You can practice as a construction contractor in Florida both at the state and local levels. However, you would need a certified license if you wish to practice in any city of your choice in Florida.
This comprehensive guide will discuss the entire process of obtaining your Florida contractor’s license in detail. Let us take a look at these steps one by one –
Identifying the Category of Contractors License
The first and foremost requirement to get your Florida contractor license is to identify the type of license you wish to obtain. There are two major categories of licenses for certified contractors. The first one is a certified license that is valid on the state level while the second one is a registered license valid for local-level practice. Similarly, the category of contractors is classified into two major divisions – Division 1 contractors and Division 2 contractors.
Division 1 contractors usually include general contractors, building contractors, and residential contractors. On the other hand, the second category of contractors is field-specific. Some of these categories include mechanical contractors, roofing contractors, solar contractors, plumbing contractors, and underground utility contractors.
Filling the License Application Form
The next step requires an applicant to get access to the application form and duly fill it. You can access free application forms through the Construction Industry Licensing Board. Depending on the category of license you wish to apply for, you can choose from over three types of application forms. The first category of forms is for a general contractor license. The second category of form is for a building contractor license and, the third one is for a residential contractor license.
Qualifying Florida Contractors License Exam
After accessing and completing the application form, the first step is to qualify for the Florida contractor license examination. However, you must know that it is mandatory to pass the relevant division exam to obtain a certified contractor license, excluding pool contractors. The Florida contractor’s license exams are separately administered and regulated by professional testing institutes. You can register and apply for this exam online by visiting their website or reaching out to their helpline number and mail ID.
Fulfilling Criteria and Obtaining the Specified Documents
After qualifying for the Florida contractor’s license examination, the next step you need to do is submit certain documents.
Here is a brief list of the documents you need to submit at this stage –
- Proof of financial responsibility – First of all, you need to submit a credit report with a minimum credit score of 660. You must also ensure that your credit reporting agency includes your credit score on the report. However, if your credit score does not meet the minimum criteria of 660 points, you would have to submit a surety bond for a letter of credit to fulfill the requirement.
- Electronic fingerprints – The next requirement is to submit your electronic fingerprints. You can do so by electronically submitting your fingerprints through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. However, you must ensure that there is sufficient time for the department to work on your report results. You can do so by submitting your fingerprints at least one week before submitting your license application form. You can also visit the state website for further information on electronic fingerprint submission.
- Liability insurance proof – You would also need to submit proof for general liability insurance with a minimum amount of $300,000. The amount for property damage for the general and building contractors category is $50,000. Apart from this, important to note that the amount for public liability is $100,000 and $25000 for property damage applying to all the categories of contractors.
- Worker’s compensation insurance – You need worker’s compensation insurance if you are planning on hiring employees. However, you would also need to submit proof of qualification if you are applying for a certified license. It includes your four years of work experience or an apprenticeship certificate. On the other hand, you would need to provide proof of competency if you apply for a registered license.
Collecting Contractor License Bond
The second last step in this process is to collect your contractor license bond. However, this step is necessary only in a few cases where applicable. If you don’t have a current score of at least 660, you will need to submit a contractor license bond instead of the credit score you were supposed to have. While the amount of bond usually depends on the category of contractor license you apply for, it is generally divided into two classes. For Division 1 contractors, it is $20,000 while for Division 2 contractors it is $10,000. In addition to this, you must also know that the bond amount can go down by 50% if you complete any verified financial responsibility course approved by the license board.
Submitting Florida Contractor License Application
The last step in this process is to submit your duly filled Florida contractor license application. Please note that you must also submit the licensing fees along with your application form. It must be either in the form of a personal or cashier’s check payable to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The application fees for certified and registered contractors depend on the month you apply. If you apply between may 1st of an even year and August 31st of an odd year, you would have to pay $249.
However, the amount comes to $149 if you apply anytime between September 1st of an odd year and 30th April of an even year. Moreover, the criteria are quite different if you are applying for a registered contractor license. The application fees for applying between May and August are $309 and $209 if you apply between September and April.
Working as a construction contractor is a lucrative career option if you are looking for good opportunities. However, you must follow the recommended process carefully while applying for a Florida contractors license for your practice. We hope this detailed guide helped you get a deeper insight into the application process!