Running a successful handyman business in Arizona requires staying fully informed on licensing regulations and insurance needs. Adhering to all state requirements protects handymen legally and financially while demonstrating professionalism.

This comprehensive guide will cover everything Arizona handymen need to know about licenses, testing, insurance, bonds, fees, and more.


With its warm climate and growing population, Arizona offers excellent opportunities for starting a handyman venture. There are currently over 32,000 maintenance and repair professionals working in the state, primarily concentrated in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, and other metro regions.1

Industry employment is projected to expand over the next decade as Arizona’s population swells by 600,000 new residents.2 Homeowners and property managers will continue relying on handymen for upgrades, maintenance, and repair projects.

While Arizona does not require handymen to carry a state license for basic tasks, important exceptions apply. Handymen must understand when licensing is mandatory for certain jobs. Carrying proper business insurance is also crucial for mitigating risk and demonstrating professionalism.

This comprehensive guide will explore Arizona’s handyman license requirements. We’ll also provide an overview of recommended insurance policies to protect your business.

With the right licenses and insurance coverage, handymen can prosper in Arizona while avoiding fines and legal issues.

Handyman Licensing Requirements in Arizona

Arizona does not mandate handymen obtain a state license, unlike some states that regulate home improvement contractors. However, handymen must be aware of the following important licensing requirements:

  • Projects valued at $1,000 or more – including labor and materials – require an Arizona contractor license. This threshold applies even if no permits are needed.
  • Any work necessitating a building permit needs a contractor license, regardless of the overall project value.
  • Plumbing, electrical, HVAC, gas line jobs, and other specialty trades require a license, unless the work is incidental to your broader handyman services.

Essentially, Arizona views individuals performing contractor work valued above $1,000 or necessitating permits as unlicensed contractors unless they hold the appropriate license. This can result in a Class 1 misdemeanor under state law.

Let’s look closer at handyman licensing exemptions along with steps for obtaining an Arizona contractor license.

Handyman Exemption in Arizona

While a license is crucial for major projects, Arizona offers a “handyman exemption” that allows handymen to perform minor repairs and basic maintenance tasks without a contractor license.

This exemption applies to any casual, minor, or inconsequential work with a total value of less than $1,000, including labor and materials. No building permits can be required either.

Typical handyman jobs exempt from licensing might include:

  • Replacing light fixtures
  • Installing ceiling fans
  • Patching holes in drywall
  • Repairing leaky faucets
  • Fixing clogged drains
  • Applying new caulk, grout, or weatherstripping
  • Assembly of pre-fabricated furniture
  • Installation of curtain rods or shelves
  • Minor household appliance repairs
  • Touch up painting
  • Door adjustments
  • Screen repair
  • Building furniture
  • TV mounting

Handymen cannot legally perform contractor work valued at over $1,000 or necessitating permits without holding the appropriate license. Otherwise, you risk facing civil penalties under Arizona law.

Obtaining an Arizona Contractor License

Handymen wishing to offer services beyond the handyman exemption need to obtain a contractor license through the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. This involves a four-step process:

1. Select your license classification

Arizona offers several contractor license classifications handymen can apply for, including:

  • General Residential Contractor – For general remodeling and repair projects on existing residential buildings
  • General Remodeling & Repair Contractor – For smaller-scale residential remodeling and repair tasks
  • General Commercial Contractor – For maintenance, upgrades, and general construction on commercial buildings

In most cases, handymen will need to pursue either a residential or remodeling & repair contractor license. The commercial licenses are geared more toward larger general contracting businesses.

2. Pass the required exams

All contractor license applicants must pass two exams:

  • Business Management Exam – Covers Arizona construction statutes, rules, and business practices. This is also called the Arizona Statutes and Rules Training Course Exam.
  • Trade Exam – Tests your knowledge on building codes, construction methods, and industry standards for your specific trade. You’ll take the exam associated with the license classification you are applying for.

Both the business and trade exams cost $95. You must score at least 70% on each exam to pass.

3. Submit a background check

A background check is required using the ROC’s approved screening vendor. You can submit this request online and will pay $49 for the screening.

4. Provide bonding and pay fees

Applicants need to furnish proof of a $10,000 license bond obtained from an Arizona surety company. You’ll also need to pay the following initial fees:

  • License application fee: $150
  • License fee: $450
  • Recovery fund assessment: $370

The Registrar aims to process new contractor license applications within 60 days. Once approved, the license is valid for two years from issuance.

License Reciprocity for Arizona

Handymen holding a current contractor license in California, Nevada, and Utah qualify for license reciprocity in Arizona. This can potentially waive the required trade exam.

You still need to take the Business Management Exam on Arizona construction statutes and rules. You’ll also have to submit an official reciprocity license application to the Registrar.

Renewing a Contractor License in Arizona

Arizona contractor licenses expire every two years on the last day of the month issued. To maintain an active license status, you must renew on time prior to expiration.

  • Renewal deadlines – Licenses must be renewed no later than 90 days after the expiration date to avoid penalty fees. Licenses lapsed more than a year cannot be renewed.
  • Renewal fees – The renewal fee is $450, which must be paid at the time of renewal.
  • Continuing education – Some license classifications require proof of continued education with the renewal form. Builders, remodelers, and roofers need eight hours of CE per renewal period.
  • Updated bond – Your license renewal may require an updated license bond.

If you fail to renew on time, Arizona imposes late penalties including:

  • 91 to 180 days past expiration – $100 late fee
  • 181 days to 1 year – $300 reinstatement fee

Keeping close track of your renewal date and meeting the deadline avoids lapses in your license.

Insurance Requirements for Arizona Handymen

While Arizona does not mandate handymen carry business insurance, being properly insured is highly recommended to comply with other state laws and protect your business from financial risk.

Even if you operate a small handyman company alone, experts strongly advise taking out certain insurance policies. Here are key coverage types Arizona handymen need:

General Liability Insurance

This is one of the most vital policies for handymen in Arizona. It covers bodily injury and property damage caused to a third party while performing your professional services. For example, if a tool slips and breaks a customer’s window.

General liability insurance helps pay for others’ medical bills, legal expenses, damage claims, and related costs the business is deemed responsible for. Typical coverage areas include:

  • Customer injury lawsuits
  • Third-party property damage
  • Personal injury, such as false imprisonment or slander
  • Products/completed operations liability

Without adequate liability coverage, you must pay these expenses out of pocket. This can bankrupt your business.

Worker’s Compensation

Workers’ compensation insurance provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured while working. It covers lost income, disability, medical bills, rehabilitation, and more.

Arizona law mandates all employers carry this policy. That includes handymen with even one part-time employee. Fines for being non-compliant are steep.

Independent handymen without employees can skip this policy but may choose to take it out for personal injury protection.

Tools & Equipment Coverage

This protects your professional tools and equipment used for work in case of theft, damage, or loss. Standard business insurance policies do not cover these crucial assets.

You can get tools & equipment coverage either as a standalone policy or an endorsement on your business owners or commercial property insurance. Make sure your schedule of covered tools is kept fully updated.

Commercial Auto Insurance

If you use a personal vehicle regularly for driving to customer jobsites, you need a commercial auto liability policy in Arizona. This covers third-party injury and damage, medical payments, damage to your vehicle, rental reimbursement, and other costs stemming from an at-fault accident while working.

Make sure the policy offers business coverage and not just personal use. Also, commercial auto insurance satisfies proof of financial responsibility laws.

Professional Liability

Also called errors & omissions (E&O) insurance, this covers financial loss stemming from mistakes, negligence, or failure to perform your professional services. It protects against claims of poor workmanship or property damage.

While not mandatory, professional liability insurance is recommended to protect your business from expensive claims. Make sure the policy offers handyman E&O coverage specifically.

Commercial Property Insurance

This covers your business assets against damage, theft, or natural disasters. For handymen, this may include tools/equipment, office equipment, computers, company vehicles, etc. Make sure to get replacement cost coverage, not just actual cash value.

Optional endorsements like equipment breakdown coverage, data protection, and glass coverage provide added protection.

Other Insurance

Depending on your specific business operations, you may need additional insurance coverage beyond these core policies including:

  • Umbrella insurance – Provides extra liability limits atop your existing policies.
  • Surety bonds – Required for certain large state/city handyman contracts.
  • Specialty contractor license bonds – Bonds required when obtaining certain contractor licenses.

An insurance broker specializing in the trades can assess your complete risk profile and insurance needs.


While a professional license is not mandated across the board, Arizona handymen must adhere to important licensing rules for bigger projects. The state provides a handyman exemption for minor work below $1,000 in value without permits.

Obtaining an Arizona contractor license involves passing two exams, submitting a background check, providing bond proof, and paying fees to the Registrar. Licenses require renewal every two years.

Handymen in Arizona also need proper insurance to comply with state laws and mitigate risks. This includes general liability, workers compensation, tools & equipment coverage, commercial auto, and other essential policies.

Following all licensing and insurance requirements helps Arizona handymen focus on growing their business while avoiding legal troubles or catastrophic costs from accidents and claims.