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 office at least 30 days before the exam date.

After successfully passing the examination, the applicant may complete the application for a certified general contractors license in Florida.

Registered General Contractors License in Florida

Instead of taking the Florida State Construction Examination, applicants for a contractor’s license can present their Certificate of Competency. The jurisdiction’s building authority issues this certificate.

Applicants that do not have a Certificate of Competency are required to take a construction exam, before beginning the contractor’s license exam process. The procedure covered in the certified general contractor’s license section above applies for the registered license as the exam is the same for both.

Step 2: Apply for a General Contractor License

Certified General Contractor License

A General Contractor Certified License can be applied for as an individual contractor or as a qualified business. After passing the state certification exam, the licensing process can begin.

Download and fill in the details on the application and attach the additional documents that are required. This includes proof of financial stability (usually a FICO approved credit score), proof of education and experience (for a certified license, applicants are required to have four years of experience or a combination of both college and work experience).

Additional requirements include that the applicant is at least 18 years old, is willing to undergo a background check and must secure workers compensation insurance (or be granted an exemption) within 30 days of receiving their license.

Registered General Contractor License

As with a certified license, the registered license can be applied for as an individual contractor or as a qualified business.

After first passing the Florida State Construction Examination (or being exempted on the basis of holding a certificate of competency), an applicant then needs to download and complete the application (either as a qualifying business or as an individual general contractor.)

Documents that should be submitted along with the application include a credit report (including a FICO approved credit score), and a copy of the Certificate of Competency (if applicable).

Additional application requirements include that the applicant is at least 18 years old, undergoes a background check (including fingerprinting), has general liability and property damage insurance and will secure workers compensation within 30 days of receiving the license (or be granted an exemption).

If you’re still not sure of the process that you need to follow for becoming a general contractor, Contractors Reporting Services in Tampa, Florida can help. They have over 50 years of experience helping individuals and businesses keep up to date with their paperwork and licensing.