How To Get Your General Contractor’s License In Florida

Disclaimer Note: The content in is blog is just for informational purposes ONLY. We ARE NOT licensed, certified, or a party/entity to provide licensing. Please refer to your state’s board on current processes for where and how to get your license.

Construction is one of the most stable industries, giving millions of professionals jobs year-round throughout the world. In Florida, construction pros can enjoy 12-season job opportunities, since Florida remains sunny and warm throughout the year. Because of this, Florida has lots of work available for general contractors, who can choose to work season-round for extra profit or take time off to enjoy the beautiful natural views and exciting entertainment the state has to offer. 

General contractors must be experienced, highly organized, and dedicated to their work, but if you can meet the qualifications, working in Florida will reward you with plenty of opportunities. In Florida, anyone that performs construction work must obtain a general contractor’s license, which can be granted through the state or on a municipal level. Either way, applications are processed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board. 

Note: Florida offers three license classifications for contractors: 

  • Building Contractor: construction, repair, and improvement of commercial and residential three stories or less
  • Residential Contractor: construction, repair, and improvement of one-family, two-family, and three-family dwellings two stories or less
  • General Contractor: unrestricted construction, repair, and improvement of all buildings of any height

In this guide, we will specifically be focusing on the General Contractor classification, both at the state and municipal level. These two license types are:

  • Certified General Contractor License: valid for use throughout the state of Florida
  • Registered General Contractor License: valid for use in specific jurisdictions

Regardless of which of these license types you choose, the process will be approximately the same. If you plan to apply for a Registered General Contractor License, be sure to check your local regulations and requirements. 

Job Description: General Contractor

If you thrive in positions of management, have a diverse range of experience and knowledge in the construction industry, and want to work directly with clients to oversee construction projects, you could have a future as a general contractor. General contractors are responsible for every step of the building process from the initial bid creation to the final finishing design touches.

Because of this, general contractors must be intimately familiar with every aspect of construction to keep everything on track. 

The first step general contractors take on any project is to create a bid. The bidding process involves creating an estimate of all possible costs associated with a project. At OnePointe Solutions, we work with your budget to provide you with quality laboratory furniture, commercial cabinets, and even industrial furniture, to meet the requirements of your project without breaking the bank.

General contractors work with construction estimators to assess the proposed blueprints and plans, then create itemized lists of materials, equipment, labor, etc. The goal is to present the client with a reasonably priced estimate without going so low that you will be forced to go over budget or lose profits.

Because this process requires being familiar with every step of the construction process, general contractors must have extensive experience in construction. 

If the bid is accepted, general contractors move on to organizing the project – ordering materials and equipment, hiring subcontractors, and securing the necessary permits and resources. When it comes time to order materials and equipment from vendors, OnePointe Solutions has been a staple manufacturer for general contractors for materials and laboratory furniture along with industrial and commercial options as well.

For example, if your project is for a medical lab in a hospital, we can provide you with epoxy resin, stainless steel, or phenolic resin as work surfaces for hygienic purposes, lab cabinets, stainless steel cabinets, and anti-microbial casework for storage options, and even custom workstations and lab tables to increase efficiency and productivity in the workspace. Our expertise and range of products we offer are at your disposal.

Once construction begins, many general contractors work on-site with their crew, overseeing progress and ensuring that everything is completed safely and according to regulations and building code.

Some general contractors may oversee more than one project at a time, in which case they delegate management responsibilities to other members of their team. 

To summarize, general contractors are in charge of the following: 

  • Crew safety
  • Equipment and site safety
  • Permits and street closures
  • Anticipating weather conditions and scheduling accordingly
  • Enforcing quality and safety standards

Special Skills & Qualifications

We will cover Florida-specific qualifications a little further in this guide, but first, we have to mention those special skills that can’t necessarily be taught or learned. All general contractors need to have some of the same basic skills, many of which are related to work ethic, attitude, and personality.

No matter where you work as a general contractor, having the following skills will help you in your career: 

  • Ability to read building plans and blueprints
  • Building/construction skills
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Budget and purchasing experience
  • Comfortable working with new people
  • Able to learn quickly and in stressful situations
  • Concern for the wellbeing of others and a touch of perfectionism

Qualifications To Become a General Contractor in Florida

As mentioned, we will be covering two types of general contractor licenses in Florida: 

  • Certified General Contractor License: valid for use throughout the state of Florida
  • Registered General Contractor License: valid for use in specific jurisdictions

For both of these licenses, general contractors will need to undergo the same basic process. In Florida, contractors may apply both as individuals and as business entities, so it is not necessary to register a business if you would like to work as a general contractor.

Once you have completed the process and your application has been accepted by the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board, you can begin applying for jobs in your jurisdiction. Here are the basic qualifications you’ll need to meet: 

Education

There are no formal education requirements for general contractors in Florida, but a degree in a construction-relevant field can be of use. Trade schools, community colleges, and apprenticeships are excellent sources of education and can count towards your required experience during the license application process. This said, it is not necessary to attend school beyond high school, and many general contractors entered the construction industry at 18. 

Credit

While Florida allows contractors as young as 18 to apply for licensing, applicants must provide proof of good financial standing that may not be possible for an 18-year-old. General contractor applicants must submit a FICO credit score of at least 660. If you do not have high enough credit, some applicants may be permitted to purchase a surety bond instead. 

Experience

Florida general contractor applicants must be able to show proof of at least 4-years of professional construction experience or some combination of professional experience and education. For this reason, many contractors in Florida choose to attend trade schools, since this time can be counted towards mandatory experience requirements. 

Special Documentation

General contractor license applicants in Florida will be required to supply several important pieces of documentation including financial statements and personal information. Whether you are applying for a Certified GC license or a Registered GC license, you will need to include the following documents in your application: 

Insurance

All applicants must provide proof that they have purchased general liability insurance, property damage insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance. 

Background Check & Electronic Fingerprint

Applicants are also required to submit to a standard background check and electronic fingerprinting for identity verification and registration. 

Exam

Applicants are only required to complete and pass one examination, the Florida State Construction Examination. The exam costs a total of $215, which includes a $135 registration fee and an $80 exam-site fee. 

Licensing

Once you have met all the requirements and compiled all relevant paperwork, you will need to complete the licensing application. Applications and specific information for both Certified General Contractor License applications and Registered General Contractor License applications can be found here. Possible fees associated with the licensing process can be a little confusing, so be prepared to pay anywhere between $150 and $310. 

Licenses are granted for two years, at which time individuals wishing to maintain their license will need to apply for a renewal. 

Florida General Contractor Licensing Fee Overview

The exact amount you pay for your Florida general contractor license will depend on the specifics of your situation, but in general, you can expect to pay the following: 

  • Exam fee – $215
  • Licensing fees
    • Certified GC License – $149 when applying between 9/1 of an odd year and 4/30 of an even year (i.e. 10/10/21); $249 when applying 5/1 of an even year and 8/31 of an odd year (i.e. 5/10/22)
    • Registered GC License – $209 when applying between 9/1 of an even year and 4/20 of an odd year (i.e. 11/20/23); $309 when applying between 5/1 and 8/31 of an even year (i.e. 6/12/22)

Average Florida General Contractor Salary & Benefits 

A beautiful state with year-round sunshine and good construction conditions, working in Florida is about more than earning a generous salary. As a Florida general contractor, you will enjoy almost constant good weather, making it easy to head to work each day. This also means that any time you want to take a break, you’ve already got some of the world’s best entertainment and most beautiful beaches at your back door. 

When it comes to how much you’ll make as a general contractor, the average salary for GCs in Florida is right around $60,000 to $100,000 per year. 

The Path to Become a General Contractor in Florida

Now that you know a little more about the details of qualifying for a general contractor’s license in Florida, it’s time for you to get started. To review, here’s a basic description of the path you’ll follow as you start your career: 

1. Build Credit

In Florida, general contractor applicants must provide a FICO credit report with a minimum credit score of 660. While the minimum application age is 18, many contractors prefer to spend a few years after high school building their credit to avoid paying for a surety bond. 

2. Complete Education

General contractors are not required to have any education beyond high school, but since you will need to provide evidence of professional experience, gaining additional education can be beneficial. Many construction professionals go from high school to a trade school, where their experience can count towards professional experience in the future. 

3. Gain Experience

General contractors must include a statement regarding their experience when applying for a license, which should include details on at least 4 years worth of work or education. If you went straight from high school to working in construction, you will need at least 4 years working professionally in the industry. If you attended school or received professional training, this may be counted towards those 4 years.

4. Pass a Background Check & Get Fingerprinted

All general contractor license applicants must pass a background check and submit to electronic fingerprinting. 

5. Purchase Insurance

Once you have completed all the basic requirements, and are ready to begin seriously pursuing your license, you can begin to purchase insurance. As a general contractor in Florida, you will need: 

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Property Damage Insurance
  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance

6. Take Florida State Construction Exam

The next step will be to download and take the Florida State Construction Exam and pay related fees. 

7. Apply for General Contractor License

Finally, it is time for you to submit your license application. Remember, Florida general contractors can apply for either a certified license or a registered license. Certified general contractors are licensed to work anywhere in the state of Florida, while registered general contractors can only work in specific jurisdictions. Whichever you choose, the process will be essentially the same. 

8. Pay All Fees

Before you can begin applying for jobs and submitting bids, you will need to pay your final fees. Licenses cost between $149 and $309 depending on the type of license you apply for and when you apply. Regardless, your license will be granted for two years, at which time you will need to apply and pay for a renewal.

Need Lab Furniture For Next Project?

If you’re a general contractor in Florida or another state in the U.S. and need laboratory furniture, us a call at (866) 222-7494 to speak to a project consultant today.

Questions? Concerns? Want to start today? Get in touch. 866.612.7312

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