Maine does not require general contractors to be licensed and does not regulate their activities. That said, Maine’s Office of the Attorney General does accept and investigate complaints against contractors and will bring a lawsuit against the contractor if mediation does not resolve the complaint. Although general contractors are not subject to licensing in Maine, practitioners of certain building trades are. In this post, we’ll cover how to get a Maine contractor’s license and other important information you need to know.
Licensing of Building Trades Professionals
If you are operating as a general contractor and plying certain trades, you do need to be licensed in that trade in Maine. Building trade professionals subject to state licensing requirements in Maine include: architects, engineers, plumbers, electricians, oil burner technicians, and manufacturers, dealers and installers of mobile and modular homes.
You can apply for a specialty trades license online from the Office of Professional and Financial Regulation. Simply choose your profession from the list provided and follow the application instructions. Licensing in most of these trades requires a passing score of 70% or better on a pre-licensing examination designed to ensure technical competence. Keep in mind that there are also multiple fees, which are specified for each trade. For example, licensing as an electrician involves an application fee, an examination fee, and a license fee.
Local Licensing Requirements
Be aware that some municipalities require local licensing of businesses and the issuance of building permits, but there is no central listing of them. Before you take on a project in any Maine municipality, be sure to check with local officials for any such requirements you will need to meet.
Registering a Business in Maine
All business entities operating in Maine must register with the Department of the Secretary of State, Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions. Sole proprietors operating under their own name need not register with the state.
Fillable registration forms are available online, but once they are filled out, the completed forms must be printed and submitted via mail. They cannot be filed online.
Is a Contractor’s License Bond Required?
It’s possible that a specific municipality will require both a local license and a contractor’s license bond. It’s more likely, however, that a contractor will need to purchase a bid bond and/or a performance and payment bond in order to work on a public works project.
Even if a bond is not required for the project, obtaining a bond is still a good idea. Here’s something to think about. The Office of the Attorney General in Maine warns consumers to be very careful when hiring a contractor to build a new home or remodel an existing one, because there is no statewide licensing of general contractors. In fact, the state warns consumers that “the lack of state licensing allows the worst contractors to compete for your business alongside the best.” Obtaining a surety bond on your own initiative for larger projects is a good way to assure potential clients of your integrity and professionalism. Contractors who do this find that it boosts their reputation and gives them a competitive edge in marketing their services.
Get Bonded Today
If a Maine municipality is requiring you to obtain a contractor’s license bond or you want to purchase a surety bond as a guarantee for your clients, the experts at Surety Bond Professionals are here to help. Contact us today for assistance with your bonding questions or to request a quote.