Florida Contractor License Bonds

Florida Contractor License Bonds

How much does a construction contractor bond cost in Florida?

Florida has both a statewide bond and local level bonds. We can write most of the city and county bonds with smaller bond amounts without a credit check. Often for as low as $100, depending on the specific bond. 

Your credit will determine whether you need the state bond, as well as the cost of that bond. License applicants with nonstandard credit (less than 660) must obtain a surety bond to meet the financial responsibility requirement for Florida contractor license applications. Since it's a nonstandard bond, the price of your bond will reflect the strength of your credit. The surety will review your credit and assign you a premium rate. For nonstandard credit, this can start between 3-5%. Multiply your premium rate by your required bond amount to find your premium; this is what you'll pay for the bond.

Why are contractor bonds important in Florida?

In short, contractor surety bonds ensure the accurate completion of work by a licensed contractor. Say a licensed contractor violates licensing laws or does not complete the work according to the agreed-upon terms. In this case, the surety bond protects the public (sometimes the city/county) from financial damages they've incurred due to those violations.

Florida has contractor license bonds at both the state and local level. Your credit will determine whether you need a state contractor bond. Florida requires all construction contractors to prove their financial responsibility before receiving a license. To satisfy this requirement, applicants must have a FICO credit score of 660 or higher and no unsatisfied liens or judgments.

If the applicant does not meet the financial stability requirement, they may obtain a surety bond instead. The applicant may take a Board-approved 14-hour financial responsibility course to reduce the required bond amount by 50%. The bond amount requirements are as follows:

with proof of completion of an approved financial responsibility course

  • $10,000 for Division I applicants
  • $5,000 for Division II applicants

without proof of completion of an approved financial responsibility course

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

Keep in mind, the location of your work within Florida may also require you to get a city or county bond. In this case, different municipalities have bonding requirements separate from the state. Always check with your local governments for their specific regulations.

How do I get my general contractor's license in Florida?

The state of Florida has two categories of contractor licenses: certified and registered. Certified contractors can complete work throughout the whole state. Registered contractors are limited to the jurisdiction that issued their registration. Furthermore, there are classifications based on the specific trade of the contractor. The Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board lists the categories of licenses in more detail. 

Specific requirements for each license may vary. Below, we've highlighted the main steps to get a Florida contractor's license:

  1. Show proof of financial responsibility: You must submit a FICO credit score of 660 or higher, otherwise you may provide a surety bond to satisfy this requirement.
  2. Submit to fingerprinting: Applicants can use any Livescan Service Provider approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
  3. Obtain adequate worker’s compensation and liability insurance: Applicants are required to provide a certificate of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance.
  4. Pass a Florida Construction Exam: Certified contractor license applicants must pass this exam. Download and complete the Florida State Construction Examination Application. Registered contractor license applicants must also pass this exam, unless they already have a Certificate of Competency.
  5. Submit your application: Fill out your application and submit it with all the required fees and documentation. 

Keep in mind, this is just a general overview of the steps for the licensing process. Certified and registered contractor licenses each have their own specific requirements. Check with the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board for further specifics.

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