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Florida handyman license and insurance requirements

Florida handyman license and insurance requirements

By Ashley Henshaw
Jan 24, 2022
9 min read

Looking for work as a handyman? Florida is a great place to launch your business. The state ranks fourth in the nation for handyperson employment with over 98,000 maintenance and repair workers. Additionally, South Florida ranks among the top nonmetropolitan areas for the highest concentration of jobs in this line of work.1

If you’re wondering what type of work can a handyman do legally, the answer is that most handymen in Florida don’t need a professional license. However, if you plan to do certain types of jobs, you may need a general contractor license. In this guide, we’ll cover which types of projects require a license along with details on the following topics:

Do you need a license to be a handyman?

If you plan to perform mostly minor repairs and basic maintenance as a handyman, it’s unlikely that you need a license.

A common question we get asked is: does a handyman need a license in Florida? You only need a license in Florida if you plan to perform certain types of jobs that go beyond the scope of minor repairs. If your work will become a finished part of the structure (such as replacing flooring in an entire room) and the total for the project exceeds $500, you must have a general contractor license in Florida.

What’s the difference between a handyman and a general contractor?

Before we get into the details of how to obtain a license in Florida, it’s important to clarify what it means to be a handyman — because this is going to affect whether or not you need a license and what type of insurance you’re going to need. 

A handyman or handywoman is someone who does small repair, carpentry or minor maintenance jobs. Typically these jobs only involve one person.

If you work on larger projects, such as building a deck or wiring a new kitchen, you could be considered a contractor, and you would need to get the appropriate license and insurance coverage. A handyperson is usually someone who can complete a job on their own. 

So what can a handyman do without a license? Here are some examples to help figure out if the jobs you perform mean you’re a handyman or a general contractor.

Handyman vs Contractor

How to get a handyman license in Florida

Since no Florida handyman license application exists — as there isn’t a license for this type of work — you must apply for a general contractor license issued by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.2 There are two types of contractor licenses available in this state:

Certified license 

This type of license allows you to work anywhere in Florida.

Registered license

This type of license only permits you to work in certain local jurisdictions in Florida.

In most states, you must submit an application before you can take a licensing exam. But in Florida, you’ll need to pass an exam or obtain a certificate of competency first.

To get a certified license, sign up for the exam through Professional Testing, Inc.3 This test includes three parts:

  1. Business and finance
  2. Contract administration
  3. Project management

If you are pursuing a registered license, you will need a certificate of competency from a local licensing authority.

Once you pass the test or get your certificate of competency, you may submit your application to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. With your application, you must include the following:

  • Application fee of $145 (certified license) or $305 (registered license)
  • Electronic fingerprints
  • Employment history
  • FICO credit report
  • Proof of satisfaction of liens, judgments and discharge of bankruptcy (if applicable)
  • Supporting legal documentation (if applicable)

Florida contractor license requirements

In order to become a licensed certified contractor in the State of Florida, an applicant must be at least 18 years old, have a passing score on all parts of the license examination and demonstrate financial responsibility.

For a certified license, you must also meet the education/experience requirements. You need at least four years of work experience, a four-year construction-related degree or a combination of work experience and college-level credits. 

If you are applying for a registered license, you must be at least 18 years old, have a certificate of competency and demonstrate financial responsibility. 

Requirements for Florida contractor license renewals

You must renew your license every two years. In addition to paying a renewal fee, you must also complete 14 hours of continuing education, with a minimum of one hour on each of these topics:

  • Workplace safety 
  • Workers’ compensation 
  • Business practices
  • Laws and rules 
  • Florida building code

Florida contractor license reciprocity

Florida has a reciprocal licensing agreement with California. Licensed general contractors from this state may apply for reciprocity to become a certified general contractor in Florida. 

To apply in this manner, you must still pass the business and finance exam and submit the following documentation:

  • Verification of licensure in California
  • Confirmation that the license is in good standing and has not been subject to any disciplinary action in the past five years
  • Electronic fingerprints
  • FICO credit report
  • Proof of satisfaction of liens, judgments and discharge of bankruptcy (if applicable)
  • Supporting legal documentation (if applicable)

Bond requirements for Florida contractor licenses

If your FICO credit score is below 660, you must submit a bond or irrevocable letter of credit in the amount of $20,000. If you take a 14-hour financial responsibility course, the required bond amount decreases to $10,000.

What kind of insurance does a handyman need in Florida?

Regardless of whether your work requires a license, you’ll need the right handyman insurance to protect your business. This may include the following types of insurance coverage:

Workers’ Compensation insurance

Depending on the number of employees you have, a Florida's requirement for workers’ compensation insurance may apply to your handyman business. It provides coverage for lost wages, medical expenses and more if you or an employee gets injured at work.

General Liability insurance

Almost all handymen need general liability insurance. Clients typically ask for it, and if someone other than an employee gets hurt or you accidentally damage property that doesn’t belong to you, this insurance provides the coverage you need.

Tools and Equipment insurance

You can get coverage for your gear in the event of damage or theft when you have tools and equipment insurance.

Commercial Auto insurance

When you’re driving to different job sites, you’ll need commercial auto insurance to cover costs related to accidents, such as medical expenses, towing and repairs. 

Commercial Property insurance

Commercial property insurance provides coverage for damage or vandalism to your equipment and inventory as well as commercial buildings you own or rent for your business.

What is the certificate of insurance requirement in Florida for handymen?

You must submit certificates of insurance to show that you have the following coverage as a general contractor:

  • General liability: $300,000
  • Property damage: $50,000
  • Workers’ compensation: Dependent on the number of employees you have

If you do not have any employees, you can apply for a workers’ compensation insurance coverage waiver.

How NEXT Insurance supports Florida handypeople

NEXT Insurance helps you get the right handyperson insurance to protect your business and help you thrive in a competitive industry.

Simply use our convenient online services to apply for coverage and get a certificate of insurance in just minutes. You’ll also have access to unlimited COIs to print or share electronically at no extra charge, and you can log in to your account from any computer or mobile device whenever you need to make changes or updates to your coverage.

We only sell small business insurance, and our specialty is affordable coverage for contractors like you. We’ve helped thousands of contractors get tailored insurance packages customized to meet their unique needs.

Ready to take the next step for your career? Get an instant quote online today.

Do you plan to work as a handyman in another U.S. state? Find out what states require handyman licenses in our summary of handyman license requirements.

Sources

1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

2 Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation

3 Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board Examinations


Florida handyman license and insurance requirements

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About the author
Ashley Henshaw is a contributing writer at NEXT Insurance and a writer and editor at BrainBoost Media. She specializes in small business topics, covering everything from insurance and branding to web hosting and cryptocurrency. Her work is focused on helping independent business owners and entrepreneurs access the tools they need to succeed.
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