Many people are unfamiliar with the licensing process for contractors in the State of Florida. Having moved back to Florida with my husband who was a contractor up north, we quickly became intimately familiar with the process and how it is intended to protect consumers. The issue is that most consumers are not educated enough on the topic to know how to protect themselves from being taken advantage of.
The Types of Licenses:
To start, Florida has 3 types of contractor licenses: Residential Contractor, Building Contractor, and General Contractor. Within each license a person can hold their license specifically in one municipality or they can hold what is a called a “Certified” license which allows them to register and perform work in any municipality statewide.
A Residential Contractor is permitted to perform work on any residential structure, including new construction, up to 2 stories and no more than 3 units. As an example, a duplex is an acceptable scope of work; a high-rise condo is not.
A Building Contractor is permitted to work on both commercial and residential structures not exceeding 3 stories, with no limitation on the number of units.
A General Contractor can work on any structure, commercial and residential, with no limitations on stories or units.
Most residential clients, with the exception of those within a condo building, only require the services of a licensed Residential Contractor.
In order to get any of the above contractor’s licenses, there are several competency exams that have to be passed as well as finger printing, background checks, an extensive credit check, and required proof of insurance. In addition, there are experience requirements that must be met and verified as well as continuing education. The main difference between the types of licensing is the length of the competency exams and the type of experience. For example, a Residential Contractor may lack commercial experience or simply choose to focus on Residential work only.
Hiring Someone Competent:
As you can see, to get a Contractor’s License in the State of Florida requires that the person obtaining the license be competent and reliable. That being said, there are several handymen who may be skilled in their respective trades and advertise themselves as “Licensed and Insured” but that do not in fact hold a proper contractor’s license. There is no harm in hiring these skilled handymen for various projects that do not require permitting, but when taking on a larger scale project which requires permitting, experience, and a larger exchange of funds, it is critical to hire a vetted, properly licensed and insured contractor.
You can verify if a tradesperson is in fact properly licensed on the following website:
As co-owner and interior designer for 3D Building & Remodeling, LLC as well, I am happy to provide a referral for a competent licensed, Residential Contractor should you need one! www.buildit-3D.com , License Number CRC1332132