how to get your contractor license in florida

#1 Florida Contractor License Guide!

Table of Contents

Construction in the state of Florida is regulated by two agencies:

  • Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board
  • Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation

Who Needs to Have a Contractor License in Florida?

Anyone engaging in projects to:

“construct, repair, alter, remodel, add to, demolish, subtract from, or improve any building or structure, including related improvements to real estate, for others or for resale to others”

This may also include projects that require:

  • Pulling Building Permits
  • Projects involving Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC
the complete guide to getting the florida contractor license including, requirements, exams, insurance, bonding and much more!

Florida Contractor License Classifications

Contractors in Florida may apply for two different categories of residential and commercial licensing:

  • Registered License – Allows construction work limited to specific jurisdictions
  • Certified License – Allows construction work anywhere in the state of Florida

License Classifications

Florida Contractor License Requirements

To take the Florida contractors exam you must meet the following basic requirements:

  • 18 years of age
  • Valid USA Identification 
  • Social Security Number 
  • Not currently on probation or parole

You must also:

  • Journeyman Trade Experience (4 Years for Certified License)
  • Show proof of financial solvency with a minimum 660 Credit Score
  • Hold General Liability Insurance and Worker's Compensation
  • Complete a Criminal Background Check

What is Journeyman Experience?

The Florida Construction Licensing Board will require that you have journeyman/supervisory level experience in a construction trade.

While different regions may have varying definitions for what a journeyman is, typically this is someone who:

  • Can perform all of the duties associated with their trade
  • Has worked un-supervised performing their trade
  • Has supervisory level experience
  • (in some cases) has completed a Journeyman certification

How Do I Prove My Experience to the Florida Contractor License Board?

a home in the framing process. the Florida contractors board may ask you to prove your construction experience

Be prepared to submit:

  • A description of your work experience and projects
  • Employment History
  • Contact Information of a qualifying contractor
  • The dates when your experience was gained

For a complete look at how you will need to prove experience when applying to the Florida building contractor license, check out this resource.

Florida Contractor License Application Processing 

The application process for the Registered and Certified Contractor License are as follows:

  • Step 1: 

Pass the Florida Contractor License Examination

  • Step 2: 

Complete either Individual or Business Application for Contractor License with Test Scores Included.

  • Step 3: 

Include Credit Score, Proof of Experience, Proof of Insurance and Completed Background Check with Application. 

Applicants will be expected to prove active worker's compensation within 30 days of the Florida contractor license being issued.

Completed applications can be sent to:

State of Florida

Department of Business and Professional Regulation

1940 North Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783

Florida Contractor License Examination

All applicants must pass the Florida Construction License Exam. The exam is administered by a third-party company called Professional Testing Inc.

There are three areas of the examination:

  • Business & Finance
  • Project Management
  • Contract Administration

The test is:

  • 120 Questions
  • 6.5 Hours
  • Taken on a Computer

The test covers the following topics:

  • Determining Business Organizational Structure
  • Business plans
  • Accountant and Attorney Specialization
  • Insurance Types
  • Purchasing Materials and Supplies
  • Invoices, Draw Requests, and Lien Laws
  • Safety
  • Purchase/Order Materials & Supplies
  • Equipment Depreciation and Maintenance
  • Contract Law
  • Preparing Bids and Proposals
  • Fixed Assets and Business Allocation

Exams are held every month. 

If you are applying for the General Contractor license you have the option of taking the NASCLA test!

Check out this page for current dates and costs.

Examination Waiver for Registered Contractors

If you are applying for a Registered Contractor License, you may submit a Certification of Competency instead of taking the Florida State Construction Exam. 

Certifications of Competency must be issued by a local building authority in the county or jurisdiction you plan on working in.

Learn how to obtain a certification.

How To Get a Florida Business License

If you are applying for a Florida Contractor License as a business, the state board will require you to have an established business entity.

You will choose a name and then select the type of entity you want. Typically, construction companies choose either:

  • Sole Proprietor – License held through an individual
  • Partnership – License held through a partnership
  • LLC – License held through a company that exists as its own entity
  • S-Corporation – License held through a corporate entity
when getting a contractor license in the state of Florida, you may apply as an individual or a business. guide explains everything you need to know about starting a business in florida

For a complete explanation of the difference between these types of entities and which one makes the most sense for someone applying for a contractor license, check out this free guide!

Workers Compensation

Florida requires all construction companies with 1 or more employees to hold worker's compensation insurance. This also includes LLCs. However, If you apply as a sole proprietorship and have no employees you may be exempt.

To see the complete list of trades considered to be part of the construction industry, you can refer to the Florida Division of Worker's Compensation

Florida Contractor License Search

The Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board ultimately exists as a consumer protection mechanism.

The agency exists not only to enforce rules on construction contractors but also to ensure that homeowners are not being overcharged by unlicensed contractors.

If you are a homeowner or business owner looking to verify a contractor license in the state of Florida, you can check a license here

Construction Apprenticeships In Florida

when applying for a florida builders license, you will be expected to have mastery of your trade. to begin this journey you can apply for an apprenticeship

Whether you are looking to become a journeyman in Florida or begin a career as a contractor, you will want to begin by mastering the trade.

One of the best ways to build a solid foundation and position yourself as a professional in the construction industry is by looking into an apprenticeship program or training course.

These types of schools can provide you with valuable training in a variety of different trades including Electrical, Plumbing, Concrete, Landscaping, Painting, HVAC, Roofing, Carpentry, and much more!

If you are one day looking to get the Florida General Contractor license, you will need to demonstrate a skillset beyond just construction. Learn about project management and other business skills.

If you are new to the construction industry and have heard the term “journeyman” or “apprentice” and are not sure what these terms mean, or perhaps where to even start.

Each state may have different requirements and standards for what is considered a journeyman, check your state laws.

To learn more about the step-by-step path from an Apprentice to Journeyman!

What You Need To Know About Contractor License Schools

florida contractor license schools can teach you construction law

If you are looking to prepare for your Florida Contractor License exam, taking contractor classes could be a huge help. Most contractor resources include:

  • Bilingual study materials
  • Online classes taught by industry professionals
  • Application assistance 
  • Insurance and Business services

Many tradesmen find themselves a bit confused when faced with questions about construction accounting, balance sheets, workers compensation, employee rights, job site safety, and Florida state construction law. 

These topics can be learned quickly. Studying consistently in the weeks leading up to your exam day will help you greatly.

Practice exams and study guides breaking down everything you need to know can be found here.

Construction LAW vs Construction TRADE

contractor license school's main focus should be on the law.

Most states offer several different types of licenses, so if a school is telling you it can teach you your trade, be wary… as that is not realistic.

You can however review trade concepts you may have forgotten. 

Many excellent online resources cover the basics of electricity, HVAC, Masonry, Carpentry, and much more

Check out our complete list of Trade Skills Courses

Blueprint Reading Course

those looking to get a general contractor license in florida, should take a blueprint reading course

For those looking to do pursue a career in construction or get a Florida General contractor license, reading construction blueprints is fundamental.

Blueprints communicate important information about the way in which a structure is built as well as what materials are necessary or have been used for its construction.

Being comfortable with construction blueprints is an invaluable skill especially for those looking to into engineering or obtain construction licensing.

See our Free Blueprint Reading Course!

Florida OSHA Regulations

Statistically, 21% of all work-related fatalities are in construction.

That equals about 1 and 5 worker deaths on average.

In the construction industry, the leading cause of worker deaths is reported as falls, struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in/between.

being familiar with osha regulations is helpful when taking the florida contractor license exam

Safety is a huge part of the construction industry.

Whether it be roofing, painting, landscaping, carpentry, electrical, or any other trade.

If you or your workers are not properly trained, it can place unnecessary risk to not only your personal safety but your bottom line as a business. 

For employment with a licensed general contractor, you may be asked to complete some level of Florida OSHA Training.

Get Started!

Getting a contractor license in Florida can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to start your own business! Especially if you are coming from out of state.

The construction industry is very lucrative. There will be more and more opportunities for skilled tradesmen in the future.

The key is to know the requirements to becoming a general contractor and take action from beginning to end. 

If you have found this article, be sure to let us know! and check back for more updates in the future.