How to Become a Roofing Contractor

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Embarking on a career as a Florida roofing contractor opens a world where precision, durability, and customer satisfaction intersect. Indeed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic, that state of Florida has the highest concentration of roofing contractor jobs in the US.

At the Construction Estimating Institute (CEI), we take pride in guiding aspiring professionals through this transformative journey.

This comprehensive guide aims to illuminate the path to get a roofing contractor license in Florida. Leveraging our expertise and industry insights, we'll delve into the foundational requirements, essential technical skills, and critical business acumen needed in this specialized construction industry sector.

If you're interested in getting your Florida roofing license, this guide, enriched with our commitment to excellence and helpful roofing exam prep courses, will be your comprehensive resource for earning your roofing contractor license in the state of Florida.

Licensing and Certification Requirements

Licensing is essential for establishing credibility and legality as a roofing contractor. This typically involves passing an exam on construction laws, building codes, and roofing techniques and possibly submitting proof of insurance and bonding.

While not always mandatory, professional certifications can enhance reputation and demonstrate commitment to quality and expertise. Most roofing projects in Florida will require a license.

The state's Department of Business and Professional Regulation regulates how to get a contractors license in Florida.

Two Paths for Florida Roofing License

Certified Roofing Contractor (Individual, CILB 5-1; Business CILB 6-1)

Certified contractors are eligible to work on any roofing project in Florida. This means being qualified to install, maintain, and repair roofs and permits working in the following materials:

  • Fascia
  • Coasting
  • Sheathing
  • Waterproofing
  • Asphalt, synthetic, and composite shingles

This license requires having a combined 4 years of education and roofing experience. Even those with a 4-year construction degree are still required to have at least 1 year of on-the-job experience.

Those without any college credit need to have a least 1 year of foreman experience. 

Once you meet these requirements, you need to earn a passing score (at least 70%) on both parts of the Florida roofing exam.

Other requirements for a certified Florida roofing license include:

  • Electronic fingerprinting as part of a background check
  • Statement of financial responsibility
  • Official credit report from a major credit bureau with a FICO credit score (those with a score of less than 660 will need a construction license bond or irrevocable letter of credit)
  • Proof of satisfaction of any liens, judgments, or bankruptcy discharge, if applicable
  • Workers' compensation that meets state requirements ($100,000 per occurrence, $500,000 aggregate, and $100,000 per disease)
  • $100,000 in public liability insurance and $25,000 in property damage insurance

The individual or business roofing license application for your roofing license is either $149 or $249 depending on the time of your you submit your application.

Registered Roofing Contractor License

A contractor with a registered roofing license may only perform jobs in specified locales and meet the relevant competency requirements of that city or town.

To obtain your registered roofing license, you need to earn a certificate of competency from your particular local licensing authority. Once this is done, you won't need to worry about meeting the state-based education or experience requirements, and you won't need to pass the state roofing exam.

Other requirements may apply, however, such as proof of financial responsibility, credit scores, and appropriate insurance coverage. 

The application fee is either $209 or $309 based on the date of your submission.

Certified Roofer Certification Process

After meeting all the requirements for your roofing license, follow these steps to apply for your individual or business license:

  1. Pass both the trade knowledge and business and finance exams with a score of at least 70%
  2. Earn the necessary amount of roofing, college, and/or military experience
  3. Prove your financial stability by submitting a credit and FICO credit score
  4. Submit to a background check through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement followed by submitting your fingertips
  5. Get all the necessary insurance--public liability, property damage, and workers' compensation
  6. Include payment for all licensing and application fees

Print and complete the CILB 5-1 application and submit it to the DBPR office at

2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL

How Long Does it Take to Get a Roofing License in Florida?

The entire process to earn your license can take 2 or 3 months.

The timeline typically breaks down as follows:

  • Prepare for and take the Florida roofing license exam and any other necessary exams (4-6 weeks)
  • Collate necessary paperwork, proof of experience, and documentation (1-2 weeks)
  • Obtain fingerprints at approved Livescan no less than 5 days prior to applying
  • Apply and get appointment for a board review meeting (2-4 weeks)
  • Prepare for the board review meeting. You will be notified by mail 2 weeks prior to the meeting

The license will be issued upon board approval usually 2 weeks following the meeting

The best way to ensure a quick application process is ensuring your credit history is above 660, passing the initial roofing license exam, and meeting your insurance requirements. It is often faster to earn your registered license than your certified license as the former does not require passing the state licensing exam. On the other hand, a registered license can limit your business to only a particular area.

The Florida Roofing License Exam

There are two portions to the roofing license exam. The exams are overseen by the DBPR and are administered online via Person VUE.

The business and finance test is comprised of 120 questions and is 6.5 hours long. Topics involved in this exam are tied to the business of being a roofing contractor include Establishing the Contracting Business, Managing Administrative Duties, and Complying with Government Regulations.

The roofing trade knowledge test is 80 questions long and covers 5 hours. This exam covers roofing-specific subjects including Shingles and Shakes, Single Ply Systems, Concrete and Clay Tile Roofs, and Equipment and Safety.

However, if you have a bachelor's degree in building construction and a GPA of 3.0 or above, you are exempt from taking the trade knowledge test.

Dates for the roofing license exam are offered throughout the year at testing centers. The tests are open-book and should not be taken on the same day, although you must pass both portions within 4 years.

You will need to pay a $135 registration fee to Professional Testing, Inc., an $80 fee for the business and finance test, and an $80 fee for the roofing trade knowledge test; $295 altogether. 

Educational Pathways and Training

No mandatory educational path exists for becoming a roofing contractor, but specific training and qualifications can significantly benefit those aspiring to this role. Vocational or technical schools offer programs in construction and roofing, providing a foundation in techniques, materials, and safety standards.

Apprenticeships offer on-the-job training under experienced roofers' guidance, combining practical experience with classroom instruction.

Flexible Learning Options

CEI offers specialized courses tailored to the roofing industry for more flexible learning, covering everything from basic techniques to advanced business management concepts. These courses complement on-the-job experience, providing a well-rounded educational experience.

Understanding the Role of a Roofing Contractor

A roofing contractor is a specialized professional within the construction industry, focusing on installing, repairing, and maintaining roofs. This role demands a unique blend of skills, from technical knowledge of roofing materials and methods to understanding architectural design and weatherproofing principles.

Safety is paramount in this field, requiring strict adherence to regulations and standards.

Key Responsibilities

Roofing contractors' responsibilities extend beyond installation. They assess project requirements, provide accurate cost estimates, and manage timelines effectively.

An in-depth understanding of materials like shingles, tiles, and metal and choosing the right one based on architectural style and climate is essential. To ensure roof longevity and integrity, contractors must identify and address potential issues, such as leaks and insulation problems.

Client Interaction

Strong communication skills are crucial as roofing contractors often interact directly with clients. Discussing project details, providing updates, and addressing concerns are all part of delivering quality work that meets client expectations and endures over time.

Other Helpful Information for Prospective Roofing Contractors

Practical Experience

Practical experience is as important as formal education in the roofing industry. Entry-level positions in roofing companies offer valuable insights into operations and challenges, providing opportunities to learn about different materials, techniques, and safety practices.

Internships and Apprenticeships

Internships or apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with some formal education, offering a comprehensive understanding of the roofing business. They allow aspiring contractors to develop skills in material installation, leak diagnosis, insulation techniques, and customer service.

Business Skills and Entrepreneurship

Success as a roofing contractor involves more than technical expertise. Essential business skills include financial management, marketing, customer relations, and project management. Developing a robust business plan, effective marketing strategies, and efficient operational processes are crucial.

CEI's Business Programs

We know exactly how to get your Florida roofing license, and our exam prep programs cover these entrepreneurial aspects, guiding the establishment and management of a successful roofing business. The courses focus on practical skills tailored to the construction industry, preparing you to be an excellent roofer and a savvy business owner.

Safety Standards and Best Practices

Adhering to safety standards and best practices is non-negotiable in the roofing industry. Familiarity with OSHA regulations and industry-specific safety practices is crucial. CEI's training programs emphasize the importance of safety, covering topics like fall protection, ladder safety, and proper handling of roofing materials and equipment.

Marketing and Building Your Business

Building a successful roofing business requires effective marketing strategies. Developing a solid brand and digital presence and leveraging various marketing channels are vital to attracting and retaining clients. Networking with suppliers, joining local business associations, and fostering relationships with past clients can lead to new opportunities and referrals.

Continuing Education and Industry Updates

The roofing industry continually evolves with new materials, technologies, and regulations. Continuing education is crucial for staying updated with these changes. Our continuing education programs offer courses covering the latest developments, ensuring roofing contractors remain knowledgeable and skilled.

Take the First Step in Your Roofing Contractor Career!

Becoming a successful roofing contractor involves continuous learning, skill development, and business growth. This comprehensive guide from CEI offers the insights and steps necessary to navigate this journey successfully.

From understanding the role and its requirements to mastering business and marketing strategies, CEI supports your career goals. Commitment to quality, adherence to safety standards, and a focus on customer satisfaction are critical to your success.

With our educational resources and training programs, you are well-equipped to excel in the roofing industry and build a rewarding career!