The Role and Requirements for a General Contractor in Tampa, Florida

The Role and Requirements for a General Contractor in Tampa, Florida

Many homeowners in Florida are comfortable with hiring a handyman or specialist for specific home-related jobs. This would include smaller tasks such as replacing a toilet, laying new flooring or installing a generator. Yet, for bigger jobs, such as a kitchen remodel, the work quickly becomes significantly more complicated. In projects such as this, several specialists are hired to complete the different parts of the job. However, most jobs build on one another and therefore must be scheduled in a particular order. It is the responsibility of the general contractor in Florida, to schedule each specialist in the correct order and to ensure that all jobs are completed with ease and success. Each subcontractor, from the plumber, to the flooring specialist, to the person fitting the cupboards, needs to be managed and coordinated correctly.   The Role of a General Contractor This is where the skills of a general contractor come to the forefront. It is their responsibility to assess the full scope of the project from the very initial meeting with the homeowner. The GC is responsible for devising the project plan to ensure its successful completion within the estimated timeframe and budget. General contractors also serve as the primary point of contact for all subcontractors and the client. To manage this successfully, you will need to have a good understanding of all aspects of home remodeling and be able to answer any questions that the homeowner has. This includes insights into the specific types of needed building materials and the skill level and number of workers that will be required for the job. You will also need...
The Best Way to Win the Job as a General Contractor in Florida

The Best Way to Win the Job as a General Contractor in Florida

Your job as a general contractor in Florida is to simplify the construction or remodeling process for the homeowner. In many cases, homeowners have had a bad experience or have heard horror stories by a friend who’s had a remodeling project go badly. This is usually due to an unreliable general contractor. Therefore, the best way to win a job is to build the customer’s confidence in your business. They are more likely to choose your services if you answer their questions, ensure your paperwork is in order, share good references, offer a written estimate and set up clear terms of payment.   1. Answer All Their Questions Quickly and Efficiently The way that you conduct yourself in your dealings with the client, gives them a good idea of what they can expect for the rest of the project. Prior to the homeowner signing with you, ensure that you answer all their questions as fully and as quickly as possible. This will allow the client to see how you will conduct yourself as their advocate once the contract has been signed. Answer all questions thoroughly and make it easy for them to understand. Homeowners want to be confident that they comprehend the implications for the project. For example, they want to know their expected cost and the estimated timeline for the project. Be as transparent about the whole process as possible, so that your client feels comfortable moving forward with you at the reins. 2. Ensure That All Your Paperwork is in Order A homeowner or building owner, especially for larger projects, will do their due diligence researching your...
5 Ways to Outsource Your Paperwork as a General Contractor in Florida

5 Ways to Outsource Your Paperwork as a General Contractor in Florida

Contractors Reporting Services in Tampa, FL leads the way in helping general contractors run their construction business. From assisting with Florida contractor’s license requirements and sharing insight into how to become a contractor, they offer an end-to-end service for general contractors. As a licensed general contractor you have more than enough to deal with on a daily basis without the additional stress and headaches of paperwork. While you understand the importance of filling the annual reports with the Secretary of State and keeping your workers’ compensation exemption renewed, it can be difficult to fit these tasks into an already packed day. Application Service for Your Florida General Contractor License Once you have passed your State exam in Florida, you will need to provide specific application information for that trade. You can use an Initial Application service to help you obtain your general contractor license quickly and efficiently to avoid any delay. Financial Stability Reviews and Reporting These reviews and reports include checking public records at the County, State, and Federal levels. Both the State as well as the relevant local County or City municipalities will approve these reports. They will be completed by Contractors Reporting Services within twenty-four hours of receiving the information. Corporation or LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) Formation This does not need to be an expensive undertaking. In stark contrast to other overpriced websites, Contractors Reporting Services offers an affordable solution. Friendly, professional staff offers a customized solution and the personal attention that you need. We’ll answer all your questions and deliver the right  solution for your business, setting you up as either a C-Corporation or S-Corporation....
The Top 6 Worker’s Compensation Insurance FAQs for General Contractors in Florida

The Top 6 Worker’s Compensation Insurance FAQs for General Contractors in Florida

As a general contractor in Florida, you need to understand how worker’s compensation works to ensure that your business and employees are covered. To help general contractors understand the basics, we’ve answered the top 6 questions frequently asked by our clients. Who needs workers’ compensation coverage? Workers’ compensation coverage is needed for all construction employers who have one or more employees (including any non-exempt business owners). And, for non-construction employers, four or more employees (which also includes any non-exempt business owners). Trades that are considered to be in the construction industry can be viewed in Florida’s Administrative Code. Do I need worker’s compensation insurance if I hire sub-contractors? Sub-contractors are responsible for their own insurance that will cover workers in the event of a work-related incident. But it is the responsibility of the primary contractors to ensure that the sub-contractor has coverage for its workers. The contractor is responsible for the payment of benefits if a worker is injured without being protected by insurance. What proof does a contractor need from a sub-contractor to verify insurance coverage? For a sub-contractor that has a workers’ compensation insurance policy, before beginning a job the contractor must obtain any of the following: A copy of the ‘information page’ from the insurance policy A screen print from the proof of coverage database confirming that coverage is in effect A Certificate of Liability Insurance along with documentation from either the producer or carrier confirming that workers’ compensation coverage is valid For a sub-contractor that is a client company of an employee leasing company, the contractor needs to obtain: A Certificate of Liability Insurance A...
How to Know Whether an LLC or a Corp is the Best Fit for Your Construction Business

How to Know Whether an LLC or a Corp is the Best Fit for Your Construction Business

There are a number of factors that should be considered when deciding whether to set up your business as a corporate or limited liability company (LLC). This includes the type of work that you do, the number of employees that you have, as well as various tax considerations. Deciding to formalize the structure of your company as an LLC or corporation has important implications and should only be undertaken when you have a clear understanding of the pros and cons of each. Once you have a general contractor license, and before filing papers, consider getting expert advice to ensure that you make the right decision for your business. Choosing a Corporation vs. LLC An LLC (limited liability company) is a hybrid form of partnership that offers many of the advantages of a corporation and a partnership. Profits and losses can be passed through to owners without the business being taxed, and owners are shielded from personal liability. A corporation can be taxed, held legally liable for its actions and can make a profit. The main benefit of a corporation is the protection from legal liability while two key disadvantages are the costs to incorporate and the extensive paperwork that needs to be filed. An S-corporation (Subchapter corporation) helps avoid double taxation which is a drawback for regular C corporations. Business Freedom We find that, for most construction businesses an LLC is the best fit because, while both a corporation and an LLC offer protection for the owner from liability, an LLC offers more freedom in how the business is managed. An example of this is in an LLC’s operating...
The Importance of a General Contractor License in Florida

The Importance of a General Contractor License in Florida

In order to run a profitable, sustainable business as a licensed general contractor in Florida you need to comply with the relevant regulations for the state. This includes holding the correct permits and licenses. Florida State’s licensing requirements are specific and, depending on the nature of your work; you may need a different license in order to work legally. Contracting without a license in Florida is a serious offense, and the penalties are severe. For this reason, it’s important to understand who monitors compliance, what the different licenses are, as well as the consequences for non-compliance. Who Monitors Contractor License Compliance? In Florida, applying for a contractor license is done with the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) headquartered in Tallahassee with field offices throughout the State. They are responsible for licensing and regulating the construction industry. They meet regularly to consider applications, adjudicate on disciplinary cases as well as conducting licensing and discipline hearings. Their website offers the functionality to perform a Florida contractor license search which makes it easy for all parties involved in a project to verify that they are working with a contractor who holds a valid general contractors license. It’s an important check as it can help protect an owner from having to double-pay, and also reduces the risk of a subcontractor or supplier not being paid by the general contractor.  The website also allows complaints to be lodged and has a portal for contractor license applications. What are the Different General Contractor Licenses? In Florida the law provides for two different license classifications: ‘Certified’ – a certified contractor license is valid throughout Florida ‘Registered’...
The Importance of Filing Annual Reports with the Secretary of State

The Importance of Filing Annual Reports with the Secretary of State

There are around 2 million businesses in Florida including many general contractors that are required to file an annual report by May 1st including LLCs as well as limited and limited liability partnerships in order to continue operating as legal entities that comply with the regulations set by the state. Basic information needs to be updated annually including the primary business location, the officers’ names, as well as the business agent’s details. It is important to note that the annual report does not include financial information but is rather used to update state records. Regardless of whether or not businesses need to make changes, it is still a legal requirement that the annual report be submitted to maintain their ‘active’ status with the Department of State in Florida. The cost to file depends on the type of business. If the report is filed by May 1st, the costs are $150 for-profit corporations, $138.75 for limited liability companies and $500 limited or limited liability partnerships. There are important implications for general contractors who neglect or forget to file including late fees, company dissolution and potential loss of business. Late Fees Regardless of the business entity that a contractor operates under, they are required to file an annual report. The report must be filed by May 1st otherwise a late fee of $400 applies. Unfortunately, the penalty is automatically applied by the filing system and as such cannot be reduced or waived. A failure to file an annual report can also result in expensive feeds for reinstatement in addition to other penalties that can be more than $900. Company Dissolution The...
8 Different Licensing Services That You Might Need as a Florida General Contractor

8 Different Licensing Services That You Might Need as a Florida General Contractor

Once a contractor has passed the state exam, there are a number of licenses and reports that they will be required to hold in order to work as a general contractor in Florida. There are also several that may become necessary under certain circumstances. Eight important licensing and reporting requirements include initial applications, change of status, state and county registration, additional business licensing, license reinstatements, financial stability reports and works comp exemptions. Initial Applications (Including Certification and Registration) Once a contractor has passed their State exam, they will need to provide trade-specific information. As these requirements vary from trade to trade, using a specialized application service can save time and money as delays have a direct impact on a contractor’s ability to work. Change of Status (Also Known as a Transfer) In the event of a contractor moving from one company to another, there are licensing implications. The State requires that a contractor files an application and meets specific requirements to be eligible to transfer. This process can be time-consuming as there are often delays. County and State Registration Once contractors have passed the state county exam, they are required to obtain a State Registration as well as a Certificate of Competency (also referred to as a county registration) in order to operate as a general contractor in Florida. Registration and Renewal of Licenses Registering your license is a requirement if you are working, wanting to obtain permits or advertising in a local municipality. Keeping up to date with State and County license renewals allows a general contractor to remain in compliance with Local Codes and State Statutes. Additional...
How to Get a General Contractor License in Florida

How to Get a General Contractor License in Florida

To get a Florida contractor’s license, you are required by the state of Florida to be approved by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and there are two key steps to complete before a license can be issued: first, completing the exam and second, submitting an application. There are two different licensing classifications. The first is a general contractor certified license. This is valid throughout Florida and grants permission for the contractor to work anywhere in the state. The second is a general contractor registered license. This limits the contractor to working within certain specified local jurisdictions. The contractor is also required to hold a certificate of competency issued by those jurisdictions. Step 1: Complete the Exam Certified General Contractor License in Florida An applicant who has applied for a certified general contractors license in Florida will need to pass the Florida State Construction Examination before beginning the application process. General Contractors License Exam Developed by the Bureau of Education & Testing, the examination is split into three parts, and the applicant is required to pass all three. The three exams are project management (written exam taken at a test center), contract administration (written exam taken at a test center) and business and finance (computer-based exam, administered at Pearson VUE). The first and second test segments may be taken in Orlando, Miami or Tallahassee (the applicant is required to select a first and second choice when applying). The tests can be taken in February, April, June, August, October, and December. In order to take the tests, the completed application and fees need to be received by the testing...
What is a Florida Contractor’s License and Why is it So Important?

What is a Florida Contractor’s License and Why is it So Important?

In order to provide contractor services in Florida, a person should hold a general contractor’s license. In Florida, there are two classifications for contractor license, namely ‘certified’ and ‘registered.’ A contractor should hold a valid license to avoid penalties and a loss of rights (an exception is if the scope of work falls under ‘basic handyman services’). What is the Difference Between a Registered and a Certified Contractor License? The key difference between the two is that a certified contractor license allows the contractor to complete work throughout the entire state whereas a contractor with a registered contractor license is limited to specific jurisdictions. Certified Contractor License To become a certified contractor, a contractor needs to pass the Florida State Certification Exam, either the Division I (for general building and residential contractors) or Division II license (for trade-specific contractors such as commercial pool installation, HVAC, drywall and plumbing). The Division I exam consists of 3 sections: Project management Contract administration Business & finance The Division II exam has only two sections Business & finance Trade knowledge Registered Contractor License To become a registered contractor, you need to have passed the certification exam or hold a Certificate of Competency (issued by the local licensing office). Why is a Florida Contractor’s License Important? Holding a valid license is vital to avoid penalties issued by the State of Florida, as well as the loss of rights that happen as a result of working as a contractor without a license. To Avoid Penalties In Florida, unlicensed contract work is taken very seriously. A first offense (considered a 1st-degree misdemeanor) allows for up to...