The Five Hundred Dollar Job

California law states that an unlicensed handy man cannot charge more than $500 for a job. This pay includes labor and cost of materials. It also includes that same fee if a handyman is performing more than one job at once; for instance, a handyman hired to paint a fence, unclog a sink and repair floor boards for a home owner will walk away with no more than $500 for all work done.

The Minor Work Exemption

Though California has no handyman licensing, if a handyman wants to make more money without it being a crime, he or she will have to obtain a General Contractor's License first. However, for those working without a license and want to be protected from any recourse from the government, they can apply for the Minor Work Exemption in California. This kind of permission slip allows the individual to work, but without expressing to the public that they are working as a qualified business contractor. In other words, they cannot advertise their handyman business if they are a freelancer looking for jobs.

The Crime of Contracting

As an unlicensed person with skills and knowledge, the handyman is not permitted to contract work according to the California Business and Professions Code, section 7159. If someone is offering a home repair job at the rate of $2,000, a handyman is not permitted to accept the work if he does not carry a general contractor's license.

Licensing the Handyman

To obtain a general contractor's license, a person must have at least four years of qualified experience. He will have to show proof that he has had experience working as a journeyman, specializing in a specific field, like that of carpentry or plumbing. As California sees it, a handyman working without a contractor's license puts homeowners at risk for liability if something should go wrong. When a handyman is going to make more than $500 he must be licensed by the Contractors State License Board. To have a licensed issued, the handyman must be finger printed, have a FBI background check and be bonded or insured. Without these factors, a handyman is subject to six months in jail and can be fined up to $1,000 for not being in regulations of California law.

Other Handyman Requirements

In California, a handyman managing a small business will also have to obtain a business tax license. If the contractor is hiring other employees, he must register with the federal government to obtain a tax identification number. He will also have to obtain liability insurance.