Answers To Your Handyman Licensing Questions
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Oregon Handyman Licenses and Laws

I’ve read through the contracting laws for the state of Oregon to find out what a handyman can do without getting a contractor’s license.

Relative to many states, Oregon is not a very handyman friendly state and has quite a few restrictions on what you can do without a license.

For example, on the Oregon.gov website, it says “No advertising is allowed.” But, I find this to be very vague, so I dug in a little deeper.

Here’s what I learned…

What are the requirements to be a handyman in Oregon?

There is no “handyman license” in Oregon. However, there are limitations on the jobs you can perform without a contractor’s license.

What are the limitions of handyman work in Oregon?

  1. You cannot complete projects where the contract value exceeds $1,000. This eliminates pretty much all big jobs. But still leaves a lot of room for small repairs and other services. Also, that $1,000 includes all labor and materials involved.
  2. The work you do must be actual, minor or inconsequential. Basically, that means you can’t do anything that affects the health or safety of the owner or occupant. That means nothing structural or involving harmful materials like lead or asbestos.

And lastly, there is some information about advertising, which is restricted if you don’t have a contractor’s license.

Here’s what it says in the Construction Contracting Licensing Act under the exemptions section:

“A person working on one structure or project, under one or more contracts, when the aggregate price of all of that person’s contracts for labor, materials and all other items is less than $1,000 and such work is of a casual, minor or inconsequential nature. This subsection does not apply to a person who advertises or puts out any sign or card or other device that might indicate to the public that the person is a contractor.”

How I interpret this, and I’m NOT a legal professional, is that you can do minor jobs under $1,000 as long as your aren’t advertising as a contractor. But, that doesn’t say you can’t advertise – just make sure that if you do, you make it very clear that you are not a contractor. You may even need to outwardly say this in any advertising.

Can I do minor Plumbing in Oregon without a license?

Based on the laws that I read, I would NOT recommend doing any plumbing because that does effect the health and safety of homeowners. Technically, even changing out a faucet effects the health and safety of people because they may be drinking out of it.

Changing a shower head though? This is where things get a little gray, and it’s open for interpretation. But, I’ve found that it’s better to err on the safe side so you don’t run into any trouble – and I certainly wouldn’t recommend advertising plumbing services.

How about electrical work?

Again, you’ll want to stay away from electrical as well because it certainly effects the safety of the occupants or owners. Let’s say you hang a ceiling fan and it falls on somebody.

Obviously, the laws leave a lot of room for interpretation, as is the case with most states. Unfortunately, they will never give you a list of repairs you can and cannot do – as nice as that would be.

So, err on the safe side and do NOT advertise any electrical or plumbing.

What services can you provide as a Handyman?

Despite these restrictions, there are still plenty of services you could offer. Fence repairs, door repairs, window repairs, small painting jobs, power-washing, wall-mounting TVs, hanging pictures, patching drywall, installing baseboards, furniture assembly, and fixing any of the other thousands of things that go wrong in a home.

If you’re wondering if busy people will pay for theses services, the answer is YES!

Already offering handyman services in Oregon?

If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below to share your knowledge or experience.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • lacy September 2, 2017, 3:32 am

    Thank you for this information. I too, found the Oregon websites on handymen to be confusing and lacking in information. I value this and thanks again.

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