Skipping Permits – Is it Worth the Risk as a Florida Contractor?

Getting a General Contractors license in Florida is no small fete. At Contractors Reporting Services, we specialize in making sure you meet all of the Florida contractor license requirements. From passing the exam, to a background check, credit report, education/ work experience requirements, fingerprints, liability insurance requirements and licensing fees, you work hard to earn that license and we work hard to help the process run smoothly. So when we hear of contractors skirting the regulated procedures in the industry, we take note. The collective reputation of general contractors is at stake when even a small group tries to get around the necessary requirements that regulate the safety standards within our industry.

Every industry has rules that regulate the what, where and how in relation to safety. Construction is no different. Building codes are the “set of standards established and enforced by local government for the structural safety of buildings,” according to the So, if these codes are in place to ensure the safety of those in or around a structure, why would anyone seek to compromise or worse, ignore them all together? The answer is simple. Permits take time and cost money, not to mention the fact that they establish accountability. The unfortunate truth is that there are unscrupulous contractors within the industry that are unwilling to follow the rules and although their work may visually appear to meet common standards, it would never safely pass a professional inspection. They are often “here today – gone tomorrow” and the homeowner / business owner is left to face the consequences.

Obtaining a permit is like preparing a room for paint. No one enjoys the patching, sanding taping or cutting in. But skipping any one of those steps of preparation could compromise the quality and/or integrity of the end result, even requiring that the entire space be repainted. Any homeowner planning a remodel or addition is required to apply for a permit before the work even begins. That permit is proof that the proposed plans are safe, up to code and permission was granted to proceed with the project. Additionally, permits are specific and have an expiration date. If your project is delayed beyond a certain time period (this varies, depending on the area) or if significant changes are made to the plans after the permits were issued, the entire process may need to be repeated or an appeal may need to be filed.

Although the permit process is bothersome and time-consuming, skipping a permit can carry serious and long-term consequences, depending on the nature and extent of the work and local building codes. Among the possible penalties:

  • Substantial fines that can run substantially higher than the original permit cost
  • Having to strip a completed addition for it to be rebuilt according to code
  • Demolish the entire structure at the homeowner’s expense

At times it can be tempting to take the risk, and you might even have a homeowner encourage you to cut the corner and proceed without the permit, but it is never worth the risk. Even if the city inspectors don’t notice right away, it is difficult to hide a large new addition or contractors coming and going for weeks or months at a time. The homeowner may pay financially, but your integrity and reputation could cost far more in the long run.

Any business decision should be made with the intention of advancing your business, both in name and prosperity. That can’t happen if you are constantly looking over your shoulder, wondering if a questionable decision will result in legal or financial trouble down the line. Taking responsibility for arranging permits on behalf of your customers is the best way to ensure things are taken care of properly. No one is as invested in your company’s future or reputation as you.

At Contractors Reporting Services, it’s our job to look out for you and make sure that you have up to date information regarding the licensing and renewal requirements for the state of Florida. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call us. We are here to help.


Contractors Reporting Services ~
13795 N Nebraska Ave,
Tampa, FL 33613 ~ (800) 487-2084