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Michigan Builders State Licensing Requirements


Q: When is a license required as a Residential Builder or Maintenance & Alteration

A: In general, a person who contracts with a property owner to do residential construction or
remodeling on a project whose total value is $600 or more, including material and labor, is
required to be licensed as either a Residential Builder or a Maintenance & Alteration Contractor.


Q: What’s the difference between a “Residential Builder” license and a “Residential
Maintenance & Alteration Contractor” license?

A: The Residential Builder may build a new home from the ground up or may do any kind of
repairs. The builder may contract for the whole job, but will have to subcontract for plumbing,
electrical, and mechanical (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) work.
The Residential Maintenance & Alteration (M&A) Contractor is licensed to perform only
specific trades and services and may accept contracts only in the services for which they are
licensed (whether or not the building is new construction or remodeling).
Each Residential Builder receives a wall license and a pocket card showing that he or she is
properly licensed. For the Residential Maintenance & Alteration Contractor, the pocket card
contains only a letter code representing the trade or trades in which that contractor is licensed.

The M&A trades and their equivalent letter codes are:
Carpentry (A)
Concrete (B)
Excavation (D)
Insulation Work (G)
Masonry (I)
Painting & Decorating (J)
Siding (K)
Roofing (M)
Screen & Storm Sash (N)
Gutters (O)
Tile & Marble (P)
House Wrecking (R)
Swimming Pools (S)
Basement Waterproofing (T)
Each of these trades must be performed by a licensee.

Q: Do I need a license to do ……?
A: Generally we suggest you look at the definition of a Residential Builder and the list of specialty
trades for a Residential Maintenance & Alteration Contractor to see what is definitely required to
be licensed. You may wish to review Article 24 of the Occupational Code and read sections
339.2401, 339.2403, and 339.2404.

However, over the years some specific services have been removed from the licensing law or
rules. Here is a basic list; call the Builders Unit at (517) 373-8376 for items not shown.


New Construction/Remodeling of homes, apartment buildings, condominiums, townhouses, etc. Required
Carpentry – Required
Concrete –  Required
Excavation – Required
Insulation Work – Required
Masonry – Required
Painting & Decorating – Required
Siding – Required
Roofing – Required
Screen & Storm Sash – Required
Gutters – Required
Tile & Marble – Required
House Wrecking – Required
Swimming Pools – Required
Replacement windows/doors /garage doors – Required
Laying wood floors – Required
Basement Waterproofing – Required


Drywall  Not Required
Fences – Not Required
Awnings – Not Required
Sewer and septic, water lines, sprinklers – Not Required
Pavers without mortar – Not Required
Asphalt paving – Not Required
House moving – Not Required
Carpeting and vinyl floors (not wood) – Not Required
Plaster and Lath – Not Required


Q: Is a license required for commercial building (offices, schools, factories, etc.)?

A: Michigan does not have a law regulating commercial builders, sometimes referred to as
“general contractors.” Licensing is required for residential work only, including combination
residential and commercial structures, such as homes, apartment buildings, condominiums,
townhouses, etc. Check with the local municipality for information on specific requirements.

Q: Do I need a license to “flip houses”?

A: MCL 339.2401(b) requires that a person who “engages in purchase, substantial rehabilitation
or improvement, and resale of a residential structure, engaging in that activity on the same
structure more than twice in 1 calendar year” have a residential builder or M&A contractor license
unless the work is for the person’s own use and occupancy, they contract/hire a licensee to
perform all the work, or they have a licensed employee who does the work.

Q: When is a Residential Builder or Residential Maintenance & Alteration, Contractor
license not required?

A: The Occupational Code lists several exemptions from the licensing law. Some of the more
common exemptions are:

An owner of property, with reference to a structure on the property for the owner’s
own use and occupancy.

An owner of rental property, with reference to the maintenance and alteration of that
rental property.

A subcontractor to a licensed builder, that is, a person other than a salesperson who
engages solely in the business of performing work and services under contract with
a Residential Builder or a Residential Maintenance & Alteration Contractor licensed
under this article.

A person working on 1 undertaking or project by 1 or more contracts, the aggregate
contract price for which labor, material, and any other item is less than $600.00.
A license is required if the construction work is only a part of a larger or major
operation (whether undertaken by the same or a different Residential Builder or
Residential Maintenance & Alteration Contractor), or in which a division of the
operation is made in contracts of amounts less than $600.00 to evade this act.
For the full text of the exemptions, you may wish to visit the Builders website at and review Article 24 of the Occupational Code.

Q: What is required for an unlicensed owner-builder to sell their property?

A: An unlicensed property owner who acts as his/her own general contractor is required to reside
in the home upon completion and issuance of the occupancy permit. An owner-builder shall not
sell or transfer ownership for at least 365 days after living (full or part-time) in the residential
structure. If the owner-builder is unable to reside in the home due to unforeseen circumstances,
the home may be sold (this exception can only be used once per year). For more information see
the Owner Built Residence Transfer Act, Public Act 6 of 2008.

Q: Is my builder licensed?

A: You may check to see if a builder is licensed by selecting the “Check a License” link at The fastest way to find license information is to have the builder’s
license number, which is a ten-digit number beginning with 210; however, a search may be done
by an individual’s name, business name, etc. If the license is under the name of a sole proprietor,
then you may perform a search by entering the license number, individual’s personal name or
assumed name. If the license is under the name of a corporation, limited liability company or
partnership, the search must be made by entering the license number or business name.
Telephone numbers are not in the database. You may also contact the Builders Unit at 517-373-
8376 to verify whether a person or company is licensed.


Q: I used to be licensed as a Residential Builder or Residential Maintenance & Alteration
Contractor, but the license has expired. What do I do now?
A: If your license as a Residential Builder or Residential Maintenance & Alteration Contractor
expired less than three years ago you do not need to repeat the licensing examination. You may
submit a “relicensure” application which can be found under “Form and Publications” on this
If it has been more than three years since you were licensed as a Residential Builder or
Residential Maintenance & Alteration Contractor, you will need to complete 60 hours of approved
prelicensure education courses before submitting a relicensure application to the Builders Unit.


How do I get my contractor license in Michigan?

Step #1:  To obtain a license, you must first complete an approved 60-Hour Prelicensure Program and receive Certificates of Completion showing that you  completed the education.

Step #2:  You must then send your application, the licensing fee and the certificates to the State of Michigan at this address.  It takes 2 to 6 weeks for the State to review your application and send you a letter giving you permission to schedule your exam.

Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs (LARA)
Licensing Division
P.O. Box 30018
Lansing, MI 48909

Web address:
Phone: 517-373-8376 FAX: 517-373-2162

Step #3:  Schedule your State exam through PSI Examination Services.  Phone: 1-800-733-9267 or

The State also requires that you are at least 18 years old and of good moral character.
As of May 18, 2012, builders and contractors are no longer required to prove financial stability to obtain a license.

The next step is registering to take the Michigan builders license exam. The State of Michigan uses PSI Examination Services to administer the builders test. To register for the Michigan Residential Builders Exam:

  • FAX – Complete the Examination Registration Form in the Candidate Information Bulletin and fax it to (702) 932-2666. Please allow 4 business days to process your registration.
  • Standard Mail – Complete the Examination Registration Form and send in the original form to PSI with the appropriate examination fee.
  • Internet – For retakes only, log onto and complete the online test registration form. Once you complete the form you will be given a list of available dates to schedule your Michigan builders license exam.

To schedule your Michigan Builders testing date:

Call PSI at (800) 733-9267, 24 hours a day and schedule using the Automated Registration System or speak with a representative between 7:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. ET.   Builders license exams are given at the following locations:

  • Southfield
  • Lansing
  • Grand Rapids
  • Marquette
  • Gaylord

You will be told immediately after passing the exam if you passed.  PSI will notify the State of Michigan Licensing Division and they will send you your license and identification card.


Do I have to buy the Residential Code Book to get licensed?

The State of Michigan requires all licensed builders and contractors to own a current copy of the Michigan Residential Code Book.  You are required to sign a portion of the license application and any renewal forms confirming that you own the current code book.  We offer the book at the lowest price available:  $95 including tax and shipping.


What can I expect with the State Exam?

The State exam is made up of two main parts:

  • Part 1 Business and Law Exam – There are 50 questions on the exam and you must answer at least 36 questions correctly in order to pass. The minimum passing score is 72%. You are allowed 75 minutes to complete the exam.
  • Part 2 – Residential Builder (Trades) Exam – There are 100 questions on the Residential Builder exam and you must answer at least 73 questions correctly in order to pass. The minimum passing score is 73%. You are allowed 150 minutes to complete the exam.

A candidate information bulletin is included with our 60-Hour pre license course which outlines the topics covered on the exam.  If you are taking an exam for an individual trade, please call us or email us and we will send you the outline for that trade.  You can also find this information at


Am I officially licensed once I pass the State Exam?

Yes, but you are licensed as an individual.  The individual license may NOT be used for a corporation, limited liability company or partnership. If you are conducting business as a corporation, limited liability company, or partnership, you must also apply for a second license which will be for the company.

You may obtain a Corporation, Limited Liability Company, or Partnership Residential Builder and Maintenance & Alteration Contractor License Application on the Builders website at, under “Forms & Publications” or contact the Builders Unit at (517) 373-8376.


Can I use my Michigan Builders License to work in other States?

The Michigan Builders License is not reciprocal with other States. 


Can I get licensed in Michigan if my company is in another State?

The Michigan Builders License is not reciprocal with other States.  Out of State Companies that want to become licensed in Michigan must include this form with the application:  Michigan Application C “CONSENT TO SERVICE OF PROCESS” form


Is contractor continued education required in Michigan?

Yes, If you were licensed before January 1, 2009, you are only required to complete a 3-Hour Code/Law/Safety course to renew your license. There are no exceptions and no one is Grandfathered in.

If you were licensed on or after January 1, 2009, you must complete 21 hours by your third year anniversary and another 21 hours by your sixth year anniversary, with a minimum of 3 hours completed each year.  This is 3 years from when the date you passed the State exam.


Where can I take my continuing competency courses?

We, the Builders License Training Institute, has a full line of courses available.  Our online courses give you immediate access and you can print your Certificate of Completion as soon as you are finished.  They come in full HD-Video and text.  We store your training records at no charge.

The 3-Hour Code-Law-Safety course is also available in a classroom.   CLICK HERE to see our dates and locations:


Can I take my continuing competency online?

Yes, you can complete your education online as long as the courses fulfill the requirements outlined by the State of Michigan.  All of our continuing competency courses fulfill the requirements outlined by the State.


How do I show the State of Michigan that I completed my continuing competency?

The State of Michigan will send you a renewal notice. On the renewal notice will be a box to check and a place to sign confirming that you have completed the required continuing competency.  You do not need to send the certificate to the State.  In the past, the state audited 17% of the builders in Michigan.  If you are audited, you will then need to send a copy of the certificate to the state.


Can I pay for my courses with a check?

If you prefer to pay for your course with a check or money order, please CLICK HERE to print a copy of our convenient mail-in order form. (We do not accept checks by phone.) Payment must be received 7 business days prior to class date.  If you’ve chosen an online class, you will be notified when the class is activated.


Is the NASCLA Accredited Commercial Contractor license accepted in Michigan? 


Does Michigan require commercial builders be get licensed?

No, the State of Michigan does not have a commercial licensed.  Commercial projects must have an architect stamp of approval on all commercial plans.  If a commercial project requires a license, it is the Residential Builders License that is required.


Important Links  – Lead Paint Brochure,1607,7-154-10575—,00.html

This is the link to the State of Michigan where you can find these items:

• 2009 Michigan Building/Residential Code Rules

• 2009 Michigan Rehabilitation Code Rules

• 2009 Michigan Uniform Energy Code Rules – Residential

• 2009 Michigan Uniform Energy Code Rules – Commercial  – This is the company you need to contact to schedule your exam for the Michigan Residential Builders or Maintenance and Alterations Contractor exam. – If you feel you may qualify for the No Worker Left Behind Program, this link will allow you to find the Michigan WORKS! office near you. – Get a 15% discount on everything offered at this link when you enter your instructor’s last name in small letters as a promo code. If you have not yet taken one of our programs, enter francis as a promo code. – This is the link to all of the forms, applications and publications for Michigan Residential Builders. – This is the link where you can verify that a builder or a company is licensed. – This is the State of Michigan Builders Unit Web Page


If you have a question that is not included in this FAQ page, please email it to or give us a call at 1-800-727-7104.  Thank you.

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