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
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
- General Contractor
- Building Contractor
- Residential Contractor - lowest level of state
- Sheet Metal
- Air Conditioning - Class A, B, C
- Mechanical Contractor
- Commercial Pool/Spa
- Residential Pool/Spa
- Swimming Pool Service
- Plumbing Contractor
- Underground Utility and Excavation
- Pollutant Storage Systems
- Specialty Contractor
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?
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:
- Step 2:
- 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 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
- 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
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!
Florida requires all construction companies with 1 or more employees to hold workers compensation insurance. This also includes LLC's. 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 over charged 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
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 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
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 tradesman 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 on 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
A 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
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.
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.
Getting the 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 tradesman 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.