If you want to start a landscaping business in Arkansas, you’ll need to obtain a state license issued by the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the licensing process, including eligibility requirements, how to apply for a new license, license renewal, and insurance and bond requirements.

Who Needs a Landscaping Contractor License in Arkansas?

Under Arkansas law, anyone who installs or maintains residential or commercial lawns must hold a landscaping contractor license. This includes services like:

  • Lawn installation
  • Lawn renovation
  • Mowing
  • Fertilization
  • Weed control
  • Insect control
  • Disease control
  • Pruning shrubs and trees
  • Installing or maintaining ornamental plants
  • Landscape design
  • Irrigation system installation

You do not need a license if you only provide lawn mowing and basic yard cleanup services. However, you cannot advertise or represent yourself as a landscaping contractor unless properly licensed.

Subcontractors who work under a licensed landscaping contractor are exempt from licensing requirements.

Eligibility Requirements for a New Landscaping Contractor License

To qualify for a new landscaping contractor license in Arkansas, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legally authorized to work in the United States
  • Demonstrate good reputation and character
  • Pass the required exams (explained below)
  • Provide a surety bond
  • Show proof of public liability insurance


To get licensed, you must pass a business and law exam as well as a trade exam.

The business and law exam covers topics like licensing requirements, estimating and bidding, business organization, risk management, taxes, labor laws, lien laws, and more. This multiple choice exam has 50 questions and you’ll have 120 minutes to complete it. You’ll need to score at least 70% to pass.

The landscaping trade exam also has 50 multiple choice questions, which you’ll have 120 minutes to complete. Test topics include soil management, plant identification, turfgrass management, pest management, landscape design, and more. You need a minimum score of 70% to pass this exam too.

Surety Bond

All landscaping contractor applicants in Arkansas must obtain a license bond in the amount of $10,000. This bond helps protect consumers in case the contractor fails to fulfill their professional duties or meet financial obligations.

Insurance Requirements

Landscaping contractors must carry public liability insurance and provide proof of coverage when applying for licensure. At a minimum, you need:

  • $100,000 bodily injury coverage per occurrence
  • $50,000 property damage coverage per occurrence
  • $5,000 medical payment coverage

Make sure your insurance policy is current before submitting your contractor license application.

Applying for a New Landscaping Contractor License

Once you’ve met the eligibility criteria, you can apply for a new landscaping contractor license by following these steps:

  1. Complete the application form. You can download the form from the Contractors Licensing Board website. Make sure to fill it out completely and accurately.
  2. Obtain a surety bond. Work with an insurance company or bonding agent to get your $10,000 surety bond and have the bond made payable to the Contractors Licensing Board.
  3. Get proof of insurance. Ask your insurance company for a current certificate that shows your public liability coverage meets state requirements.
  4. Pass the exams. Schedule and take the business and law exam as well as the landscaping trade exam. You can’t apply for your license until you’ve passed both tests.
  5. Submit your application. Mail your completed application form, passing exam scores, surety bond, and proof of insurance to the Contractors Licensing Board.
  6. Pay license fees. The application fee for a new landscaping contractor license is $50. You can pay by check, money order, or credit card when submitting your application.

It takes 10-15 business days to process complete new license applications. If approved, your license will be active for one year initially.

Renewing a Landscaping Contractor License

Landscaping contractor licenses must be renewed annually in Arkansas. To keep your license active, you must:

  • Submit a renewal application form
  • Pay a $50 renewal fee
  • Provide an updated surety bond
  • Show proof of current insurance
  • Complete 8 hours of continuing education

The education requirement can be met by taking approved courses relevant to the landscaping profession. Subjects include safety, law and rules, technical skills, business practices, and more.

Renewal applications are typically due by March 1 each year. Licenses expire on May 31 if not renewed.

Reciprocity for Out-of-State Landscaping Contractors

Arkansas has reciprocity agreements with certain other states, allowing landscaping contractors to transfer an active license. This avoids having to pass Arkansas’ exams or meet some other licensing requirements.

To get licensed via reciprocity, you must:

  • Hold a current license from a state with which Arkansas has reciprocity
  • Submit a reciprocity application and $50 fee
  • Provide a current surety bond
  • Show proof of public liability insurance
  • Pay any applicable license fees

States with full landscaping contractor reciprocity include Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.

License Bond Requirements

As mentioned, all licensed landscaping contractors in Arkansas must carry a $10,000 surety bond. This bond must name the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board as the obligee and remain in effect for the license period.

If you allow your bond to lapse or get cancelled, your landscaping contractor license will be placed on inactive status. You won’t be allowed to operate until the Board receives proof that your bond is reinstated.

The purpose of the bond is to protect the public if the contractor fails to comply with licensing laws or complete a project. It provides an avenue for financial recourse against the license holder.

Insurance Requirements

At minimum, licensed landscaping contractors must carry:

  • $100,000 bodily injury insurance per occurrence
  • $50,000 property damage insurance per occurrence
  • $5,000 medical payment coverage

You’ll need to provide a current certificate of insurance when applying for a new or renewed license. Make sure the certificate lists your policy details and shows coverage is active.

Carrying adequate insurance is crucial to protect your business against liability claims and losses. It also meets your licensing requirements in Arkansas.


  • All landscaping contractors must be licensed in Arkansas, with limited exceptions.
  • You must meet eligibility criteria like being 21+ years old, passing exams, and getting a surety bond.
  • New licenses require a $50 application fee. Renewals are $50 annually.
  • Reciprocity is available for current license holders in some states like Texas and Oklahoma.
  • A $10,000 license bond must be maintained at all times.
  • Minimum insurance requirements include $100k bodily injury and $50k property damage coverage.

Complying with Arkansas’ licensing regulations ensures you operate a legitimate landscaping business. It also demonstrates your professionalism to prospective clients.