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To become a home builder, you'll have to meet your state's licensing and other house-building requirements. Each state sets its own rules for builders in any construction field. Along with taking a licensing exam, typical requirements include license fees, proof of insurance and submitting all the appropriate forms. You can find most of the paperwork online at whichever agency handles contractor licensing and regulation in your state.
Without a license, you can't take on house-building jobs for pay. The licensing agency's website should have information about where and when the tests are held, links to test registration and the cost of taking the test. Schedule a test when and where it's most convenient for you. Make sure you give yourself time to hit the books, though. Tests are open book, but it'll be easier to find information if you've already studied extensively.
Typical questions could cover:
- Business accounting.
- Your legal obligations to your employees.
- Technical questions about ducts, hardware, electrical wiring and the like.
Money and Insurance
To get your license, you'll probably have to show proof that you have liability insurance, which covers the costs of any accidents or injuries you may cause. If you have employees, the state will probably also require you take out workers' compensation insurance. This covers your crew if anyone's injured on the job.
The state could also take an interest in your financial condition. You may have to submit to a financial audit, a credit report or put up a bond against defaulting on a job. Tennessee sets a limit, based on your statement, of how high-priced the homes are that you're allowed to build.
If you intend to run a sole proprietorship, you don't have to register that with the state. If, instead, you want to run a corporation or a limited liability company, you'll have to file that paperwork with the state. You have also have to submit information about the business to the state. Alabama, for instance, wants to see the list of corporate officers and the Articles of Incorporation as part of the application.
The studying doesn't stop once you finally get your license. If you want to keep it, you'll have to keep going back for continuing education. Michigan, for example, requires contractors take 21 hours of classes before renewing a license, covering topics such as blueprint analysis, energy and the building code. After the second renewal, the requirement drops to three hours per renewal.