Don't Wait to Obtain a Michigan Builder's License

In Michigan, just like in other states, un-licensed contractors that prey on unsuspecting homeowners have become an annual issue. Needless to say, it’s not a good thing.

Robert Filka, chief operating officer of the Home Builders Association of Michigan, pulled no punches in a news release. He called unlicensed builders “scam artists.” He warned that they “will try to con you in several different ways.”

Among them:

  • Asking the customer to pull the building permit
  • Arguing that no permit is needed at all
  • Saying they have “left over” material from another job and therefore can do the job cheaper

All of those are bad signs for customers. Unlicensed builders can’t pull permits. Licensed builders do not carry over materials from one project to the next.

But the warning to consumers from Filka also serves as a serious reminder that those who wish to work as builders in Michigan. Those who don’t obtain a license face severe penalties that include substantial fines and jail time.

Getting a Michigan builders license has never been more convenient, but it will require effort on the builder’s part.

What A License Gets You

For anyone interested in doing home construction – a booming business that needs workers – it’s important to understand the law in Michigan.

Any project that costs $600 or more for labor and materials requires a license from the state Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth.

A contractor who wants to build new homes or do remodeling work needs a Michigan Builders License. A state Maintenance & Alteration license is needed for those who have met the requirements for 14 different trades recognized by the state. They include:

  • Carpentry
  • Concrete
  • Excavation
  • Insulation work
  • Masonry
  • Painting and decorating
  • Siding
  • Roofing
  • Screens and storm sash
  • Gutters
  • Tile and marble
  • House wrecking
  • Swimming pools
  • Basement waterproofing

Working without the proper license can result in severe criminal penalties. The state legislature in 2008 made it a misdemeanor to work in construction without a license, with a first-time offense penalty of a $500 fine and imprisonment of up to 90 days.

A second offense can lead to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail. The message is clear: get a license.

Obtaining a Michigan Builders License

Obtaining a Michigan Builders License requires passing the state-administered Michigan Builders Exam. An application with the state must first be filled out and filed. A fee of $195 is required for the license (it’s waved for military veterans).

Before the exam, the state also requires taking 60 hours of prelicensure courses that include topics such as business management, design, risk assessment, marketing and sales and project management.

That’s where Michigan Builders License comes in. They offer the state-approved prelicensure courses through online courses. They also offer traditional classrooms in Livonia, Bloomfield Hills and Grand Rapids. The company has helped builders earn their license since 1982.

That makes getting a license easier. And it’s also a critical step to offering consumers the best service and product possible – and avoid significant trouble with the law.