Florida Handyman License: How to Get Certified as a Handyman in Florida
Looking to become a handyman in Florida? That’s a good idea considering the growth of the market over the last three years—and it’s expected to grow another 2.4% in 2022.
According to a study by OnePoll, 41% of millennials call a professional handyman instead of attempting to fix a problem on their own, and less than 25% of homeowners would call themselves good at DIY skills. With this growing reliance on outsourcing household projects, maintenance, and repairs, there’s never been a better time to become a handyman.
Fortunately, getting certified as a handyman in Florida is relatively straightforward. You might not even need a Florida handyman license to start your business.
Below, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about getting certified as a handyman in Florida:
- Do you need a license to be a handyman in Florida?
- How do I get a handyman license in Florida?
- How much does it cost to get a handyman license in Florida?
- Florida handyman license requirements
- Requirements for business owners
- Insurance and permit needs
- Does a handyman license increase your earning potential?
Bookmark this page and check back whenever you have a question about handyman certification in Florida.
Do you need a license to be a handyman in Florida?
No, you don’t need a license to be a general handyman in Florida. In fact, there’s technically no “handyman license” in Florida. You don’t need any authorization or documentation if you provide unregulated services.
However, you will need a contractor’s license if you plan to offer regulated services like plumbing, construction, and electrical work.
Other states require licenses for even basic jobs, and some limit the amount of money you can make per project without a license. That’s not the case in Florida.
This makes it simple and easy for new and experienced handymen alike to open up shop in Florida.
Here’s what you can do as a handyman in Florida without a license. Note that you can perform a few limited electrical and plumbing projects without a license:
- Driveway repair: Patch cracks and fill holes
- Paint projects: Interior and exterior painting and caulking
- Tile work: Clean and repair tiles
- Yard maintenance: Trim trees and build and repair fences
- Pressure washing: Clean surfaces with a pressure washer
- Gutter maintenance: Clean and repair gutters
- Flooring: Install carpet, wood, vinyl, laminate, or tile flooring
- Door projects: Replace and repair interior doors and trims
- Cabinets and countertops: Install and repair cabinets and countertops
- Electrical work: Replace light bulbs with similar type and wattage, replace fuses of the same size
- Plumbing work: Repair window A/C units, replace exhaust vent pipes for dryers, replace disposable air filters, unclog drains
Want even more service ideas? Check out this list of handyman services you can offer.
If you’re looking to expand your services even more, here are the types of work you’ll need a contractor’s license to perform in Florida:
- Swimming pools: Design, excavation, decking, and piping
- Windows: Install and replace windows
- Electrical work: Install, repair, alter, and design wiring for outlets, fixtures, and appliances
- Plumbing work: Install new pipes and hot water heaters, make septic repairs
- Mold removal: Assess, remove, and remediate mold
- Construction: Build houses, sheds, and add-ons (includes demolition)
Check out the state’s complete list of professions and services that require a contractor’s license.
How do I get a handyman license in Florida?
Want to perform specialized work outside of Florida’s handyman limitations? First, you’ll need to secure the correct general contractor license. There are two different types of licenses in Florida:
- Certified contractor license: Valid throughout Florida
- Registered contractor license: Limited to local jurisdictions in Florida
Which license do you need? It depends on where you’ll be working
Certified contractors have passed the state licensing examination and can work anywhere in the state. Registered contractors haven’t passed the state exam—they’ve just registered a certificate of competency in a specific county or municipality. They can’t perform any regulated work outside of the local area where they’re registered.
Neither is necessarily better than the other. If you anticipate working throughout the state (or even in multiple counties or municipalities), it’s a good idea to get a certified contractor’s license—even if you don’t need it right away. However, if you don’t expect to do work outside your current location, a registered contractor’s license will suit you just fine.
How to get a contractor’s license:
Regardless of which license you choose, the application process is the same:
- Age: Applicants must be 18 years or older
- Examination: Individuals must pass the state’s certification exam
- Experience: Applicants must have four years of hands-on experience or a combination of college education and experience
- Financial: Applicants must provide proof of financial stability with credit reports
- Fingerprints: Applicants must submit electronic fingerprints
- Insurance: Applicants must obtain public liability and property damage insurance and workers compensation insurance (or an exemption from workers compensation insurance)
- Fee: Individuals must pay the required fee with their application—$245 for certification between May 1 of an EVEN year through August 31 of an ODD year, and $145 for certification between September 1 of an ODD year through April 30 of an EVEN year
Submit your general certified contractor’s license application to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Call the Customer Contact Center (850-487-1395) for current submission information or mail your application and supporting documentation to:
Department of Business and Professional Regulation
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783
How much does it cost to get a handyman license in Florida?
According to the State of Florida’s 2022 certified contractor application, license applicants must pay $245 for certification between May 1 of an EVEN year through August 31 of an ODD year ($309 for registered contractors) and $145 for certification between September 1 of an ODD year through April 30 of an EVEN year ($209 for registered contractors).
These licenses don’t last forever, though. They are only valid for two years. Before renewing your licenses, you need to complete 14 hours of continuing education and pay certain renewal fees.
Certified contractors must pay a $223.25 renewal fee ($92 for registered) if they submit before August 31, 2022. After that, the price jumps to $248.25 ($117 for registered).
Don’t forget the cost of the state examination test. These tests range from $135 to $215. The costs of the tests vary for specific trades (pool, plumbing, etc.) and depend on whether you take the test via computer or paper.
Florida handyman license requirements
While you might not need an official state license to perform handyman jobs in Florida, you will require certain skills and abilities to be successful.
As a handyman, you’re typically a jack-of-all-trades. Customers will rely on your experience and expertise to complete a variety of projects. Typically, they prefer to work with a single person they trust to see a project through from start to finish. They’ll be less inclined to work with you if they need to hire additional handymen to fill in the cracks (so to speak) in the skills you lack.
Here are a few basic skills you’ll need to become a successful handyman in Florida:
- Exterior and interior maintenance
- Door installation
- Window repair
- Flooring installation, maintenance, and repair
- Interior and exterior painting and caulking
- Lighting and ceiling fan installation and maintenance
- Fence repair
- Landscaping and yard maintenance
Don’t panic if you don’t have every skill on this list. It’ll take time to build your toolkit, and you don’t need to know everything about being a handyman to get started.
Florida requires all registered and certified contractors to complete 14 hours of continuing education to renew their licenses. As an unlicensed general handyman, you might not have the same requirements, but it’s not a bad idea to sign up for an approved course to learn new skills and sharpen your knowledge.
If you’re running your own handyman business (more on that next), you’ll also need a handful of other skills:
- Bidding and estimating
- Budgeting and finance
- Project management
- Planning and scheduling
- Written and verbal communication
- Inventory management
- People management
Check out this guide to pricing handyman jobs.
Requirements for business owners
Handymen who own their own businesses will need to obtain a business license, insurance, and permits—even if you’re not a general contractor. Fortunately, you can secure all the necessary licenses and insurance coverage without excessive hassles or fees.
Florida business license
Any organization that gets paid for work must register for a business license. A business license is the state’s stamp of approval that you’re registered and approved to offer products and services. Fortunately, getting a business license is relatively quick and easy.
Apply here to register your business and obtain a business license. You’ll need to decide whether you want to register your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Taxes and filing fees for each will vary. For example, registering an LLC in Florida costs a minimum of $125.
Not sure which business entity is right for you? We recommend reaching out to an attorney or accountant to determine the right type for your business. They might be able to save you money from filing fees and tax obligations, as well as prevent headaches from other unnecessary requirements.
If you need help obtaining a business license, you can also contact your region’s tax collector’s office—they will have a professional who can walk you step by step through the process.
Insurance and permit needs
You need the proper insurance to obtain a general contractor’s license in Florida, but the requirements aren’t as clear if you aren’t licensed. Licensed or not, you need insurance to protect your business and personal assets.
Consider obtaining the following types of insurance coverage before going into business as a handyman:
- Worker’s compensation insurance: Provides coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, and leave if one of your employees gets injured on the job. Don’t hire any workers without this insurance—especially with the types of jobs you’ll perform as a handyman.
- General liability insurance: Provides coverage in case you accidentally damage property or someone (other than your employees) gets hurt on the job. Mistakes will happen regardless of your education or experience—keep this insurance in your back pocket to make sure an incident doesn’t put you out of business.
- Tools and equipment insurance: Provides coverage for damage or theft to any of your work-related gear, such as drills, saws, and all the items in your tool kit. Handyman equipment can get pretty pricey—don’t leave your assets unprotected.
- Commercial auto insurance: Provides coverage for work-related driving accidents that results in medical expenses, repairs, and towing.
As a general contractor, you must have at least general liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Apply for a worker’s compensation insurance exemption if you don’t hire any employees.
Does a handyman license increase your handyman earning potential?
No. Having a handyman or contractor’s license doesn’t impact the average handyman salary, but the years of experience as a handyman does.
Our comprehensive handyman salary guide has up-to-date salary information organized by state and experience. This guide, which includes average annual and hourly wages, can help you determine a good starting point for your own rates, or know how much to offer your new handyman if you’re looking to hire.
Use this data to prove your worth and back up your value, and take a look at the complete list of salary guides here.