Carpenters and carpentry businesses in Minnesota are required to hold a state license if they offer multiple specialty skills or generate over $15,000 in annual revenue. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) oversees licensing for residential building contractors, including carpenters.

Carpentry is considered a “special skill area” that falls under the broader category of Residential Building Contractor. The special skill area of carpentry encompasses:

  • Rough carpentry
  • Finish carpentry
  • Doors, windows and skylights
  • Porches and decks
  • Wood foundations
  • Drywall installation

Carpenters who only offer one specialty skill and earn less than $15,000 per year do not need a state license. However, carpenters who provide multiple specialty skills must obtain a residential remodeler license from DLI to work on existing structures.

Requirements for Licensed Carpenters

To become a licensed carpenter in Minnesota, individuals must:

  • Establish eligibility
  • Pass required exams
  • Submit license application with fees
  • Provide proof of insurance


The carpenter or a designated individual must serve as the “qualifying person” for the entity’s license. This person must:

  • Be an owner, officer, member, partner, chief manager or managing employee
  • Be actively engaged in the carpentry business
  • Not serve as a qualifying person for another company unless there is 25%+ common ownership between companies


The qualifying person must pass a written exam administered by DLI. After passing, they will receive a registration number starting with “QC” to track future continuing education.


With the registration number, the business can submit a license application through DLI’s online system. This requires:

  • Active business filing with the MN Secretary of State
  • Proof of insurance
  • License fees ($120 base + recovery fund fee based on revenue)


Applicants must provide proof of public liability and workers’ comp insurance. Minimum coverage is $100k per occurrence and $25k in property damage.

Obtaining a New Carpentry License

Follow these key steps to get a new carpentry contractor license in Minnesota:

  1. Designate a qualifying person – This individual must meet eligibility criteria and will take the required exam.
  2. Pass the exam – The qualifying person must pass the written DLI exam to receive a registration number.
  3. Prepare documentation – Gather business registration, certificate of insurance, and license fees.
  4. Submit license application – Use the online DLI system to apply with all required documentation.
  5. Fulfill additional requirements – Applicants may need to provide additional info depending on background checks.
  6. Receive approval – If approved, DLI will issue the residential remodeler license.

Renewing a Carpentry License

To renew a Minnesota carpentry license, contractors must:

  • Maintain active status with the MN Secretary of State
  • Provide updated certificates of insurance
  • Pay renewal fees
  • Complete 14 hours of DLI-approved continuing education
    • At least 1 hour must cover the MN Energy Code
    • At least 1 hour must cover business management strategies

Renewals take place through the DLI online system. Renewal periods are two years.


Minnesota does not have license reciprocity agreements with other states for carpenters and carpentry businesses. All applicants must pass examinations and apply for a Minnesota license regardless of current licensure status in another state.

License Bonds

Licensed carpenters in Minnesota are not required to have a bond, but it’s important to check with local regulations as many have specific bond requirements for contractors.

Insurance Requirements

At minimum, licensed carpenters must carry:

  • $100,000 in general liability insurance per occurrence
  • $300,000 in general liability insurance aggregate
  • $25,000 in property damage coverage


Carpenters in Minnesota must hold a state license if they offer multiple specialty skills or earn over $15,000 annually. Key steps include designating a qualifying person, passing exams, submitting a license application with fees, and maintaining required insurance. License renewal takes place every two years through the DLI online system. There is no reciprocity with other states – all carpentry contractors must apply for a Minnesota license. Following state licensing and insurance requirements helps ensure carpenters operate legally and protects homeowners.