Florida handyman license and insurance requirements

Florida handyman license and insurance requirements

Ashley Henshaw
By Ashley Henshaw
Feb 1, 2024
8 min read

Florida is a great place to launch your handyman business. The state ranks fourth in the nation for handyperson employment, with nearly 100,000 maintenance and repair workers. Additionally, South Florida ranks among the top nonmetropolitan areas for the highest concentration of jobs in this line of work.

Most handypeople in Florida don’t need a professional license. However, you may need a general contractor license to do certain jobs. In this guide, we’ll cover which types of projects require a license, along with everything you need to know about the following topics:

Do you need a license to be a handyman?

You probably won’t need a license if you plan to perform mostly minor repairs and basic maintenance as a handyman.

You only need a license in the state of Florida if you plan to perform certain types of jobs that go beyond the scope of minor repairs. If your handyman 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 according to Florida law 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 and work directly with homeowners.

If you work on larger projects, such as building a deck or installing a dishwasher, 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.

It’s critical to recognize the distinction since unlicensed activities may be subject to penalties, misdemeanor charges, or even jail time.

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

Handyman vs. Contractor

Content chart

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) also has some examples of construction activities that do/do not need a license.

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 or a residential contractor license issued by the DBPR. There are two types of contractor licenses available in Florida state:

  • Certified license. This type of state 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 taking 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. 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 DBPR. With your application, you must include the following:

  • Application fee (pricing varies depending on the type of license and whether you apply in an odd or even year)
  • Electronic fingerprints for a background check
  • Employment history
  • FICO credit report (If your FICO credit score is below 660, you must take a 14-hour financial responsibility course.)
  • Proof of satisfaction of liens, judgments and discharge of bankruptcy (if applicable)
  • Supporting legal documentation (if applicable)

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a passing score on all parts of the license examination and demonstrate financial responsibility.

They 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.

Local Florida handyman business license requirements

While there is no state-level handyperson license, there may be requirements in local municipalities.


All businesses operating in Jacksonville or Duval County must obtain a City Business Tax Receipt from the municipality. Businesses operating from a fixed location, including home-based businesses, are required to get a Certificate of Use from the Zoning Department.

No additional insurance mandates exist beyond Florida’s state-level requirements for licensed contractors. However, some project types or homeowner associations might have specific insurance requirements, so you should clarify beforehand.


All businesses operating within the Miami city limits must obtain a Business Tax Receipt annually. If your business is located within a municipality, you will need a Business Tax Receipt from both the county and the municipality.

If you operate as a mobile handyperson without a fixed location in Miami, you might need a Transient Vendor Permit, depending on the scope and frequency of your services.

Miami doesn’t impose any mandatory city-level insurance requirements beyond the state level.


While state-level contractor licensing applies, certain specialties within handyperson services might require additional Tampa Occupational Licenses. For example, electrical or plumbing work often requires specific city permits and licenses.

As for insurance requirements in Tampa, there are no city-specific mandates.


Orlando doesn’t have any additional city-specific license requirements for handymen beyond state-level regulations. A handyperson business in Orlando would require a business license and possibly a contractor certification, Employer Identification Number (EIN) and a seller’s permit.

Additionally, the City of Orlando mandates obtaining a Certificate of Use along with a Business Tax Receipt.

No additional insurance mandates are in place at the city level.

What kind of insurance does a handyman need in Florida?

Regardless of whether your work requires a license, handyman insurance can help protect your business. This may include the following types of Florida business insurance coverage:

Workers’ Compensation insurance

Handyman services 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.

General Liability insurance

Your clients may ask for proof of Florida general liability insurance, which can help provide coverage if someone other than an employee gets hurt or you accidentally damage property that doesn’t belong to you.

Tools and Equipment insurance

Tools and equipment insurance can help provide coverage for your gear in the event of damage or theft.

Commercial Auto insurance

If you drive for work, commercial auto insurance can help cover costs related to accidents, such as medical expenses and property damage.

To drive in Florida, you must have minimum coverage for your vehicle insurance:

  • $10,000 in PIP insurance, or personal injury protection.
  • $10,000 in liability insurance for property damage.

Commercial Property insurance

Commercial property insurance can help cover damage or vandalism to your equipment and inventory and commercial buildings you own or rent for your business.

What is the certificate of insurance requirement if you’re a licensed contractor?

You must show proof of insurance that you have the following coverage as a licensed 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 supports Florida handypeople

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

Business owners can 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.

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.

This information has been provided as a service. It is correct and up-to-date to the best of our knowledge; however, it is in no way intended to offer legal advice and you must always consult with local authorities before you make any business decisions. Regulations and requirements may change at any time.

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Ashley Henshaw
About the author

Ashley Henshaw was a contributing writer at NEXT. She specializes in small business topics, covering everything from insurance and branding to web hosting and cryptocurrency.

Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, AOL City's Best, Citysearch, USA Today, The San Francisco Chronicle and Livestrong.

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