50-State Construction Licensing Compliance Guide
An excavator truck digging on a work site
View Guide Contents
Guide Contents

Fire Protector Contractor Company Licensing

Businesses looking to obtain fire contractor company licenses must register at state and local levels. Learn about the licensing process and registration requirements in each state.

What Do Fire Contractor Companies Do?

Fire protection is a sector of the contracting industry affecting both residential and commercial property. A fire protection firm is required to have a fire sprinkler contractor license to complete contracts. Typical projects include hospitals, manufacturing facilities, industrial sites, warehouses, prisons, office buildings, education facilities, and residential homes.

Fire contractor companies are hired to perform the following regarding fire suppression systems:

  • Installation
  • Alteration
  • Repair
  • Testing
  • Servicing
  • Maintenance
  • Inspection and certification

Fire contractor companies regularly design fire alarm, detection, suppression, and sprinkler systems on a wide scale and provide emergency services. A properly maintained fire suppression system makes all the difference in how functional and effective the system is in the event of a fire. Fire contractor companies should be aware of the different types of fire suppression systems, sprinkler systems, and other applications and where those systems are best used for fire protection.

Fire Sprinkler Systems vs. Fire Suppression Systems

Sprinkler systems are activated by heat, smoke, or a combination of the two. Wet-pipe sprinklers are constantly full and are used in high-traffic, high-occupancy buildings like hotels and hospitals. Pre-action sprinklers are used in facilities like museums and libraries to reduce the risk of damage to sensitive areas by accidental activation. A fire suppression system is similar to a sprinkler system in that it also extinguishes or controls fires. However, a suppression system uses gaseous, chemical, or foam fire suppression agents instead of water.

As a licensed fire contractor company, having a comprehensive understanding of the different fire mitigation systems is only a piece of what is required in terms of industry knowledge. Fortunately, there are courses license applicants can take to earn education credits that may make obtaining a license easier.

Check Your Status For Free  Understand your current status and see recommended actions. Get Your Free  Harbor Compliance Score

How to Get Licensed as a Fire Contractor Company

Companies that perform home improvements related to fire suppression or fire alarms are often required to obtain special licensing. In addition to licensing requirements, some states or cities require insurance, hiring restrictions, regular renewals, and more.

Licensing and Registration

Licensing requirements for fire contractor companies vary by state. It is essential to verify the process in your state to ensure you are prepared every step of the way. You will likely need to gather all relevant documentation, including financial statements, proof of a commercial activity license, a business plan, and more. You will also need to appoint a registered agent to receive notices of lawsuits and other legal or government notices. To manage those tasks more efficiently, Harbor Compliance offers licensing management software and managed services to help simplify the application process, allowing you to focus on other aspects of running your business.

Once you have all the necessary documentation, you will likely have two options for submitting your application. Most states offer both online and in-person applications.

  • If you choose to apply online, you will upload all the required documents and receive notice if the application is approved. You may be subject to processing or application fees or delays.
  • If you apply in person at a state permit and license center, your application will be reviewed and you could get approved the same day.

After your license has been issued, you will receive notice to pay any related balances. If the application is not approved, you will receive notice regarding what is missing or required.

Proof of Insurance

It only takes seconds for a fire to engulf a facility. While fire contractor companies are in the business of suppressing fire damage, it is essential to have a risk management plan in the form of insurance. Proof of insurance is also often required when applying for licensing. The most common insurance policies fire contractor companies adopt include the following:

  • General liability - covers bodily injury, care, custody, and control coverage, errors and omissions endorsement
  • Automobile liability insurance - insures property damage, bodily injury
  • Workers' compensation - covers bodily injury within the scope and course of employment
  • Umbrella liability - this in-house binding authority combines the policies discussed above up to $10,000,000
  • Crime policy - protects business assets in the event of criminal activity

What is best for your business depends on your location and the types of services you provide. Contact an insurance specialist to learn about your options.

Qualified Personnel

In many states, at least one full-time employee must obtain a fire suppression systems worker license. Getting that license involves obtaining a certification from the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) and registering that employee as a professional contractor in the state in which they work.

In addition to meeting state requirements when hiring employees, fire contractor companies can also benefit from obtaining membership to important industry organizations, including:

  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • Fire Suppression Systems Association (FSSA)
  • National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors (NAFED)

These organizations ensure members are kept informed on the latest equipment, practices, and code compliance. Association with these types of organizations also lets consumers know your company is equipped with the most relevant industry knowledge.

Tax Compliance

Companies looking to obtain a fire sprinkler contractor license must be current on their taxes. The taxes owed are based on income as well as entity structure. In the event a business is not current regarding taxes, debts will need to be paid off before it is eligible for a fire contractor company license.

Maintenance and Renewal

Most states and cities require licenses to be renewed on an annual or biennial basis. Renewal ensures your business complies with all state and local regulations. Renewal fees vary, so it is a good idea to be aware of what you may owe to keep your business in good standing.

Explore Licensing by State

Click on a link below to view licensing information in your state.

Meeting the fire contractor company requirements is not always an easy process. Fortunately, Harbor Compliance's License Manager helps construction companies maintain their licenses by automating repetitive tasks such as tracking renewals and compliance deadlines. Through License Manager, you can also access Compliance Core™ - our extensive, proprietary database of nationwide licensing requirements - to research the requirements for the states in which you work. Contact our licensing experts today to learn more.

Associated General Contractors of America
Professional association providing advocacy and organization for construction firms and workers.

National Association of Home Builders
National association for the promotion of the housing industry.

National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies
National organization that represents and promotes the interests of state level contractor licensing agencies.