PA Contractor Registration

Calling All Contractors! Have You Renewed

Your Home Improvement Registration?

The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA) has been in effect since July 1,

2009. It requires all home improvement contractors who work in the state of Pennsylvania to be

registered with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.

The HBA of Berks County wants to ensure that all of our members have access to the resources

they need to comply with this law. As a home improvement contractor, you are expected to

register every 2 years and the cost is $50. Here are answers to frequently asked questions from

the Attorney General:

Who Must Register?

– Anyone who owns or operates a home improvement business or who offers, performs, or

agrees to perform home improvements in Pennsylvania must register with the Office of Attorney

General, unless they fall into two exceptions: small contractors (less than $5,000 of work in a

calendar year), and large retailers (net worth of more than $50 million). All contractors,

including self-employed contractors and sole proprietorships, subcontractors and independent

contractors, and corporations, partnerships and all other types of business entities must be

registered, unless they fall into the two exemptions above.

– Contractors are defined as: Any person who owns and operates a home improvement business

or who undertakes, offers to undertake, or agrees to perform any home improvement. The term

includes a subcontractor or independent contractor who has contracted with a home improvement

retailer, regardless of the retailer's net worth, to provide home improvement services to the

retailer's customers.

Contractors who exclusively build new homes, commercial builders, and builders who only work

on local, state and federal government construction projects are excluded from the law.

What Information is required to register?

The law requires contractors to submit a completed application, which includes the following

information:

– Contact and identifying information for the applicant (including information on any prior home

improvement businesses operated by the applicant)

– For corporations and business entities – information on partners, officers, managers and other

parties with an interest in the business

– Information on other contractor licenses and registrations held by the applicant

– A description of the applicant's business

– Background disclosures, including information on prior bankruptcies and criminal pleas or

convictions

– Insurance policy information showing at least $50,000 of personal injury liability coverage and

$50,000 of property damage coverage

– A signed and dated certification by the applicant

– A non-refundable application fee of $50, payable to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Do Contractors Need to Display Their Registration # on Their Vehicles?

Your registration number must be included in any advertisements, contracts, estimates and

proposals that you use in Pennsylvania. If your vehicle includes an advertisement of your

business, then it must display your HIC Registration number.

Your number display must include the abbreviation "PA" and the number assigned to you

(example: PA123456). Though the law does not dictate where your number must appear in

contracts or advertisements, it must be clearly displayed so the consumer can easily read it.

What Needs to be in Contracts for Home Improvements?

Every contract for home improvements needs to be written, legible and signed by the consumer

and the contractor (or their representatives). Contracts must also contain important provisions,

including the total price of the project; estimated start and completion dates; and a description of

the work.

In October 2014, HICPA was amended to allow "time and materials" contract usage by

contractors, provided the contractor: (1) informs the consumer in writing that the time and

materials contract will not exceed 10% above an initial cost estimate agreed by the homeowner;

and (2) informs the consumer in writing that any cost beyond the contract price (initial cost plus

estimated 10%) must be agreed to by the homeowner in a written change order.

Where Can I Renew My Registration?

– Contractors can renew their registration with the Office of Attorney General online

– Contractors must re-register every 2 years. Re-registration applicants will continue to use

their previously issued registration number; however, you must renew in order to avoid your HIC

number showing as expired in the HIC registry.

– Any home improvement contractor who is not registered is prohibited from offering or

performing home improvements. The failure to register is a violation of the law and unregistered

contractors face legal action, including civil penalties of $1,000 or more.

For more information, please contact:

PA Attorney General

(717) 787-3391

This information was adapted from the State Attorney General's website. You can view the full

information and more FAQ's at www.attorneygeneral.gov.