Maryland Home Improvement Commission License - MHIC Contractor License ... Frequently Asked Questions/Useful Information

MHIC (Maryland Home Improvement Commission) FAQs and Helpful Information

 

Maryland State Department of labor, Licensing and Regulation website

 

1. Exam Registration
How do I register to take the exam for my license?
To register for the contractor exam, please contact PSI Exams online or 1-800-733-9267. On the PSI Homepage, click on Government/State Licensing Agencies, then select Maryland as the jurisdiction and select MD Home Improvement as the account. Then click on download Candidate Information Bulletin. The forms to order the study guide and to register for the exam are contained in the Candidate Information Bulletin.

2. Exam Retakes
I did not pass the exam. What do I need to do to retake it?
If you did not pass the exam, then you must wait for 30 days until you can reapply. Any subsequent requests cannot be made until 60 days have passed. You must pay the exam fee each time.

3. Felony Convictions
When I was younger, I was convicted of a felony. Can I still obtain a MHIC contractor license?
Each applicant is required to report to the Commission any conviction of a felony or a misdemeanor that is directly related to the fitness and qualifications of the applicant or licensee to engage in home improvement services. The applicant must provide a "true-test copy" from the clerk's office of the court where the conviction occurred. The facts the Commission shall consider in the denial, reprimand, renewal, suspension, or revocation of a license when an applicant or licensee is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor are: the nature of the crime; the relationship of the crime to the activities authorized by the license; with respect to a felony, the relevance of the conviction to the fitness and qualification of the applicant or licensee to provide home improvement services; the length of time since the conviction; and the behavior and activities of the applicant or licensee before and after the conviction.

4. Financial Solvency
What is financial solvency and why is it required?
Each applicant for a home improvement contractor's license must meet the Commission's financial solvency guidelines based upon the applicant's personal assets. The Commission does not consider business assets when evaluating an applicant's financial solvency. The Commission requires each contractor to show financial solvency because the Guaranty Fund will compensate a homeowner up to $20,000 (or the amount of the contract) in the event the contractor performs an unworkmanlike, inadequate, or incomplete home improvement. Any applicant who does not meet the financial solvency guidelines may purchase a surety bond or obtain an indemnitor, or co-signer.

5. Out-of-State Contractor's License
We are currently located in Northern Virginia and provide services to all homeowners within Virginia. We are interested in providing services in Maryland also, but would like to get more information about Maryland licensing. We do not have an office in the state of Maryland. Are we able to work in Maryland legally with our Virginia license? Or must we have a separate license for the state of Maryland?
Each contractor who solicits or performs home improvement services in Maryland is required to hold a MHIC license. This is true regardless of whether the contractor holds a license in another State. It is also true even if the contractor does not have an office in Maryland. Out-of-state contractors must also register with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.

6. License Application
Our company would like to know what are the requirements for general contactors to get licensed in the state of MD. Is there an application/testing process?
Yes, each individual who wishes to obtain a MHIC license as a contractor, subcontractor, or salesperson must register to take the licensure exam. After passing the exam, the individual receives the license application package. The exams are administered by PSI Exams, Inc. For more information about registering for the exam, please visit the PSI Exams website and follow the links to the Maryland Home Improvement Commission's Candidate Information Bulletin.

The Commission hosts a free workshop on the third Thursday of every other month (even numbered months only) at 2 p.m. for anyone who is interested in learning more about the licensing requirements and process. The workshop is held at 500 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. Registration is not required. Please use the Centre Street entrance.

7. Reciprocity
I am a licensed contractor in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I have taken and passed the PSI Exams for Virginia. Do I still have to take the contractor exam for Maryland? If so please advise me of the steps to obtain MD Home Improvement License.


The Maryland Home Improvement Commission does not offer reciprocity with any other States because each licensee must demonstrate knowledge of the Maryland laws and regulations.

The Commission hosts a free workshop on the third Thursday of every other month (even numbered months only) at 2 p.m. for anyone who is interested in learning more about the licensing requirements and process. The workshop is held at 500 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. Registration is not required. Please use the Centre Street entrance.

 

8. How long does the MHIC license application approval process take?
If the application is complete and correct, the approval process may take 2-3 weeks. Typically, the applicant will receive a paper license by mail within 10 days of the application being approved.

The Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) Exam

The MHIC exam is administered by PSIExams.com.

 

It is an open-book exam, which means that you can have approved reference materials with you during the exam.  

 

MHIC Contractor Exam

55 questions
Passing Score: 39/70% passing score
150 Minutes for the exam

 

Sections
Home Improvement Law (41 questions)
Door-to-Door Sales Act (4 questions)
Labor Laws (3 questions)
Safety Regulations (4 questions)
Estimating (3 questions)

 

The reference materials may be highlighted and underlined.  But no additional notes are allowed. 

 

Though it is an open-book exam, passing it can be difficult for several reasons.

  1. You must be able to locate the answers in the reference materials.
  2. You must be able to understand and accurately answer 'tricky' questions.
  3. Some questions are not updated and are based upon much older editions of the reference materials.  This means that the answers to some questions have changed or worse yet, may not be in the reference materials at all.
  4. Some questions are based upon additional reference materials that are not allowed during the exam.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE DIRECTLY FROM THE PSI BULLETIN:

Important: If you fail the licensing examination, there is a waiting period of 30 days before that individual is eligible to retake the test; each subsequent retest requires a waiting period of 60 days.

 

For these reasons and numerous others many prudent contractors decide to take our exam preparation course.

Additional Useful Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) Guidelines for Residential Contractors

Useful Information/Maryland Home Improvement Commission Guidelines

The following information is taken directly from a nearly 30-page evaluation of the Maryland Home Improvement Commission.  The entire evaluation is available at the General Assembly of Maryland, Department of Legislative Services website at http://dls.state.md.us

The Home Improvement Industry in Maryland

Statute defines home improvement to be the addition to or alteration, repair, or replacement of a building used as a residence. The definition explicitly excludes the construction of a new home or activities that fall under other occupational licensing categories such as plumbing. The definition is also somewhat fluid as standards for homes and their amenities change over time.

The home improvement industry is large and loosely organized, with more than 80 categories of work that require licensure. Many contractors do not specialize in specific home improvement trades; instead they provide multiple services. Because home improvement contractors are licensed by the State, these practitioners may be perceived as competent at performing the tasks for which they are hired; however, the required examination for licensure in Maryland does not include a skills-based assessment. Instead the examination tests the applicant’s regulatory understanding and business management aptitude.

Maryland home improvement law and regulations require at least two years of “trade experience.” Related education or business management experience may be substituted for one year of trade experience.  Maryland does not have a tiered licensing structure for home improvement contractors based on experience or the value of projects undertaken.

For a contractor’s license, MHIC requires proof of financial solvency and proof of  general liability insurance but allows licensees to use their discretion regarding the type, value, and complexity of projects undertaken. Regulation of this industry is difficult because some licensees may contract only for small projects, and some licensees – who work for or own large home improvement businesses – may take on expensive projects like home remodeling or other major renovations. Regardless, a Maryland contractor’s license allows an individual to undertake home improvement projects large and small.

Definition of "Home Improvement" in Maryland by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC)

According to § 8-101 (g) of the Business Regulation Article:

Home Improvement” means: (i) the addition to or alteration, conversion, improvement, modernization, remodeling, repair, or replacement of a building or part of a building that is used or designed to be used as a residence or a structure adjacent to that building; or (ii) an improvement to land adjacent to the building.

(2) “Home improvement” includes: (i) construction, improvement, or replacement, on land adjacent to the building, of a driveway, fall-out shelter, fence, garage, landscaping, deck, pier, porch, or swimming pool; (ii) a shore erosion control project, as defined under § 8-1001 of the Natural Resources Article, for a residential property; (iii) connection, installation, or replacement, in the building or structure, of a dishwasher, disposal, or refrigerator with an icemaker to existing exposed household plumbing lines; (iv) installation, in the building or structure, of an awning, fire alarm, or storm window; and (v) work done on individual condominium units.

(3) “Home improvement” does not include: (i) construction of a new home; (ii) work done to comply with a guarantee of completion for a new building project; (iii) connection, installation, or replacement of an appliance to existing exposed plumbing lines that requires alteration of the plumbing lines; (iv) sale of materials, if the seller does not arrange to perform or does not perform directly or indirectly any work in connection with the installation or application of the materials; (v) work done on apartment buildings that contain four or more single-family units; or (vi) work done on the commonly owned areas of condominiums.

Projects that typically require a Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) License (Not All-Inclusive)

If you perform work or projects that fall into the following categories, usually you are required to be licensed by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC). (Not All Inclusive)


Take a look now.  You'll find that some of the most basic projects actually require the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) license.

1. Acid Cleaning
2. Acoustical Treatment
3. Awnings
4. Bathrooms
5. Bricklaying
6. Bulkheads
7. Cabinet Installation
8. Carpentry
9. Carports
10. Caulking
11. Ceilings
12. Chimneys
13. Club Rooms
14. Decks
15. Doors
16. Driveways
17. Dry Walls
18. Excavating
19. Fallout Shelters
20. Fences
21. Fire Alarm Systems
22. Fire Escapes
23. Fireplaces
24. Flagstone
25. Floor Laying & Refinishing
26. Foundations
27. Garages
28. Gas Burners
29. Glaziers
30. Grating
31. Guards
32. Hot Tubs – Permanent
33. House Movers
34. Insulation
35. Iron, Ornamental
36. Jalousies
37. Kitchen Cabinets
38. Landscaping
39. Linoleum
40. Locks
41. Marble
42. Mirror Installation
43. Painting
44. Paneling
45. Patios
46. Paving
47. Piers
48. Plastering
49. Plastic Screening
50. Pointing
51. Porch Enclosures
52. Radon Gas Mitigation
53. Railings
54. Replacement of appliances
55. Roofing
56. Sandblasting
57. Screens – Doors/Windows – Door/Window
58. Sealants – Deck/Driveway
59. Sheet Metal Works
60. Shower Bath Enclosures
61. Sidewalks
62. Siding
63. Sinks & Counter Tops
64. Skylights
65. Sod (when landscaping)
66. Solar Film on Windows
67. Solar Systems
68. Stained Glass
69. Stairs
70. Stone – Cast
71. Stone Masonry
72. Storm Windows & Doors
73. Stucco
74. Swimming Pools
75. Tile
76. Terrazzo
77. Vanities
78. Wallpapering
79. Wall Coverings
80. Waterproofing
81. Windows

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