If you want to be a contractor in Florida and work legally in this state you need a Florida contractor license. The process of licensure is handled by the Florida Construction Licensing Board and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). They can both approve or deny your application. They also decide all the requirements that you need to meet in order to get your contractor license in Florida. These requirements are specific to different types of licenses.
The process for a contractor license can be complicated and exhausting. That’s why we are going to give you all the information that you need to make this process easier.
In Florida, there are two main categories of licenses:
In the first category, Division I Contractors, there are three types of the contractor:
All the Contractors in Division II are oriented in specific areas such as. 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. Further information can be found on the Board’s Definition of Occupation page.
In Florida, every licensure processor for each contractor specialty had different requirements. But here is a requirement that is common for all the licensure processes:
Then you should provide proof of education or experience. You should provide a certification that you have completed four years of education in a college or take some training courses. Or prove that you have work experience in this sphere. To meet this requirement you can only complete two years of education and two years of work experience.
By the way, military experience is also considered as enough experience for this requirement. If you are a veteran, you need to download and fill this form Florida’s Military Fee Waiver and Military Service Verification form. Also all veterans don’t need to pay the fee for a contractor license in Florida.
After you must demonstrate financial stability. In this step you are asked to provide your personal and business(if you have one) credit reports. A minimum FICO-derived credit score for all the applicants who have decided to apply for a general contractor license is 660. It is very important so you need to make sure that the credit reporting agency includes your score on the credit report.
Now the insurance coverage, to be a licensed contractor in Florida you need to show you insurance coverage. Which must have at least $300,000 of liability coverage. In some cases, you also need to provide proof that you have a construction bond.
One of the important steps is taking your Florida Exam for Contractors, without this exam you cannot apply for a general contractor license.
It may sound terrifying but it is not that bad, it is an easy test that will check your knowledge of topics related to basic safety, business finances, building, and so on. Usually, the exam is held every two months for one week and in different cities.
You can register for the exam by phone at (407) 264-0562, and also online. Here is the link where you can register.
In order to take the exam for a general contractor, you must pay two fees. The first is for registration it is $135 (payable to Professional Testing), and the second one is for exam site administration fee it is $80 (payable to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation).
So you take the Florida license exam and pass it. Congratulations you have reached the last level and now you need to complete your application and submit it. And here are the final steps.
Note: It is important that you complete your application plainly in ink.
According to when you submit your application the fee is different.
To give your fingerprint records to the licensing commitment, you need to choose one of the vendors from the Florida state list. To know more about this process visit here.
If your FICO credit score is less than 660, don’t give up, there is a solution for you. Instead of it you can provide a contractor license bond. The amount of the bond is different, it is connected with the category of the contractor.So, for Division I Contractors the bond amount is $20,000. And for Division II Contractors the amount is $10,000
If you take a 14-hour Financial Responsibility Course which is approved by the board. Your bond amount will be reduced by 50%. Here is a link where you can find the application.
Usually, it will take from 30 to 45 days until your application will be reviewed and the decision will be made. But this does not guarantee the approval of your application. The commitment can require additional information, documents, or certificates not just can’t be denied for another reason.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation warns the residents of Florida to check if the contractor is licensed or not. There are several ways to verify a contractor’s license, first, you can do it online by visiting the website of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation www.myfloridalicense.com or just by phone at 850-487-1395.
If your license is expired you need to renew it. You will know it by the mail that the DBPR will send you. There are two steps to do while renewing your license: