How to Get Your Minnesota Contractor License: Easy Steps

Getting licensed as a contractor in Minnesota allows you to legally operate businesses related to residential and commercial construction. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry requires licensing for many specialty contractor occupations. This guide will outline the simple steps you need to take to apply for and obtain your Minnesota contractor license.

Check Your License Requirements

The first step is to determine if you need a license for your specific trade or occupation. Minnesota requires licensing for occupations like general contractors, electricians, plumbers, roofers, and more. You can check the license requirements on the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website. They have a search tool to look up your trade and see if you need to be licensed. Make sure your specific work falls under a licensed category before beginning the application process.

Choose Your License Classification

Select the appropriate classification. Minnesota contractor licenses are broken down into over 30 specialty classifications like residential remodeler, commercial painter, plumber, etc. Review the classification descriptions to pick the one that best matches the type of work your company performs. Choosing the right classification is important, as it determines the scope of projects you can legally undertake once licensed.

Meet License Requirements

Every license classification has its own set of prerequisite requirements you must fulfill before applying. Common requirements include:

  • Work Experience: Most classifications require 1-4 years of documented experience working in the trade through verified employment.
  • Business Formation: You must have an established business entity like an LLC or corporation before applying for your contractor license.
  • Exams: Most classifications require successfully passing a business and law exam plus a technical exam specific to your trade.
  • Insurance: You need to carry general liability and workers’ compensation insurance before your license is issued.

Carefully review the requirements for your chosen classification and make sure you have all prerequisite documentation ready. This ensures your application is complete upon submission.

Complete the License Application

With all requirements fulfilled, you can start the application process. Applications are submitted online through the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website. The application includes sections to provide:

  • Personal and business information
  • Work experience documentation
  • Exam scores (if taken)
  • Insurance documentation
  • Payment of license fee

Be thorough when filling out all sections of the application. Incomplete applications will be rejected and require re-submission with missing information.

Schedule and Pass Exams

If you have not passed the required exams for your classification, you will need to schedule them before your application can be approved. Minnesota exams are administered by Pearson VUE and offered year-round at testing centers statewide. Study the provided exam handbooks and practice tests in advance to boost your chances of passing on the first attempt.

Review and Approval

Once submitted, applications undergo a review process that typically takes 4-6 weeks. The department will verify all documentation and requirements are complete and accurate. You may be contacted if any clarification or additional information is needed.

If approved, you will be issued your Minnesota contractor license. The license is valid for two years and must be renewed before expiration to remain active.

Maintain Licensing Requirements

Even after obtaining your initial license, there are ongoing requirements to stay in compliance:

  • License Renewal: Requires re-application, fee payment, and proof of insurance every two years.
  • Insurance: Maintain active liability and workers’ comp policies as long as you are a licensed contractor.
  • Continuing Education: Certain classifications require completing ongoing education courses each license period.
  • Records: Keep documentation of all projects and work for at least four years in case of an audit.

Careful compliance with maintenance requirements protects your license eligibility. Failing inspections or lapses in paperwork could lead to fines or suspension.


Obtaining your Minnesota contractor license takes time and diligence, but following the step-by-step process ensures everything progresses smoothly. With the right preparation, documentation, and exam performance, your license application is very likely to be approved. Maintaining compliance post-approval is also crucial for continuing your contracting business without interruption. Staying organized and up-to-date allows you to focus on building your client base once fully licensed in Minnesota.

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