Surety Bond Professionals is a family-owned and operated bonding agency with over 30 years of experience. With access to a broad range of surety markets, our expert agents are ready to assist with all of your Florida contractor license bond needs. Learn how to get a contractor’s license in Florida, below.
What Contractor Licenses Are Issued in Florida?
Florida issues contractor licenses in two broad categories:
- Certified licenses, which are valid anywhere in the state
- Registered licenses, which are valid only in certain local jurisdictions
Within each of these categories, Florida licenses residential contractors, building contractors, general contractors, and contractors in a variety of specialty trades.
What Are the Steps in the Licensing Process?
Licensing requirements and procedures vary depending on the type of license being sought. In general, whether you’re applying for a certified or registered contractor license, you’ll need to take and pass the Florida State Construction exam. Or, in the case of a certified contractor license, obtain a Certificate of Competency from the local jurisdiction in lieu of taking the written exam. Other requirements common to both certified and registered license applications are a credit score report and fingerprinting.
The application packet for each type of license must be completed in full and submitted with the appropriate supporting documentation and payment of the applicable fees to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Applicants for certain types of contractor licenses may be required to purchase a contractor license surety bond in a given amount.
Why is a Contractor License Bond Required?
A Florida contractor license bond is a contractor’s pledge to obey all applicable laws and regulations governing the state’s construction industry. It indemnifies the state and the surety bond company against liability for claims filed by project owners and consumers who have experienced a financial loss due to the unlawful or unethical actions of a licensed contractor. The bond also guarantees the contractor’s payment of valid claims and ensures that funds will be available for compensating any injured party.
The surety bond agreement for a Florida contractor license bond is a legally binding contract between three parties:
- The Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board (the “obligee” requiring the bond)
- The contractor (the “principal”) purchasing the bond
- The bonding company (the “surety”) underwriting and authorizing the bond
This agreement legally obligates the principal to pay all valid claims.
How Are Contractor License Bond Claims Paid?
When the surety determines that a claim filed against a Florida contractor license bond is valid and the principal doesn’t pay the claim promptly, the surety typically will pay the claim on behalf of the principal. However, because the obligation to pay valid claims rests solely with the principal, the principal must then repay the debt created by the surety’s payment of the claim.
How Much Does a Florida Contractor License Bond Cost?
The annual premium for a Florida contractor license bond is a small percentage of the bond amount (the bond’s “penal sum”) established by the obligee. The surety determines what that percentage will be based primarily on the principal’s personal credit score. With good credit, the principal’s premium rate will most likely be in the range of 1% to 2%. The higher the principal’s credit score is, the lower the premium rate will be.
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