Florida is home to over 21.7 million people, which could create opportunities for skilled handymen and handywomen. Homeowners, landlords, and renters often need help maintaining and repairing their properties. Now might be the time to put your trade skills to work and start a handyman business.
You might be unsure if you need a Florida handyman license to work in the state. While there is no dedicated handyman license available, you might need a general contractor license to do certain types of projects.
Do you need a handyman license in Florida?
Handymen and handywomen in Florida do not need a license if they are only providing basic services and performing minor repairs. However, a general contractor license is required if your work will become a finished part of the structure and the project totals more than $500.
Basic handyman jobs that likely do not require a license include:
- Clearing gutters
- Fixing a leaky faucet
- Patching holes in a wall
- Mounting shelves
- Repairing wall trim
Examples of jobs that would likely require a general contractor license include:
- Replacing the flooring in an entire room
- Installing a new bathroom
- Building a deck
- Rewiring a room
- Major repairs to a HVAC system
Getting a general contractor license could help you offer more services to your customers and potentially find new ones. This may be a good way to grow your handyman business.
How to Get a Florida Handyman License
There is no handyman license in Florida, but you can get a general contractor license if the work you do requires one.
There are two general contractor licenses you can apply for: certified and registered. A certified license allows you to work anywhere in the state. A registered license limits you to working in specific local jurisdictions.
Who can get a general contractor license in Florida?
You must meet some basic requirements to apply for certified and registered general contractor licenses in Florida. The conditions for licensing are:
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must have a Social Security number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
- You must have at least four years of relevant work experience and/or education
- You must prove that you are financially stable
Handypeople with military experience may be able to use it to meet their work experience and education requirements. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) issues general contractor licenses in Florida and can help you navigate current licensing requirements and apply for relevant waivers.
How to Apply for a Florida General Contractor License
The application processes for getting a certified or registered contractor license are broadly similar. Handypeople seeking a license will need to:
- Pass a certification exam or submit a certificate of competency from your local licensing authority to prove you have the necessary skills to perform your trade
- Provide a FICO credit report and score to prove you are financially stable
- Pass a background check, including fingerprinting
- Show proof of General Liability insurance
- Show proof of Workers’ Compensation insurance or provide a workers’ comp waiver
- Pay an application fee
There may be other documents required when you apply for a general contractor license. The DBPR website has more information on what information you may need to provide.
Renewing Your General Contractor License
Florida general contractor licenses must be renewed every two years. At renewal, you will need to complete 14 hours of continuing education. This coursework must include a minimum of one hour of instruction on:
- Business practices
- Laws and rules
- The Florida building code
- Workplace safety
- Workers’ comp rights and obligations
Do Florida handymen need business insurance?
Handymen in Florida may need General Liability and Workers’ Compensation insurance to work in the state.
General Liability insurance (also known as property damage and public liability insurance) is required to receive a general contractor license. You will be asked to show proof of your insurance when you apply.
Workers’ Compensation insurance is required if you have employees. You may also need a policy to subcontract with another company.
Getting Florida’s Handymen to Work
Now that we’ve answered the question, “Do you need a handyman license in Florida?” you may be considering whether to get one. A general contractor license could help grow your handyman business. It allows you to legally accept larger and more complex projects for both residential and commercial customers, creating great potential for aspiring handypeople.
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