There are many reasons to become a painter in Florida. The Sunshine State is home to nearly 22 million people, including millions of homeowners and business owners. Florida painters could take advantage of the need for residential and commercial painting professionals.
Before you apply paint to brush, you may need a painting license to legally work in the state. This article outlines license requirements for Florida painters, including eligibility, how to apply for a license, and your insurance obligations.
Can I get a painting license in Florida?
There is no specific painting license available in Florida. Instead, Florida painters may need a general contractor license to work in the state.
Florida requires tradespeople, including professional painters, to have a general contractor license if they complete projects that total $500 or more and will become a finished part of the structure. Painters can apply for a Florida contractor license through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).
Am I eligible for a Florida contractor license?
You need to meet specific eligibility standards to apply for a general contractor license in Florida. All applicants must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
- Have at least four years of work experience, or a combination of work experience and education in their trade
- Show that they are financially stable
Military veterans may be able to apply their service and training towards the work experience requirement. More information on contractor license eligibility can be found on the DBPR website.
Step-by-step Guide: How to get a Florida contractor license
Painters can apply for either a certified contractor license or a registered contractor license. The certified option lets you work anywhere in Florida. Registered licenses limit you to working in specific jurisdictions. The application process for both is generally the same.
Before you apply
Florida requires certified contractors to pass an exam before they can apply for a general contractor license. In most other states, these exams are typically taken after the licensing application has been submitted. The exam has three parts: business & finance, contract administration, and project management.
If you are applying for a registered license, you will need to request a certificate of competency from a local licensing authority instead.
Applying for a license
After you have passed the certified contractor exam or received a certificate of competency, you can apply for a “painting license” online through the DBPR website. With your application, you will need to:
- Pay an application fee
- Submit electronic fingerprints for a background check
- Provide details of your employment history
- Provide a FICO credit report to prove financial stability
- Show proof of required business insurance
- Submit other financial or legal documents (if applicable)
Full details and the application portal are available on the DBPR website.
Contractor Insurance Requirements
General Liability insurance (referred to as public liability and property damage insurance on Florida government websites) is required for general contractors. You will need to show a copy of your certificate of insurance when you apply for a painting license.
You may also need Workers’ Compensation coverage for your business. Florida businesses must have Workers’ Compensation insurance if they have one or more employees, including part-time and seasonal staff. In some cases, sole proprietors may also need coverage. More information on Florida’s workers’ comp laws is available on the Division of Workers’ Compensation website.
Renewing Your License
Florida contractor licenses must be renewed every two years. When you renew, you will need to complete 14 hours of continuing education. Coursework must include at least one hour of instruction in the following areas:
- Florida building code
- Workplace safety
- Workers’ compensation law and obligations
- Business practices
- Laws and rules
Boosting Your Painting Business
A Florida contractor license allows painters to work within state and local law. Getting a license is not only an essential step toward becoming a painter in Florida, but it can also help you attract customers. People want to hire a business they can trust. Advertising your license and insurance details could help build this trust by showing potential clients that you are a professional who follows the law.