Licensing FAQs for Applicants - Home Improvement Commission
- Application Process
- Business Requirements
- Business License
- Exam Preparation
- Exam Registration
- Exam Retakes
- Felony Convictions
- Financial Solvency
- Licensing Workshop
- Marine Contractor License
- Mold Remediation
- Name Similarity
- New Home Construction
- Out-of-State Contractor's License
- Paper License
- License Application
- Salesperson License
- Subcontractor License
- Unlicensed Contractor - Conviction
1. Application Process
I have submitted my application, how long does it take to process?
The application approval process may take two - three weeks, as described below. If the application is incomplete or incorrect, the process will take additional time.
- The first step is for the financial institution responsible for handling the application fee to process the applicant's check.
- Once the check clears, the application is sent to MHIC for review, which typically begins one week after the check clears.
- Depending on the number of applications being processed, the review period typically takes five days. However, incomplete or incorrect applications take longer to review. If information is missing, MHIC staff will attempt to contact the applicant and request that the missing information is sent to the Commission. If the applicant does not respond, then MHIC staff returns the application to the applicant.
- Once all the information is correct, the application is reviewed twice and approved by a licensing supervisor.
- Once the application is approved, the applicant's complete information is loaded onto the Commission's licensing database. Each night, the database updates the Commission's public query search on the internet, so the licensee's name will appear the following day in the public query information.
- The licensee will receive a paper license in the mail within 10 days of the application being approved.
2. Business Requirements
Are the requirements for an MHIC license the same for an existing company as they are for a new company? We already have an accounting department, insurance coverage, etc. Assuming the requirements are the same, do we apply as a corporation or individual? Many of the requirements in the PSI Candidate Bulletin seem to apply to individuals instead of a corporation.
Yes, the requirements for a company are the same regardless of how long the company has been in business. The individual is required to take the exam and meet the financial eligibility requirements. Each MHIC licensed business must have an individual who holds an MHIC license and meets the requirements for licensure.
3. Business License
We have our MHIC license. I wanted to make sure we don't need a business construction license as well. Could you please clarify as I want to make sure I meet all Maryland requirements?
The Home Improvement License covers all home improvement services performed on homes and apartment buildings that contain three or fewer units. A contractor or subcontractor who holds an MHIC license is not required to hold a business construction license under Title 17 of the Business Regulation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
For additional information about business licenses, you may wish to check the Business Licenses Online and to also check the requirements at the State Department of Assessments and Taxation.
4. Exam Preparation
Is there a course to prepare for the required exam? Is any course required in order to apply for an MHIC license?
Many community colleges offer an MHIC exam prep course. A course is not required. Montgomery College offers an exam prep course in Spanish.
5. Exam Registration
How do I register to take the exam for my license?
To register for the contractor, subcontractor, or salesperson exam, please contact PSI Exams online or 1-800-367-1565. On the PSI Homepage, click on Government/State Licensing Agencies, then select Maryland as the jurisdiction and select MD Home Improvement as the account. Then click on download Candidate Information Bulletin. The forms to order the study guide and to register for the exam are contained in the Candidate Information Bulletin.
6. Exam Retakes
I did not pass the exam. What do I need to do to retake it?
If you did not pass the exam, then you must wait for 30 days until you can reapply. Any subsequent requests cannot be made until 60 days have passed. You must pay the exam fee each time.
7. Felony Convictions
When I was younger, I was convicted of a felony. Can I still obtain an MHIC contractor license?
Each applicant is required to report to the Commission any conviction of a felony or a misdemeanor that is directly related to the fitness and qualifications of the applicant or licensee to engage in home improvement services. The applicant must provide a "true-test copy" from the clerk's office of the court where the conviction occurred. The facts the Commission shall consider in the denial, reprimand, renewal, suspension, or revocation of a license when an applicant or licensee is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor are: the nature of the crime; the relationship of the crime to the activities authorized by the license; with respect to a felony, the relevance of the conviction to the fitness and qualification of the applicant or licensee to provide home improvement services; the length of time since the conviction; and the behavior and activities of the applicant or licensee before and after the conviction.
8. Financial Solvency
What is financial solvency and why is it required?
Each applicant for a home improvement contractor's license must meet the Commission's financial solvency guidelines based upon the applicant's personal assets. The Commission does not consider business assets when evaluating an applicant's financial solvency. The Commission requires each contractor to show financial solvency because the Guaranty Fund will compensate a homeowner up to $20,000 (or the total amount of payments made on the contract) in the event the contractor performs an unworkmanlike, inadequate, or incomplete home improvement. Any applicant who does not meet the financial solvency guidelines may purchase a surety bond or obtain an indemnitor.
9. Licensing Workshop
Can you please explain what the licensing workshop is, and whether I am required to attend the workshop before I apply for a license?
The workshops are free and offered to anyone who is interested in learning more about the MHIC license requirements and the application process. The workshop is not mandatory; however, we recommend you attend because it will help ensure that your application is complete and correct. Many applications are delayed and returned to the applicant because information and forms are either missing or incorrectly filled out. Workshops are held at 500 North Calvert Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room, Baltimore, MD 21202, on the third Thursday of every other month (even numbered months only) and the third Tuesday of every other month (odd numbered months only) at 2 p.m. For more information about the workshops, please visit our website. Pre-registration is not required. Please use the Centre Street entrance.
10. Marine Contractor License
Can you please explain what type of license a marine contractor needs? Is it a home improvement license?
An individual or entity that performs marine contractor services in the State, or solicits to provide marine contractor services in the State, must register with the Maryland Department of the Environment. After December 31, 2010, only a marine contractor that has registered with the Department of the Environment may perform or solicit to perform marine contractor services in the State. Registration is the precursor to the issuance of a marine contractor license by the Maryland Marine Contractors Licensing Board. The Marine Contractors Licensing Board anticipates that the licensing program will be operational and issuing marine contractor licenses by December 31, 2015. During the current registration period, until such time as the Marine Contractor Licensing Board actually begins to issue marine contractor licenses, a Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) license is still required to construct a pier or shore erosion control project on residential property. Once a contractor is actually licensed by the Marine Contractors Licensing Board, the contractor will no longer need an MHIC license to perform or solicit marine contractor services on residential property. For more information regarding the Department of the Environment marine contractor registration requirements, please visit MDE website.
11. Mold Remediation
I currently have an MHIC license. Do I need an additional license for mold remediation?
In 2008, the Maryland Mold Remediation Services Act passed, requiring all contractors and companies that perform mold remediation work in residential properties to be licensed by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission. No additional license is required.
12. Name Similarity
How do I know if a name is available to use for my home improvement business?
MHIC regulations state that a name of an individual, partnership, proprietorship, or corporation shall not be accepted if the name under which the applicant will be trading is the same as the name being used by an existing licensee, or is so similar to the name being used by an existing licensee that it will cause confusion on the part of the public at large. Therefore, prior to registering the business name of a company with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, an applicant is advised to contact the Commission to make sure that a specific name is available.
13. New Home Construction
Is a contractor license with MHIC sufficient for building a new home in Maryland?
The Home Improvement Commission license does not cover new home construction. All builders who build homes in Maryland must be registered with the Home Builder Registration Unit of the Office of the Attorney General. For more information, please visit the OAG website.
Home Builder Registration Unit
Consumer Protection Division
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
410-576-6573 / Toll Free: 877-259-4525
14. Out-of-State Contractor's License
I am a contractor licensed in another state. I don’t have an office in Maryland, but I would like to provide services there. Do I need a separate license for the State of Maryland?
Each contractor who solicits or performs home improvement services in Maryland is required to hold an MHIC license. This is true regardless of whether the contractor holds a license in another State. It is also true even if the contractor does not have an office in Maryland. Out-of-state contractors must also register with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.
15. Paper License
My company is showing up on your website as an active subcontractor; however, we have not yet received our license in the mail.
Each licensee is mailed a paper copy of the Home Improvement License. Typically, the license arrives 10 days after the application is approved.
16. License Application
Our company would like to know the requirements for a home improvement contractor to get licensed in the State of Maryland. Is there an application/testing process?
Yes, each individual who wishes to obtain an MHIC license as a contractor, subcontractor, or salesperson must register to take the licensure exam. After passing the exam, the individual receives the license application package. The exams are administered by PSI Exams, Inc. For more information about registering for the exam, please visit the PSI Exams website and follow the links to the Maryland Home Improvement Commission's Candidate Information Bulletin.
The Commission hosts a free workshop on the third Thursday of every odd-numbered month at 2 p.m. for anyone who is interested in learning more about the licensing requirements and process. The workshop is held at 500 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. Registration is not required. Please use the Centre Street entrance.
I am a licensed contractor in another state. Do I still have to take the contractor exam for Maryland?
The Maryland Home Improvement Commission does not offer reciprocity with any other states because each licensee must demonstrate knowledge of Maryland laws and regulations.
18. Salesperson License
How can I get an MHIC salesperson license?
In order to obtain an MHIC salesperson license, an applicant must pass an exam and must receive written notice signed by a licensed contractor and the applicant verifying that an employment or other contractual relationship exists between the licensed contractor and the salesperson. The salesperson exam is administered by PSI Exams. To purchase the study guide and to register for the exam, please visit the PSI Exams website.
What are the business license requirements for salespersons?
A solicitor and salesperson is required to obtain an MHIC salesperson license or a contractor license. In order to obtain a salesperson license, the individual must pass the salesperson exam, which is administered by PSI Exams. In order to apply for a salesperson license, the individual must present to the Commission a written notice signed by a licensed contractor and the applicant for the salesperson license confirming an employment or other contractual relationship between the licensed salesperson and the contractor. An individual salesperson may not represent more than two licensed contractors at a time, and concurrently may only represent one licensed contractor when negotiating a home improvement contract with the same homeowner.
20. Subcontractor license
What is a subcontractor license and what type of work can I do with this license?
A subcontractor is only able to enter into contracts with a licensed MHIC contractor or another subcontractor. A subcontractor cannot enter into contracts or agreements directly with homeowners. A licensed MHIC subcontractor is able to perform all aspects of home improvement.
21. Unlicensed Contractor - Conviction
I was convicted of acting as a contractor without a license. Am I eligible to apply for a home improvement contractor's license?
The Home Improvement Law states that the Commission may issue a license to an individual who has been found guilty of acting as a contractor, subcontractor or salesperson without a license if the Commission determines that the applicant has settled all outstanding obligations and one year has passed since the date of the conviction.