Who Needs a Limited Licensed Plumber (LLP) License?

Board for Licensing Contractors

Before applying for a state LLP license, see the following descriptions of a state contractor's license and local government license information:

1.  Contractor - Plumbing License (CMC-A or CMC Classification)
This state contractor's license is issued to an entity (sole proprietor, corporation, partnership, LLC) in order for their business to perform plumbing work as a prime (general) or subcontractor, when the total cost is $25,000 or more.  A contractor's license with the "CMC-A" or "CMC" plumbing/mechanical classification is accepted statewide; additional exams are not required in each county or municipality.  However, you must adhere to their local permit, licensing rules and inspections within their jurisdiction, including paying local fees.  In addition to the classification on the plumbing contractor's license, a monetary limit is also designated. Contracts/projects cannot be split into phases to circumvent the law.

Contractors with a CMC or CMC-A classification are exempt from the Limited Licensed Plumber (LLP) license, but still required to obtain local license, permits and inspections.  Click onto "Contractor" for licensing steps and information. To take the plumbing contractor's exam, the law requires pre-approval by the Contractor's Board and this form is available from both the exam and contractor's license application. See reciprocation information for a list of states accepting this trade exam with Tennessee.

2.  Local License/Permit (City/County from each Municipality)
Many local governments have their own codes enforcement requirements and may not accept the LLP license.  Always check first with local government before obtaining a state LLP license since it is only accepted in limited cities and counties.  A local permit is required regardless of the amount of the project in order to obtain inspections.   If you have a state contractors CMC or CMC-A license, you will not be required to take their local plumbing exam, but will need to pay their fees for permits and inspections. Click onto local government for their contact information.

You may also need to obtain a local "Business" tax license in each city or county where you plan to do business and/or a federal employee ID number. Check with the State's Department of Revenue for local business tax license guidelines.

3.  Limited Licensed Plumber (LLP)
This state LLP license is issued to an individual in order for them to offer and perform small plumbing projects for an owner or contractor, as long as the total plumbing project, including materials and labor, is less than $25,000.  A person with an LLP license would not be able to act as a contractor or to split the total project into phases to keep a contract less than $25,000.  The LLP is acceptable only by local government in cities or counties utilizing as a means to issue permits for inspections. Also, there are 15 exempt counties which are not regulated by this law (Benton, Decatur, Dickson, Giles, Henderson, Henry, Hickman, Humphreys, Lake, Lawrence, Lewis, Obion, Perry, Stewart and Weakley).  Therefore, you should always check with local government before obtaining this license in case they do not accept.  You would have the option of obtaining their local license or a state contractor's license.

The LLP license differs from that of a plumbing contractor in which this license is issued to an individual, instead of a firm (sole proprietor, corporation, LLC or partnership).  The LLP exam has less questions, and requires passing a 40 question exam; exam pre-approval is not required for the LLP.  In addition, a financial statement or proof of insurance is not part of the state licensing requirements for the LLP, as it is for a contractor.  Workers' compensation insurance coverage may be required by law or the LLP may apply for an exemption by registering as a Construction Services Provider with the Secretary of State.  An LLP with employees may not require their workers to register for an exemption and would need to provide coverage.  A person or contractor having a Tennessee state contractor’s license with a CMC or CMC-A classification, is exempt from obtaining an additional license as a the LLP; but not exempt from local license or inspections.

Plumbing inspections for LLP's are in line with Residential Building codes Enforcement by the Division of Fire Prevention performing these inspections at cities and counties the same jurisdictions similar to the Limited Licensed Electrician (LLE) license.  The LLP license requirement became effective on January 1, 2006.

Note: A limited licensed plumber (LLP) may NOT use the appellation term "contractor" unless they hold a contractor's license with a CMC or CMC-A!

Independent Contractors/Employees
If your employer defines you as a independent contractor (subcontractor), however, you fall within the definition of "employee", you may report this violation to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development at the Tennessee Employee Misclassification.

See the employee definitions and characteristics in the Handbook for Employers

Confirm the LLP License is Acceptable
To make sure of the type of license needed for projects less than $25,000, you must check with the local government where you plan to work for their local licensing, permit and inspection requirements.  Some may require you to take their plumbing exam, unless you have a CMC or CMC-A Contractor's license. The LLP is not accepted where the local jurisdiction has their own licensing and inspections already in place or in one of the 15 exempt counties . For example, the LLP would not be accepted in Nashville (Davidson County - Metro Codes Office). (See more exemptions listed below.)