What Are the Requirements for a General Contractors License in Florida?

Home construction with a general contractor

The population of Florida continues to grow at 22,359,251. With more people, general contractors are needed to meet their construction and renovation needs.

Are you considering becoming a general contractor? You might wonder what the requirements are and how difficult it is.

While finding the information you need might feel like a challenge, it doesn’t have to be. Read this guide to answer the question: What are the requirements for a general contractors license in Florida today?

General Contractors License Requirements 

First, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old. Next, you’ll need a credit score of at least 660 or complete a 14-hour financial responsibility course.

A fingerprint scan and background check are also required. You’ll need to study for and pass the Business & Finance, Contract Administration and Project Management exams.

Once you pass these three tests, you’ll need to secure property and liability insurance as well as workers’ compensation insurance if you have employees.

You will need to show a minimum of 4 years of field experience in the license type you want to obtain or up to 3 years of college credit or military service plus one year of experience.

Liability and Property Insurance

The Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) requires that construction businesses have minimum levels of general liability and property coverage. You may also require additional lines of insurance for your operations such as Builder’s Risk, Vehicle and Equipment coverage and Completed Operations coverage. Speak with a licensed insurance Agent that specializes in the construction industry.

The Examinations

To obtain a Certified General Contractors license, the candidate must pass three separate exams:

  1. Business and Finance: This is a 120-question exam that covers Florida laws and rules, general accounting principles and contracts. You have 6.5 hours to complete this exam.
  2. Contract Administration: Depending on the type of contractors license you want to obtain, this exam consists of up to 60 questions with 4.5 hours to complete. This exam covers the principles of contracts / subcontracts, plan reading, and building code.
  3. Project Management: Depending on the type of contractors license you want to obtain, this exam consists of up to 60 questions with 4.5 hours to complete. This exam covers means and methods of construction, OSHA, general construction knowledge concepts, plan reading, and building code.

These exams are offered daily through Pearson Vue testing centers. You have to register with the State of Florida prior to scheduling your exams and pay all required fees.

Upon Passing

Once you pass all the required exams, you can apply for your license as a sole proprietor or you can qualify your business entity during initial license application. During the application process, you will submit all the required documentation and pay the application fee. The Board must make a decision on your licensure within 90 days of receipt of the application.

What Can a General Contractor Do?

Once licensed as a certified general contractor, you can build, renovate or remodel commercial or residential structures with no height, square footage or dollar value restrictions. This is the highest level of contractor licensure in the State of Florida. General Contractors can also install and perform warranty repairs of wood shakes, shingles, or shingle roofing on new buildings of their construction.

You can also construct main sanitary sewer collection, water distribution, and storm collection systems. General Contractors can change or construct the structural components of a building or structure. You can excavate, grade, grub, and perform clearing for any site work for construction projects.

There are some limitations to the Certified General Contractors license. It does not allow you to perform the following work:

  • Air conditioning / Mechanical
  • Plumbing
  • Gas
  • Electrical
  • Swimming (non-structural)
  • Roofing

Instead, you’ll need to subcontract this work to subcontractors licensed in those trades.

Trade Exam Exemption Explained

The State of Florida does provide potential exemption from the Trade exams if you meet certain criteria. If you have a Bachelor’s degree in building construction from an accredited four-year college or a related degree approved by the board rule and a GPA of 3.0 or higher, you may be exempt from taking the Contract Administration and Project Management exams.

Construction Experience Requirements 

Applicants for the Certified General Contractors license must have experience in 4 of the categories listed below. You must also have experience supervising construction of a building 4-stories or higher.

The areas include:

  • Steel erection
  • Foundation/Slabs higher than 20,000 square feet
  • Precast concrete structures
  • Masonry walls
  • Elevated slabs
  • Column erection
  • Formwork for structural reinforced concrete

Preparing for Your Exams

Finding the right school to help you prepare for the General Contractor exams is critical. These exams are difficult and cover a vast amount of materials and reference books. Choose a program that has a history of helping tens of thousands of students pass their exams and obtain their license.

If you are ready to get started, Gold Coast School or Construction can help! Check out our various programs today to help you be ready for the General Contractor exams to get certified.