Want to start your own construction or contracting business in Florida, but not sure how to get your contractor’s license?
You’re not alone. The process of getting a contractor’s license in the Sunshine State can be particularly complicated, as it takes a different approach from other states (you’ll see why in a bit). Plus, finding the information you need on various government sites can take up time you might not have, especially if you’re in school or already working smaller contracting jobs.
That’s why I did the research for you! Check out my step-by-step guide on everything you need to do to get your contractor’s license in Florida.
Check off the general requirements.
In order to qualify for a certified contractor’s license in Florida, there are a few basics you need to check off, like:
Your age. You have to be 18 or older to qualify for this license.
Your SNN. You’ll need a valid Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification (ITIN).
Proof of education/experience. You should be able to show that you’ve completed four years of education in a vocational school, training program, or have completed work experience. If you only have two years of vocational training but two or more years of work experience, that still meets this requirement.
Good news for veterans: Military experience also counts towards this requirement, so if you’re a veteran, download Florida’s Military Fee Waiver and Military Service Verification form. Based on your experience, your application may be expedited.
And yes, you read that right - as a veteran, you won’t have to pay a fee to get your Florida contractor’s license!
Demonstrate financial stability. When applying for your Florida contractor’s license, you’ll be asked to submit personal credit reports, as well as a credit report for your business (if applicable). The Contractor’s Licensing Board only accepts certain credit reports, so check out this list of approved vendors who can provide you with what you need.
Know if you need additional contractor’s licenses.
Florida offers multiple types of contractor’s licenses, some of which may impact how many exams you need to take (more on this in a bit). While this article is geared towards the general certified contractor’s license, Florida offers separate contractor’s license requirements for:
Depending on your specialty areas, you may need to apply for more than one license. For example, if you’re a contractor who wants to work on roofing projects, you’ll need to apply for both the general certified contractor license (which we’re exploring here) and the contractor’s license for roofers.
Apply to take your Florida contractor’s license exam.
So here’s the deal: You actually can’t apply for your contractor’s license until you take the Florida Exam for Contractors.
Don’t worry, it shouldn’t be difficult to take; it’s just designed to test your knowledge of basic safety, business finances, building, and other related topics. The exam is typically held every other month for one week and in various cities. You can check out the upcoming schedule for the Florida exam here.
In order to register for an exam, you can apply by phone at (407) 264-0562 or online by clicking here. You’ll need to pay two fees to take this exam:
$135 registration fee (payable to Professional Testing) $80 exam site administration fee (payable to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation)
If you choose to apply for the exam online, you can pay these fees all at once.
Submit your application.
Once you’ve taken and passed the Florida license exam for contractors, you’ll be able to finish applying for your license. Here’s a checklist of everything you’ll need to submit with your contractor’s license application, which you can download here:
Licensing fees: If you passed your exam before August 31st, 2019, your license fee is $249; if you passed the exam and submit your license application after August 31st, 2019, the prorated fee is $149.
Electronic fingerprints: Florida has a list of vendors that you can use to provide fingerprint records to the licensing board. Click here to learn more about the fingerprinting process to get your Florida contractor’s license.
Your credit report: This refers back to your general requirements to get a contractor’s license, as you need to demonstrate you’re financially stable. If your credit score is under 660, the state of Florida requires that you submit a bond with your application.
After you’ve collected your information, documentation, and fees, you can submit your completed application to:
Department of Business and Professional Regulation 2601 Blair Stone Road Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783
Don’t forget about insurance!
After you get your Florida contractor’s license, you’ll need to provide proof of insurance (including workers compensation insurance, if you have employees). By law, Florida contractors must have at least \$300,000 of liability coverage. You may also need to show proof that you hold a construction bond.
I hope this information helps you; good luck getting your contractor’s license!
Once licensed, don't forget to run a contractors insurance quote to ensure you're covered.
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I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!
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