To perform general contracting work in Florida, you need to hold a contractor’s license. There are two options: to be licensed throughout the whole state or to work only locally in your jurisdiction. Both licenses are processed by the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board. The board operates under the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). So, in order to hold a valid general contractor license in Florida, the contractor will need to adhere to the requirements set out by these agencies.
General Contractor License Types in Florida
There are two types of licenses that you can apply for that both fall under the Department of Business and Professional Regulation in order to operate as a general contractor.
1. Certified License
A certified general contractors license is valid throughout the state of Florida, permitting the license holder to work anywhere in the state.
2. Registered License
This license is more limited as the contractor is only permitted to work within specified local jurisdictions. To qualify for a registered license, the holder will need to have been issued a certificate of competency by that jurisdiction.
There are also various, more specific contractor licenses that fall under these classifications. In particular, a general contractor may wish to apply for the following additional licenses:
- Building Contractor – this license is for construction work that includes the repair, remodeling, and improvement of commercial and residential buildings that are more than three stories in height.
- Residential Contractor – this license allows for the construction as well as repair, remodeling, and improvement of homes for between one and three families, lower than two stories.
License Requirements for the Contracting Company
Once you have a valid general contractor license, it is important to establish a company. Establishing a contracting company will usually need to be done either as an LLC or an S-Corporation, depending on the specific requirements of the business. Here, a company such as Contractors Reporting Services can assist with advice on what processes need to be followed and how to file papers correctly. All corporations and LLCs (as well as non-profits and partnerships) have to be registered through the Florida Division of Corporations.
As a business operating in Florida, the general contractor will need to register for tax identification numbers as well as licenses and permits. This includes income tax withholding, sales, and use tax as well as unemployment insurance tax. It’s advisable to speak with a qualified person to ensure that all relevant licenses and documents are in order.
Workers Compensation and Exemption
General contractors need to carry Worker’s Compensation Insurance for their employees through either the Florida Worker’s Compensation Insurance System, a commercial carrier or on a self-insured basis. This is to protect employees from lost wages, medical bills, and other possible unexpected expenses that can arise as a result of an injury on the job.
It is also possible to apply for an exemption if you are an officer of a corporation. To apply for the exemption is a straightforward process – the exemption applicant simply needs to complete and submit a Notice of Election to be Exempt application online. This can be done on the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation website.
For a general contractor, the licensing and permit requirements for a construction business can quickly become time-consuming and overwhelming. This is why many general contractors in Florida choose to work with Contractors Reporting Services in Tampa, Florida. Contractors trust them to take care of the paperwork and smaller details so that they are freed up to focus on building their business and looking after their clients.