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Handyman Exemption Raised from $1,000 to $1,500

If you have ever had to perform any small house improvement jobs, you probably have used an unlicensed contractor, commonly known as a “handyman.”

The good news is if you are the owner or lessee of your property and need handyman work, the “handyman exemption” threshold has just been raised from $1,000 to $1,500.

What is the “Handyman Exemption”?

Under the newly revised “handyman exemption” of Chapter 444, Hawaii Revised Statutes, you will be allowed to hire a “handyman” person not licensed as a contractor if the total value of the project, including labor and materials, is equal to or less than $1,500.

However, this does not apply to projects which require a building permit or electrical or plumbing work. Also, the handyman exemption will only apply to labor and materials.

“Taxes and all other items” was removed, so the General Excise Tax will no longer be included as part of the $1,500 exemption.

The increased handyman exemption amount is effective as of July 10, 2019 and was enacted without the Governor’s signature.

For further information about this revised law, please refer to Hawaii State Legislature Website.

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jason vanblaricum

May 7, 2020

Hey Dave
Great article
I have a question here maybe you can help.
I replaced old fence in 2017 with a new wood one in my front yard and in 2019 I got cited a violation for building a fence with out a permit. I have since gotten my permit just recently but they made me sign owner builder and it says I cant sell / lease my for one year. The work was 1500 on permit does the one year no sale still apply to my house?
Mahalo Jason

Kef risa

November 18, 2020

I’m looking for work sir….


December 2, 2021

Always interesting to read how each state handles this issue, every state defines ‘handyman’ and ‘general contractor different’, and what each can do is different. I run a handyman company Concord Handyman Company out in Concord, North Carolina and there’s no handyman license in our state.

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