Business & self-employment

Get a Master Plumber’s License

Service overview

Plumbing work needs to be done by a licensed master plumber.

Plumbing work includes the construction, alteration, or repair of any of the following systems or components:

  • Drainage
  • Cesspools
  • Traps
  • Waste vents
  • Water piping
  • Fixtures attached to plumbing elements, excluding gas or electric heaters


Individual plumbers can apply for this license.


Other licenses and registrations


You must provide a Certificate of Insurance that includes these minimum amounts:

  • General Liability: $500,000 per occurrence
  • Automobile Liability Insurance: $300,000
  • Worker’s Compensation:
    • $100,000 per accident
    • $100,000 per employee
    • $500,000 policy limit

Proof of experience

You must show:

  • Registration as a Philadelphia Apprentice Plumber for a minimum of four years.
  • Registration as a Philadelphia Journeyman Plumber for a minimum of one year.

Alternatively, you may submit proof of a similar authorization granted by any other state or local jurisdiction with equal or greater qualification requirements. This is subject to approval by the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I).

Testing and certification

You must have proof of successful completion of the Philadelphia Master Plumber Examination. This exam is administered by the International Code Council.

Your application must be submitted within 12 months of successful completion of the exam.

Proof of employment

If you are not self-employed, submit a statement of current or prospective employment. This statement must be on company letterhead and signed by the employer.

Photo identification

2 in. x 2 in., color

Tax compliance

The contractor must be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.

Where and when


Use the eCLIPSE system.

In person

Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
MSB, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Office hours: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Office closes at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.


License fee

A non-refundable application fee of $150 is applied to the license fee. The balance of the license fee is due upon application approval.

Renewal fee

Payment methods and details

Accepted payment methods

Where Accepted payment
Online through the eCLIPSE application

(There is a $200,000 limit for online payments.)

  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Cashier’s Station in the Municipal Services Building

(Items paid at the Cashier’s Station will be mailed within five business days.)

  • Check
  • Money order
  • Credit card (+2% surcharge)
  • Cash

Checks and money orders

Check requirements
  • Make all checks and money orders payable to the “City of Philadelphia.”
  • The individual or company listed on the check must be listed on the application.
  • Personal checks are accepted.
  • Checks and money orders must have issue dates within 12 months of the transaction.
Reasons your check may be rejected

L&I will not accept checks that are missing depository information or are:

  • Unsigned.
  • Expired.
  • Post-dated.
  • Starter checks without account info

Returned payment policy

If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds:

  1. You authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect a fee of $20.
  2. The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.


You can apply for this license online using eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center. 


Upload all required documents.

Applications are reviewed within five business days.

If the application is approved, you will receive a notice to pay the balance.

 If the application isn’t approved, you will receive an email stating what is missing or required.

In person

Visit the Permit and License Center.

L&I can review most applications while you wait.

L&I will issue your license or request more information.

Renewal requirements

This license must be renewed annually. You can renew online through eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center.

To renew your license, you must be current on City of Philadelphia taxes.

A note about deactivation

A master plumber may choose to temporarily deactivate a license by submitting a request to L&I online or by calling 311. Call (215) 686-8686 if outside Philadelphia.

When a license is deactivated:

  • All business operations must stop.
  • All advertisements must be removed.
  • The plumber’s journeyman license is reactivated.

Forms & instructions