The Complete Florida Contractor License Guide [2021 Update]
If you want to start a construction business in Florida, you need to undergo an administrative procedure with state authorities. You have to obtain a Florida contractor’s license which guarantees you are fit for the job.
The licensing process is rigorous, and the requirements vary depending on the license type that you wish to get.
There are two main types of licensure – registration and certification. Being a registered contractor allows you to perform work on a local level, in your city or country. If instead, you wish to be able to work throughout the whole state, you will need to be certified.
The Florida contractor license types are the following:
- Sheet Metal
- Air Conditioning (Classes A, B, and C)
- Pool / Spa (Commercial, Residential and Servicing)
- Underground Utility and Excavation
- Pollutant Storage System
Additionally, there are also specialty licenses which can also be local or state-level. These include specialty structure licenses, swimming pool specialties, building demolition and others.
Read on to find out the full details about the Florida contractor license that you need.
The Construction Industry Licensing Board at the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation oversees the activities of contractors in the state.
The statutes governing the Florida construction licenses are Chapter 489, Part I of the Florida Statutes, and Chapter 61G4 of the Florida Administrative Code.
Business Entity Registration
Your first step before you apply for a license is to register your business entity. You can do so through the Florida Division of Corporations if you’re founding a corporation, LLC, or partnership. You have to register with the state Department of Revenue if you’re a small business.
Applicants for a state of Florida contractor license have to provide proof of financial stability and responsibility. You have to submit a credit report for yourself and your business entity, and it should contain your FICO score. If it is below 660, you have to additionally obtain a surety bond as financial security.
Proof of Experience and State Examination
To become a certified contractor, you need to show proof of 4 years of experience in the field in which you wish to become certified. It should include a minimum 1 year of supervisory experience. You can substitute up to 3 years of experience with three years of college credit hours.
Depending on the type of license that you want to get, you may need to provide additional proof of experience. This applies specifically for Florida general contractor license and residential contractor license applicants, among others.
You also need to pass the Florida contractor license exam. All license types require that, except for the Swimming Pool Specialty one.
Florida registered contractor license applicants have to either pass the certification exam as well, or get a Certificate of Competency from their city or county’s licensing authority.
Once you have obtained all required documents, it’s time to complete the relevant application form for your license type.
Mail it together with your paperwork to:
Division of Professions
Construction Industry Licensing Board
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0791
License and Registration Fees
Licensing fees for certified contractors are:
- $249 – when applying between May 1 of an even year and August 31 of an odd year
- $149 – when applying between September 1 of an odd year and April 30 of an even year
For registered contractors, the fees are the following:
- $309 – when applying between May 1 of an odd year and August 31 of an even year
- $209 – when applying for between September 1 of an even year and April 30 of an odd year
Obtaining a Florida contractor license entails meeting the financial and insurance requirements of the Board.
Worker’s compensation insurance
All construction businesses hiring employees have to get a worker’s compensation insurance. You can find out more information from the state Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Liability and property damage insurance
You need to get insurance in the appropriate amounts required by the Board.
They are the following:
- General and building contractor license – $300,000 liability and $50,000 property damage insurance
- All other license types – $100,000 liability and $25,000 property damage insurance
If your FICO score is below 660, you have to obtain a surety bond. This is a security mechanism that guarantees your legal compliance. It safeguards the interests of your customers.
The amounts of the Florida contractor license bond that you have to post depend on the license type that you want to obtain:
- Building, residential and and general contractor license – $20,000
- All other license types – $10,000
The price that you have to pay to get bonded is called the premium. It is a few percent of the required bond amount. The exact cost is based on your personal and business finances. The stronger they are, the lower it will be. The typical rates for applicants with stable finances are between 0.75% and 5%.
Want to check the exact cost of your contractor license bond? Fill in the short form below!
How to verify your Florida contractor license
You can check your license via the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Online Services. The search is possible by name, license number, city or county, and license type.
Licenses are renewed every two years. Certified contractors need to renew their licenses before August 31 of every even-numbered year. Registered contractors have to undergo the procedure before August 31 of every odd-numbered year.
There are different fees for renewing depending on whether the license is current, delinquent, active or inactive:
- Current active – $209 for individuals and $259 for qualifying businesses
- Current inactive – $59
- Delinquent active individual -$309
- Delinquent active business – $359
- Delinquent inactive licenses – $218.
Have more questions about getting your Florida contractor license and bonding? You can call us at 877.514.5146.
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