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Delaware Contractor Licensing Guide


Last Updated Nov 16, 2023

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Starting your construction business in Delaware means learning the rules and regulations around licensing and registration. Many construction contractors do not need a state-issued license in Delaware — but all contractors must register their business with the Delaware Division of Revenue.

Keep reading to learn more about who needs a contractor license in Delaware, how licensing and registration work, and possible penalties for working without being properly licensed.

Table of contents

Who needs a contractor license in Delaware?

As mentioned, all contractors must register their business with the Delaware Division of Revenue. Delaware contractor licensing rules state no explicit requirement for general contractors outside of that registration, but certain municipalities have their own rules regarding licenses. Additionally, some specialty contractors require trade licenses.

How to get a Delaware contractor license

Whether you’re required to obtain a license or simply register your business depends on the type of work you do. The following sections break down the required credentials, and how to go about getting them.

General contractor licenses

General contractors aren’t required to carry a state-issued license in Delaware, but they will have to register their business with the Division of Revenue.

Delaware has recently simplified its state business registration process by implementing Delaware’s One Stop Business Registration and Licensing System, a single portal allowing users to register online with The Delaware Division of Revenue, The Delaware Division of Unemployment Insurance, and The Delaware Office of Workers Compensation.

One Stop also links to the Delaware Division of Corporations for easy access to incorporation forms and reserving a legal entity, as well as to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).

Contractors can access for more info and all the resources above. You can also view One Stop's dedicated Delaware Construction Contractors Registration information page.

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Subcontractors and specialty trade licenses

Subcontractors and specialty trades in the construction business must also register their business with the Division of Revenue. In addition, several contractor types have to carry special trade licenses. These trades include:

  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Water drillers
  • Pump installers

Electrical contractors in Delaware must employ a licensed Master Electrician. This license is a function of the Division of Professional Regulation. To qualify, the applicant must have six years of experience as a journey-level electrician under the supervision of a Master Electrician.

The application requires passing an examination which you can apply for through the DelPros website.

Delaware also requires plumbing contractors to employ a Master Plumber. The Division of Professional Regulation oversees these licenses as well. Applicants must have a total of seven years of work experience under a master licensee or a journeyman certificate and two years of work experience under a master licensee after receiving the certificate.

Successful licensing will require passing an examination for which you can register through the DelPros website.

HVAC contractors have similar requirements to plumbing contractors in order to operate in Delaware. They must employ a Master HVAC license holder, which requires registering and passing an examination through DelPros.

To qualify, applicants must have a journeyman-level certificate and two years of experience under a master licensee or seven years of experience working under the supervision of a master HVAC license holder. 

Check out: The Ultimate Guide to Contractors License Requirements in Every State

Delaware contractor licensing requirements by municipality

Many of the local municipalities in Delaware have their own licensing requirements that contractors must meet. Some even have requirements for general contractors.


Dover might be the largest city by population in Delaware, but the licensing requirements are pretty laid back. Beyond the state’s requirements, all that Dover requires of contractors is to apply for a business license with the city. This will cost contractors a minimum of $125, or a rate of $00.00046 for aggregate receipts. For example, a business doing $2 million in revenue each year would have to pay $920.


Wilmington prefers registering contractors over licensing them, and it makes it relatively straightforward. Business license applicants will fill out this application for construction business, including:

  • Air conditioning
  • Boiler installation
  • Cement/concrete
  • Construction management
  • Contractor/subcontractor
  • Electrician/electrical contractor
  • Heating contractor
  • Plumbing contractor
  • Sign-billboard erectors
  • Mechanical contractors
  • Satellite television installer
  • Asbestos abatement contractor
  • Refrigeration

The application fee for all trades is $120, except for satellite television installation, which costs $301.


Middletown requires construction businesses performing work within the city limits to obtain a business license. While the website claims fees vary, this application states that contractors must pay $125 for licensing. 


According to the City of Newark’s website, a business license is required for businesses operating within the city. The fees are based upon estimates of “the demand and cost for municipal services related to business activities in the city.”

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Penalties for unlicensed contracting

Contractors who do not comply with the state’s licensing requirements are subject to civil penalties of up to $10,000. Individual municipalities also have the ability to apply fees.

Delaware’s mechanics lien laws make no specific requirements for licensing in order to file a mechanics lien. With that said, it’s never a good idea to perform work for which the state requires a license if you don’t carry one. Should a payment dispute arise, you’ll be able to file a lien, but the court might not look fondly upon your unlicensed status if you have to foreclose upon it.


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Written by

Tom Scalisi

57 articles

Tom Scalisi is a writer with over 15 years of experience in the trades. He is passionate about educating contractors and specialty contractors about the best practices in the industry. He has seen first-hand how education, communication, and preparation help construction professionals overcome challenges to build a strong career and thriving business in the industry.

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