How to get a Contractor's License in the State of Florida

Contractor Tips |

Starting on your journey to become a licensed contractor in Florida marks a significant milestone in your construction career. The Construction Estimating Institute (CEI) offers this detailed guide to streamline your path to licensure.

Covering critical aspects from educational prerequisites to mastering the licensing exam, this guide is crucial for both seasoned professionals and newcomers. Understanding Florida's specific licensing requirements, including a mix of education, training, and field experience, is essential.

With the help of our expansive contractor exam prep courses, you'll be well-prepared for a successful career in Florida's thriving construction industry.

What does a Contractor Do?

Contractors perform specific tasks or services in the area of construction, renovation, maintenance, or other specialized area. Such a person works on the structural elements of infrastructure in a wide range of areas.

Companies or individuals can hire contractors for single projects or for an ongoing undertaking. Businesses can even use a contractor on a consulting basis for advice on the building process.

Usually, contractors will work on an independent basis and manage their own business expenses, insurance, taxes, and other financial obligations. A contractor will often be involved in multiple projects and can have multiple clients all at the same time.

Types of Florida Licenses

The first step you will need to take in becoming a contractor is choosing which type of contractor you'd like to be.

In general, if you only want to work construction jobs in a certain city or locale in Florida, a Registered License is sufficient. The other type of contractor is a Certified Licensed contractor. These contractors can perform work anywhere in Florida, meaning expanded work opportunities.

You can apply to work as many different types of contractor, including:

  • General
  • Roofing
  • Residential
  • Building
  • Pool and Spa
  • Plumbing
  • Mechanical
  • Air conditioning/HVAC
  • Specialty
  • Electrical

The Application Process

The Florida contractor's license application process requires detailed documentation of your education, professional experience, and financial stability. Validating educational qualifications and work experience is essential. Financial responsibility is proven through credit reports and financial statements.

The process includes a comprehensive background check, a critical step for maintaining professionalism in Florida's construction industry. After submitting your application and its review, you become eligible for the state Division I or II licensing exam.

Understanding Florida's Contractor Licensing Requirements 

To obtain a contractor license in Florida, understanding state-specific requirements is paramount. These standards ensure contractors possess the necessary skills and ethical integrity.

Licenses vary by the type of work they permit, each with unique requirements and examinations. Applicants need education, training, and field experience, including passing a state exam covering construction techniques and legal issues.

The first requirement is receiving a Certificate of Competency before applying.

Other requirements include:

  • Fingerprints
  • Being 18 years old
  • Proof of financial stability and decent credit
  • Paying the fees necessary for each separate application
  • Proof of public liability insurance and property damage insurance in addition to workers' compensation insurance

Accurate and current information from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is crucial for compliance.

With regard to your credit score, you should ensure yours is no less than 660 before applying. This will show the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation that you are financial stable. If your credit score is under 660, applying for and purchasing a surety bond or a letter of credit as proof of stability can compensate.

Meeting Experience and Education Requirements

Licensing in Florida requires blending educational achievements with practical experience. For candidates needing formal construction education, roles like foreman or supervisor are significant. Formal education in related fields can also fulfill experience requirements. Our exam prep courses support this blend, offering foundational and advanced skills essential for a licensed contractor.

Prior to applying, you need to meet certain criteria. One of them is earning at least 4 years of experience in the contracting field, ideally in the specialty you would like to work in the future. One of your 4 years should be spent in a supervisory role. Remember the names of your past employers, their locations, and how long you worked for them so you can add it to your application later.

If you're applying for your Certified License, you will need to provide proof that you have at least 4 years' worth of relevant work experience or some combination of work experience and relevant education.

Preparing for the Florida Contractor Licensing Exam

The Florida Contractor Licensing Exam is a comprehensive test assessing knowledge in construction, business management, and state-specific laws. Preparation is key. CEI offers specialized courses tailored for this exam, covering crucial areas. Effective study strategies, including practice exams and participation in study groups, provide well-rounded preparation.

You can prepare for the licensing exam with various study materials such as textbooks and study guides.

The exam is administered by Professional Testing, Inc., and you can apply to take the exam through their website. The exam itself consists of 3 parts: Business and Finance, Contract Administration, and Project Management.

Insurance and Bonding Requirements

Insurance and bonding are critical for licensing and operational safety as a contractor. Since they work for themselves, contractors in Florida must obtain general liability insurance and, in some cases, workers' compensation insurance.

You should purchase $300,000 in public liability coverage and $50,000 in property damage coverage if you plan to be a general or building contractor. All other contractor categories should have $100,000 in public liability and $25,000 in property damage insurance.

Surety bonds are often required as financial guarantees for contract adherence. If your FICO credit score is less than 660, you can come up with a bond that works out to $20,000 for Division I contractors and $10,000 for Division II contractors.

If you have employees or plan to hire any, you will need to purchase workers' compensation insurance.

Hang on to all insurance documents from your provider so you can offer them as proof of having insurance during the application process.

After you pass the exam and determine which type of contractor you'd like to be, you can apply for your license. Submit all the supporting materials along with the relevant fees based on the time of year you're applying and the type of contractor license you desire. 

Submitting Your Florida Contractor License Application

The final step is filling out and mailing in your application! Make sure to fill out your application legibly in ink and include payment in the form of a personal or cashier's check, payable to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

The Certified License application fee is $249 if you apply between May 1st of an even year and August 31st of an odd year, or $149 if between September 1st of an odd year and April 30th of an even year.

For a Registered License, the fee is $309 is applying between May 1st of an odd year and August 31st of an even year, and $209 if between September 1st of an even year and April 30th of an odd year.

You can mail your application and supporting documentation and fees to:

Department of Business and Professional Regulation
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783

Navigating the Legal Landscape and Continuing Education

Understanding construction law in Florida, including contract and liability issues, is crucial for contractors. Furthermore, maintaining a contractor license requires ongoing education to stay current with industry trends and regulations. CEI's continuing education courses for contractors are tailored to keep contractors informed and proficient.


Securing a contractor license in Florida is essential in the construction industry. CEI offers comprehensive guidance on licensing requirements, exam preparation, and professional development. With our expertise, you can navigate the challenges and opportunities in Florida's dynamic construction landscape, paving the way for a rewarding and prosperous career.