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Handyman Exemption

Arizona law requires companies and individuals in the trades ... plumbing, cooling and heating, electrical and the like ... to be licensed by the Registrar of Contractors.

There are exemptions to these licensing requirements listed under Arizona Revised Statutes 32-1121. However, most of the exemptions do not affect the consumer directly.

The most frequently claimed exemption to the licensing requirements is "handyman". The law allows individuals who perform minor repairs or installations to do so without being licensed. To qualify for the handyman exemption, two conditions must be met:

1. The work does not require a local building permit.

AND

2. The total cost of the project, including labor, tools and material does not exceed $1000.00.

As used in Arizona law, the term "total cost of the project" does not refer strictly to the handyman's labor. As an example, a handyman can not build a brick fireplace for $1000.00 in a $10,000.00 addition to a home. The "total" cost of the project would be considered as $11,000.00. In such cases, the "handyman" is required to be a licensed contractor.

As another example, a handyman installing the same fireplace in an existing home for $1000.00 would still need to be licensed, if a local building permit was required to perform the work.

Consumers who hire unlicensed contractors for work with a total value that exceeds $1000.00, lose valuable rights under Arizona consumer protection laws. For more information, contact the Arizona Registrar of Contractors Tucson office at (520) 628-6345, or on the Internet at www.azroc.gov.
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