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General Contractor Registration in Montana

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The State of Montana regulates their construction industry through the Montana Department of Labor & Industry (DLI).  The state does not have a licensing law for contractors.  Instead, they offer two forms of registration for anyone participating in or working on a construction project.  The DLI ensures that all contractors employing workers are in compliance with Montana Worker’s Compensation Law, and that they carry the proper worker’s compensation insurance.  The DLI also ensures that independent contractors understand their right to insurance themselves, and waive the right to obtain Montana worker’s compensation insurance.

The DLI operates two units that handle the registration of contractors in the State of Montana:

  1. Construction Contractor Registration Unit– registers construction contractors and ensures that they carry Montana worker’s compensation insurance
  2. Independent Contractor Central Unit– offers an exemption certificate for independent contractors who do not plan to carry Montana worker’s compensation insurance, but plan to purchase worker’s compensation insurance on their own

The type of business that the contractor plans to operate, and the decision to employ workers determines the unit with which the contractor should register.  Contractor registration in the State of Montana protects the consumer in the event of a liability.  Registration also helps the contractor obtain work by improving their credibility.  The State of Montana does not have any work experience, bonding or examination or other pre-qualifying education requirements.

Registration Classification in Montana

The Montana DLI offers two different classifications for registration depending on the contractor’s business type:

  1. Construction Contractor Registration (CR)– offered by the Construction Contractor Registration Unit of the DLI.  Any contractor or subcontractor operating a business that employs workers, such as a corporation or manager-managed limited liability company (LLC), must register and prove that they hold Montana worker’s compensation insurance.
  2. Independent Contractor Exemption Certificate (ICEC)– offered by the Independent Contractor Central Unit (ICCU) of the DLI.  Any sole proprietor or independent contractor who does not employ workers is required to obtain Montana worker’s compensation coverage or register for an exemption certificate with the ICCU and sign a waiver stating that they waive their right to worker’s compensation benefits from the State, in the event of a liability.  It is important to note that the DLI defines an independent contractor as anyone who works independently, free from the control or direction of a hiring agent, in a business, trade or profession which they have established independently.  Without insurance from the State, independent contractors must purchase their own worker’s compensation.
*In some cases, contractors may want to apply for both CR and ICEC.  Such business types include, sole proprietors, partnership, limited liability partnership (LLP), member of a manager-managed LLC, or a manager of a manager-managed LLC.

 Preparing to Submit an Application

For a copy of the CR application, please visit:

http://assets.dli.mt.gov/erd/wcrdocs/dli-erd-wcr001.pdf

There are two separate ICEC applications, depending on the type of business the contractor plans to operate.  Each ICEC application also contains a waiver form, stating that the contractor does not plan to cover themselves under Montana worker’s compensation insurance.  Follow the link below and click the Independent Contractor Exemption Certificate Application that matches the contractor’s business type:

http://erd.dli.mt.gov/work-comp-regulations/montana-contractor/applications-and-forms

Be sure to read the application packet in its entirety and follow all instructions.  To avoid delays in the registration process, be sure to answer all questions on the application completely.  Fill out the application using blue or black ink.  Do not use whiteout on the application.  Be sure to sign the application.  All ICEC applicants must also complete and sign the waiver form, included in the application packet, in order for the DLI to accept their application.

Both the CR and the ICEC applications request the following information:

  • Contractor’s Name/ Business Name
  • Business Type; i.e. sole proprietor, corporation, LLP, LCC, etc.
  • Mailing Address
  • Business Physical Address
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Contractor’s Social Security Number

All CR applicants must provide their Federal Employee Identification Number, for tax purposes.  All CR applicants are also required to provide their worker’s compensation policy number.  Worker’s compensation insurance must mention the State of Montana under section 3A of the policy.

All ICEC applicants must submit documents proving that they have an established business for each occupation chosen on the application.

If the contractor has questions or needs assistance filling out the application, call the appropriate unit for more information:

Construction Contractor Registration Unit- 406-444-0563

Independent Contractor Central Unit- 406-444-9029

*In-person assistance with the application is also available at the contractor’s local Job Service Workforce Center.

Submitting an Application

The cost to register with the Montana Department of Labor & Industry is:

  • $53 -for CR applicants
  • $125 -for ICEC applicants
*If the contractor is applying for both CR and ICEC they must pay both fees.

The DLI accepts payments in the form of a check, made payable to “Montana Department of Labor & Industry” or “DLI.”

Mail the completed application, along with all required information, documents and fees to:

Contractors Registration Unit/ Independent Contractor Central Unit (depending on the application type)

P.O. Box 8011
Helena, Montana 59604-8011

Applications are also accepted, in-person at the Department’s physical address at:

1805 Prospect Avenue
Helena, Moutana 59601

Once the DLI accepts the contractor’s application, they will issue the registration or exemption certificate.  While registered with the DLI, all contractors are required to provide clients with a written contract for any construction project they secure.  All contracts must include the following information:

  • Type of work the contractor intends to perform
  • Project start date
  • Project completion date
  • Materials the contractor intends to use
  • Payment agreed upon, pending the project’s completion
  • Liability if the contractor fails to complete the project

All consumers and clientele have the right to verify that the contractor is registered with the DLI, and that they hold Montana worker’s compensation insurance or an exemption certificate.  They also have the right to ask the contractor to provide references that prove that they are an expert in their field of construction.

*Any contractor working without a CR or ICEC in the State of Montana is subject to fines and penalties.  Any business employing workers that does not hold current, up-to-date Montana worker’s compensation insurance is also subject to fines and penalties under Montana law.

How Long is a Montana General Contractors Registration Valid?

Registration in the State of Montana is valid for a period of 2 years.

For information on renewing a Montana Construction Contractors Registration, contact the Contractor Registration Unit at:

406-444-0563

For more information on renewing an Independent Contractor Exemption Certificate, contact the Independent Contractor Central Unit at:

406-444-9029

Table of Fees

Fee What is it For? When is it Due?
$53 Construction Contractors Registration Fee Upon submitting the Construction Contractors Registration Application
$125 Independent Contractor Exemption Certificate Fee Upon submitting the Independent Contractor Exemption Certificate Application