In Mississippi, anyone providing the following landscaping services must obtain a Landscape Horticulturist License issued by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce:

  • Lawn maintenance
  • Landscape design
  • Planting trees, shrubs, or other vegetation
  • Installing sod
  • Bush and tree pruning
  • Mulching
  • Fertilizing
  • Other landscape care and maintenance

This license allows landscaping contractors and their employees to legally advertise services, solicit business, bid on jobs, enter into contracts, receive payments, perform work, and operate a landscaping company in Mississippi.

Unlicensed contractors cannot engage in these business activities. Those without licenses are also prohibited from using the words “landscaping” or “landscape” in their company name if providing lawn upkeep services. This prevents misleading the public.

Obtaining proper licensing demonstrates your qualifications and business practices adhere to Mississippi’s regulations and standards of quality. It also provides crucial consumer protection for homeowners and businesses hiring landscaping contractors.

Conversely, failing to acquire the necessary landscape contractor’s license can result in fines, inability to enforce contracts or liens, project delays, and the inability to legally provide landscaping services in the state of Mississippi.

Eligibility Requirements for Landscape Contractor Licensure

To qualify for a Landscape Horticulturist License in Mississippi, applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:


Applicants must be at least 18 years old.

English Language

Candidates must be able to read, write, and speak the English language. This ensures you can effectively communicate with clients and properly conduct business activities.


Applicants must pass the Mississippi Landscape Horticulturist Exam and the Mississippi Laws, Regulations, and Safety Exam. Details on these exams are provided later in this guide.

Surety Bond

A $1,000 surety bond must be provided upon approval of the license application. The bond must remain valid throughout the entire licensing period.

Liability Insurance

Proof of current general business liability insurance must be submitted with the contractor’s license application. Coverage must be maintained to keep the license in active status.

Meeting all the eligibility criteria is required for the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce to approve a Landscape Horticulturist License application. Next, let’s look at the licensing exams.

Mississippi Landscaping License Exams

Applicants for a Landscape Horticulturist License must pass two exams administered by PSI Services LLC:

Mississippi Landscape Horticulturist Exam

This exam evaluates your technical knowledge on topics relevant to providing professional landscape services. Subjects covered include:

  • Plant materials
  • Turfgrass installation and maintenance
  • Soil management
  • Fertilization
  • Pest management
  • Pruning techniques
  • Landscape construction methods
  • Maintenance practices
  • Safety and equipment operation
  • Business operations, estimating, and more

The Landscape Horticulturist Exam contains 100 multiple choice questions. You must score at least 70% to pass. See the study guide for details on recommended study materials and subject areas covered.

Mississippi Laws, Regulations, and Safety Exam

This exam covers your knowledge of Mississippi laws, rules, regulations, and safety standards relevant to owning and operating a landscaping contractor business. Example subject areas include:

  • License and permit requirements
  • Bonding requirements
  • Contract development
  • Lien laws
  • Safety policies
  • Employment practices
  • Business vehicle and equipment regulations
  • Pesticide application laws
  • OSHA standards
  • Tax requirements

The Laws, Regulations, and Safety Exam contains 50 multiple choice questions. You must also score 70% or higher to pass.

Passing both exams demonstrates you can apply landscape best practices and operate legally in Mississippi. If you fail your first attempt, you may retake the exam(s) after submitting a new application and fees.

Now let’s look at the application process and other requirements for obtaining your new landscape contractor license.

How to Obtain a New Landscape Horticulturist License in Mississippi

Once you meet all the eligibility requirements, follow these steps to obtain your new landscape contractor license in Mississippi:

Step 1: Submit Your License Application

First, download and complete the License Exam Application. This application requires:

  • Your full legal name and contact information
  • Social security number
  • Employment history
  • Education history
  • Passport-size photo
  • Copy of your driver’s license
  • $25 application fee

Double check that all information and documentation is included before submitting. Processing delays can occur from incomplete applications.

Step 2: Schedule and Take Your Exams

After submitting your application, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce will review your materials. If approved, you will receive an exam authorization letter in the mail. This letter provides instructions for scheduling your licensing exams with PSI Services LLC.

You must schedule and take the Mississippi Landscape Horticulturist Exam and the Mississippi Laws, Regulations, and Safety Exam within 6 months of receiving your exam approval. Testing locations are available throughout Mississippi.

Allow 2-4 weeks after testing for your results to be processed. You cannot move forward until you successfully pass both exams.

Step 3: Submit Your License Application

Upon passing both your landscape contractor exams, complete the Request for Issuance of License or Permit application. This will formally request issuance of your Landscape Horticulturist License.

Make sure to include:

  • Your company’s information, including license classification requested
  • Qualifier’s information
  • $25 application fee
  • Proof of $1,000 surety bond
  • Certificate of general liability insurance
  • Any employee ID card applications

Double check all materials are complete before submitting to the state licensing board.

Step 4: Receive Your Landscape Contractor License

The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce will process complete landscape contractor license applications within 5-7 business days.

If approved, your new Landscape Horticulturist License will be mailed out. Make sure to clearly display this on your company vehicles alongside your license number.

With your license in hand, you can now legally advertise, bid, and perform landscaping projects in Mississippi. But your responsibilities don’t end there. Next, we’ll look at renewing your landscape contractor license.

How to Renew Your Landscape Horticulturist License in Mississippi

In Mississippi, Landscape Horticulturist Licenses expire after 3 years. To maintain your license and continue operating legally, you must renew your license before the expiration date printed on your certificate.

Follow these steps to successfully renew your landscape contractor license in Mississippi:

Step 1: Submit Your Renewal Application

First, complete the Landscape Horticulturist License Renewal Form. Make sure to provide:

  • Your updated company and qualifier’s information
  • Your license number
  • $25 renewal fee
  • Any employee ID card renewal applications

Step 2: Maintain Your Surety Bond

You must also maintain an active $1,000 surety bond to renew your license. Provide an updated bond certificate alongside your renewal application.

Letting your surety bond lapse or expire results in the immediate invalidation of your landscape contractor license.

Step 3: Provide Updated Insurance Certificates

Lastly, submit an updated certificate of liability insurance showing continuous coverage. Your general business liability insurance must remain active to legally provide landscaping services.

Allow 60-90 days for processing your landscape contractor license renewal. You cannot operate with an expired license, so make sure to plan ahead.

Now let’s look at license reciprocity with other states.

Reciprocity for Landscape Contractor Licensing in Mississippi

At this time, Mississippi does not hold any reciprocal licensing agreements for landscape contractors with other states. However, certain applicants may qualify for exam waivers through reciprocity:

Military Reciprocity

Under the Military Family Freedom Act, active military members stationed in Mississippi and their spouses can waive trade exams required for occupational licensing. This applies to landscape contractor licensing exams.

To qualify, they must provide proof of holding a current license in another state. This allows military personnel and families to continue working in Mississippi without retaking exams.

Universal Recognition for Substantially Similar Licenses

The Universal Recognition of Occupational Licenses Act provides exam waivers for applicants already licensed in a state with requirements substantially similar to Mississippi. This includes landscape contractors.

However, meeting this reciprocity criteria requires in-depth review and approval. Few states have landscape contractor licensing standards closely paralleling Mississippi’s rigorous requirements.

So while full license reciprocity is not available, military members/families and applicants licensed in very similar states may qualify for Mississippi landscape contractor exam waivers through reciprocity laws.

However, they must still submit all other application materials, fees, and meet all eligibility criteria. The license application process remains largely the same.

Surety Bond Requirements for Licensed Landscape Contractors

As outlined earlier, all licensed landscaping contractors must provide a $1,000 surety bond upon approval of their license application. This bond must remain active throughout the entire 3 year licensing period.

Surety bonds protect consumers financially if the landscape contractor fails to fulfill the duties outlined in a landscaping service contract. For example, bond claims may arise from:

  • Failure to complete a project as contracted
  • Failure to pay subcontractors or suppliers
  • Breach of warranties
  • Damaging a client’s property

If any of these issues occur, the client can make a claim on the contractor’s $1,000 bond to recover losses up to that amount. This provides an important safeguard for consumers.

Landscape contractors must immediately inform the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce if their surety bond expires or gets cancelled before renewal. An inactive bond results in the immediate suspension of their license until new proof of bond is provided.

When renewing their landscape contractor license, an updated $1,000 surety bond certificate must be submitted showing coverage for the upcoming 3 year period. Allow 60-90 days before expiration to renew your bond and license.

Maintaining an active bond protects your company reputation and shows clients and the state you stand behind your landscaping work. Let’s look closer at the insurance requirements.

General Liability Insurance Requirements for Licensed Landscape Contractors

Operating as a licensed landscape contractor in Mississippi requires carrying valid general business liability insurance. This coverage protects your company by paying claims from:

  • Third party bodily injury or property damage
  • Customer injury on a job site
  • Employee injuries on the job
  • Accidents caused by your company vehicles or equipment

While Mississippi does not mandate a minimum coverage amount, experts recommend policies between $500,000 to $1 million. Work with a qualified insurance agent to determine adequate liability limits based on your services offered and potential risks.

When applying for your initial landscape contractor license, proof of current insurance must be submitted as part of the application process. Coverage must be maintained continuously to provide services legally.

If your insurance gets cancelled or lapses, your landscape contractor license will be immediately suspended. You must cease operations until providing the state new proof of coverage.

You should also submit updated insurance certificates when renewing your Mississippi landscape contractor license. This verifies your active policy during the upcoming licensing period.

Following these insurance requirements protects your company from costly liability claims and keeps your license in good standing.

Conclusion of Licensing and Insurance Guide for Mississippi Landscape Contractors

We hope this comprehensive 2,000 word guide provided you with extensive detail on licensing and insurance requirements for legally operating as a landscape contractor in Mississippi.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Landscape Horticulturist Licenses issued by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce are required for landscaping services.
  • You must meet eligibility criteria and pass two exams to qualify for licensure.
  • A surety bond, liability insurance, and fees must be provided when applying for a new or renewed license.
  • While no full reciprocity exists, military personnel and certain out-of-state license holders may qualify for exam waivers.
  • Active bonds and liability insurance must be maintained or licenses become invalid.
  • Licenses require renewal every 3 years before expiration.

Ensuring your landscaping company meets Mississippi’s licensing regulations and insurance rules is crucial for legally conducting business in the state. Please reach out with any questions about becoming a licensed landscape contractor in Mississippi!