Calling All Contractors! Have You Renewed
Your Home Improvement Registration?
Word Count 745
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
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
– 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
– 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
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
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.