Looking to start an HVAC company in New York but don’t know where to begin? This blog post covers everything you need to know on how to get a contractor license in NYC and start your own business.
Several states in the United States mandate HVAC contractors to acquire a license before doing business. And New York is one of them.
Even if the government doesn’t demand it, customers are more likely to hire a licensed contractor. So, if you plan to start an HVAC company in NYC, getting a contractor license should feature on your to-do list.
Some HVAC experts in the U.S. avoid applying for licenses because they believe the procedure to be complicated. But that isn’t necessarily true.
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In this post, we’ll discuss the steps involved in obtaining an HVAC contractor license in New York. In the end, you should find it seamless to sort out.
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Why start an HVAC Company in New York?
Some U.S. states don’t require HVAC professionals to be licensed. Why not move there and skip the process altogether? Why New York?
Well, there is a lot to gain in locating your HVAC business in NYC.
New York is a top commercial hub. It’s the fourth most populous state in the United States. And when it comes to business, high population equals high demand.
It also equals high supply, but there are just around 8,000 registered HVAC businesses in New York, which means the competition is favorable. All in all, there’s the possibility of landing huge revenue.
Furthermore, registering your HVAC business in New York comes with tax benefits.
Take the Startup New York program, for instance. It offers tax incentives with the possibility of operating tax-free for up to 10 years. There’s also the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).
Follow These Steps to Get An HVAC Contractor License In NYC
Obtaining an HVAC contractor license in New York is relatively straightforward. Simply follow the guide below:
Step 1: Understand the Requirements for Your Jurisdiction
New York has no general state-level license for HVAC contractors. Each city and county have individual licensing requirements, which may be the same or vary.
So, it’s essential to first understand what’s needed for your jurisdiction. That way, you’ll know the area in New York most suitable for your HVAC business.
To determine the requirements, simply contact your local county office. Alternatively, you can contact the New York Department of Buildings.
In my experience, it helps not to consider the requirements solely from your perspective as a business. Also, look at it from the eyes of a customer.
In particular, know what type of HVAC products and systems customers are permitted to use by law. You don’t want to offer what people can’t buy.
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Step 2: Specify the Type of HVAC License You Need
Once you’re familiar with and can satisfy the requirements, proceed with the license application. The question is, what type should you get?
You have three options when applying for an HVAC license in New York, and they include:
- High-Pressure Boiler Operating Engineer License
- Oil Burning Equipment Installer License
- Refrigeration Operating Engineer License
These licenses are issued by different bodies and conform to different certification requirements. You must particularly identify the one that matches your HVAC company.
Take the Oil Burning Equipment Installer license, for example. It’s issued by the New York Department of Buildings and is of two classes: A and B. The classes require four and three years of experience, respectively.
Hence, if you don’t have enough experience as an HVAC professional, you can’t obtain the license.
Step 3: Provide All Important Documents
Definitely, documents are mandatory to support your claim as an HVAC professional. At an individual level, you must also provide supporting documents showing you’re in good standing with the law.
Some of the documents you’ll need to present include the following:
- Proof of business and home address.
- Certifications that prove your HVAC expertise and experience.
- Documentation if you have an existing HVAC business outside New York.
- Bank account statements for the past three months. Notably, you must have a minimum bank balance to qualify; the exact amount differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
- Child support certification form if you’re under an order to pay child support.
- Vehicle registration documentation.
- Government-issued ID — driver’s license, non-driver’s ID, passport, or green card.
Other documents may be required, too, depending on your jurisdiction. Note that the documents must be original and not copies.
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Step 4: Pay the Associated Application Fee and Take the Examination
Next, pay the HVAC license application fee. Without it, your application won’t be processed. Thankfully, the cost isn’t expensive, irrespective of the license type.
For the Oil Burning Equipment Installer license, the fee is $100. It’s lower for the Refrigeration Operating Engineer license at $60; and much lower for the High Pressure Boiler Operating Engineer license at $50.
However, your application may mandate you to take an exam. If that’s the case, then it attracts extra fees.
Usually, you take a practical exam and a written one. But if you’re applying for the Refrigeration Operating Engineer license, you’ll only take a practical exam.
The fee is about $525 for the written exam and $350 for the practical one. Besides these, you’ll pay a license renewal fee of $15 to $75 every three years.
Step 5: Prepare for Background Check
Completing the background check is one of the most crucial aspects of obtaining an HVAC contractor license in NYC. The Department of Buildings makes it compulsory for safety reasons.
However, the background check is relatively straightforward. So long as you have no significant criminal records, there’s nothing to worry about.
But, ensure the documents you provide are true and legit. The NYC Department of Buildings will mainly scrutinize the information they contain during the background investigation.
Discrepancies between your background history and the documents you present can cost you your application.
Note that if your HVAC company has any potential staff, partner, or shareholder, they also must complete a background check. Also, note that you’ll have to pay a background investigation fee. For NYC, the amount is $330.
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Step 6: Apply for Insurance
The HVAC industry is a relatively risky one for both companies and clients. As a result, it’s critical to apply for insurance, especially as a starting company.
Insurance can boost the chances of your HVAC contractor license application being approved. Some US states mandate contractors to show proof of insurance during their application.
That may also apply to your jurisdiction in New York. If that’s the case, you have four main types to acquire:
- General liability insurance
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Commercial auto insurance
- Contractor’s tools and equipment insurance
Based on my observation, general liability, and workers’ compensation insurance is okay for any starting company. But if you can purchase all four, go for it.
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Getting A HVAC Contractor License in NYC: What’s Next?
From experience, it could take days or months for your HVAC contractor license application processing to complete.
When you eventually get the notification that your application was successful, do well to congratulate yourself.
Also, do well to ensure your business meets the regulatory standard. Simply put, your HVAC products and services must be up to par.
If they are not, the NYC government can withdraw your license. Even if they don’t, customers won’t patronize you if they can’t trust your services.
But if you provide quality products and services, the sky will be your starting point. Your HVAC company could be the next big thing in NYC.
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New York HVAC Contractor License FAQs
Do you need an HVAC license in New York?
Yes. You need an HVAC license to operate legally as an HVAC professional in New York. It’s required by almost all municipalities in the state.
How much does an HVAC technician make in NYC?
An experienced HVAC technician in NYC makes around $4,300 per month, which is around $52,000 per month. This is higher — even if by a little — than the approximately $4,150 general average in New York, around $50,000 per year. With this, it’s clear that the HVAC field is relatively high-paying in the northeastern state.
How do I become a contractor in NY?
To become a contractor in NY, you must submit a basic application along with other information as requested by your city or county. For instance, you may need to submit proof of address, proof of business, and sales tax ID number. Notably, you most likely provide certifications that highlight your expertise.
How much does a contractor license cost in NYC?
A contractor license in NYC costs $300 for three years. Hence, it’s safe to say the cost is $100 per year. Note that you’ll renew at $240.
What licenses are needed to start an HVAC business in NY?
The license you need to start an HVAC company in NY will depend on your expertise. New York has different types of HVAC contractor licenses, including Oil Burning Equipment Installer, Refrigeration Operating Engineer, and pressure boiler operating licenses.