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When it comes to residential contracting, home improvement contractors and homeowners go hand in hand. You may know about Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) registration but there’s always more to learn!

In the last blog of our five-part, “HIC-Easy as 1-2-3” blog series, we explore HIC law from a contractor’s perspective.

Who is considered a home improvement contractor?

A home improvement contractor is someone who does work on a 1-4 unit residential property in Massachusetts that is also the homeowner’s primary dwelling. Under the HIC law, subcontractors also classify as home improvement contractors.

Remember that obtaining a HIC registration is different from obtaining a construction license. Generally, most contractors should be licensed but may need to register with HIC. Use our website to check if your work requires an HIC registration.

How do I register as a home improvement contractor?

You can register as: an individual, proprietorship, or corporation  online or in-person. When registering as a corporation, you must submit documentation showing that your business is registered with the Secretary of State’s Office. If you’re registering a proprietorship or Doing Business As (DBA), you must provide a current copy of the business certificate filed with the city or town clerk where your business is located. In addition, there is a $150 registration free and a mandatory contribution to the Guaranty Fund.

You must renew your HIC registration every 2 years. Failure to renew within 30 days after each 2 year mark will result in the need for you to re-pay the initial HIC registration and Guaranty fund fee.

How can I protect myself when working with a homeowner?

You and the homeowner should both agree on and sign a detailed written contract. Necessary contract items include, but are not limited to, legal names of involved parties, start and completion dates, total project cost, materials, and payment schedule. A list of contract items and a sample contract can be found on our website. You may also be eligible to file for arbitration if there is a clause in the written contract that permits it.

Additional HIC resources for contractors:

 

Sadly, we’ve come to the end of our “HIC-Easy as 1-2-3” blog series. Do not hesitate to contact our Consumer Hotline at 617-973-8787 or toll free at 888-283-3757 with questions regarding the HIC law. We hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as we have! Continue to visit our blog for information on consumer topics, scams, HIC law, and more!

 


The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s vehicular and customized wheelchair Lemon Laws and Arbitration Programs, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry. If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer.

 

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