What Activities Require a License in Florida?

When making the decision on whether or not to get licensed, or deciding which type of license is right for your business, it helps to know what activities the state considers holding a general contractors license a necessity, and which activities it allows individuals to engage in without a license.

It helps to hear how the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) defines a contractor: “A Contractor is someone who demolishes, subtracts from, builds or improves any building or structure for compensation. Examples of compensation are cash, goods, services, etc. Essentially, if you pay someone to construct a building or a structure, make structural alterations to load bearing walls, or perform services such as plumbing or air conditioning work, that person has to have a state contractors’ license.”

While it is not all-inclusive, the DBPR actually put together a great chart illustrating some of the activities it feels falls into the “general contractor” or “anyone” realms:

Needs a License Does not need a license
Build a carport or sunroom for compensation. Install a driveway or install pavers/tile walkways regardless of compensation.
Construct a roof for compensation. Install awnings that do not become a fixed part of the structure regardless of compensation.
Install a dishwasher (requires connecting to drinking water) or replace a hot-water heater for compensation. Add a water filter onto a faucet regardless of compensation.
Install a central air-conditioning unit for compensation (requires structural work and wiring). Insert a plug-in A/C window unit regardless of compensation.
Clean central air and heat ducts for compensation (requires partial disassembly of the system, such as removal of air grills). Change an A/C filter or cleaning ducts that do not require removal of the air grills regardless of compensation.
Repair or replace swimming pool pumps for compensation. Clean swimming pools.Install an above-ground pool regardless of compensation.
Perform plumbing work or irrigation installation that requires the contractor to connect lines to potable (drinking) water for compensation. Install or repair irrigation systems that have a backflow preventer connected to a potable (drinking) water supply regardless of compensation.
Build a barn, metal building, or detached garage for compensation. Install prefabricated tool shed less than 250 square feet in size regardless of compensation. The shed may be up to 400 square feet if it bears the insignia of approval from the Department of Community Affairs.
Remodel a home that requires alteration or replacement of a load-bearing wall for compensation. Paint; install cabinets, wood or tile flooring, and insulation regardless of compensation.
Installation or replacement of drywall if the contract also includes work on the load bearing part of the wall, plumbing, electrical, or air conditioning work. Installation or replacement of drywall if the contract does not include other work on the load bearing part of the wall or any plumbing, electrical, or air conditioning work.

Reading through the chart, it is fairly clear that the intent is to license anyone who is doing any kind of substantial or invasive building or repairs, while allowing homeowners to do some DIY work around their own property without running afoul of the law. It does mean that anyone looking to perform more complex work for compensation in the state of Florida is required to have a license.

For anyone who is unsure about whether or not they need a license, or unclear about what type of license they need, Contractors Reporting Services is here to help. We have built our business around knowing the ins and outs of the regulations, and in helping contractors obtain or renew their license with a minimum amount of hassle. Visit Contractors Reporting Services to learn more.

Contractors Reporting Services | 3795 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33613 | 1-800-487-2084