Do I need a contractor licence in NSW?

Technically speaking, you don’t need a NSW contractor licence to work as a builder or tradesperson in NSW – with one major proviso. You don’t need a NSW contractor licence so long as you don’t do any individual jobs for which the total cost of labour and materials totals more than $5,000 (including GST).

But exclusively accepting smaller jobs is not the most efficient way to grow a business – which is what you’re in this for, right? If you’re an ambitious and business-minded tradie intent on establishing yourself in NSW, you’re going to need a contractor licence.

Can contractors work without a licence?

The short answer is ‘no’. If you accept and complete contract work without holding the required contractor licence, you could receive a fine.

Types of contractor work

If you do any of the following work, you should consider getting your contractor licence:


  • Kitchen/bathroom/laundry renovation
  • Structural landscaping
  • Swimming pool building.


  • Bricklaying
  • Carpentry
  • Fencing
  • Painting
  • Plastering
  • Roof tiling.

Specialist work

  • Air conditioning
  • Electrical wiring
  • Gasfitting
  • Plumbing
  • Refrigeration.

How to get a contractor licence in NSW

You must choose between an individual licence or a company licence depending on your circumstances. Sole traders typically start with an individual licence, then obtain a company contractor licence once their business expands to include more tradespeople.

 To apply for your licence, you will need to submit the following to Service NSW:

  • Proof of identity.
  • A passport size photograph.
  • Certificates and documentation confirming that you are qualified to legally do the work (certificates and transcripts from your registered training organisation).
  • Payment for your licence.

If applicable, you will also need to include a statement from a referee, and a certificate of eligibility to obtain insurance. We know independent contractors are flat out, which is why we’ve created a truly simple and convenient way to get your business insurance online.*

What to do after you’ve got your contractor licence in NSW

Once you have obtained your NSW contractor licence, you are required by law to display it legibly and clearly on all advertising, stationery and signage used to promote your business and the contractor services you offer. This is a mandatory requirement – but more than that, it’s an opportunity to put your best foot forward and show clients your qualifications and commitment to your craft.

Are you licensed, but not in NSW?

If you are from interstate or New Zealand, you can use your contractor licence to apply to be recognised as a licensed tradesperson in NSW.

This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. © 2024 BizCover Pty Limited, all rights reserved. ABN 68 127 707 975; AFSL 501769.

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