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Minnesota Licensing

masterofsome Member Posts: 2
For about a decade now, I have been working on all types of plumbing,gas, refrigeration and vacuum systems as a moonlighting home handyman and field engineer in the semiconductor industry. I was keen on becoming a mechanical contractor in Minnesota- installing heat pumps and furnaces, also helping people with their old boilers in our harsh climate(there’s not a lot of people who will troubleshoot them and they often charge a LOT). Although getting the license just requires liability insurance, I found out I need a competency card to practice in the twin cities area which requires a 4-year apprenticeship. Is there anything I can do to get around this? Some friends are getting quotes for ~8k to install basic mini-splits and the prices are crazy-high for most hvac work(especially air conditioners which the installers are netting 4-5k on a 1-day job). I just want to make this more affordable for people and enjoy what I am doing a bit more. 


  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,850
    I think in Michigan if you have a profession engineer license you can do the same work as with a trade license. That is a couple exams and some certification that you have some number of years experience in the field.
  • masterofsome
    masterofsome Member Posts: 2
    mattmia2 said:
    I think in Michigan if you have a profession engineer license you can do the same work as with a trade license. That is a couple exams and some certification that you have some number of years experience in the field.
    Thanks, I looked at the legislative code after your comment and registered mechanical or PE is able to bypass the red tape. Unfortunately that’s also a couple years out for me but closer than a 4 year apprenticeship!
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,157
    edited May 2022
    In NJ there is a provision where a home owner can pull permits to work on their own home. Self installing equipment or homeowner supervised workers can then perform the work without the needed license.

    I was not a licensed electrician, however the homeowner could pull the permit for the electrical work needed to get the work done.

    Usually I would have a licensed electrician do the connection and pull the permit, but on occasion This would save some $$$ for some low income customers.

    Does that authority having jurisdiction allow for homeowner permits? This may get you by until you get the necessary licenses.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,396
    I doubt that 4-5 K is going directly into their pockets. A licensed, insured, legal HVAC company is not a cheap business to operate these days with fuel costs, insurance, truck, tools, taxes, etc etc.

    At the very least, handymen that work with fuel, fire, pressure and electricity and combustion should need to take a competency test, have the EPA card, liability insurance.

    Not to dismiss your skills, by any means.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,941
    I hold several MN comp cards which I procured through the 5 year union pipefitter apprenticeship program, but there are many with those same cards who simply tested out to get them. Not to discredit your skills or education, but unless you have gone through the schooling on how to pass those tests, the odds are pretty slim that you'd be able to get any of them. There are some very specific/trick questions in there that nobody would ever know unless you read the exact same question in a textbook. About 4% of my apprenticeship was actually learning the trade, the remaining 96% was how to pass the tests.

    You need to have a mechanical contractor's bond through the DOLI in order to perform this type of work in MN, which is essentially a multifaceted insurance policy. The twin cities metro requires the comp cards while the rest of the state doesn't care.
  • ch4man
    ch4man Member Posts: 296
    I busted my rear end attaining my comp cards you speak of.
    now to be helpful, may I suggest that just about every shop in town is hiring competent capable folks who aren't afraid of hard work. try one out, those apprenticeship years will go faster than you think. plus you'll have a paycheck!