Are you interested in pursuing a career as a general contractor but not sure where to start? You have come to the right place, as we have created this guide to cover the required steps. We’ll also review a few tips to help you narrow your career options and choose the one that best meets your career goals.
How To Become a General Contractor
You can become a general contractor with the following steps:
Consider Your Licensing Options
While formal experience is not always a requirement, many people who pursue a career as a general contractor are generally handy. However, you will need a few years of experience in most states when seeking a General Contracting license. Licensing requirements vary depending on the state in which you live and the type of contractor you want to become.
In Florida, for example, you can become a general contractor with:
- Successful completion of three exams (A minimum of 70% on each) that covers business and finance, contract administration, and project administration.
- Experience requirements (A minimum of four years of experience, including a degree or college credits.)
- Sufficient business bonds that meet or exceed $300,000 public liability or $50,000 property damage for general and building contractors. A minimum of $100,000 in public liability or $25,000 in property damage is required for residential contractors.
- Workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
- A minimum credit score of 660 (this may be waived if you complete a 14-hour financial responsibility course.
Earn Work Experience
A contractor license requires at least four years of work experience, as well as an exam. This experience can help you successfully complete your exam too. In some cases, college credits can be used in lieu of work experience. Additionally, Florida allows military experience to count toward college requirements. You can work as an assistant or understudy on home or outdoor projects to earn the needed experience.
Prepare for the Exam
Florida requires aspiring general contractors to successfully complete an exam. You’ll need to prepare and study before sitting for the exam. Enrolling in a course to study for your Florida General Contractor License is best to ensure you have all the information you need to earn at least a 70% on each test. Prep classes can help by offering mock exams, which allow you to evaluate which areas require improvement.
Keep in mind that Florida also requires you to pre-apply for the exam. You must receive approval before you’re allowed to take the licensing exam.
Complete Background Check
Most states, including Florida, also require a background check before receiving your license. You’ll also need to form a legal business and ensure it has sufficient insurance coverage to protect you and your customers. Some aspiring general contractors may choose to pull a copy of their background check first so they know what to expect.
Apply for License
After you complete the training, successfully pass the exam, and obtain your background check and insurance coverage, you can apply for your general contractor license with the state. The state requires licensing and registration fees, which must be paid before receiving your license.
Don’t forget about your continuing education requirements. All states require general contractors to maintain their licenses through ongoing education. In Florida, you must complete at least 14 hours of continuing education before each renewal period.
Some states have reciprocity agreements, which means a license in Florida may allow you to also work as a general contractor in another state. However, you’ll want to double-check these requirements before working. Otherwise, you could be subject to expensive penalties and fines.
How To Choose the Perfect Career
Successfully completing all the required steps to become a Florida general contractor allows you to work within the state. Of course, the license that you achieve also affects the type of work tasks you can complete as a general contractor.
For example, a Florida Certified General Contractor License allows you to complete all general contracting jobs. It’s important to note that 80% of construction companies struggled to find construction site workers. A Florida Building Contractor License allows you to work up to three stories on Florida buildings. A Florida Residential Contractor License allows you to work up to three floors or single-family residences.
It can also be helpful to consider where you want to work. A Certified License means you can work anywhere within Florida, whereas a Registered License only allows you to work in the state in which you complete your licensing requirements. Consider the details of your intended career or business when determining which Florida general contractor license is right for you.
General contractors are in demand not only in much of the country but also in Florida. Working as a general contractor in Florida requires licensure. Use this guide to complete all the required steps and narrow your licensing options to choose the right one for your career goals.