What you need to know to get your general contractor license in Florida
There are roughly 5,000 licensed general contractors in Florida, and by following the proper steps, you can be one too. One of the first things you will need to do is get your Florida general contractor license from the state licensing board or your local jurisdiction.
That means you will need to file applications, pay required fees, and fulfill general contractor insurance requirements before taking on clients and starting work on new projects.
In this article, we will cover:
- How to become a general contractor in Florida
- Florida general contractor license requirements
- How to get a general contractor license in Florida
How to become a contractor in Florida
To start your general contracting business in Florida, you will need to meet a few initial requirements, pass an exam, provide proof of insurance, and register your new business.
Having all of your information, applications, and paperwork prepared and ready to go makes applying for your general contractor license the easiest part of the job.
Florida general contractor license requirements
To meet the initial requirements for your general contractor license, you must be 18 years old and provide the state licensing board with the following materials:
- Proof of financial stability through a credit report demonstrating a FICO credit score of 660 or higher
- An electronic fingerprint and background check
- Proof of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance
- A passing grade on the Florida state construction examination
How to get a general contractor license in Florida
In Florida, there are different types of general contractor licenses based on the work you will be doing. First, you need to decide which classification your business falls under based on the Florida certification board’s requirements.
A certified license is valid for general contracting work throughout the state and permits you to work anywhere in Florida. This license can be applied for as an individual contractor or as a qualified business.
A registered license limits your contract work to specific communities in Florida. It also requires you to have a certificate of competency by the jurisdictions you work in.
After you decide which type of general contractor license you will be applying for, you can then apply for more specific trade licenses, such as plumbing, mechanical, roofing, sheet metal, and other trades. Visit the state’s licensing website for a complete list.
If you are applying for the certified general contractor license, your application will consist of the above requirements, as well as proof of education or expertise. Applicants for this type of license will need four years of experience or combined college and experience.
Florida state construction examination
Unlike in other states, you will need to pass your state certification exam before submitting your application for a Florida general contractor license.
You will need to schedule your exam with Professional Testing, Inc. The exam is administered in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The two in-person sections of the exam will need to be taken in Tallahassee, Orlando, or Miami.
There are two types of examination categories:
Division 1 Categories: This exam is for applicants in the general, building, and residential fields and includes three parts — project management, contract administration, and business and finance. You will need to answer at least 70% of the questions correctly to earn a passing grade.
Division 2 Categories: This exam is for Class A/B air conditioning, pool/spa servicing, and roofing, and other trades. It is a two-part exam that covers business and finance and trade knowledge.
All exams are open book and take 9 hours to 12 hours, depending on the exam.
How long does it take to get a general contractor license in Florida?
Overall, the Florida general contractor license process goes quickly if your application is complete and you pass your exams.
It can help to have a Florida construction lawyer look over your application before submitting it to the board to make sure everything is accurate and complete.
Insurance requirements for Florida general contractors
Florida has general contractor insurance requirements for anyone who would like to work in the state.
General contractor applicants are required to show they have general liability insurance (a.k.a. public liability and property damage insurance) and workers’ compensation insurance if they have employees.
Your insurance will need to cover the following amount set by the Florida licensing board:
General and building contractors: $300,000 public liability, $50,000 property damage
All other contractors: $100,000 public liability, $25,000 property damage.
General liability insurance for Florida contractors
General liability insurance provides your general contracting business with protections in case of injuries to people who are not your employees and damage to property that does not belong to you.
This means that if a client files a legal claim against your business because they were injured on your jobsite, or if there is damage to their property during the project, your policy will cover related expenses up to your policy limits.
Workers’ compensation for Florida contractors
Businesses in Florida with employees are required to have workers’ compensation coverage, which can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and employer liability if there is an on-the-job injury, illness, or death.
Commercial auto insurance for general contractors
Vehicles owned by a business and used for business purposes should be covered with commercial auto insurance. This provides a safety net if an accident injures occupants of your vehicle or damages it.
How Next Insurance supports Florida general contractors
Next Insurance helps Florida general contractors get the insurance they need to get licensed and protect their business.
Our online services allow you to apply for coverage and obtain a certificate of insurance within minutes from a computer or mobile device. We offer flexible coverage with monthly payment options and no cancellation fees.
Get an instant quote online today.