How to Get a General Contractor License in Florida

All construction contractors in the state of Florida, including general contractors, are legally required to have a contracting license. There are two types of Florida contracting licenses:

Certified License: Allows you to work on, plan, or manage construction projects anywhere in Florida. It is considered a statewide license. 

Registered License: Limits you to only work in certain local jurisdictions—the cities or counties where you hold a certificate of competency. 

As of July 2023, applications for either type of contracting license are to be submitted through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). However, all contracting licenses are still regulated and issued by the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board.

Below we dive into the specifics of how to become a licensed contractor in Florida. We go step-by-step through the licensing process—eligibility and application requirements, license exams, how to get licensed with bad credit, licensing fees, and more. 

Eligibility Requirements for Obtaining a Florida General Contractor License

A Florida general contractor is defined as a contractor whose services are unlimited as to the type of work which he or she may do. To pursue this career, you must meet the following licensing requirements:

  • Age – 18 years of age or older.
  • Education – High school diploma or equivalent.
  • Florida State Construction Exam – Pass all three parts of this examination.
  • Experience – Four years of work experience. This may include experience gained through military service. The four-year experience requirement may also be met with a combination of work experience and college education. See Florida statute 489.111 for specifics that meet licensing knowledge and competency requirements, as well as exemptions. 
  • Background Check – This process includes electronic fingerprinting.
  • Credit Report – Conducted to prove financial stability. This report must be from an approved credit reporting agency and show a FICO credit score of 660+. A surety bond (Florida Contractor License Bond) is needed for those with lower credit. 
  • Insurance – Obtain general liability insurance, property damage insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance.

How to Get a General Contractor License in Florida

Step 1: Pass the Florida State Construction Exam

The Florida State Construction licensure categories are separated into two divisions. 

Division 1 is for General Contractors, Building Contractors, and Residential Contractors. 

Division 2 is for specialty contractors such as Air Conditioning, Plumbing, Roofing, Sheet Metal etc. 

What to expect from the Division 1 Exam: 

  • Open book exam with multiple-choice questions.
  • Available online or in person through Pearson VUE.
  • Three parts in three sessions: Business and Finance, Contract Administration, and Project Management. 
  • You must get a passing score (70%) on all exam parts to get licensed. 
  • Unlimited number of attempts in a four-year period.

See Exam Instructions for more information.

Exam Fees

$ 135 - Registration Fee

$ 80 - Business and Finance computer-based test (CBT)

$ 80 - Contract Administration CBT

$ 40 - Project Management CBT


Step 2: Fill Out a License Application 

After passing the exam, complete the application for Initial Issuance of Licensure (CILB 5-A). This application is for a certified general contractor license. Note that this application is for individuals. If you are applying as a business entity, use application form CILB 6-A

This application is available to print or complete online. It will require basic information such as identity, contact, employment, and criminal background.


Step 3: Complete a Background Check

You must agree to a statewide criminal history records check through the Department of Law Enforcement. 

For electronic fingerprinting, locate a Livescan service provider


Step 4: Obtain a Credit Report

With your application, you need to submit a credit report containing your credit score (FICO derived). Your report must:

  • Be from a nationally recognized credit reporting agency.
  • Include a public records statement that records have been checked at local, state, and federal levels. 
  • Show a minimum FICO score of 660. If your score is lower, see step 5.


Step 5: Get a Surety Bond

To meet the proof of financial stability requirement for a general contracting license, applicants with a credit score less than 660 must get a Florida contractor license bond. This surety bond acts as a financial guarantee that the contractor will conduct business ethically and lawfully. If they fail to do so, the bond initially pays for any losses due to misconduct up to the full bond amount. For more information, see our guide on what a surety bond is.

Bond amount: $20,000.

Want to cut your bond amount in half? We recently had a customer shopping around for a $20,000 contractor license bond. He had to get the bond due to bad credit and other companies’ quotes were quite high due to his low credit score. Our surety expert was not only able to get him a lower premium, but also inform him about how he could cut his bond cost in half by taking the financial responsibility course. 

The financial responsibility course is specific to Florida general contracting. It is 14 hours, and upon completion, it reduces your required bond amount by 50%—down to $10,000. 

Bond Cost: Applicants only pay a small percentage of the bond amount, often between 1% and 10%. For example, a $10,000 bond will generally cost anywhere from $100 to $1000. 

Get a free, no obligation quote today to see your qualifying rate.


Step 6: Submit Your Application

Send out your application, supporting documents, and fees. Application fees are as follows:

  • $ 249 - Applying for initial certification between May 1st of an EVEN year through August 31st of an ODD year 


  • $ 149 Applying for initial certification between September 1st of an ODD year through April 30th of an EVEN year 

Checks are payable to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.


Application mailing address: 

Department of Business and Professional Regulation

2601 Blair Stone Road

Tallahassee, FL  32399-0783

Important: Application fees are subject to change. Always check your application for the current fee structure and payment options. 


Step 7: Participate in Continuing Education 

To keep your license active, you must complete 14 hours of continuing education every two years. As per Florida statute 489.115, a portion of the required 14 hours must deal with the subject of:

  • workers’ compensation
  • business practices
  • workplace safety
  • laws and rules, including building codes

Licensees can find continuing education both online or in person through a multitude of providers.

For more information on general contracting licenses in Florida, see the Florida statutes, chapter 489, or call the DBPR’s customer service line at 850-487-139.

How Long Does It Take to Become a General Contractor in Florida?

It takes approximately 4 – 6 months to become a general contractor in Florida. 

Keep in mind this estimate does not include the 4 years of experience in the workplace that you need to qualify for the exam. Instead, it includes the time required to study, examination bookings, and application processing time. In some cases, getting your license in less time may be possible, but you should generally plan for it to take 4 – 6 months.

How to Prepare for the Florida General Contractor Exam

Studying the exam reference material and taking practice tests are the best ways to prepare for the Florida General Contractor Exam. You can find practice tests online for these state certification examinations. Additionally, prep courses are available through The Contractor’s Institute, the Construction Estimating Institute, and similar organizations. 

Lastly, try not to stress—failing all or part of the exam isn’t an end-all to your licensing. This exam is open book, multiple choice, and allows unlimited attempts in a four-year period.

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