Until the recession began in December 2007, the construction industry was booming in Florida. New buildings appeared all over the state and builders had their pick of projects. Even as the economy begins to pick up in 2010, the construction industry in Florida remains sluggish, but a builder who is a licensed general contractor has the edge over his colleagues when he is looking for work and bidding on projects.
Gain the required education and work experience. You may graduate with a four-year construction-related degree from an accredited college and have one year of proven work experience. Alternatively, you can complete three years of accredited college-level coursework and work as a foreman for one year, or do two years of accredited college-level coursework and work as a foreman for two years, with one year of proven work experience. You can complete one year of accredited college-level coursework and work as a foreman for two years, with one year of proven work experience. The final alternative is to have four years of experience as a workman or foreman, with at least one year as a foreman.
Study for and pass the General Contractor Examination administered by the state of Florida. Topics include estimating, bidding, permitting, site conditions, soil, masonry, framing, building codes and standards, inspections and safety standards.
Prepare your financial data. Your list of assets must include cash, securities, stocks, bonds, cash value of any life insurance, real estate and the value of other tangible assets, such as vehicles and equipment. The liability side must include all payable notes, mortgages, and bonds, unpaid taxes, wages and interest owed, and all other financial liabilities. Subtract liabilities from assets to compute your net worth.
Obtain a credit report from a nationally recognized credit reporting agency. The credit report must include a public records statement that records have been checked at local, state and federal levels.
Purchase public liability and property damage insurance coverage for a minimum of $300,000 bodily injury and $50,000 property damage. Obtain workers’ compensation insurance, or file for an exemption with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Contact a professional reference who is willing to attest to your work experience. This person must be a licensed Florida contractor and must sign the affidavit in the presence of a notary.
Arrange for Pearson VUE to process your electronic fingerprints and submit the processing fee of $57.25. As part of the application process, you will be subject to a criminal background by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Complete and sign the application form, and submit it, along with all supporting documentation and a check for the processing fee, to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Department of Business & Professional Regulation Construction Industry Licensing Board 1940 North Monroe St. Tallahassee, FL 32399 850-487-1395 www.myflorida.com/dbpr/
A certified general contractor has taken and passed a state examination, and can practice throughout Florida.
A registered contractor has taken and passed a local competency examination, and can practice only within that locale.