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If you perform construction work on other people’s property in Oregon for profit, you must have a license. According to Oregon law, a handyman must gross less than $40,000 a year from construction work, with each job running under $5,000. Before you can work as a handyman, you will need a Residential Limited Contractor license from Oregon’s Construction Contractors Board (CCB). The process includes classroom education, passing the state exam and obtaining the appropriate bond and insurance. After that, you can apply to the CCB for your license.
Complete 16 hours of classroom training in Oregon laws and regulations that apply to construction and contracting. Take the instruction only from an approved source (see Resources).
Register for the state exam with Prometric within three days of completing your training (see Resources). Select the most convenient testing site and date. Use your credit or debit card to pay the $85 exam fee.
Arrive 30 minutes before the test on your chosen exam date with two forms of government-issued identification. Take the exam and pass with at least a score of 70 percent.
Take out a $10,000 surety bond from a bonding company on yourself as well as a $100,000 liability insurance policy. Keep the certificates of bond and insurance in a safe place in the event you have to show proof.
Complete and submit the Contractor License Application in its entirety (see Resources). Return the application along with a copy of your bond, insurance policy and the licensing fee of $325 to the address indicated on the application. You may either mail or bring everything personally. Once all of your information is verified, you will receive your contractor license information by mail within three weeks.
The bond and insurance requirements are meant to protect your customers in the event that you cause damage or property loss. The state wants to make sure you can pay reinbursement costs if necessary. You can obtain the bond and insurance requirements from any licensed agency. In many cases, one agency can broker both requirements for you. Pricing may vary according to company.
Your contractor’s license is good for two years. To renew, you will have to submit your information and pay a renewal fee.
You can pay your licensing fees by check, money order or debit/credit card. You may only pay by cash if you submit your application in person. All fees are nonrefundable.
If at any time you exceed the $40,000 gross income or $5,000 per job cap, you must apply for a new contractor’s license from CCB because you are no longer considered a handyman.
Michaele Curtis began writing professionally in 2001. As a freelance writer for the Centers for Disease Control, Nationwide Insurance and AT&T Interactive, her work has appeared in "Insurance Today," "Mobiles and PDAs" and "Curve Magazine." Curtis holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Louisiana State University.