Since 1980, the State of Michigan has regulated their construction industry by requiring general contractors to be licensed. Any person or business performing contracted construction work worth $600 or more in labor and materials, is required to hold a Residential Builder’s License.
A Residential Builder’s License allows contractors to repair, improve and alter residential and commercial structures in the State of Michigan. It also proves that the person performing the work has the skills and education needed to complete the job.
Licenses are issued through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). The LARA Builder’s Unit is responsible for processing licensing applications and verifying that applicants meet the requirements and qualifications need to become a Residential Builder in the State of Michigan.
Requirements for a Michigan Residential Builder’s License
- Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
- Applicants must prove that they are financially stable and of good moral character.
- Applicants must complete 60 hours of approved pre-licensure education courses before they submit their application or take the licensing exam.
- Applicants must fill out and submit the Individual Residential Builder License Application along with all required documentation.
- Applicants must pass a 2-part examination; covering Business & Law and the trade of Residential Building.
Since 2008, the State of Michigan requires that all persons applying for a Residential Builder’s License complete 60 hours of pre-licensure education courses. These pre-approved courses must be taken before submitting the Individual Residential Builder License Application, and before the applicant takes the licensing exam.
60 hours of pre-licensure education is needed in the following subject areas:
- 6 hours of Business Management, Estimating and Job Costing
- 6 hours of Marketing and Sales
- 6 hours of Design and Building Science
- 6 hours of Contracts, Liability and Risk Management
- 6 hours of Project Management and Scheduling
- 6 hours covering Michigan Residential Code
- 6 hours covering MIOSHA Construction Safety Standards
- The applicant chooses the remaining 18 hours from a pre-approved list of courses.
For a course to count, it must be approved by LARA. To access a list of approved courses, click below and follow the link for “Pre-licensure Course Information” in the Spotlight section:
At the end of each course applicants receive a certificate of completion. Certificates of completion for each course should be attached and submitted with the license application.
*Without a certificate of completion, courses will not be counted toward the applicant’s pre-licensure education requirement.
Submitting an Application
Applicants may submit their license application once they have completed all 60 hours of pre-licensure education.
Copies of the Individual Residential Builder License Application are available online, at:
Applications may also be obtained by calling the LARA Builder’s Unit at:
Follow all directions and answer all questions truthfully when filling out the application. There are sections on the application that ask if the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime or filed for bankruptcy. These sections are to verify if the applicant is financially stable and of good moral character. If the applicant has felony convictions, liens or has filed for bankruptcy, it may reflect negatively on their application. However, each application is reviewed on an individual basis and on its own merit.
Be sure to submit all required documents along with your application, such as credit reports and certificates of completion for pre-licensure education courses.
There is also a non-refundable application fee of $195.
Submit completed applications along with the required documentation and fees to:
Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Corporation Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau Licensing Division
P.O. Box 30245
Lansing, MI 48909
If the general contractor wants to operate as an LLC, partnership or corporation in the State of Michigan, they must complete a separate form, called the Corporation, Limited Liability Company or Partnership Residential Builder and Maintenance & Alteration Contractor License Application.
For a copy of the form, go to:
Applicants must fill out the Corporation, Limited Liability Company or Partnership Residential Builder and Maintenance & Alteration Contractor License Application AND the Individual Residential Builder License Application if they want to operate as an LLC, partnership or corporation.
The State of Michigan requires Residential Building businesses to have a license, in addition to having a designated person who holds a separate, individual license. The designated person is also called the “qualifying individual.”
*The qualifying individual does not have to be the owner of the business or a shareholder. Qualifying individuals can be officers, directors, members, partners, agents, or employees within the company.
Application Review Process
It takes approximately 3 weeks for the LARA Builder’s Unit to review and process the Residential Builder’s license application.
Applications with missing documents or information are marked incomplete. LARA will contact the applicant to request the missing information or documentation. Applicants then have 1 year to submit the missing information before the application is thrown out. If the application is thrown out, a new application and fee must be submitted if the contractor still wishes to apply.
If the applicant receives a denial letter because of prior convictions or financial hardships, they have 30 days to submit a written appeal to the Residential Builders and Maintenance & Alteration Contractor’s Board. The applicant is also given the opportunity to appear before the Board to prove that they are currently financially stable and of good moral character.
If the applicant meets all the requirements and the application is approved by LARA, they will receive a letter of authorization, allowing them to take Residential Builder’s licensing exam.
Registering for the Licensing Exam
Once the applicant receives authorization, they must register to take the Michigan Residential Builder’s License exam. The examination is administered by PSI Services LLC.
Follow one of the following steps to register for the exam:
- Register online. Click on the link for new user registration:
- Download and print a registration application online. Fill out the Michigan Residential Builder Board Examinations Registration Form at the bottom of the packet: http://candidate.psiexams.com/bulletin/display_bulletin.jsp?ro=yes&actionname=83&bulletinid=131&bulletinurl=.pdf Submit the registration application along with the examination fee to:
PSI Examination Services
100 West Broadway
Glendale, CA 91210
Fax the application to PSI Examination Services at:
(702) 373- 2162
|Examination Fee||How the Fee is Applied|
|$111||Cost for first-time test takers taking both portions of the exam|
|$106||Cost for retaking both portions of the exam.|
|$66||Cost for retaking the Business & Law portion of the exam|
|$76||Cost for retaking the Practice/Trade exam|
The State of Michigan’s Residential Builder licensing examination is a 2-part, closed-book exam. Examinees must pass:
- The Business & Law Exam– composed of 50 multiple choice questions. This exam takes approximately 75 minutes to complete and requires a passing score of at least 72%.
- The Trade Exam– composed of 100 questions covering topics related to the trade of Residential Building. This portion takes approximately 150 minutes to complete and requires a passing score of at least 73%.
For an outline of the exam topics and a list of suggested study materials, please visit:
The local library may have some of the suggested readings and materials on file.
It takes PSI Services approximately 4 business days to process the exam registration application. PSI then provides the applicant with a list of available examination dates for scheduling.
To schedule the examination call PSI’s 24-hour automated system at: 1-800-733-9267. Applicants have the option to speak with a representative between 7:30am and 8:00pm E.T. on weekdays.
The examination is given in the following locations:
- Grand Rapids
Examinees are advised to arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes before their test to allow time for signing in.
Bring at least 2 forms of current, valid identification, to the exam including:
- Valid photo ID- such as a driver’s license, government-issued ID or passport
- ID containing the examinees signature- such as a bank card, credit card, student or military ID.
Examinees are given their scores on the day of the exam before they leave the testing center. Passing scores are valid for one year following the test date.
To retake one or both portions of the test, applicants must re-register for the exam by and submit the appropriate examination fee.
*Applicants are allowed to re-take the exam an unlimited number of times until they pass.
Receiving a Michigan Residential Builder’s License
Once the applicant passes the exam, PSI Services notifies the Michigan Licensing Division. Licensees receive a wall certificate and pocket card indicating that they are a Licensed Residential Builder in the State of Michigan. Contractors are required to carry the pocket card when conducting business and display the certificate in their office.
The Michigan Residential Builder’s License permits the licensee to operate as a sole proprietor. The licensee may also serve as a qualifying individual for a company or business that wishes to become licensed as a Residential Building LLC, partnership or corporation.
Licensed Residential Builders are permitted to contract work in the following categories:
- Basement Waterproofing
- House Wrecking
- Swimming Pools
- Tiles and Marble
*Licensed Residential Builders must hire a sub-contractor for trades outside of their occupation, such as plumbing, electrical work, heating, ventilation or air conditioning.
How Long is a Michigan Residential Builder’s License Valid?
A Michigan Residential Builder’s license is valid for 1 year. Licenses are renewed each year during the months of April and May for a fee of $40.
Before the license expires, LARA will mail the contractor a renewal application. Licensees can also renew their license online at:
Be sure to submit the renewal application and fee well in advance, before the license expiration date to allow time for processing.
Licensees are also required to complete a certain number of continuing education hours:
- If the contractor received their license before January 1, 2009, or if they have had their license for 6 years or more, they must complete 3 hours of continuing education every 3 years
- If the contractor received their license on or after January 1, 2009, they are required to complete 3 hours of continuing education every year, with a total of 21 hours of continuing education over a 3 year period.
Information on continuing competency course requirements can be found online. Follow the link for “continuing competency” in the “spotlight” section:
* Just like the pre-licensure education courses, continuing competency courses must be approved by LARA in order to be valid.
Table of Fees
|FEE||WHAT IS IT FOR?||WHEN IS IT DUE?|
|$195||Individual Residential Builder License Application Fee||Upon submitting the application for a Residential Builder’s License|
|$195||Corporation, Limited Liability Company or Partnership Residential Builder and Maintenance & Alteration Contractor License Application Fee||Upon submitting the application to become a Residential Building LLC, partnership or corporation|
|$40||Annual License Renewal Fee||Between the months of April and May each year during along with the license renewal application|
|$111||Residential Builder’s Licensing Exam Fee (covers both sections of the exam)||Upon registering for the examination|
|$106||Fee for Retaking both Portion of the Examination||Upon registering for the exam retake|
|$66||Fee to Retake the Business & Law Exam||Upon registering to retake the Business & Law exam|
|$76||Fee to Retake the Practice/Trade Exam||Upon registering to retake the Practice/Trade Exam|