How to Become a Contractor in Wisconsin

Contractor work is an attractive field for construction enthusiasts and opportunities for higher salaries. As per Indeed, general contractors in Wisconsin earn $102,300 annually – 8% more than the average American contractor. 

For those investigating how to become a contractor in Wisconsin, the process will depend on your scope of work. 

Commercial Contractors in Wisconsin

There are no state-wide licensing procedures for commercial contractors in Wisconsin. Instead, you’ll need to follow any rules set by your city or municipality. This may include licensing, registration, or insurance requirements. 

Residential Contractors in Wisconsin

Residential contractors in Wisconsin can work on 1- and 2-family dwellings. They must have or employ someone who has a Dwelling Contractor License or a Dwelling Contractor Restricted License.

There are two general license types: a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier Certification or a Dwelling Contractor License. The Qualifier Certification is a personal license held under one name. The general license is for a business.  

Dwelling Contractor license

To apply for the Dwelling Contractor License, complete the application and the Fax Payment Form. 

With your application, you’ll need:

  • To pay both a $14 application fee and a $25 credential fee
    • Veterans may be able to waive the fee (see page 2 of the application)
  • To be either the owner or partner in the business you’re representing
  • An attestation that your business complies with Worker’s Compensation laws and Unemployment Compensation laws
  • Proof of financial responsibility through:
    • General liability insurance coverage of at least $250,000 per occurrence OR 
    • A bond of at least $25,000
  • To be a legal citizen or resident of Wisconsin

Dwelling Contractor Qualifier

To get the Dwelling Contractor Qualifier, you’ll first need to complete a 12-hour pre-credential course the year before you apply for a license. You can choose from these approved providers. 

Then, complete the application, pay a $15 application fee and $30 credential fee, and submit proof that you finished the 12-hour required course.  

Electrical Contractors in Wisconsin

Electrical contractors must:

  • Complete the application
  • Be the owner, partner, or chairman of the contracting business, if applicable
  • Meet Worker’s Comp and Unemployment Comp requirements
  • Pay a $35 application fee and a $200 prorated credential fee

HVAC Contractors in Wisconsin

HVAC contractors must get the HVAC Qualifier Certification to become certified HVAC businesses. 

You will need ONE of the following:

  • 1,000 hours of job experience over 4+ years supervising HVAC system work
  • 4+ years of attendance at a mechanical engineering, college, vocational, or apprenticeship school
  • Any combination of 4 years’ experience and education 

Complete the application here.

Other Contractors in Wisconsin

There are a few other types of contractors in the state. For more information on these licenses, see the DSPS website. 

  • Automatic Fire Sprinkler Contractor
  • Elevator Contractor
  • Utility Contractor



This article is also available in the following languages; Spanish

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