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 construction 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
- Insurance requirements for Florida general contractors
How to become a contractor in Florida
To start your commercial or residential contractor business in Florida, you will need to meet a few initial requirements, pass an exam, provide proof of insurance and register your new business.
The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) is the state agency you'll work with to meet licensure requirements and get approval through the application process.
Florida general contractor license requirements
To meet the initial requirements for your general contractor license, you must be 18 years of age and provide the state licensing board with supporting documents and information, including:
- Proof of financial responsibility through a credit report with a FICO credit score of 660 or higher
- An electronic fingerprint and background check
- Proof of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance (you'll need a certificate of insurance for this)
- A passing grade on the Florida state construction examination
- Application fee (which varies depending on the type of license you’re applying for)
In addition, you must have four years of work experience or a combination of education and experience (with up to three years of education eligible to substitute for experience).
There are several different types of general contractor licenses available from the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) based on the work you will be doing.
A certified general contractor 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 general contractor license limits your contract work to specific communities in Florida. It also requires you to have a certificate of competency from the jurisdictions you work in.
How to get a general contractor license in Florida
You will need to pass your Florida state construction examination before submitting your application for a Florida general contractor license.
Applicants with a four-year degree in building construction from an accredited college and a GPA of 3.0 or higher may receive an exemption from having to take the trade knowledge portion of the licensing exam.
You can schedule exams with Professional Testing, Inc. in February, April, June, August, October and December.
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 specialty contractors in Class A/B air conditioning, pool/spa servicing, roofing and other trades. It is a two-part exam that covers business and finance and trade knowledge.
There is a $135 registration fee required with your exam application form, plus fees ranging from $40 to $80 for specific tests.
How long does it take to get a general contractor license in Florida?
The Florida general contractor licensing process can go quickly if your application is complete and you pass your exams.
It can help to have a Florida construction lawyer review your application before submitting it to the DBPR to ensure everything is accurate and complete.
Insurance requirements for Florida general contractors
General contractor applicants in the state of Florida are required to show they have general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance if they have employees.
Your business insurance in Florida will need to cover the following policy limits 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
Florida general liability insurance can help protect your general contracting business if someone other than an employee is injured as a result of your work. It can also help cover expenses if you or an employee are held responsible for damaging someone's property.
This means that if a client files a legal claim against your business because they were injured on your job site, or if there is damage to their property during the project, your policy could help cover related expenses up to your policy limits.
Workers’ compensation for Florida contractors
Construction businesses with employees must have workers’ compensation insurance in Florida, which can help cover medical expenses, lost wages and employer liability if there is an on-the-job injury, illness or death.
How NEXT supports Florida general contractors
NEXT helps Florida general contractors get the insurance they need to get licensed and protect their business.
Our online services allow you to quickly apply for fast, affordable and tailored insurance in about 10 minutes.
You'll have immediate access to your certificate of insurance after you purchase, and you can share it 24/7 from a computer or the NEXT mobile app.
Get a free instant quote online today.
Do you have projects in another state? Visit our summary of general contractor license requirements in every state.
Learn more about business insurance for construction trades.