In Tennessee, aspiring contractors must acquire a Tennessee contractor license bond as part of the state-wide contractor licensing process. Contractors must get contractor license bonds based on their subspecialty and the city/county in which they operate. The bond ensures that contractors fulfill their construction work responsibilities, adhere to state laws, and compensate the public for financial harm if they don't comply with licensing regulations.
There are two types of contractor license bonds in Tennessee. Please see table below for bond amount and pricing.
Obtaining a contractor license in Tennessee is mandatory if your occupation falls within any of the six specified contractor classifications and the project costs $25,000 or more:
Additionally, several counties require a Home Improvement license for remodeling projects costing $3,000 to $25,000. These counties in Tennessee currently are Bradley, Davidson, Haywood, Hamilton, Knox, Marion, Robertson, Rutherford, and Shelby.
Here's an overview of the six different contractor classifications in the state of Tennessee:
Above are the six main classifications that contractors in Tennessee can fall into, but each of these categories has its classifications. For instance, the building combined category has 34 different classifications. Knowing and understanding which contractor type you are classified as in Tennessee is crucial.
According to Tennessee Home Improvement Law code 62-6-501, home improvement encompasses a wide range of activities to enhance, renovate, or upgrade any property or its components intended for residential use, such as a house or a dwelling with up to four separate units.
Examples relating to home improvement can be:
Furthermore, "home improvement" encompasses installing central heating or air conditioning systems, storm windows, or awnings.
Home improvement in Tennessee is not:
In Tennessee, contractors are regulated by the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors (TN BLC).
Phone: 615-741-8307 or 800-544-7693
500 James Robertson Pkwy
Nashville, TN 37243
To become a licensed contractor in Tennessee, the applicant must complete the "Business & Law" examination, which costs $55. Depending on their specific classification, some contractors may also need to pass a "Trade" examination.
Once you've successfully passed the exam, the next step is to proceed with your Tennessee Contractor's License Application. You must set up an account through CORE (Comprehensive Online Regulatory & Enforcement System) to do this online.
You can also find the application packet online. Filling out the application itself is straightforward, but please be aware that there are associated fees, and additional supporting documentation may be needed. The application fee amounts to $250, and it is non-refundable.
In addition to the application form, you'll be required to provide the following:
The application takes about 4 to 6 weeks for it to be processed by the Tennessee Board of Licensing Contractors, and once it has been processed, the license will be valid for two years.
As a reminder, licensing reciprocity occurs when states recognize a license obtained in another state, saving the contractor from completing the entire process of getting a new license. This is like how your driver's license works across different states. You don't need to demonstrate your driving skills each time you travel to a new state because they trust the validity of your license from your home state.
Tennessee has reciprocity agreements for contractor licenses with the following states:
There are two exceptions to qualify for licensing reciprocity in Tennessee:
You can access the Trade Exam Waiver Agreement (Reciprocity) by downloading it from the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance's site.
Yes, engaging in contractor work without a license in Tennessee carries consequences. Here are some examples: