Home Improvement Contractor

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Who Must Have a Home Improvement Contractor License?

A person or business must have a Home Improvement Contractor license if engaged in the construction, repair, remodeling, or addition to any land or building used as a residence. This includes, but is not limited to, the construction, replacement, or improvement of basements, driveways, fences, garages, landscaping, patios, porches, sidewalks, swimming pools, terraces, and other improvements to structures or upon land that is next to a home or apartment building.

This description is only a general explanation of who must have a Home Improvement Contractor license. Refer to the Licensing Law/Rules handout.

Quick List of Application Requirements

Basic License Application
Sales Tax Identification Number OR Certificate of Authority Application Confirmation Number
Proof of Business Address
Proof of Home Address
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Information
DCA Trust Fund Enrollment ($200 fee) OR Copy of Surety Bond (or Third Party Bond), properly signed
Roster of Employees
Contractual Compliance Agreement
Home Improvement Exam and $50 Exam Fee (if applicable)
Fingerprints and $75 Processing Fee per Person (if applicable)
Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (if applicable)
License Fee

Additional City or State Permits/Licenses/Clearances You May Need

  • Sidewalk work requires a permit from the New York City Department of Transportation. Contact 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/dot.
  • Many home improvements require a permit from the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB). Work to raise, lift, elevate, or move a house or building requires a special inspection by DOB. Contact 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/buildings
  • If you plan to haul or transport waste resulting from your business operations, you must obtain a Class One Self Hauler Registration from the New York City Business Integrity Commission. For an application and more information, contact 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/bic.

Application Requirements

Before You File Your DCA License Application:

You must obtain the following required documents before filing your application. Although DCA does not require submission of these documents in order to process your application in person or online, DCA reserves the right to request and examine the documents under section 20.104 of the New York City Administrative Code.
 
  • Applicable Business Certificates based on your Business's Legal Structure 
    • Sole Proprietorships operating under a name other than your own must file a Business/Assumed Name Certificate with the clerk of the county in which your business is conducted.
    • Sole Proprietorships doing business under your own name—and not under a trade or Doing-Business-As (DBA) name—do not need a Business Certificate.
    • General/Business Partnerships must file your Partnership Certificate with the clerk of the county in which your business is conducted.
    • Corporations, Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, or Limited Liability Partnerships must register and remain active with the New York State Department of State. Active status will be verified by DCA prior to license issuance. You can confirm the status of your business entity at NYS Web site. If applicable, you must also file an Assumed Name Certificate for your business.
    • Businesses incorporated out of state must obtain a Certificate of Doing Business in Good Standing from your home state’s Secretary of State and file this with an application for Authority to Conduct Business in New York with the New York State Secretary of State.

When You File Your DCA License Application:

Below are requirements when filing your license application:
 
  • Basic License Application
    Reminder: If your business legal structure is sole proprietorship or general or limited partnership, you must complete the Child Support Certification section of the application.

    Online submission: After reviewing the application requirements, please click the Apply Online link at the bottom of the page to submit your application.

    In-person submission: Download the Basic License Application Form.
  • Sales Tax Identification Number OR Certificate of Authority Application Confirmation Number
    The Sales Tax Identification Number is the 9, 10, or 11-digit number on your New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Certificate of Authority. You must enter this number on the Basic License Application form. If you have not received your Certificate of Authority, please enter the 6-digit confirmation number you received when you successfully submitted the application for a Certificate of Authority.

    To apply for a Certificate of Authority, visit the NYS License Center. You will need a NY.gov ID to access the application form. To request a paper application, call (518) 485-2889. Allow four to six weeks after applying to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to receive your Certificate of Authority.
  • Proof of Business Address
    Submit a copy of ONE of the following documents as proof of business address:
    • Utility bill, dated within the last 90 days (telephone, gas, electric, cable, or water) OR
    • Current lease or deed in the name of either the business or individual listed on the license application OR
    • Current rent or mortgage bill OR
    • Current license or permit issued by New York State or another New York City government agency that shows your business address
  • Proof of Home Address
    Each individual listed on the license application must provide a copy of ONE of the following documents as proof of home address:
    • Utility bill, dated within the last 90 days (telephone, gas, electric, cable, or water) OR
    • Current lease or deed OR
    • Current rent or mortgage bill OR
    • Driver's license
    • Municipal ID card

    • If an individual lives at another person’s address, provide:
    • Letter signed by the leaseholder indicating that the individual lives at the address AND
    • ONE proof of home address (per above) with the leaseholder’s name
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance Information
    Provide a copy of ONE of the following documents as proof of workers’ compensation insurance information:
    • An Insurance Certificate for workers’ compensation insurance from a private insurance carrier or the New York State Insurance Fund Office. The Insurance Certificate must name the Department of Consumer Affairs as the certificate holder and include the Department’s address: 42 Broadway, New York, NY 10004. OR
    • A Certificate of Attestation of Exemption from the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (if you claimed exemption from the requirement to hold workers’ compensation insurance). For more information, visit New York State Workers’ Compensation Board at www.wcb.ny.gov

    Important: You must provide DCA with proof of Workers’ Compensation Insurance should your business no longer qualifies for Workers’ Compensation Exemption.
  • DCA Trust Fund Enrollment OR Copy of Surety Bond (or Third Party Bond), properly signed
    • If you want to enroll your business in the Trust Fund, complete the Trust Fund Enrollment Form (download). The fee for joining the Trust Fund is $200. OR
    • If you do not enroll your business in the Trust Fund, you must submit a copy of a $20,000 Surety Bond (or Third Party Bond), properly signed. The copy of the bond must name the City of New York as the Certificate Holder. Your corporate name, Doing-Business-As (DBA) name (if any), and premises address must be exactly the same on all documents. You must also submit a copy of the bond receipt showing that the bond has been paid in full and does not expire before the end of the licensing period. For reference, download a list of bonding companies.
  • Home Improvement Exam and Exam Fee
    A sole proprietor, general partner, corporate officer, member, or shareholder owning 10% or more of company stock must visit the DCA Licensing Center between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday to take the Home Improvement Exam.

    The exam consists of 30 questions. You must answer a minimum of 21 questions correctly to pass. The fee is $50. The exam fee is separate from the license fee and is nonrefundable. If you fail the exam twice, you must pay the exam fee again in order to retake the exam.

    Download the Home Improvement Examination Guide to help prepare for the exam.
    Guide is available in other languages, see top of page.

    IMPORTANT:
    • You must pass the exam within 30 days from the date you submit your application or your application will be denied.
    • Only one of the following persons needs to pass the Home Improvement Exam: sole proprietor, general partner, corporate officer, member, or shareholder owning 10% or more of company stock. An applicant is only required to pass the exam once, even if also applying for a Home Improvement Salesperson license.
  • Fingerprints and Processing Fee
    All sole proprietors, general partners, corporate officers, members, and all shareholders owning 10% or more of company stock must be fingerprinted at the DCA Licensing Center. EXCEPTIONS:
    Any person who was fingerprinted or provided fingerprints for an active DCA license within the last three years does not need to be fingerprinted.

    You must visit the DCA Licensing Center with photo identification (ID) and pay a $75 processing fee. Acceptable forms of ID include:
    • Driver’s license or non-driver’s license identification issued by a State Department of Motor Vehicles
    • License or permit issued by a government agency 
    • Passport 
    • Alien card/green card 
    • City, State, or Federal employee ID card
    • Municipal ID card

  • Your fingerprints will be checked for any criminal record that you may have. Note that a conviction will not necessarily prevent you from being granted a license. However, failure to reveal a conviction can constitute grounds for the denial of your application.
  • Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (download)
    If this application will be prepared and submitted by someone other than the license applicant, the license applicant must submit a Granting Authority to Act Affirmation. Note: The applicant must sign all required documents.
  • License Fee
    The chart below lists the amount due depending upon when you file your license application. Note: An odd year is any year ending in an odd digit; for example, 2015. An even year is any year ending in an even digit; for example, 2016 
Home Improvement Contractor  License Fee
License Term:
2 years
License Expiration Date: February 28, Odd years  
If You File Your Application Between These Dates: Your License Fee is:
From March 1 in an odd year to August 31 in an odd year $100
From September 1 in an odd year to February 28 or 29 in an even year $75
From March 1 in an even year to August 31 in an even year $50
From September 1 in an even year to February 28 in an odd year $25 or *$125

*If you are applying within six months of the license expiration date, you can pay the prorated fee for the remaining license term plus the full fee to renew the license for the next term. If you pay both fees, you will not need to renew the license until the end of the next license period.

Fee Payments

The DCA Licensing Center accepts payment by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card) or check or money order made payable to NYC Department of Consumer Affairs.

If you submit your application online, you must pay with a major credit card.

Note: Credit card payments are subject to a nonrefundable 2.49% convenience fee. In the event the payment to which it relates is canceled, refunded, credited, or charged back, you must contact your credit card company to dispute the convenience fee.

Application Filing Process

IN PERSON

File in person at the DCA Licensing Center, 42 Broadway, in Manhattan between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and on Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Translation Services
If you do not speak or understand English well, please let us know when you arrive at the Licensing Center and we will provide translation services.

Reasonable Accommodation
To request a disability-related accommodation, visit our Accommodations page.

ONLINE

  1. Please review requirements for the license and gather all materials before clicking the button below. Note: At this time, the service is available using a laptop or desktop computer only.
  2. If you haven’t registered an account with the City of New York, you will need to register an account before you can proceed to the online application.
  3. After you submit the online application, follow the instructions on the confirmation page. DCA cannot process incomplete applications.
  4. Important: If you need to file another license application, return to the Apply for a DCA License page to read requirements and proceed to the online application.

Additional Resources for Home Improvement Contractors


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