How to become

How to Become a Contractor in Florida

How to Become a Contractor in Florida


Florida’s population is growing, with over 21.7 million humans calling the state domestic in July 2021. Ambitious tradespeople could find themselves in excessive demand as busy house owners and renters seek help repairing and preserving their homes. You should construct a successful business in the Sunshine State with the right competencies and ambition!

Contractors questioning about starting a small commercial enterprise may additionally be asking themselves, “Do you want a contractor license in Florida?” The reply is yes, in some circumstances. This article outlines the necessities for contractor licenses in Florida, which includes insurance coverage tasks and options.

In Florida, contractor licensing is accomplished each at the country and local level. If you want to perform work somewhere inside the kingdom of Florida, you will want a Certified License, and if you want to operate work in a precise city/county, you will want a Registered License.

The licensing manner is treated via the Construction Industry Licensing Board underneath the training of Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

An individual is required to reap a license to legally work as a contractor in Florida. Chapter 489 of the Florida Statutes and the Construction Industry Licensing Board sets forth the necessities for a character to reap a contractor’s license in Florida, consisting of the critical application, education, experience, age, financial security, insurance, fees, and examination requirements. These necessities are rigorous and differ barely relying on the kind of contractor’s license. However, if an individual fails to attain a contractor’s license in Florida, he or she might also be enticing in unlicensed contracting, which is a first-degree misdemeanor.

What is a Contractor?

A contractor is defined as an individual who, for compensation, constructs, repairs, alters, remodels, provides to, demolishes, subtracts from, or improves, any constructing or structure, which includes associated improvements to real estate. See Fla. Stat § 489.105(3). In addition, the contractor’s scope of work needs to be notably similar to the scope of work of a precise type of contractor (listed below), as described in one of the paragraphs of Section 489.105(3) of the Florida Statutes.

Who needs a contractor license in Florida?

A general contractor license is required in Florida if the work you do will come to be a completed phase of the shape and the whole is $500 or more. For example, if you exchange the floor in a whole room or build a new deck, you will in all likelihood want a general contractor license. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) problems well-known contractor licenses in Florida.

Plumbers, electricians, painters, and HVAC contractors should have a time-honored contractor license. The work you operate is probable to meet the standards for this type of licensing.

Carpenters may also not need a widely wide-spread contractor license in Florida. A license may additionally no longer be integral if you solely plan to supply minor repair work or specialize in non-construction carpentry (such as furniture making). However, having a contractor license should permit you to make your services bigger to grow your business.

There is no Florida handyman license, and you might also not need a frequent contractor license if you solely perform minor repairs. But as we’ve already mentioned, getting licensed may want to enable you to accept bigger and extra expensive projects.

Types of Contractor’s Licenses

Under Florida law, there are a number of different types of contractors, inclusive of the following:

  • General (Division I)
  • Building (Division I)
  • Residential (Division I)
  • Sheet Metal (Division II)
  • Roofing (Division II)
  • Class A Air Conditioning (Division II)
  • Class B Air Conditioning (Division II)
  • Mechanical (Division II)
  • Commercial Pool/Spa (Division II)
  • Residential Pool/Spa (Division II)
  • Plumbing (Division II)
  • Underground Utility and Excavation (Division II)
  • Solar (Division II)
  • Pollutant Storage Systems (Division II)
  • Specialty (Division II)

What is Required to Get a Contractors License in Florida?

Unfortunately, getting your contractors license in Florida isn’t as simple as taking a look at and paying a fee. There are a lot of steps to take before you’re prepared to call yourself a licensed Florida contractor.

Check off these five widely wide-spread requirements.

In order to qualify for a certified contractor’s license in Florida, there are a few basics you need to check off, like:

1. Your age.

You have to be 18 or older to qualify.

2. Your SNN.

You’ll need a valid Social Security range or person taxpayer identification (ITIN).

3. Proof of education/experience.

You must be capable of exhibiting that you’ve carried out 4 years of training in a vocational school, education program, or have executed work experience. If you solely have two years of vocational education but two or extra years of work experience, that still meets this requirement.

Good information for veterans: Military ride additionally counts towards this requirement, so if you’re a veteran, download Florida’s Military Fee Waiver and Military Service Verification form. Based on your experience, your utility may be expedited.

And yes, you read that properly – as a veteran, you won’t have to pay a rate to get your Florida contractor’s license!

4. Demonstrate economic stability.

When applying for your license, you’ll be asked to publish non-public credit reports, as properly as a credit record for your enterprise (if applicable). In general, a savings rating of 660 or greater is wanted to show that your enterprise is financially stable. If your credit score rating is lower, you may need a surety bond.

The Contractor’s Licensing Board only accepts sure deposit reports, so check out this list of accredited vendors who can furnish you with what you need.

Learn extra about your business’s credit score here.

5. Proof of insurance coverage

To get your Florida contractor’s license, you’ll want to supply proof of insurance (including people compensation insurance, if you have employees).

By law, Florida contractors should have at least $300,000 of legal responsibility coverage. You might also need to show proof that you preserve a building bond.

Steps to become Contractor in Florida

  • Determine the Type of Florida Contractors License Needed

Florida has two foremost classes of licenses: Certified (state-level) and Registered (local-level). The Florida contractor licenses are further subdivided into two essential categories: Division I Contractors and Division II Contractors.

Division I Contractors:

General Contractor – permits unlimited construction work such as, however no longer constrained to: constructing, repairing, altering, remodeling and improving any kind of building or structure.

Building Contractor – allows construction, remodeling, repairing, or improving business or residential constructions that do no longer exceed three stories in height.

Residential Contractor – approves construction, remodeling, repairing, or making improvements of one, two or three-family residences that do now not exceed two (habitable) stories.

Division II Contractors:

Division II Contractors are field-specific and consist of the following:

Air-Conditioning (class A and B) Contractor, Mechanical Contractor, Plumbing Contractor, Pollutant Storage System Contractor, Pool/Spa Contractor, Roofing Contractor, Sheet Metal Contractor, Solar Contractor, Specialty Contractor, Tank Lining Applicator, and Underground Utility Contractor.

  1. Pass a certification examination (certified) or post a certificate of competency from your nearby licensing authority (registered).

The application forms can be accessed via the Construction Industry Licensing Board.

  • General Contractor license forms
  • Building Contractor license forms
  • Residential Contractor license forms

To gain a licensed Florida contractor license you need to omit the relevant Division I or II examination (excluding Pool Contractors). The checks are administered with the aid of Professional Testing. You can register and observe online by using their internet site or contact them at 407-264-0562 or at [email protected] Further statistics can be discovered in the Examination Registration Instructions and Application.You’ll want to pay two prices to take this exam: the $135 registration rate (payable to Professional Testing) and the $80 examination website administration rate (payable to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation).

You can locate a listing of specialized contractor license colleges in Florida that provide examination preparation.

  1. Fulfill Requirements and Obtain Required Documents

Provide proof of monetary responsibility

  • All applicants are required to publish a credit record with a minimal 660 FICO-derived credit score score. It is your accountability to make certain the credit score reporting corporation consists of that score on the deposit report.
  • Note: If your savings score is below 660, you ought to furnish a Florida surety bond or a letter or credit.
  • Submit digital fingerprints
  • You should scan and publish electronically your fingerprints using one of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Livescan Device Vendors.
  • Note: Ensure that there is enough time for the FDLE to procedure your consequences by submitting your fingerprints at least 5 (5) days before sending your license application. Further statistics involving electronic fingerprinting can be observed on the country website.
  • Show proof of liability insurance

The minimum quantity required for General Liability Insurance is as follows:

  • $300,000 public liability and $50,000 property harm for General and Building Contractors.
  • $100,000 public liability and $25,000 property injury for all other contractor categories.

Provide proof of workers’ compensation insurance

  • If you have – or graph on hiring – employees, you want to acquire workers’ compensation insurance. Further records are provided within every application.
  • If making use of a Certified License you will also need to provide proof of qualification: All certified license candidates ought to have 4 years’ relevant work trip or an aggregate or work trip and college. Further statistics can be determined inside each application (section VI – Qualifications for Certified License).
  • If applying for a Registered License you will additionally need to provide proof of competency: To obtain your registered license, you will either need to post a contemporary competency card from a local licensing workplace or a letter from a constructing official, stating that you are in a position in the category for which you want to be licensed.
  • Get Business Insurance for Your Contractor Business

Business insurance plan may also seem like a small element in your trip to get a contractor’s license in Florida. But in reality, it’s a massive decision. That’s because it can decide how much monetary protection your business has in the match of positive occurrences, like if property receives damage or any individual gets injured.

Below are three steps you can take to make sure you choose the proper insurance coverage for your contractor business.

1. Know your risks.

Understand all of the plausible risks you face when working. You may prefer to talk to a professional contractor to research about what they’ve skilled in their career. Take time to list them out, even if they may appear unlikely.

Knowing about which dangers your commercial enterprise faces can assist you to get the proper coverage.

2. Understand your monetary situation.

Your insurance top class will in all likelihood be paid on a month-to-month or annual basis. Estimate how much money you assume to spend and earn before figuring out which price schedule works first-rate for you.

3. Compare your options.

You evaluate the picks of produce at the grocery store, so why would you not compare commercial enterprise insurance plan options?

With Simply Business, we assist make it easy to compare your options. It’s a fast, easy, and low cost process. In fact, our generic liability policies start at $22.50/month.

  1. Obtain Your Contractor License Bond

If you don’t have the prerequisite FICO credit score score of at least 660, you may also furnish a contractor license bond instead. The quantity of the bond depends on the contractor category and is as follows:

  • $20,000 for Division I Contractors
  • $10,000 for Division II Contractors

Note: The bond amount can be decreased by way of 50% if applicants entire a 14-hour Financial Responsibility Course with a direction company accepted via the board.

  1. Submit Your Florida Contractor License Application

How to fill out your application:

Please complete your application plainly in ink.

Licensing Fees:

Payments need to be made in the shape of non-public or cashier’s checks, and payable to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Certified Contractor application fees:

  • $249 if making use of in the duration between May 1st of an even 12 months and August thirty first of an abnormal year.
  • $149 if applying in the duration between September 1st of an extraordinary 12 months and April 30th of an even year.
  • Registered Contractor software fees:
  • $309 if making use of the length between May 1st of an unusual 12 months and August thirty first of an even year.
  • $209 if applying in the length between September 1st of an even yr and April 30th of an odd year.

Mailing Address:

Mail your utility alongside with all supporting documentation and fees to:

Department of Business and Professional Regulation

2601 Blair Stone Road

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783

How much time does it take to get a general contractor license in Florida?

The functions for a Florida contractor license normally take 30 days to 45 days for review. However, this does no longer suggest a license approval. The determination will require extra information, historical past checks, and additional assisting documents before approval.

After this period, a DBPR personnel usually troubles a formal written response. A specialist is then authorized as your representative. Each applicant needing a Florida contractor license is entitled to a free consultation earlier than submitting the documents.

How Do I Get a General Contractor License in Florida with No Experience?

You recognize what it takes to get your contractor’s license in Florida, but comprehend that you do not have ample experience. What now?

Fortunately, there are approaches for you to move forward with your contracting profession even if you don’t have 4 years of contract ride beneath your belt.

1. Get a grandfathered contractors license.

This method is common for contractors who have a tendency to inherit the license of a contractor within their family or anybody shut to them. When retiring, one contractor may also skip their license on to another. However, this does not excuse the new contractor from taking the licensing exam.

If you are involved in a grandfathered contractors license from a specific nation than the one you work in, contact The Office of Business and Professional Regulation.

2. Work with a Responsible Managing Officer (RMO).

You may additionally be geared up to run your personal business, however you cannot get very far except a license. Instead, you have the option of working with what’s called a responsible managing officer (RMO) or a responsible managing employee (RME).

In this case, the accountable contractor or employee assumes accountability with the board for any legal qualifiers beneath the license. If you rent an RME or RMO, then that contractor is considered a worker of your enterprise until the assignment is completed. Keep in mind that this applies to jobs that pay over $500.

3. Get a waiver from the licensing board.

Depending on the particular situation, you may also be capable of getting a waiver from your nation licensing board. Waiver criteria differs from nation to country and by means of undertaking specifics. Talk to your neighborhood licensing board to examine more.

4. Continue to gain experience.

While it may additionally no longer be the most appealing option, you can continue to achieve experience via work. Maybe this potential working in a professional apprenticeship or perhaps it’s the skill working with a licensed and set up contractor.

Having more time could additionally give you the hazard to start building your company and advertising and marketing materials, which can help you attract new customers as soon as you’re licensed.

Either way, you may have the threat to learn extra and attain experience whilst you prepare to take your licensing exam.

How much does it cost to gain a general contractor license in Florida?

You’ll want to pay two types of expenses to take the familiar contractor exam. A registration price of $135 to Professional Testing and an exam site administration rate of $80 to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. If you desire to apply for the examination online, you can pay the costs online, all at once.

Remember to Renew Your General Contractor License in Florida

You’ll want to renew your usual contractor license in Florida every two years.

During these two years, be positive to the entire 14 hours of persevering with education credits. The continuing training is required to cowl subjects such as workplace safety, people compensation, enterprise practices, and more.

The renewal of your license costs $209 and normally an extra $50 per business.

Remember all of the work that goes into getting your contractor license in Florida in the first place. It’s important to keep track of your renewal time table so that your license stays current. That way there may not be any conflicts that preserve you from getting work.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How do one get a contractor’s license in Florida ?

In order to get your contractor license in Florida, you need to first ignore your checks and go through the manner conducted through the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board, which operates below the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). By allowing us to be the chosen company for examination prep courses, continuing training credits and a variety of different courses, students can be guaranteed they are receiving nation and industry accepted training.

How much does it cost ?

Licensing prices vary relying on the kind of license you need. For example, some trades will fee greater than others and some licenses, like the usual contractors license, require additional certification. Those additional certifications add to the cost. If you have a precise question about the fee of learning materials for your license, contact us. Our guide crew is right here to help.

Does a handyman need a license ?

According to Florida country law, a commonplace handyman does not need a license to operate simple repair and preservation tasks for homeowners. However, if an unlicensed handyman does work that falls into the scope of a licensed contractor, he or she is concerned with fines and prosecution. It’s better to be safe than sorry if you’re considering handyman work, so take a look at your licensing branch for specific rules.

Can I get a contractor’s license without experience ?

According to the DBPR, candidates are required to have 4 years of experience or an aggregate of college and experience.

Can I get one with a felony ?

Yes, it is possible to get a contractor’s license in Florida if you are a convicted felon. According to, there are some boundaries that apply so be sure to take a look at your specific licensing branch for an ultimate verdict on your capability to get the license.