If you want to work as a contractor in the State of Florida, you will need to get a contractor license. The Construction Industry Licensing Board of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) oversees the contractor licensing process. They establish different requirements contractors must meet before they can receive their license.
In this guide, we will take you through all the steps you need to follow to get your Florida contractor license.
Step 1: Determine license type
The first step to getting your Florida contractor license is to determine what type of license you need. The various license classifications allow dealers to perform different kinds of work. This includes:
- General contractor license
- Building contractor license
- Residential contractor license
- Air Conditioning contractor license
- Roofing contractor license
- Mechanical contractor license
- Swimming pool/spa contractor license
- Plumbing contractor license
- Underground Utility and Excavation contractor license
- Specialty contractor license
All license types fall into one of the following classifications: Certified or Registered.
Certified licenses let the contractor work on projects throughout the state. Registered licenses let contractors work on projects at the local level (city and county).
Florida contractor licenses are broken down into more subdivisions; Division I contractors and Division II contractors. Division I consists of general, building, and residential contractors. Division II includes all remaining disciplines including plumbing, roofing, air conditioning, etc.
Step 2: Meet experience requirement and pass the pre-license exam
If you want to become a certified contractor, you must have four years of industry experience. This experience must include one year of supervisory experience. You will need to provide proof of this experience with your license application.
In addition to the experience requirements, Florida contractors must also pass a knowledge exam to receive a license. The exam is administered by Professional Testing, Inc. Tests are available every other month at specific locations across the state. You can learn more about the exam specifics on the Professional Testing website.
Step 3: Register your business
Before you apply for your contractor license, you need to register your business in the State of Florida. If your business entity is structured as a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, or partnership you will register with the Florida Division of Corporations. Sole proprietorships must register with the Florida Department of Revenue.
Step 4: Get insurance
Florida contractors must get liability insurance coverage to protect against any incidents that may occur during the course of business. Below are the minimum coverage amounts:
- General and building contractors: $50,000 for property damage, $300,000 for public liability
- All other contractor classifications: $25,000 for property damage, $100,000 for public liability
If your business has employees you also need to get workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
Step 5: Get a surety bond
Contractors that do not meet the minimum net worth requirements can post a Florida surety bond instead. The bond serves as extra financial protection to the state and the contractor’s clients.
The required bond amount for Florida contractor license bonds depends on the license category:
- $20,000 bond for Division I Contractors
- $10,000 bond for Division II Contractors
Contractors can reduce these required amounts by 50% by completing a financial responsibility course.
No matter the required bond amount, contractors only need to pay a small percentage up front as a premium. The surety company that issues the bond decides the premium based on the licensee’s experience, credit score, and financial standing. For Florida contractor licenses, this is typically 3% to 5% of the total bond amount.
Step 6: Submit electronic fingerprints
The last step to take before completing your license application is to electronically submit your fingerprints. This must be done using a Livescan Service Provider approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The department recommends that you submit your fingerprints at least five days prior to completing the license application. This will ensure that they have enough time to process your fingerprints before your application is reviewed.
Step 7: Complete license application
Now that you have met all of the requirements, you are ready to send in your contractor license application. You can find the appropriate application forms on the DBPR website.
Your application must include the appropriate application fee. This amount varies depending on license category and the date the license is issued:
- Applying between May 1st and August 31st of odd-numbered years: $249
- Applying between September 1st of an odd-numbered year and April 30th of even number year: $149
- Applying between May 1st and August 31st of odd-numbered years: $309
- Applying between September 1st of an odd-numbered year and April 30th of even number year: $209
Once you gather everything you need, you can submit your application to the following address.
Department of Business and Professional Regulation
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783
Florida contractor license frequently asked questions
How long does it take to get a general contractor license in Florida?
After you submit your contractor license application to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, it typically takes them 30 to 45 days to process it.
How do you renew a Florida contractor license?
Florida contractor licenses are valid for two years. The date by which you need to renew the license depends on the license category. Certified contractors must renew their license by August 31st of even-numbered years while registered contractors must renew by the same date but for odd-numbered years.
You can renew your license online using the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Online Services. You will need to pay a renewal fee to complete the process. If you renew before the expiration date the fee is $259 for businesses and $209 for individuals. This amount increases if you fail to renew prior to the expiration date.
How EZ Surety Bonds can help with a Florida contractor license
These are all the steps needed to get your Florida contractor’s license. If you need a surety bond to substitute for the wealth requirement, EZ Surety can help you get bonded quickly and conveniently.
We provide competitive premiums and fast turnarounds for dealers of all experience levels and financial standings. Apply online today or get in touch today to learn more.