Home Improvement Contractor

Home Improvement Contractor License Application Checklist

Who Must Have a Home Improvement Contractor License?

A person or business must have a Home Improvement Contractor license to do construction, repair, remodeling, or other home improvement work to any residential land or building in New York City. Other home improvement work 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.

Quick List of Requirements to Apply for a Home Improvement Contractor License

See Requirements section for detailed descriptions. Make sure you provide all requirements; otherwise, your application is incomplete. DCA can only consider complete applications for license issuance.

  • Basic License Application
  • Sales Tax Identification Number OR Application Confirmation Number
  • Proof of Business Address
  • Proof of Home Address
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance Information
  • DCA Trust Fund Enrollment ($200 fee) OR Copy of $20,000 Surety Bond (or Third Party Bond), properly signed
  • Roster of Salespersons
  • Contractual Compliance Agreement
  • Home Improvement Exam and $50 Exam Fee (if applicable)
  • Fingerprints and $75 Processing Fee per Person
  • Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (if applicable)
  • License Fee
Submitting your application does not mean your license is automatically approved.

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

If you negotiate or offer to negotiate a home improvement contract with a property owner, you must also obtain a Home Improvement Salesperson license from DCA.

Sidewalk work requires a permit from the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT). 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.

This is not meant to be a complete list. See Additional Resources section.

Important Message about Business Certificate

You must have the applicable Business Certificate based on your business’s legal structure. Although DCA does not require submission of your Business Certificate in order to process your application, DCA may request this document under section 20-104 of the New York City Administrative Code.

Sole proprietors operating under a name other than your own must have a Business/Assumed Name Certificate.

Partnerships must have a Partnership Certificate and, if applicable, an Assumed Name Certificate for your business.

Corporations, Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, or Limited Liability Partnerships must register and remain active with the New York State Division of Corporations. You can check your status at www.dos.ny.gov/corps.

Requirements

DCA will deny your application if you do not submit these required documents and information:

  • Sales Tax Identification Number OR Application Confirmation Number.
    To apply for a Certificate of Authority in order to collect sales tax, visit www.businessexpress.ny.gov.
  • Proof of Business Address
    Submit a copy of ONE of the following documents in the name of either the business or an individual listed on the license applications:
    • Utility bill, dated within the last 90 days (e.g., telephone, gas, electric, cable, or water) OR
    • Current lease or deed OR
    • Current rent or mortgage bill OR
    • Current (active) license or permit issued by New York State or another New York City government agency that shows your business addres
  • Proof of Home Address
    Each individual listed on the license application must provide a copy of ONE of the following documents in the individual's name:
    • Utility bill, dated within the last 90 days (e.g., telephone, gas, electric, cable, or water) OR
    • Correspondence from any government agency OR
    • Current lease or deed OR
    • Current rent or mortgage bill OR
    • Driver's license
    • Municipal ID card

    • For an individual who lives at another person’s address, provide:

    • ONE Proof of Home Address (see above) with the leaseholder’s or homeowner’s name AND
    • A letter signed by the homeowner or leaseholder stating that the individual lives at the address
  • 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 if your business no longer qualifies for Workers’ Compensation Exemption.
    • ACORD Forms are not acceptable proof of New York State workers’ compensation coverage.
  • DCA Trust Fund Enrollment OR Copy of $20,000 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. 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 Department of Consumer Affairs 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.

      Download a list of bonding companies
  • Home Improvement Exam and $50 Exam Fee
    A sole proprietor, general partner, corporate officer, principal, director, member, or shareholder owning 10% or more of company stock must visit the DCA Licensing Center or NYC Small Business Support Center (addresses below) 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, including:


    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, principal, director, 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 $75 Processing Fee
    All sole proprietors, general partners, corporate officers, principals, directors, members, and all shareholders owning 10% or more of company stock must be fingerprinted at the DCA Licensing Center or NYC Small Business Support Center (addresses below). Bring one of the following forms of ID:

    • U.S.-issued driver’s license or non-driver’s license identification
    • License or permit issued by a government agency 
    • Passport 
    • Alien card/green card 
    • City, State, or Federal employee ID card
    • Municipal ID card

  • See payment information in License Fee section.
  • Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (download)
    Required if someone other than the license applicant will prepare and submit this application.

    Note: The applicant must sign the license application and all related forms
  • License Fee.
    License Period:
    2 years
    Expiration Date:
    February 28 (Odd Years) 
    License Fee
    If You File Your Application Between These Dates: Option 1
    Option 2
    From March 1 in an odd year to August 31 in an odd year
    Pay $100 for a license expiring February 28 of the next odd year. (Valid for at most 24 months.)
    N/A
    From September 1 in an odd year to February 28 or 29 in an even year Pay $75 for a license expiring February 28 of the soonest odd year. (Valid for at most 18 months.) N/A
    From March 1 in an even year to August 31 in an even year Pay $50 for a license expiring February 28 of the soonest odd year. (Valid for at most 12 months)
    N/A
    From September 1 in an even year to February 28 in an odd year Pay $25 for a license expiring February 28 of the soonest odd year. (Valid for at most 6 months) Pay $125 for a license expiring February 28 of the next odd year. (Valid for at most 30 months)
    Pay by:
    • Check or money order payable to DCA. (In person)
    • Credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card only). You will be charged a nonrefundable Convenience Fee. (In person or online)

Application Filing Process

File in person
File in person at the DCA Licensing Center or NYC Small Business Support Center.
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS (DCA) LICENSING CENTER
42 Broadway, Lobby
New York, NY 10004
Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
NYC SMALL BUSINESS
SUPPORT CENTER

90-27 Sutphin Blvd, 4th Floor
Jamaica, NY 11435
Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Free Interpretation Services are available on-site. To request a disability-related accommodation, please call DCA’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator at (212) 436-0155 or visit our Accommodations page.

OR

File Online
  1. Review requirements for the license and gather all materials before clicking the button below to submit your application online using a laptop or desktop computer.
  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

  • For the laws and rules that may affect your business, visit our Laws page.
  • If you have a question about a DCA violation or the laws that DCA enforces, you can speak with DCA’s Business Compliance Counsel. Call 311 for the Legal Compliance Helpline for Businesses or email BCC@dca.nyc.gov.
  • For resources to help your business open, operate, and grow, visit nyc.gov/Business.
  • Learn Ways to Make Seniors’ Homes “Age-Friendly”
    Created by DCA and the Department for the Aging, this flyer offers contractors tips on working with seniors, making homes senior-friendly, and helping seniors go “green.”

  • Get Voter Information
    Note: Whether you apply to register to vote or not, it will not affect the assistance DCA will provide to you.

    Page updated 11/2019.