Tennessee State Contractor License Requirements

In the state of Tennessee a contractor license is required by any person or company who applies as the prime contractor. This contractor license is mandatory for projects $25,000 and up for various trades in the building field such as prime contractor and subcontractor. It is also needed in order to obtain a permit from each local codes office. Licenses are issued to an individual or business but proof of financial stability is required such as financial statements. In addition the applicant must pass a qualifying exam
 
Subcontractors, bidding to a licensed contractor for jobs are not required to obtain a contractor license except for electrical, plumbing, HVAC, or Mechanical work. The categories include to construct, repair, move, improve, alter, demolish, put up, tear down, or furnishing labor to install material or equipment.

Home Improvement Contractor License

The Home Improvement trade license is required by law for remodeling to residential homes where the cost is from $3,000 to not exceeding $25,000 ($25,000 and up require a "Contractor" license).  This license is required to replace, repair, remodel, alter, change, modernize, improve, or add onto to any land or building, such as porches, driveways, swimming pools, garages, fences, landscaping, roofing, painting and other improvements around the main residence. 

Electrical Trade License

Electrical work is licensed at different levels in Tennessee

  • State Contractor's License
  • Local License (Journeyman/Master)
  • Limited Licensed Electrician (LLE)

Limited Licensed Electrician (LLE)

This license is issued by the state  and is only required for electricians:

  • Working on projects LESS THAN $25,000
  • Working in a municipality where there is not a local license agency for inspections

If they have a contractor license with a CE classification, they are exempt from the LLE; but not exempt from local license or inspections.

Local License (City/County) or Journeyman/Master

A local electrical license is required, regardless of the monetary amount of the project, in areas where there is a code enforcement. This type of licensing is also referred to as journeyman/master, etc. Every county is different and electricians must adhere to each local requirement.  Electricians with a state contractors CE license will not be required to take the local electrical exam but will need to pay the qualifying fees.

Contractor License (CE)

This state trade license is required for electrical work where the total cost is $25,000 or more.  The "CE" electrical classification is accepted statewide, and additional exams are not required in each county or municipality.  However, you must adhere to their local permit and licensing rules within their jurisdiction and pay local fees. Contractors with a CE are exempt from the Limited Licensed Electrician (LLE) license requirements but must obtain local licenses, permits and inspections.

Limited Licensed Plumber (LLP)

A plumber’s trade license is required for projects less than $25,000. This applies in municipalities without local plumbing licensing agencies.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance defines plumbing work as:

“The construction, alteration, repair, improvement, movement, demolition, putting up, tearing down, or furnishing labor to install material or equipment within any residential or commercial building of all piping, fixtures, and appliances for the supply of gas, water, liquids or disposal of waster water or sewage; provided, that there is no intent to require licensure under this part for plumbing work performed outside a residential or commercial building, including but not limited to utility connections or irrigation systems.”

Sprinklers and Fire Protection Contractor

To be a sprinklers and fire protection contractor an applicant must:

  • Get registered at the Division of Fire Prevention, Permits and Licenses Section
  • Be familiar with the Tennessee Fire Protection Sprinkler System Code Rules and Regulations.
  • Post a $10,000 surety bond if not  licensed by the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors,

Consumers are advised to check for additional local municipal contractor license requirements as contractor laws can differ from county to county. It is also advised to double check with the state’s requirements before hiring a contractor.

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