Mississippi provides ample opportunities for handymen looking to start their own operations or grow an existing business. The climate is favorable given that a specific handyman license is not required by the state for most general home repair, maintenance, and improvement projects. However, handymen still need to pay close attention to certain licensing and insurance requirements based on the size and type of jobs they complete.

This comprehensive guide examines everything handymen need to know about licensing, exams, fees, insurance rules, and reciprocity agreements for operating in Mississippi. We will explore the scenarios where handyman licensing is mandatory, detail the process for obtaining a new license, and outline license renewal procedures. Insurance requirements, reciprocity allowances, and other key regulations are also covered.

Whether you are embarking on becoming a professional handyman or are a seasoned pro seeking a new home base for your established business, use this resource to understand Mississippi’s requirements. Doing so helps ensure you can work legally and safely while avoiding unnecessary risks, liabilities, penalties, and roadblocks to growing your handyman career.

Requirements for Licensed Handymen in Mississippi

While a specific state license is not mandatory for handymen completing most minor home improvement tasks and repairs in Mississippi, certain situations do require registration with the proper regulatory authorities:

  • Handymen must obtain a Residential Remodeling License from the Mississippi State Board of Contractors (MSBOC) if they plan to work on residential remodeling projects valued at over $10,000. This includes renovations, additions, and other major home improvement projects exceeding the $10,000 threshold for a single job.
  • For new residential construction valued at over $50,000, a state-issued residential contractor’s license is required. This applies when handymen are involved in building new single-family homes, duplexes, townhomes, ADUs, or other detached residential dwellings from the ground up.
  • Any handyman services for commercial properties where the total value exceeds $50,000 also necessitate a state-issued commercial contractor’s license. This covers construction, maintenance, and improvement of retail, offices, healthcare, hospitality, industrial, institutional, and other commercial premises.
  • Some municipalities in Mississippi also require handymen to hold local licenses from city or county offices when completing electrical, handyman, HVAC, or mechanical work. While state licenses do not cover these trades, handymen must still check for and comply with applicable local rules.

In summary, licensure requirements only apply when handymen exceed thresholds related to the size and scope of residential remodeling and new builds or for major commercial projects. Handymen completing routine home maintenance, minor improvements, repairs, and other jobs below these dollar values are free to work without a state-mandated license. However, registration with local jurisdictions may still be required as noted above.

Obtaining a New Handyman License in Mississippi

For handymen needing to obtain one of Mississippi’s state-issued residential or commercial contractor licenses, the process entails completing the following steps:

1. Establish Eligibility for Licensure

Before applying for a license through the Mississippi State Board of Contractors, handymen must first ensure they meet the eligibility criteria set forth in the state’s regulations. Requirements include:

  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Having a minimum of 2 years of experience in the specific trade classification you are applying for
  • Never having been denied or lost a license in another U.S. state
  • Never having been convicted of a felony
  • Maintaining a legitimate office location that is physically situated within Mississippi

Ensuring you meet these requirements is crucial, as the MSBOC will not approve applications from candidates who fail to satisfy any of the prerequisites.

2. Submit a License Application to the MSBOC

Once determined to be eligible, handymen will need to submit a properly completed application to the MSBOC along with the required fees. Here are the steps:

  • Download the appropriate application from the MSBOC website. Separate applications exist for residential and commercial licenses.
  • Thoroughly fill out every section of the application. Carefully review the instructions provided to avoid mistakes or incomplete information.
  • Have the application notarized as indicated in the instructions. This typically entails taking the application to a notary public, signing it in their presence, and having them witness and seal it.
  • Make a check or money order for the $50 application fee payable to the MSBOC. This non-refundable fee covers application processing.
  • Mail the completed, notarized application and fee payment to the MSBOC office at:
    Mississippi State Board of Contractors
    2679 Crane Ridge Drive, Suite C
    Jackson, MS 39216

Once received and processed by the MSBOC, they will contact the applicant to schedule the required licensing exams.

3. Pass the Requisite Exams

Every handyman seeking Mississippi licensure must pass examinations administered by PSI Exams, an independent testing organization. The specific exams required depend on the license classification.

At a minimum, all handyman license applicants must take and pass the Mississippi Law and Business Management exam. This comprehensive test covers the state regulations, codes, and business practices relevant to working as a licensed contractor. Key topics include:

  • License types and requirements
  • Insurance and bonding
  • Estimating and bidding
  • Contracts and liens
  • Safety standards
  • Employment laws
  • Tax requirements

This exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions and applicants are given 240 minutes to complete it. The testing fee is $135.

Handymen applying for certain skill-specific contractor licenses will also need to pass applicable trade exams. For example, an electrical license requires taking and passing the Master Electrician Trade exam. Trade exams are priced at $100 each.

Some tips for successfully passing the exams include:

  • Carefully study the content outlines and reference materials provided. The tests are open book, so bring approved books and notes.
  • Arrive early to the exam location to get settled in and relaxed before the test begins.
  • Read each question thoroughly and eliminate wrong answers before selecting the best response. Don’t overthink questions.
  • Skip difficult questions and return to them later. Easier questions help build confidence and there is no penalty for guessing.
  • Take your time and use all available time. There is no reward for finishing early.

A score of 70% or higher is required to pass each exam. Handymen failing on their first attempt can re-test after a short waiting period.

4. Submit Remaining Licensing Documents

After passing all necessary exams, the final step involves submitting additional paperwork and payments to the MSBOC:

  • Proof of Liability Insurance – Include a certificate from your insurance provider showing current general liability coverage. Minimum policy limits required by the state are $300,000 per occurrence/$600,000 aggregate for commercial licenses.
  • Financial Statement Forms – These MSBOC forms document the applicant’s financial position. They must be recent and compiled or audited by a CPA.
  • $100 License Fee – This covers the first year of licensing after approval. Make checks or money orders payable to the MSBOC.

Once all documentation and payments have been received, the MSBOC compiles it for final review. If approved, new handyman licensees can expect their certificate of licensure to be issued within approximately 7-10 business days. The license is valid for one year initially.

Renewing a Mississippi Handyman License

To maintain licenses in good standing, Mississippi’s handymen must renew them annually before expiration. Renewal reminders are mailed out by the MSBOC around 60 days prior to the expiration date shown on the current certificate. Here is the process:

  • Complete the renewal application form provided in the mailing from MSBOC. Make any necessary updates to your business name, addresses, insurance, etc.
  • Pay the current renewal fee of $100 by enclosing a check or money order with your application.
  • Provide an updated certificate of liability insurance that meets the state’s minimum requirements and lists the MSBOC as a certificate holder.
  • Include any continuing education certificates required to fulfill the annual training hours specified for your license classification. Some licenses mandate completion of 8-10 hours of approved courses.
  • Return the renewal paperwork, fee, insurance certificate, and education certificates to the MSBOC before the expiration deadline. Mail forms early to allow proper processing time.

Renewals can still be processed for up to 180 days past the expiration date by including late fees. But licenses lapsed for more than 180 days require starting over with a brand new application. Renewing on-time is crucial for maintaining your status as an actively licensed Mississippi handyman.

Reciprocity for Out-of-State Handymen

Handymen already holding a current residential or commercial license in another U.S. state may be able to waive Mississippi’s trade knowledge exams through reciprocity agreements. The MSBOC maintains reciprocal arrangements with the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

To qualify for reciprocity, handymen licensed in these states need to:

  • Hold an equivalent active license from the reciprocating state that is in good standing.
  • Complete Mississippi’s application process and meet eligibility criteria.
  • Pass the Mississippi Law and Business Management exam.
  • Pay all Mississippi licensing fees.
  • Comply with Mississippi insurance and financial requirements.

While reciprocity allows waiving the trade exams, handymen must still go through the full application process and meet Mississippi’s eligibility standards to obtain a license through this alternative method.

License Bond Requirements in Mississippi

Posting a license bond is not currently mandated by Mississippi to obtain a handyman license. Some states require contractors to secure surety bonds as part of the licensing process, but Mississippi has no such obligation.

Licensed contractors in Mississippi can optionally carry license bonds as an extra layer of consumer protection. If desired, most insurance providers can issue license bonds for a small annual fee. This gives project owners further confidence that the contractor has the financial means to cover any potential claims. But bonds are still not compulsory for being granted or renewing a handyman license in this state.

Insurance Requirements for Mississippi Handymen

While license bonds are elective, handymen working in Mississippi must comply with certain insurance requirements set forth by the state. Insurance coverage is essential for protecting your business assets and mitigating risks inherent with construction projects. The main policies to carry at a minimum include:

  • General Liability Insurance – This is mandatory for licensed contractors in Mississippi. It covers property damage and bodily injury caused by the policyholder in the course of business operations. The state requires minimum limits of $300,000 per occurrence and $600,000 aggregate for commercial license holders. Residential has no minimum.
  • Workers’ Compensation – Required in Mississippi for all employers with five or more employees. This insurance provides medical, disability, and death benefits to employees injured on the job. Premiums vary based on risk classifications and claims history.
  • Occupational Accident Coverage – An optional but recommended policy that provides disability payments and medical care if a self-employed handyman suffers an injury while working. Especially important for sole proprietors without employees.

To stay compliant, licensed handymen must maintain general liability coverage and supply proof of insurance when renewing their licenses each year. Working without mandatory insurance puts your assets at risk and will lead to license suspension or revocation. Requirements exist to protect handymen and assure clients that adequate financial resources are available if the need arises.


This comprehensive guide covers the key licensing and insurance rules handymen must follow when starting or growing a business in Mississippi. While no universal handyman license exists, certain large projects do trigger mandatory state-issued contractor licensing. We explored licensing thresholds, application processes, exams, fees, renewals, reciprocity, bonds, and insurance requirements that enable legal compliance.

Staying up-to-date on these regulations helps Mississippi’s handymen operate safely and successfully while avoiding penalties. Handymen who are still unsure about specific rules impacting their work should consult with the MSBOC, local municipalities, and qualified insurance agents to get definitive guidance. With the proper licenses and insurance coverages in place, handymen can tackle projects of all sizes for Mississippi homes and businesses with confidence.