How to Get a Plumber’s License in South Carolina

Becoming a licensed plumber in South Carolina requires meeting experience requirements, passing exams, and applying for the appropriate license. This guide provides an overview of the different license types, steps to get licensed, renewal, reciprocity, licensing by location, bond requirements, and insurance needs.

Types of Plumbing Licenses in South Carolina

There are two main license types for plumbers in South Carolina:

Residential Specialty Plumbing Contractor: Required to do any residential plumbing work exceeding $200 in value. Issued by the Residential Builders Commission.

Mechanical Plumbing Contractor: Required for commercial plumbing work exceeding $5,000 in value. Issued by the Contractor’s Licensing Board.

In addition, some municipalities issue their own plumbing licenses and certificates, such as through the Municipal Association of South Carolina. However, these are not a substitute for the required statewide plumbing contractor licenses.

Steps to Get a Plumber’s License in South Carolina

Follow these main steps to get licensed as a plumber in South Carolina:

1. Meet Experience Requirements

  • Residential: 1 year of full-time experience in the past 5 years.
  • Commercial: 2 years of full-time experience in the past 5 years.

Experience must be gained while employed by a licensed plumber. Apprenticeships can also count towards the requirements.

2. Pass Required Exams

Both license types require passing a business management and law exam, plus a trade exam:

  • Business Management & Law Exam (2 hours, open book)
  • Residential Plumbing Exam (3 hours, open book)
  • Commercial Plumbing Exam (4 hours, open book)

Exams are administered by PSI.

3. Submit License Application

File the appropriate application along with exam results, fees, and other required items. Key documents include:

  • Proof of general liability insurance
  • Surety bond
  • Secretary of State business registration (if applicable)

See license costs below. Allow 2-4 weeks for processing.

4. Maintain License

Licenses must be renewed every 2 years prior to expiration to remain valid. No continuing education is required in South Carolina currently.

Plumbing License Reciprocity in South Carolina

South Carolina has plumbing license reciprocity agreements with Ohio and Tennessee for the commercial mechanical plumbing contractor license. Applicants can get licensed by reciprocity through verification of their out-of-state license.

The residential plumbing contractor license has no reciprocity agreements. Applicants must meet South Carolina’s requirements even if licensed in another state.

Plumbing Licensing by Location in South Carolina

In addition to the state plumbing licenses, some local jurisdictions in South Carolina require plumbers to hold a municipal/county license or registration when working there:

City/CountyPlumbing License/Permit Info
CharlestonContractor licenses
ColumbiaConstruction permits
FlorenceContractor business licenses
GreenvilleContractor licenses
Hilton Head IslandContractor licenses
Myrtle BeachContractor business licenses
North CharlestonBusiness licenses
Rock HillContractor licenses

Contact the local permitting office for specific plumbing licensing and registration requirements in your jurisdiction.

South Carolina Plumbing License Bond Requirements

South Carolina requires plumbers to obtain a surety bond to get their state contractor’s license. This table summarizes the bond requirements:

License TypeBond Amount
Residential Plumbing$10,000
Commercial Plumbing$7,000 – $400,000*

*Commercial bond amount based on project size and net worth.

The bond for each license must be maintained throughout the licensure period. Some municipalities also require a separate plumbing bond to work in their jurisdiction.

Bonds for South Carolina can be obtained through surety bond producers/agents or purchased instantly online. typical 1-year bond costs range from $100 – $225.

Insurance Requirements for South Carolina Plumbers

Plumbers in South Carolina are required to maintain general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance (if they have employees).

The South Carolina Residential Builders Commission requires residential plumbing contractors to carry:

  • $100,000 in general liability insurance
  • $50,000 in property damage insurance

There are no set insurance minimums specified by the state for commercial plumbing contractors. However, they must provide proof of general liability coverage within their license application and should consult with an insurance agent on appropriate policy limits for their business and clientele. Learn more about the intricacies and costs of South Carolina plumbing insurance from our comprehensive article.

Optional insurance coverage to consider includes:

  • Professional liability – Protects against financial loss from errors and omissions
  • Commercial auto – Covers vehicles used for business purposes
  • Equipment/tools coverage – Insures business equipment for loss or damage
  • Data/cyber protection – Covers data breaches and digital theft

In summary, getting licensed as a plumber in South Carolina involves meeting experience requirements, passing two exams per license type, submitting a complete application, complying with bond and insurance mandates, and keeping the license renewed. Be sure to also check local licensing rules based on where plumbing work will be performed.