You must obtain a Florida contractor license in order to legally work in the state and become a licensed contractor.
Florida contractor license applications are approved or rejected by the Florida Construction Licensing Board and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).
These organizations decide what qualifications (knowledge, training, experience, etc.) are required to obtain a contractor license in Florida. Each license and speciality has different requirements.
Hiring a contractor licensing organization can be in your best interest because the application procedure for a contractor license can be difficult and unpleasant.
Who is a Licensed Contractor?
A contractor’s claim to be a professional in their field is valid if they have a license. They are not just using this profession to make a fast buck; they are creating a career out of it.
If a contractor has a license for construction work, it demonstrates that they have met particular industry requirements to obtain the license and that they also keep those standards when working a contract to preserve their license. It costs money for a contractor to obtain and then keep their license, which demonstrates their dedication to upholding the law and being certified and legal.
With a license, the contractor can demonstrate that they take their work seriously and won’t take shortcuts on your building project.
Why You Need to Become Licensed Contractor in Florida
Licensed contractors in Florida have greater options to gain employment and money.
Like the majority of states, Florida also requires contractors to obtain licenses before they may submit bids or accept employment as contractors. By doing this, the sector is kept at a high degree of professionalism, and both professionals and clients are safeguarded.
When you get your Florida contractor license, you can market your abilities as a contractor rather than under a title like “handyman,” “laborer,” “crew member,” or something similar. This gives you access to better positions and higher-paying projects, improving your professional outlook overall.
Florida Contractor License Types
Florida Contractor Licenses are available in a wide variety of forms, and there are primarily two types. Both registration and certification are types of license. Contractors may operate in particular locales, such as towns and counties, under the first category, registration. Contractors may work wherever in the state they want with the latter certification.
Then, contractors must apply for a license unique to their line of activity among these two categories. Florida contractor licenses are issued under many, particular categories, including:
- Sheet Metal
- Air Conditioning (Classes A, B, and C)
- Pool/Spa (Commercial, Residential, and Servicing)
- Underground Utility and Excavation
- Pollutant Storage System
Some local governments additionally need more particular, specialized permits from certain speciality contractors. These are available on the websites of particular county and city governments.
How to Become a Licensed Contractor in Florida – Expert Guide
Several requirements must be met in order to become a licensed contractor in Florida:
- Attain or maintain a credit score of a 660 or higher
- Provide verification of liability and workers’ compensation insurance
- Pass the Florida State Construction Examination
- Pass criminal background check
- Pay application and licensing fees
- Pursue clients
#1. Attain or maintain a credit score of a 660 or higher
In Florida, having a credit score of 660 or better is one of the few prerequisites needed to begin the licensing process for contractors. If your credit score is less than 660, you may potentially be able to buy a surety bond. Being older than 18 is another prerequisite. This requirement does not have any exceptions.
#2. Provide verification of liability and workers’ compensation insurance
Secondly, Florida state law mandates that businesses maintain liability and workers’ compensation insurance. When you apply to become a contractor, you must include documentation of these forms of insurance.
Even though it is required by law, this kind of insurance shields you from higher costs brought on by employee mishaps and injuries as well as theft of property and other priceless possessions.
#3. Pass the Florida State Construction Examination
You may now register for the Florida State Construction Examination, which covers subjects including computation and estimation, time management, and materials management. Safety protocols for building sites are also covered in great detail. If you succeed on this test, the state will allow you to work as a contractor.
#4. Pass criminal background check
The next step is to successfully complete a criminal background check by providing fingerprints to the county police station or any nearby facility that processes criminal background checks. The state of Florida allows contractors with certain convictions and misdemeanors. To ascertain whether you satisfy the necessary standards, you might carry out extra research online.
#5. Pay application and licensing fees
You have the option of becoming a registered general contractor or a normal general contractor when you seek to work as a contractor in the state of Florida. The following are the costs for submitting an application to register as a general contractor:
- Applying from May 1 through August 31 of an even-numbered year: $309
- If submitting an application from September 1 through April 30 of an odd-numbered year: $209
Regular general contractors must pay a $149 application fee.
#6. Pursue clients
Now that you are licensed and qualified to operate as a contractor in Florida, you can hunt for businesses that require construction assistance. While there are many contractor roles available online through job search engines, you can also find them by getting in touch with local construction companies and browsing their websites.
Another useful method of finding clients is by making contacts in the business through networking activities and professional expertise.
Florida Contractor License Requirements
The Florida Construction Licensing Board and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) mandates that most contractor candidates have at least the following; however, each contractor specialty has various requirements (some more so than others) for the licensing application.
- 18 years of age or older
- Provide documentation demonstrating a credit score of at least 660. If your credit is less than perfect, you can get a surety bond
- Scan a digital fingerprint
- Describe your workers’ compensation and liability insurance coverage
- Take and pass the Florida State Construction Examination
- Your contractor licensing application should be completed
- Spend money on licensing and application costs
See also: Highest Paying Jobs In Florida
Contractor License Florida School
The following are contractor license Florida schools:
Provides materials and training for all state and county licensure tests for all trades, administered by testing organizations like GITS, Prov, Pearson Vue, PTI, NASCLA, and Prometric. If you need a contractor license, you can get one for any trade, including general, building, residential, or any other.
Classes are offered both online and offline, and review sessions are held in Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Fort Myers. All books are available for immediate shipment via UPS Ground. A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau, Contractor Campus is a company.
Gold Gold School of Construction
Thousands of prosperous contractors in Florida have received education and training from Gold Coast School of Construction since 1970. For licenses in general contracting, building contracting, and residential contracting, they provide Division I (Structural Building Contractor) programs.
They also provide Division II (Subcontractor) programs for the licenses needed to work as an air conditioning contractor, a roofer, a glass and glazing contractor, a pool and spa contractor, and a specialty contractor.
The exam preparation facility provides in-depth review programs, online practice exams, module workbooks, and conventional classroom instruction. The fee for the comprehensive exam preparation program is $795. The annual tuition covers as many classes as the student chooses to enroll in at all locations. There are classrooms in North Miami, Doral, Lantana, and Broward.
The Contractors Institute
Since 1971, the Contractors Institute, Florida’s largest construction school, has assisted contractors in passing the exam for a Florida contractor’s license. More than 70,000 students with a 95% exam pass rate are included in their alumni ranks.
In addition to general/building/residential, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, roofing, air conditioning, specialty structure, glass and glazing, marine, and gas line contractor education programs, they also provide a wide range of other programs. Students are free to enroll in as many classes as necessary to pass the test because the tuition is lifetime guaranteed.
The General Contractor course costs $895, while specialization-specific fees vary. In Hudson, Florida, there is a learning facility for the east coast.
Builder’s Estimating and Exam School
With small class sizes, skilled instructors, and more than 40 years of experience teaching, The Builder’s Estimating and Exam School is a reliable resource. Located in Sarasota, they provide contractor exam preparation classes over a wide range of subjects. These include general, construction, residential, roofing, underground utilities, plumbing, mechanical, solar, air conditioning, and residential pools.
In addition to a refresher course right before the exam, the full course price of $1,300 provides the chance to take a 5-day comprehensive training course with no more than 15 students in the class. For those who want to ace the test on the first time, they also provide private training choices and exam book packages.
Florida International University
The Florida Contractor Exam Review courses are offered by Florida International University’s Division of External Programs and help students get ready to ace the exam for a Florida contractor license. The 48-hour course covers all the material students require to get ready for the General Contractor exam, including business and financial themes, contract administration, and project management.
The opportunity to retake the course is provided for free to students who don’t pass the first time. Not counting books and manuals, or study supplies, the program’s tuition is $900. Miami, Florida is home to the university.
Palm Construction School
Since 1980, Palm Construction School has provided excellent training to contractors in order to help them pass the Florida contractors licensing exam. Through live classroom instruction, online assessments, and study resources like workbooks, they provide exam preparation. The following contractor specializations have courses available: General, Building, Residential, Sheet Metal, Roofing, Air Conditioning, Mechanical, Plumbing, Underground Utility, Solar, and Specialty.
The entire course package, which costs $999, comes with online exam preparation, manuals, and workbooks in addition to classroom training at their Orlando-based school. An online practice test is included in the tuition, which is valid for a year.
Camtech School of Construction
Camtech School of Construction was founded in 1992, and boasts a team of instructors with over 130 years of aggregate experience. They offer more than three times the courses as the average exam prep school, with non-repetitive classes dominating the course schedule. In addition, Camtech offers a 100% money back guarantee. Courses are offered in Ft. Myers, Tampa and Orlando, as well as online. Tuition includes a full year of complete course sessions.
How Much For a Contractor’s License?
Whether applying for state certification or registration, as well as when you submit your application, will affect how much a Florida contractor license will cost.
Licensed contractors in Florida must pay the following fees:
- If you apply between May 1 of an even year and August 31 of an odd year, it will cost you $249.
- Applying between September 1 of an odd-numbered year and April 30 of an even-numbered year will cost you $149.
The following application fees apply to contractors who are registered:
- When applying from May 1 of an odd year to August 31 of an even year, the fee is $309
- Between September 1 of an even year and April 30 of an odd year, the application fee is $209
Documentation and certification from the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board are required in Florida to become a licensed contractor. In the construction sector, the Board is in charge of policing contractors and their performance.
The Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board meets periodically to examine applications from potential members, evaluate them, and suggest disciplinary measures. As well as enforcing rules and standards among contractors, it takes part in the rulemaking process.
You can enroll in any of 20 Free Online Courses Florida with Certifications to give you a headstart.
FAQs on How to Become a Licensed Contractor in Florida
Can I get a contractor's license with no experience?
Accessing a contractor license through an RMO or RME is one of the most popular ways for people with no experience to do so. “Responsible Managing Officer” is what this term means. This person, who is a licensed contractor, permits an existing company to carry out building projects worth more than $500 using their license number.
Does Florida require contractors to be licensed?
For individuals who carry out work inside its borders, Florida, like many other states, has licensing requirements for contractors. Obtaining a license enables contractors to operate legally, and it also helps them to avoid expensive fines and a possible loss of lien rights.
How can I find out if a contractor is licensed in Florida?
Florida residents are advised to confirm whether the contractor is licensed or not by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. There are a few ways to check a contractor’s license, the first of which is online at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s website.
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