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 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.
In order to qualify for a certified contractor’s license in Florida, there are a few basics you need to check off, like:
1. Your age.
You have to be 18 or older to qualify.
2. Your SNN.
You’ll need a valid Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification (ITIN).
3. 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!
4. Demonstrate financial stability.
When applying for your 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.
5. Proof of insurance coverage
To get your Florida contractor’s license, you’ll need to provide proof of insurance (including workers compensation insurance, if you have employees).
You may need to show proof of business insurance to get your license.
That’s where we come in. Compare free insurance quotes for policies as low as $25.95/month.*Start Here >
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 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.
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: the $135 registration fee (payable to Professional Testing) and the $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.
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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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
I hope this information helps you; good luck getting your contractor’s license! Don't forget that you may need a Florida business license as well, so read our helpful guide today.
Once licensed, don't forget to run a contractors insurance quote to ensure you're covered.
* Monthly payment calculations (i) do not include initial premium down payment and (ii) may vary by state, insurance provider, and nature of your business. Averages based on January - December 2020 data of 10% of our total policies sold.
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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*Harborway Insurance policies are underwritten by Spinnaker Insurance Company and reinsured by Munich Re, an A+ (Superior) rated reinsurance carrier by A.M. Best. Harborway Insurance is a trade name of Simply Business, Inc., which is a licensed insurance producer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.