Becoming a Licensed Contractor in Florida
If you want to engage in the construction (including overseeing, coordinating, and working on construction projects such as building, remodeling, repairing and making additions) of commercial and residential buildings and structures in Florida, or in incidental contracting work to construction work, you need to be a licensed contractor. To become a Florida licensed contractor, you need to, at a minimum:
- Apply for, Pay for, and Pass the Florida State Construction Examination. The application can be found here: exam application (myfloridalicense.com)
- Be at least 18 years old
- Meet the educational requirements
- Meet the experience requirements
- Be of good moral character
- Pay all applicable fees
- Obtain worker’s compensation coverage
- Demonstrate financial responsibility
The exam has two categories as follows:
- Division 1 Category, which includes general, building and residential contractors. Division 1 exams have three parts, including business and finance, contract administration and project management.
- Division 2 Category, which includes air conditioning, pool/pa, gas line, glass and glazing, gypsum drywall, irrigation, marine, mechanical, plumbing, pollutant storage systems, roofing, sheet metal, solar, specialty structure, and underground utility. Division 2 has two parts, including business and finance, and trade knowledge.
If you have a baccalaureate degree in building construction form an accredited 4-year college and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, you may be exempt form having to take the trade knowledge portion of the exam.
To show proof of financial responsibility you can submit your credit report. Generally, a FICO score of 660 or better and other documents such as bank records, tax returns, etc… You may also purchase a surety bond (bond insurance to protect consumers) if your credit score is lower.
Penalties for Performing Contract Work without a License
It is crucial that you obtain a license before performing any construction related work. If you perform contract work, for which a license is required in Florida, and you do not have a license, the penalties can be harsh, and include criminal penalties (such as jail and fines) and legal penalties, such as being precluded from enforcing your contract with your customers, and not being able to legally collect for the work you do, or the materials you used on the jobsite.
What about Handyman Services?
Handyman services, such as simple repairs and odd jobs may not fall under the category of “contracting without a license” and, therefore may be done by someone without a license. But, it is prudent to be careful, as Florida law may not be clear on what can and cannot be done as a handyman, depending on the scope of the job, the cost of the job, and the complexity of the job, if your customer files a complaint against you, and you do not have a valid contractor’s license, you may still be prosecuted, or unable to collect payment for the job. Therefore, it is wise to err on the side of caution and get licensed.
If you have any questions on how to become a licensed contractor in Florida contact Private Corporate Counsel at 407-647-7887 or email us at email@example.com. Private Corporate Counsel are business lawyers and business coaches who have years of experience, educating and training directly related to helping small and medium sized businesses.