Being a licensed contractor in Florida requires documentation and being certified by the Construction Industry Licensing Board. The Board is responsible for regulating contractors and their performance in the construction industry. The Construction Industry Licensing Board meets regularly to review future member’s applications, analyze and recommend disciplinary sanctions. It also participates in rulemaking processes and responsible for enforcing regulations and standards among contractors.
Types of Contractor's License in Florida
There two major contractor’s licenses in the state: Registration and Certification. When the contractor has obtained a local or city license, then they must apply for the initial registration license. When a contractor has been registered by the Board, then they may only practice in the city or local area where permission has been granted. Once the contractor completes and applies the Florida contractor’s license examination, then the Board might allow you to work through the state. Both applications can be accessed at www.myfloridalicense.com.
Contractors practicing general, residential, sheet metal, roofing, AC, mechanical, swimming pools, plumbing, solar, building, underground utility, glass and glazing, and pollutant storage activities require a registration or certification permission from the Board.
Swimming Pool Contractors
The state has one of the highest per building ratio of swimming pools in the nation, and for that reason, the Board has created new licenses for contractors engaged in that business. For example, the Board now includes specialties such as pool layout, structural pool design, excavation, trim, pool decking, pool piping, and finishes. For these contractor licenses, the state requires a practical test and be at least 18 years old. Other information that will be requested relates to the financial performance of the organization, experience, insurances, and must pass the state-required test.
How to Be a Florida Certified Contractor
To be a Florida Certified Contractor, you must be able to pass the contractor’s test, provide a proven record of financial stability, and present evidence of your experience for the category in which you wish to be licensed. A contractor must have at least four years of field experience in the category being considered, and one of those years has to be acting in a supervisory role. This last requirement could be substituted for at least three years of undergraduate credit hours. When the contractor wishes to be certified as a building or general contractor, they must present evidence of experience in four of these categories:
- Foundations/Slabs in excess of 20,000 square feet
- Masonry walls
- Steel erection
- Elevated slabs
- Pre-cast concrete structures
- Column erection
- Formwork for structural reinforced concrete
In addition to these requirements, contractors must present their past criminal history information, insurance minimum bonding active at all times ($300K liability, $5k property damage) or any other amount the contractor boards deemed necessary. Finally, the contractor must also present active workers’ compensation coverage or an exemption.
Florida General Contractor Application Financial Requirements
The Board requires all applicants to be in good standing in regards to your financial requirements. There are a number of requirements that the contractor must demonstrate before the board issues a license:
- An individual cannot have liens against him/her or to the company that is being qualified
- The credit score must be at 660 or higher. If the contractor can not meet these requirements, a licensing bond or irrevocable letter of credit can be provided
- The bond letter must meet the minimum requirements: For Division 1 the bond must be for $20,000 and for Division II contractors the bond shall be for $10,000.
- A 14-hour financial responsibility course must be taken. For a list of available courses visit the Financial Responsibility Courses homepage.
Florida Contractor License: Uncategorized Trades
The complexity and variety of the construction business are changing day to day. If you want to be considered a certified contractor, but the trade you perform is not listed by the Board, you must verify with your local county to see if they offer the type of license you are requesting. In case the trade being performed is not listed, and the work you perform modifies or created a structure, then a residential, building or general contractor’s license will be issued. However, the following areas do not require a state contractor’s license:
- Window treatments
Does the Florida Contractor's Licensing Board Offer Reciprocity?
The Florida Contractor’s licensing board offers reciprocity. However, you must first demonstrate that the exam you passed in your local state is similar or equivalent to Florida’s or that the requirements on which the contractor license was granted are equivalent to Florida standards.
The information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to the law. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney.