Minnesota Building Contractor FAQ

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Q: Who needs a Minnesota contractor license?

A building contractor, remodeler or roofer license is required for anyone who contracts directly with a homeowner to provide building construction services in more than one skill area.

  • Any individual or company that contracts directly with an owner of residential real estate to provide work in more than one special skill
  • An owner of residential real estate who builds or improves homes for resale or speculation

Note: Residential real estate means a new or existing building constructed for habitation by one to four families and includes detached garages.

Q: What are the different types of Minnesota contractors?

  • Residential Remodelers: may perform work only on existing structures.
  • Residential Building Contractors: may build new structures in addition to working on existing structures.

Q: Are there types of work that do not require a license?

  • Subcontractors who do not contract with the homeowner (must register with the Contractor Registration Program)
  • Commercial contractors (must register with the Contractor Registration Program)
  • Employees of a licensed contractor
  • Contractors who work on residential buildings with more than four units
  • Material suppliers who do not install or attach the items they sell
  • Owners doing work on their own property (unless they are building or improving properties for resale or speculation)
  • Architects or engineers doing work within the scope of their practice
  • Residential building contractors whose gross annual receipts* from their residential activities are less than $15,000 and have a Certificate of Exemption.

*Gross annual receipts are the total amount derived from residential contracting or remodeling activities, regardless of where the activities are performed, and must not be reduced by cost of goods sold, expenses, losses or any other amount.

Q: What is a special skill area?

A contractor who provides services in more than one special skill area must be licensed. Specialty contractors who provide only one special skill are not required to have a state license (except residential roofers).

View the Who Needs a License page on the MN DLI website to see a list of special skill categories.

Q: What are the licensing application fees?

For Residential Building Contractors

  • License Application: $120
  • Recovery Fund:
    • Tier 1: $320
    • Tier 2: $420
    • Tier 3: $520
  • New License Fee:
    • Tier 1: $440
    • Tier 2: $540
    • Tier 3: $640

For Qualifying Parties:

  • Exam: $50

For Residential Roofers:

  • License Application: $120
  • New License Fee: $120

Q: What is a Secretary of State filing?

Those licensed as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) or those individuals doing business using an assumed name (or “dba”), are required to file the business with the Office of the Secretary of State and renew the filing annually. It is separate from license renewal.

Q: What is a designated qualifying person?

The designated qualifying person must be registered with the state, and is responsible for completing licensing examinations and continuing education on behalf of the company.

A qualifying person depends on the business structure

  • Individual proprietorship: Must be the proprietor or managing employee
  • Partnership: Must be a partner or managing employee
  • Limited liability company (LLC): Must be a chief manager or managing employee
  • Corporation: Must be a chief executive officer or managing employee

Note: A “managing employee” must be a bona-fide W-2 employee of the company “who is regularly employed by the licensee and is actively engaged in the business of residential contracting or residential remodeling on behalf of the licensee.” Under no circumstances can a company’s qualifying person be an independent contractor of the company.

Q: What is a Q registration number?

A Q registration number is for a company’s qualifying person to use to track continuing education status. 

A Q registration number is not a license. Q registration numbers begin with the letters QB, QC, QR, or QI and are followed by six digits. Q registrations are good for two years, but are separate from business licenses and they may not expire on the same dates.

Q: What is the Contractor Recover Fund?

The Contractor Recovery Fund replaces bonding requirements: the fund reimburses consumers who have suffered a financial loss due to contractors engaging in fraudulent, deceptive or dishonest practices, converting funds or failure to perform. New licensees and those renewing their licenses must pay a fee into the fund in addition to the licensing fees.

Q: What are the steps to getting licensed as a Building Contractor or Remodeler in Minnesota?

  1. Determine and arrange your business structure
  2. Register your business with the MN Secretary of State
  3. Choose a Qualifying Party
  4. Complete a criminal background check for each QP and all individuals listed to be listed as Owners, Partners and Officers
  5. Obtain appropriate workman’s compensation and unemployment insurance
  6. File a license application and pay appropriate license fees to the Minnesota DLI
  7. Wait for an approval letter to take the exam
  8. Take and pass your licensing exam

Detailed instructions may be found on the DLI application page.

Q: How do I register for a Minnesota contractor exam?

In order to schedule your exam, you must have submitted your license application to the Minnesota DLI and receive approval to take the exam.

Q: What are the fees required for the licensing exam?


Q: Who is responsible for completing the exam?

The Qualifying Party is the person required to take the exam.

Q: Who administers the Minnesota contractor licensing exam?

Licensing exams are administered by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

Q: Are the Minnesota contractor exams open book?

The department provides current statutes and codes as reference materials along with a standard desktop calculator for use during the exam.

Q: When do I need to renew my Minnesota contractor license?

  • Secretary of State filings must be renewed annually.
  • Business licenses must be be renewed every two years by date of expiration*
  • Qualifying Party registrations must be renewed every two years by date of expiration*

*Caution: These dates may not be the same.

Q: What are the fees associated with renewing my Minnesota Contractor license?

Renewal fees vary based on the Gross Annual Receipts for the business.

If Gross Annual Receipts are:

  • less than $1 million: $445.00
  • $1 to $5 million: $545.00
  • greater than $5 million: $645.00

An additional $60 late fee is applied if the license is renewed after the expiration date.

Q: What continuing education is required to renew my Minnesota Contractor license?

Qualifying Parties must complete 14 hours of continuing education every two years.

Q: What continuing education is required to renew my Minnesota Building Official certification?

  • Building Official (BO): 38 hours
  • Building Official Limited (LB): 38 hours
  • Accessibility (AS): 6 hours

Note: Hours can be code or non code

Q: Can I take the same course more than once?

The same continuing education course may not be taken twice in the same licensing cycle.

Q: Can I complete all of my courses at once?

Continuing education courses may not be completed on the same date.

Q: What topics are required?

For all Qualifying builders, remodelers and roofers the topic requirements are as follows:

  • 1 hour of Energy Code
  • 1 hour of Business Management
  • 12 hours of Non Code related topics

For Certified Building Officials:

  • Course content is broadly defined, but must demonstrate significant intellectual or practical content that deals with matters directly related to building code administration, construction, and building inspections – including applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations.

Q: How will the state know I have completed my continuing education?

Once you have completed your continuing education, we will submit a notification of completion directly to the Minnesota DLI on your behalf. This will be completed the business day following your completion.

You may begin immediately! Simply click the Login button in the upper right-hand corner on your desktop or in the upper-right menu on mobile. Once you’ve entered your login and password, you will be taken to your courses. Follow the instructions and enjoy!

Our courses are available online 24/7 and you are able to log in and log out at any time during the course. If you are going to be away from your computer for more than 10-15 minutes, simply log out. When you log back in, you will be able to re-enter the lesson you were last in.

Continuing education requirements vary by state. Each course lists a minimum number of credit hours required to complete the course.

Each course lists the total amount of hours for the course. However, we cover materials quickly and many contractors like to re-watch materials. In other words, this question really depends on your learning style. We recommend that you go through the course as many times as you need to be comfortable with the material and any applicable reference books. The more familiar you are with the materials, the better you will do on your exam!

We allow up to 6 months for you to complete the courses. During the six months you have unlimited, 24/7 access. If you need additional time, please contact our offices to arrange an extension (please note: a fee may apply).

This varies depending on whether the course is continuing education or exam prep.

There are no quizzes for continuing education courses in Michigan. All other states with continuing education require quizzes to check completion progress.

In exam prep courses there will be a short quiz at the end of each lesson and there is also a longer practice test at the end of each course. These quizzes and tests will help you practice taking an exam and identify areas you may wish to study more.

Practice tests are just that: for practice. You will have the opportunity to retake the practice tests until you do pass. The practice tests are there to help you get used to the process of using your reference materials and finding the correct answers during an exam. If you don’t pass on the first try, take the time to note what sections of the material you need to review.

You are able to review the lessons and quizzes at any time during the six months you’ll have access to the courses.

Department of Labor and Industry
443 Lafayette Road N.
St. Paul, MN 55155
General: (651) 284-5005
Licensing & Testing: (651) 284-5034

We have a tutoring program designed to help you get one-on-one time with a licensed instructor. With this program you will get answers to questions you are still struggling with and advice on how to study for and pass your exams. Visit our Career Plus Services page to get more information.

We have a licensing application consultant who can help you navigate the ins and outs of state licensing regulations. Visit our Career Plus Services page to get more information.

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