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Getting a Contractor’s License in Florida

Obtaining a statewide license in the State of Florida is a sound business decision for construction businesses of any size and scope. Some of the reasons for obtaining a state license in the sunshine state are:

  • Most contractors do work in at least two counties
  • County contractor licensing can be cumbersome and less stable than state licensing
  • It allows business to legally engage in bidding in a larger geographical area and cherry-pick better contracts
  • If ever interested in serving as a qualifying agent, it gives the licensee much more leverage when negotiation with a contracting entity
  • Prevents having to reciprocate and renew a license across multiple counties

Getting a Florida contractor’s license is a process which is defined by the agency or board issuing the certification. Construction contractors like plumbers, GC, and roofers get their license through the CILB, while Electrical contractors like electricians, alarm installers, and electric sign installers get their licenses through the EILB. Fire Protection Contractors obtain their licenses through the Florida Fire Marshall.

How to Get a Construction License in Florida

The requirements to get a Construction Contractor license in Florida are:

  1. Be 18 years of age.
  2. Pass all parts of the exam(s) (within four years of the first attempt).
    If an applicant has a Bachelor's degree in building construction or a related field, as well as a 3.0 GPA or higher, the applicant is only required to take the business exam.
  3. Pay the fee for the Application.
  4. Complete the application form using the Online Services, or the Printable Application.
  5. Be of good moral character.
  6. Obtain worker's compensation and general liability coverage.
  7. Demonstrate financial responsibility by submitting a Credit Report :
    • 660 FICO credit score or higher (applicant must submit a bond or irrevocable letter of credit if below 660 - FICO derived).
    • If FICO score is less than 660, the applicant must take a 14-hour financial responsibility course.
    • If applicable, provide proof of satisfaction of liens, judgments, and bankruptcy discharge.
  8. Background check with Electronic Fingerprints.
  9. Obtain public liability and property damage insurance.
    • Obtain workers' compensation or exemption from workers compensation insurance within 30 days of issuance of their license.
  10. Satisfy the experience requirements set forth by the CILB:
    • A combination of Experience and Education
      • One year proved experience that applies to the category for which you are applying and a four-year construction-related degree from an accredited college (equivalent to 3 yrs. experience).
      • No less than three years of credits from accredited college-level courses, and One year of experience as a foreman.
      • Two years of credits from accredited college-level courses, one year experience as a foreman, and One year experience as a worker.
      • One year of experience as a foreman, one year of credits from accredited college-level courses, and two years of experience as a worker.
      • Four years of experience as a foreman or worker of which at least one year must have been as a foreman.
      • The following field trade experience is accepted by the Board:
        • Building Contractor
          Project and Work Performed:
          • Formwork for structural reinforced concrete
          • Masonry walls
          • Column erection
          • Steel erection
          • Elevated slabs
          • Foundation/Slabs greater than 20,000 sqft
        • Class A Air Conditioning Contractor
          Installation, Maintenance and Repair of:
          • Heating Equipment
          • Air Conditioning Equipment
          • Sheet Metal Ductwork
          • Refrigeration Equipment
          • Systems in excess of 25 tons of cooling and 500,000 BTU heating capacity (1 year of experience)
        • Class B Air Conditioning Contractor
          Installation, Maintenance
          • Air Conditioning Equipment
          • Ductwork
          • Heating Equipment
          • Heating and Cooling Systems (1 year of experience)
        • Commercial Pool/Spa Contractor
          Commercial Installation, Repair/Servicing of the Pool Components:
          • Electrical Components
          • Deck Work
          • Excavation
          • Grading
          • Backfill
          • Compacting
          • Interior Surface Preparation and Finishing
          • Plumbing Components
          • Shell Placement
          • Tile
          • Coping
          • Trim Work
          • At least 1 year of experience in the construction of public/commercial pools
        • Demolition Contractor
          • Experience in at least two of the following trade areas:
            • Industrial
            • Towers & Tanks
            • Commercial
            • Transportation
            • Residential
            • Underground
          • Experience in eight or more elements in the following categories:
            • Demolition Methods:
              • Complete
              • Partial
              • Heavy Machinery
              • Manual Machinery
              • Interior
              • Implosion
              • Shoring
            • Demolition Support Activities:
              • Pre-Demo Survey
              • Environmental precautions/containment systems
              • Supervision
              • Utility Termination
              • Interior containment systems
              • Temporary Protection
              • Debris/Waste Handling
              • Occupational Safety & Health Precautions
              • Adjacent property protection systems
              • Hazardous Materials Handling
        • General Contractor
          Project and work performed:
          • Masonry walls
          • Elevated slabs
          • Column erection
          • Foundation/Slabs greater than 20,000 sqft
          • Steel erection
          • Column erection
          • Formwork for structural reinforced concrete
          • Construction of structures at least four stories in height (1 year of experience)
        • Glass and Glazing Contractor
          Attachment/Installation of:
          • Cutting and Installation of Glass and Mirrors
          • Windows and Glass
          • Glass Holding or Supporting Mullions or Horizontal Bars
        • Gypsum Drywall Contractor
          Installation, Repair and Servicing of:
          • Gypsum Board
          • Light Steel Framing
          • Finishing
        • Industrial Facilities Contractor
          applicant must have experience in at least 5 of the following 8 elements:
          • Foundation/Slabs Greater than 20,000 sqft.
          • Structural Steel Erection
          • Structural Column Erection
          • Elevated Slabs
          • Formwork for Structural Reinforced Concrete
          • Control Room Construction
          • Manufactured Equipment Installation
          • Other Related Construction
        • Irrigation Contractor
          • Areas of Experience (Commercial and Residential)
            • Piping
            • Solenoid Valves
            • Control Wire Irrigation Controller
            • Rain Shut-off Devices
            • Sprays
            • Micro-irrigation Components
          • Specific Experience in:
            • Installation of Two-wire or Decoder Based Controllers
            • Trenching Excavation and Compaction
            • Cross Connection Control
            • Locating Underground Utility
          • Additional Experience to demonstrate substantial compliance with experience requirements:
            • Use of Reclaimed Water
            • Site Restoration
            • Use of Water Saving Technologies and Products
            • Installation of Central Control Systems (numerous site systems managed through central interface like a website or computer)
            • Plot Plan and Site Preparation
            • Installation of Sport Field or Golf Systems
            • Pump Installation
            • Material Take Off/Plot Plan
        • Marine Contractor
          • Floating Marine Structures
            • Floating
            • Framing
            • Decking
            • Anchor
            • Access Gangway
            • Mooring
          • Fixed Marine Structures
            • Framing
            • Concrete Deck
          • Foundation
            • Concrete Footers
            • Structural Pilings
          • Shoreline Stabilization (additional)
            • Concrete Walls
            • Sheet Piles
            • Wood Bulkhead
          • Anchoring Systems (additional)
            • Concrete Deadmen
            • Timber Pilings
            • Wedge Anchor
          • Other (additional)
            • Dredging
            • Filling
        • Mechanical Contractor
          • Installation, Maintenance and Repair of:
            • Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Equipment
            • Sheet Metal Ductwork
            • Systems in excess of 25 tons of cooling and 500,000 BTU heating capacity
          • Further Installation experience in 5 of the following 8 areas:
            • Boilers and Pressure Vessel Systems
            • Gas, Air, Vacuum, Oxygen, Nitrous Oxide, Ink, and Chemical Line Piping
            • Piping and Gasoline tanks
            • Piping for Lift Stations
            • Direct Digital Control and/or Low Voltage Wiring
            • LP/Natural Gas Piping (within buildings)
            • Fabrication of Sheet Metal Ductwork
            • Condensate Drain Piping
        • Plumbing Contractor
          • Installation, Maintenance and Repair of:
            • Drainage Venting
            • Sanitary Drainage
            • Water Distribution Lines/Systems
            • Waste Piping
            • Natural Gas and Liquid Petroleum Piping and Venting Systems
          • Further Maintenance and Repair of:
            • Industrial Water Drainage
            • Medical Gas Piping
              • Oxygen
              • Helium
              • Nitrous Oxide
              • Compressed Air
              • Vacuum
            • Industrial Piping
              • Oil and Gasoline Storage and Distribution
              • Industrial Gas Piping
              • Industrial Vacuum Piping
              • Steam Distribution
              • Sewage Disposal Systems
                • Septic Tanks
                • Pumps
                • Lift Stations
                • Interceptors
            • Water Wells
            • Solar Water Heating Systems
            • Swimming Pool Piping Systems
        • Pollutant Storage Contractor
          • Pollutant Storage Systems (Installation/Removal)
        • Residential Contractor
          Project and work performed in at least 3 of the following five areas of trade:
          • Column Erection
          • Foundation/Slabs/Structural Formwork
          • Masonry Walls
          • Structural Demolition
          • Structural Wood Framing
            • Including Trusses
            • Excluding Platform Framing
        • Residential Pool/Spa Contractor
          Installation, Repair and Servicing of:
          • Shell Placement
          • Plumbing Components
          • Deck work
          • Electrical Components
          • Tile, Coping, and Trim Work
          • Excavation
          • Grading
          • Backfill
          • Compacting
          • Interior Surface Preparation and Finishing
        • Roofing Contractor
          • Experience in 3 or more elements below:
            • Shingles
            • Concrete
            • Solar Tile
            • Tile
            • Metal
          • Experience in ALL of the elements below:
            • Single-ply Systems
            • Parapet Walls
            • Flashings
            • Sheathing & Framing Repairs
            • Roof Penetrations
            • Underlayment
            • Insulation
              • Tapered
              • Flat
              • Foam
        • Service Pool Pool/Spa Contractor
          • Installation of:
          • Pool Deck Repair
          • Tile, Coping, and Trim Work
          • Pool Heaters
          • Plumbing Equipment
            • Pump
            • Pimp
            • Fittings
            • Gauges
            • Pressure Testing
            • Valves
          • Maintenance and Repair of Pool Shells
            • Leak Detection and Testing
            • Crack Repair
          • Commercial and/or Residential work:
            • Water Treatment
              • Chemically Balancing Pool/Spa Water
            • Other Water Features
              • Water Activity Play Areas
              • Interactive Water Features, etc.
            • Filter Maintenance
            • Draining Pools
            • Interior Resurface Preparation
        • Sheet Metal Contractor
          Installation, Maintenance and Repair of:
          • Duct Systems
          • Fabrication & Design
          • Installation
          • Air-Handling/Ventilation Systems
          • Air Balancing
        • Solar Contractor
          Installation, Maintenance and Repair of:
          • Swimming Pool/Spa Solar Heating Systems
          • Domestic Water Solar Heating Systems
          • Photovoltaic Systems
        • Specialty Structure Structure Contractor
          Applicant must have Residential and Commercial construction experience in the fabrication and installation of:
          • Foundations
            • Excavating
            • Laying Out
            • Forming, and
            • Placing Concrete Slabs, OR
            • Excavating, and
            • Laying Out
            • Forming, and
            • Placing Pier-type Post Footings
          • Wall Sections
            • Screen Walls
            • Framed Solid Panel Walls
            • Screen and Storm Doors
            • Composite Metal Panel Walls
          • Roof Sections
            • Screen Roofs
          • Windows
            • Vinyl Windows, or
            • Glass Windows
          • Wall Sections (additional)
            • Corner Cables
            • Rigid Bracing
          • Other (additional)
            • Siding
            • Soffit
            • Fascias
            • Gutters
            • Downspouts
        • Tower Specialty Contractor
          • Tower Construction
            • Guyed Tower
            • Mono Pole Tower
            • Lattice/Self Supported Tower
          • Construction/Installation of:
            • Accessory Structures
            • Equipment Housings
            • Deadman Anchors
            • Guy Wires
        • Underground Utilities Contractor
          Applicants must have experience in at least 3 of the following 5 trade areas:
          • Main Sanitary Sewer Collection Systems
          • Main Water Distribution Systems
          • Storm Sewer Collection Systems
          • Excavation and Earthwork
          • Trenchless Installations
    • Military Service
      Note: As part of the application applicant must submit the Fee Waiver and Military Service Verification for licensure
      • One year of experience as a foreman applicable to the category for which you are applying, and three years of military service.
      • One year of experience as a worker or foreman applicable to the category for which you are applying, one year of experience as a foreman, and two years of military service.
      • Two years of experience as a worker or foreman applicable to the category for which you are applying, and one year of military service.
    • Upgrade an Existing License
      Certified Contractors holding an active current license will be exempted from the employment history section of the application form by meeting the eligibility requirements below:
      • Class-A Air Conditioning Contractor
        • Class B license for a minimum of 1 year
        • Class C license for a minimum of 4 years
      • Class-B Air Conditioning Contractor
        • Class C license for a minimum of 1 year
      • Building Contractor
        • Residential license for a minimum of 3 years
      • General Contractor
        • Residential or Building license for a minimum of 4 years
      • Commercial Pool/Spa Contractor
        • Swimming Pool license for a minimum of 4 years
        • Residential Swimming Pool license for a minimum of 1 year
      • Residential Pool/Spa Contractor
        • Swimming Pool Servicing license for a minimum of 3 years
  11. Obtain passing scores on the trade and business exams
  12. Submit the complete application form to:
    Department of Business and Professional Regulation
    2601 Blair Stone Road
    Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783

How to Obtain a Pool Specialty Contractor's License

Swimming pool contractors who mostly perform work as subcontractors specializing in one of the sub-trades involved in swimming pool construction could obtain one of the eight swimming pool specialty contractor specialty contractor licenses instead. The specialty pool licenses are layout, structural, excavation, trim, decking, piping, and finishing. Note that even if a contractor were to obtain all the pool specialty licenses, doing so would not equate to being a residential or commerical swimming pool/spa contractor.

  • Submit an application form for the desired swimming pool specialty:
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be of good moral character
  • Have four years of experience in the swimming pool specialty category chosen
  • Submit documention which subtantiates the experience (e.g. tax records, notarized letters, etc.)
  • Take and successfully completes a written examination, OR
  • The applicant can complete three (3) hours of board-approved continuing education, consisting of 1-hr of workplace safety, 1-hr of business practices, and 1-hr of workers’ compensation, may qualify, if the applicant successfully passes a practical examination in lieu of a written examination for licensure

How to Get an Electrical License in Florida

Florida Electrical Contractors must satisfy the following requirements in order to become certified by the ECLB:

  1. Satisfy the Education and/or Experience requirements.
  2. Pass the trade and business exams.
  3. Provide a personal credit report (if applying to qualify a business, the business must provide its own credit score and have a $10,000 net worth).
  4. Pay the application fee (military veterans qualify for fee discounts and waivers).
  5. Meet at least one of the following methods for experience qualification:
    • Have at least 3 years of management experience in the trade, education or equivalent combination (no more than half the experience can be satisfied through education), within the 6 years immediately preceding the application.
    • Have at least 4 years of experience as a contractor or supervisor in the trade, within the 8 years immediately preceding the application.
    • Have at least 6 years of comprehensive training, technical education, or supervisory experience associated with an electrical or alarm system contracting business, within the 12 years immediately preceding the application.
    • Have at least 6 years of technical experience in electrical or alarm system work with the Armed Forces or a governmental entity, within the 12 years immediately preceding the application.
    • Have at least 3 years of experience as a professional engineer who is qualified by education, training, or experience to practice electrical engineering, within the 12 years immediately preceding the application.
    • Have any combination of qualifications in 489.511(1)(b)3.a, b, or c totaling 6 years of experience, within the last 12 years.
  6. Show proof of experience in the selected trade:
    • Include copies of W-2's, Schedule C's, or K-1 forms for each year of employment verification.
    • List projects in your work history in chronological order for the years of experience being submitted (dates must match the documented employment history).
    • Self-employed applicants must submit at least three letters verifying required experience from local licensing agencies, building officials, and contractors who have been associated with the applicant.
    • Unlimited Electrical applicants need 40% of their work experience to be in 3-phase systems.
    • Alarm I applicants need 40% of their work experience to be in commercial fire alarms.
    • Alarm I applicants may submit a copy of your NICET Level III or higher certifications in lieu of job lists.
    • Alarm II applicants need 40% of their work experience to be in alarm systems other than fire.
  7. Submit a completed application to the DBPR, either online or by mailing a paper application:
    • Online applications must be submitted via DBPR Online Services (make sure to create and link an Exam Candidate ID Number.
    • Paper applications must be mailed to:
      Department of Business and Professional Regulation
      2601 Blair Stone Road
      Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783

How to Get a Fire Protection license in Florida

To obtain fire protection license in Florida, a contractors must satisfy the requirements set forth by the Division of State Fire Marshal | Bureau of Fire Prevention, which falls within the Department of Financial Services. Those licensing requirements for fire contractors are as follows:

  1. Complete the Fire System Contractor application.
  2. Have four years of verifiable, and lawfully gained experience (in accordance with FS 633.318 and FAC 69A-46)
    • Experience must include "technical areas" like laying out, fabricating, installing, inspecting, and servicing fire protection systems.
    • Fire I and II applicants can use a plumbing certification (plumbing contractor's license) to satisfy two years of experience.
    • Fire I and II applicants can use a current NICET Level III or IV certification as a Fire Protection Engineering Technician in the subfield of Automatic Sprinkler System Layout to satisfy their experience requirements.
    • Fire III applicants can use a current NICET Level III or IV certification as a Fire Protection Engineering Technician in the subfield of Special Hazards System Layout to satisfy their experience requirements.
    • A combination of experience and education can be used in lieu of just experience:
      • A bachelor's degree from a four-year college or university (must major in mechanical engineering, civil engineering, fire science engineering technology, or fire protection engineering technology). If this option is used, official transcripts for degrees and coursework must be included.
      • Contractor I applicants who are certified plumbing contractors (reducing 2 years proven experience) can combine that experience with a NICET Level III or IV certificate; or with 18 credit hours from a college/university which teaches the material in the National Fire Protection Association standards on which the applicant will be tested; or with other equivalent course material.
      • Contractor II applicants who are certified plumbing contractors (reducing 2 years proven experience) can combine that experience with a NICET Level III or IV certificate; or with 15 credit hours from a college/university which teaches the material in the National Fire Protection Association standards on which the applicant will be tested; or with other equivalent course material.
    • Experience is verified by the contractor employing the applicant. The verification letter must include the following characteristics:
      • Be on company stationery
      • Attesting to the applicant’s duties
      • Describing in detailed the tasks the applicant worked on
      • Dates of employment
      • Any information needed to provide the Division with an overview of the applicant's experience
    • When an applicant is self-employed, the verification must come in the form of letters from customers, and others familiar with the applicant's work.
      • Provide evidence of all experience and education, along with written documentation of verification from each past employer of the contactors.
  3. Submit the application to the Bureau of Fire Prevention (Regulatory Licensing Section)
    Revenue Processing Section:
    P.O. Box 6100
    Tallahassee, FL 32314-6100
  4. Pass the Fire Protection Contractor Exam
    • Pearson Vue© offers testing for Fire I, II, III, IV, and V (there is no separate business test, business subjects are included in the trade exams).
    • Fire V contractors can challenge their exam as long as they meet the following criteria:
      • Be licensed as a Certified Underground Utilities Contractors.
      • Four Years of experience in the employment of a certified underground utilities or plumbing contractor.
      • The applicant shall not be approved to challenge a competency examination unless the applicant has substantiated employment experience or a combination of employment and education.

Official List of Books for Florida Contractor Exams

CILB Application Forms

Below is the list of application forms for the different state licenses. Please note the applications listed are for contractors wanting to qualify a business (most popular way of qualifying a business). If you are looking for other ways to qualify a business or ALL the forms available for each license, please visit the DBPR's Website. If you have any questions about what can be done with each contractor's license (contractor license definitions, specialties, exam questions and duration) or if you would like clarification on the qualifications for practicing contracting in Florida, you can contact the DBPR's Customer Contact Center at (850) 487-1395.

EILB Application Forms

Alarm I
Alarm II
Electrical (Unlimited)
Specialty (Residential, Utility Line, Limited Energy, Sign, Lighting Maintenance)

The next link will provide you The Credit Reporting Agencies for CILB and ECLB / FL License Application