What is LARA in the State of Michigan?

by Kacie Goff on 2019-07-29 8:56am

If you perform work in the state of Michigan, you might need a license for it. And whether you’re a residential builder, accountant, coffee shop owner, optometrist, tailor, or involved in a number of other business types, you’ll need to secure your license from LARA. (They maintain a full list of licenses they offer on their website.) In addition to issuing licenses, LARA also regulates them for ongoing compliance. If you hold a builders license for instance, you would be required to take Michigan Builders continuing education to maintain that license.

Whether you’re getting your first LARA license or you need to go through the LARA license renewal process, knowing the ins and outs of this state department makes your life easier. 

What does LARA stand for?

In the state of Michigan, LARA stands for Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is your go-to place for business licensing across Michigan. 

What does LARA do?

LARA is a state department that’s dedicated to helping protect consumers by ensuring people practicing business across the state are properly licensed to do so. At the same time, they work to support business growth and job creation across Michigan. 

LARA maintains a “Verify a License” webpage that allows anyone to confirm that a business’s or individual’s license is both real and current. This easy LARA license lookup protects consumers, helping them find properly educated and licensed people and businesses to meet their needs.  

As we already mentioned, LARA offers a wide range of business licenses. Let’s take one in particular — the residential builders license — to get a better feel for first-time LARA licensing and the LARA license renewal process. 

How do I get the right LARA Michigan license for my construction work?

If you’re a contractor in the state of Michigan and looking for a contractors license Michigan has some distinctions to keep in mind. For this reason it’s important that you clarify what type of work you’ll be doing so you can get the right license. For example, LARA differentiates between a residential builders license and a maintenance & alteration contractor license.

If you’re going to be working on residential build projects, LARA requires that you carry an active residential builders license. And that license isn’t just paperwork, either. In order to secure that license, you need to go through the appropriate training and take an exam to verify that you’re educated on the topics relevant to the residential work you’ll be doing. 

Specifically, in order to get your Michigan residential builders license from LARA, you need to:

  • Complete a LARA-approved, 60-hour residential builders license course 
  • Send proof you completed that course, along with your Michigan builders license application and the relevant fees, to LARA
  • Pass the Michigan residential builders license exam

Once you’ve successfully completed each of these steps, LARA issues you the license you need.


How does LARA license renewal work?

Once you’ve secured your LARA license, you’re not finished working with LARA. You also need to take the proper steps to keep your license active. Using our residential builders license example again, that means completing the appropriate number of continuing education hours and completing the renewal application LARA mails to the business address they have on file for you. 


Fortunately, LARA’s website makes it easy to get the information you need to get the right license and keep it active. Just choose your license type from their list and they’ll direct you to more info to help you on your way.