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How to get a handyman licence in NSW

It’s no surprise that handypersons are in demand across Australia, with this skilled area continuing to grow. Due to the nature of the work largely focusing on odd jobs and general maintenance, handymen do not need a licence to operate – except in New South Wales (NSW). So, before you start your handyman business in NSW, read this guide to understand the requirements.

What is the licence requirement for a handyman business in NSW?

In NSW, handyman contractors will only need to obtain a licence if:

  1. Their residential building work is valued at $5000 or more. This includes the cost of GST, labour and materials.
  2. The work involves air conditioning, refrigeration, electrical, wiring, plumbing, gas fitting or the reconnection and disconnection of fixed electrical equipment work. Specialised jobs like this will require the handyperson to obtain a licence.

Licence applications are lodged through Service NSW. You will need to book an appointment online in order to complete your application at a Service NSW centre.

What will you need?

While it may be different for certain specialised licences, the checklist for what handymen need to obtain for a licence in NSW includes:

  • A passport-sized photograph.
  • Proof of your identity (e.g. residential tenancy agreement or bank passbook).
  • Documentation that proves you meet the required qualifications (e.g. certificates).
  • Certification of eligibility to acquire insurance and referee’s statement (if applicable).

The cost of the licence will depend on what you want to specialise in. Make sure you check the relevant government website to make sure you have the most up-to-date license costs and information.

Handyman insurance

Another requirement handypersons may need to operate is insurance. While it may not be mandatory, some clients will only be comfortable hiring a worker that carries handyman insurance. Handyman insurance refers generally to the different kinds of insurance that a person might need if they worked as a handyman.

In particular, Public Liability insurance* could help if you accidentally cause injury to a customer or damage their property.

Another thing to consider is that licensed tradespeople in NSW will also need home building compensation (HBC) cover for each home building project over $20,000. This was previously known as home warranty insurance, and it is designed to protect homeowners who hire a builder or handyperson to complete work on their property.

The bottom line

Whether it’s sorting out your tools or your licensing requirements, becoming a handyman in NSW requires you to keep on top of things.

Making sure you have enough business insurance cover to protect you from the risks you may face is essential. This is especially important if you’re a sole trader as you are personally responsible, both legally and financially, for your business activities. However, the right kind of business insurance can provide you with the cover you need if the unexpected does happen.

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.
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