

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