Operating a landscaping business in Utah requires proper licensing and insurance. This comprehensive guide provides an in-depth overview of Utah’s licensure process, renewal requirements, reciprocity agreements, bond options, and insurance requirements for landscaping contractors.

Landscaping is a rapidly growing industry in Utah driven by construction growth and demand from homeowners and businesses for professional landscape services. As the popularity of landscaping rises, many contractors are eager to start their own landscaping companies to capitalize on this demand.

However, successfully launching and operating a landscaping business in Utah requires understanding the state’s licensing regulations. Utah law mandates landscaping contractors obtain a specialty contractor license issued by the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL).

Licenses are required for individuals and companies offering services like:

  • Lawn care and maintenance
  • Planting trees, shrubs, flowers, and other decorative vegetation
  • Designing and installing landscapes
  • Grading, preparing, and altering land
  • Installing sprinkler systems, patios, retaining walls, and other hardscapes

Contractors engaging in any type of landscaping work must carry an active state-issued license. Unlicensed contractors can face penalties including fines and even criminal charges for unlicensed practice.

Beyond basic licensure, landscapers in Utah must also carry adequate insurance coverage. Utah mandates all active landscaping contractors maintain general liability insurance and comply with workers’ compensation regulations.

This comprehensive guide provides detailed information on:

  • Eligibility requirements for new landscaping contractor licenses
  • Step-by-step instructions for obtaining a new license
  • License renewal guidelines and continuing education
  • Reciprocity agreements for out-of-state contractors
  • Surety bond options in Utah
  • General liability and workers’ compensation insurance requirements

Understanding Utah’s regulatory landscape is crucial for legally launching and operating your landscaping business. Keep reading for an in-depth look at Utah’s requirements and regulations for licensed landscaping contractors.

Requirements for Landscaping Contractor Licensure in Utah

Utah issues specialty contractor licenses for specific trades. Landscapers receive a specialty classification of S-330 on their state-issued contractor license.

To qualify for a new S-330 landscaping contractor license in Utah, applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

Age Requirement

Applicants must be at least 18 years old.


A valid form of government-issued photo ID is required, such as a driver’s license or passport. Applicants must also provide their Social Security Number or IRS-issued Tax ID Number.

Pre-Licensure Education

Individuals must complete a 25-hour pre-licensure course from a Utah-approved education provider before applying.

Business and Law Examination

Applicants must pass the Utah Contractor Business and Law Exam, which tests general contracting knowledge.

Insurance Requirement

Active general liability insurance meeting Utah’s minimum requirements must be maintained.

Business Registration

Applicants must formally register their business entity with the Utah Division of Corporations.

Employer Identification Number

An EIN number from the IRS is required. Sole proprietors can use their SSN.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ comp insurance is mandatory for applicants with employees. Sole proprietors can file for an exemption.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key eligibility requirements for new landscaping contractor applicants in Utah:

Pre-Licensure Education

Before taking the state licensing exam, all landscaping contractor applicants must complete 25 hours of pre-licensure education.

Approved courses are offered by several providers in Utah, including:

  • Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Utah
  • Utah Home Builders Association (UHBA)
  • Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)

The 25-hour curriculum covers essential business and legal topics like:

  • Construction law
  • Accounting
  • Business management
  • Safety regulations
  • Labor laws

The pre-licensure course focuses on law, regulations, and business skills rather than technical landscaping skills. Completing this education demonstrates applicants have baseline legal and managerial knowledge before obtaining their license.

Business and Law Examination

After finishing pre-licensure education, the next step is passing the Utah Contractor Business and Law Exam. This is a 4-hour, 60-question multiple choice exam administered at approved testing centers.

The exam tests applicants on their working knowledge of:

  • Utah construction regulations
  • Licensing laws
  • Business practices
  • Estimating and bidding
  • Contracts
  • Project management
  • Labor laws
  • Tax laws
  • Lien laws

A minimum passing score of 70% is required to be eligible for licensure. Exam results are electronically submitted directly to the DOPL.

Insurance Requirements

Active general liability insurance is mandatory for licensed landscaping contractors in Utah. At minimum, contractors must carry:

  • $100,000 per incident
  • $300,000 aggregate general liability coverage

Proof of current insurance with the DOPL listed as the certificate holder must be provided. Applicants with employees must also obtain workers’ compensation insurance.

Meeting education, exam, and insurance requirements demonstrates prospective landscapers have the baseline qualifications for professional licensing in Utah.

How to Apply for a New Landscaping Contractor License in Utah

Once you’ve verified your eligibility, follow this step-by-step application process to obtain your new specialty landscaping contractor license in Utah:

Step 1: Complete Pre-Licensure Education

First, enroll in and complete a 25-hour pre-licensure course through an authorized education provider in Utah. This includes AGC, UHBA, ABC, or another approved program.

Take time to study course materials in-depth to prepare for the upcoming exam. Keep your course completion certificate for your records.

Step 2: Pass the Licensing Exam

Next, register to take the Utah Contractor Business and Law Exam at one of the approved testing centers. Schedule a date and time for your exam.

Bring valid photo ID and arrive early. A passing score of at least 70% is required to pass. Testing centers will submit your results directly to the DOPL.

Step 3: Obtain Insurance

Now that you’ve passed the exam, obtain general liability insurance. This is required for active licensure. Workers’ compensation is also required if you will have employees.

Work with a reputable insurance broker to secure adequate coverage. Have them list the DOPL as a certificate holder on the policy.

Step 4: Register Your Business

Determine your business structure and register your company with the Utah Division of Corporations.

File formation documents to establish your business entity as a sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, partnership, or other approved structure.

Step 5: Obtain an EIN

Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business from the Internal Revenue Service. Sole proprietors can use their SSN instead.

Step 6: Submit Your License Application

Complete the Utah Contractor License Application from the DOPL. Indicate your specialty classification of S-330 for landscaping.

Attach copies of your pre-licensure education certificate, exam results, insurance certificates, and business registration.

Double check that you’ve included all required materials before submitting. Pay the licensing fees.

Step 7: Wait for Approval

It takes 4-6 weeks to process new landscaping contractor license applications. If approved, your license will be mailed out.

If your application is incomplete, the DOPL will request any missing items. You cannot begin operating until you hold an approved license.

With your license in hand, you can officially launch your new landscaping business in Utah!

How to Renew a Landscaping Contractor License in Utah

In Utah, landscaping contractor licenses must be renewed every two years to remain valid. Renewal periods end on November 30th on odd-numbered years.

For example, licenses must be renewed by November 30th, 2023. The next renewal deadline is November 30th, 2025. Renewing on time is crucial to legally operate without disruption.

Below are the key steps to renew your Utah landscaping contractor license:

Step 1: Complete Continuing Education

You must complete at least 8 hours of DOPL-approved continuing education courses as a condition of license renewal.

Various providers offer continuing education for landscaping contractors throughout Utah. Coursework must be completed within the current two-year licensure period.

Step 2: Submit Your Renewal Application

Fill out the Utah Contractor License Renewal Application in its entirety. You can submit this form up to 90 days prior to your expiration date.

List your specialty landscaping classification and license number. Make sure all business and contact information is current.

Step 3: Pay Renewal Fees

Renewal fees are $172 per specialty contractor classification, payable to the DOPL. Include your payment with the submission of your application.

Fees for inactive contractors are $87 per classification. You cannot renew with an expired entity registration.

Step 4: Maintain General Liability Insurance

Provide a current certificate of liability insurance that meets Utah’s requirements, with the DOPL listed as the certificate holder. Maintaining coverage is mandatory.

Step 5: Update Business Documentation

Include updated versions of your business registration, EIN, workers’ compensation insurance (if applicable), and any other required documents.

Renewing contractors must have valid, up-to-date versions of all required paperwork on file with the DOPL.

Submitting a complete renewal application, required documents, and fees well ahead of your expiration date ensures your license remains active. You will receive a renewed license certificate if approved.

Reciprocity for Out-of-State Landscaping Contractors

While Utah does not have any direct reciprocity agreements with other states, there are still pathways to licensure for experienced out-of-state landscaping contractors.

Rather than reciprocity, Utah offers a streamlined licensure by endorsement process for eligible candidates licensed in other states.

To qualify for a Utah landscaping license without taking the required exams, out-of-state applicants must:

  • Hold an active landscaping contractor license in another US state or territory in good standing
  • Have maintained that license for a minimum of 1 year
  • Provide license verification from their home-state licensing board
  • Meet Utah’s standard eligibility criteria
  • Submit a complete Utah license application with all documentation

While this endorsement process waives Utah’s trade exam requirements, applicants must still submit education certificates, proof of insurance, business registration, and pay all state licensing fees.

This allows experienced landscapers licensed elsewhere to bypass Utah’s exam, while still demonstrating core competency and business compliance.

Out-of-state landscapers should apply well in advance of attempting to operate in Utah. Submit your endorsement application materials promptly to avoid application processing delays.

Surety Bond Options for Utah Landscaping Contractors

Utah does not mandate landscaping contractors carry surety bonds to maintain state licensure. However, you may still benefit from obtaining a voluntary surety bond.

While not required across the board, some municipalities and government agencies in Utah do require contractors bidding on public landscaping projects to hold surety bonds.

Having a surety bond in place—even when not explicitly required—can provide advantages by:

  • Demonstrating your financial accountability to clients
  • Allowing you to bid on bonded government projects
  • Making your business eligible for property tax and sales tax bonds

Typical voluntary surety bond amounts for Utah landscaping contractors range from $10,000 to $20,000. Actual bond requirements are determined on a case-by-case basis depending on specific contractual obligations.

Work with a reputable surety bond producer to determine recommended bond amounts for your business based on your projected contract volumes. Purchasing adequate surety bonds now can save hassles when bidding on future bonded projects.

Maintaining continuous surety bond coverage for multiple years also exhibits financial stability to potential clients checking your company’s credentials.

Insurance Requirements for Landscaping Contractors in Utah

In addition to professional licensure, Utah mandates landscaping contractors carry adequate commercial insurance coverage.

The two primary insurance requirements for active landscaping contractors in Utah are:

General Liability Insurance

Landscapers must carry commercial general liability (CGL) insurance at minimum limits of:

  • $100,000 per incident
  • $300,000 aggregate

General liability insurance protects your business against third-party injury and property damage claims stemming from your work. Common examples include:

  • Customer injury on a property you maintain
  • Accidental damage to a client’s home while operating equipment
  • Injury or damage caused by one of your employees on a job site

Utah requires proof of current CGL coverage meeting state minimums before approving licenses. You must list the DOPL as a certificate holder.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

If you have any employees, workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory in Utah. This provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured while working.

As the employer, you are responsible for carrying this coverage. Sole proprietors with no employees can file for an exemption from workers’ compensation requirements.

Neglecting to carry adequate CGL and workers’ compensation insurance as a licensed landscaping contractor in Utah can put your business at risk. Be sure to work with an experienced insurance broker to secure compliant coverage.


This comprehensive guide covers the essential requirements for obtaining and renewing a landscaping contractor license in the state of Utah. Key takeaways include:

  • Landscaping contractors must hold a specialty S-330 license from the Utah DOPL.
  • Licenses must be renewed every 2 years with continuing education.
  • Out-of-state contractors may qualify for licensure by endorsement.
  • Voluntary surety bonds are not mandated but can provide financial security.
  • Active landscapers must carry CGL and workers’ compensation insurance.

We hope this resource provides helpful guidance as you pursue licensure and launch your landscaping business in Utah. Be sure to thoroughly review state and local requirements and maintain compliance across all licenses, permits, insurance coverage, and other credentials needed to operate legally.