Can A Contractor Work Under Someone Else’S License In Florida?

In the construction business, there are often questions around licensing rules. Many contractors wonder – can I work under someone else’s license in Florida? Or do I need to get my own contractor’s license?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: In most cases, contractors in Florida must hold their own license to perform work legally. However, there are some exceptions that allow working under another’s license in certain circumstances.

This comprehensive guide will explore Florida’s licensing laws for contractors. We’ll look at when it is and isn’t legal to work under someone else’s contractor license. We’ll also review penalties for violations, and steps for getting properly licensed in Florida.

Florida Contractor License Requirements

Before discussing whether a contractor can work under someone else’s license in Florida, it is important to understand the general requirements for obtaining a contractor license in the state.

Types of Licenses

In Florida, there are several different types of contractor licenses, including:

  • General Contractor
  • Building Contractor
  • Residential Contractor
  • Plumbing Contractor
  • Electrical Contractor
  • And more

Each type of license has its own specific requirements and limitations, so it is important to determine which license is appropriate for the type of work you plan to do.

Qualifications and Exams

To obtain a contractor license in Florida, individuals must meet certain qualifications and pass a state exam. The qualifications typically include:

  • Proof of experience in the construction industry
  • Proof of financial responsibility
  • Proof of insurance coverage
  • Submission of a completed application
  • Payment of applicable fees

Once the qualifications are met, individuals must pass a state exam that tests their knowledge of the construction industry and relevant regulations.

License Lookups

If you are considering hiring a contractor or working under someone else’s license, it is important to verify the validity of their license. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation provides an online license lookup tool where you can search for licensed contractors and view their license information.

This tool can help you ensure that the contractor you are working with is properly licensed and qualified to perform the work.

Note: It is always recommended to hire licensed contractors to ensure the quality and legality of the work being performed. Working under someone else’s license without proper authorization can lead to legal consequences.

For more information on Florida contractor license requirements, you can visit the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website.

Working Under Someone Else’s License

General Prohibition in Florida

In Florida, there are strict regulations regarding working under someone else’s license as a contractor. The general rule is that it is not allowed for one contractor to work under another contractor’s license.

Each contractor is required to hold their own license and take responsibility for their own work. This is to ensure that contractors meet the necessary qualifications and standards set by the state.

The Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board, which is responsible for regulating contractors in the state, prohibits contractors from allowing others to work under their license. Violating this rule can result in serious consequences for both the contractor and the person working under their license.

It should be noted that this prohibition applies to all contractors, regardless of their level of experience or expertise. Even if a contractor has years of experience in the field, they are still required to have their own license in order to operate legally in Florida.

Exceptions for Specific Circumstances

While the general rule is that a contractor cannot work under someone else’s license in Florida, there are some exceptions for specific circumstances. These exceptions are outlined by the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board and can be granted on a case-by-case basis.

One of the exceptions is for contractors who are part of a joint venture or partnership. In such cases, multiple contractors can work together and operate under one license. However, it is important to note that each contractor must still meet the necessary requirements and qualifications to obtain their own license.

Another exception is for contractors who are employees of a licensed contractor. In this situation, the employee can work under the license of their employer. However, it is crucial that the employee is properly classified as an employee and not an independent contractor to comply with labor and employment laws.

It is important for contractors to carefully review the specific circumstances and requirements for exceptions before working under someone else’s license. Consulting with legal professionals or contacting the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board can provide further guidance and clarification.

For more information on contractor licensing in Florida, you can visit the official website of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation at

Penalties and Risks of Unlicensed Activity

Working as a contractor under someone else’s license in Florida can have severe penalties and risks. It is important for both contractors and homeowners to understand the consequences of unlicensed activity.

Violating the state’s licensing laws can result in administrative fines, criminal charges, and significant damage to a contractor’s reputation.

Administrative Fines

Contractors who engage in unlicensed activity may face hefty administrative fines imposed by the state of Florida. These fines can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the violation.

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is responsible for enforcing licensing regulations and can issue fines to unlicensed contractors. These fines are intended to discourage unlicensed activity and protect the public from unqualified individuals performing construction work.

Criminal Charges

In addition to administrative fines, unlicensed contractors can also face criminal charges in Florida. Engaging in contracting work without a valid license is considered a misdemeanor offense. If convicted, contractors can face penalties such as probation, community service, or even jail time.

The severity of the penalties depends on the specific circumstances of the case, including the value of the work performed and any previous offenses. It is important to note that homeowners who knowingly hire unlicensed contractors can also be subject to penalties.

Impact on Reputation

Working under someone else’s license without proper authorization can have a detrimental impact on a contractor’s reputation. The construction industry relies heavily on trust and credibility, and unlicensed activity undermines these principles.

Word spreads quickly in the industry, and contractors found to be operating without a license may find it difficult to secure future projects or maintain relationships with clients and subcontractors.

Building a solid reputation takes time and effort, and unlicensed activity can tarnish a contractor’s professional image.

It is crucial for contractors to respect and abide by the licensing laws in Florida. Understanding the penalties and risks associated with unlicensed activity can help contractors make informed decisions and protect themselves from legal and financial consequences.

Homeowners should also be cautious when hiring contractors, ensuring that they are properly licensed and insured. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website ( provides a database where homeowners can verify a contractor’s license status before entering into any agreements.

Steps to Getting Properly Licensed

Obtaining the proper license is crucial for contractors in Florida. Working under someone else’s license may seem like a convenient option, but it is important to follow the proper steps to avoid legal complications and ensure professionalism in the industry.

Here are three essential steps to getting properly licensed:

1. Meet Experience Requirements

Before obtaining a license, contractors in Florida must meet certain experience requirements. These requirements vary depending on the type of license sought. For example, a general contractor must show at least four years of experience in the construction industry, while a roofing contractor must demonstrate at least two years of experience specifically in roofing.

It is crucial for contractors to keep detailed records of their work experience, including project details, dates, and responsibilities. This documentation will be necessary when applying for a license and can help prove eligibility.

2. Pass Exams and Screenings

Once the experience requirements are met, contractors must pass the required exams and screenings. These assessments aim to test the contractor’s knowledge, skills, and understanding of the industry’s regulations and best practices.

The exams cover various topics such as construction law, building codes, safety protocols, and project management. It is essential for contractors to thoroughly prepare for these exams by studying the relevant materials and seeking additional resources if needed.

In addition to exams, contractors may also undergo background screenings, including criminal background checks and financial record reviews. These screenings are typically conducted to ensure the contractor’s credibility and trustworthiness.

3. Maintain Continuing Education

Once licensed, contractors in Florida must also fulfill continuing education requirements to maintain their license. Continuing education courses help contractors stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends, technologies, and regulations.

Contractors must complete a certain number of continuing education hours within a specified timeframe, which may vary depending on the type of license held. These courses can be taken online or in-person and cover a wide range of topics, including safety practices, building codes updates, and business management.

It is important for contractors to keep track of their completed continuing education hours and provide proof of completion when renewing their license.

By following these steps, contractors can ensure they are properly licensed in Florida and maintain professionalism in their work. Remember, it is always best to consult official sources such as the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation for the most accurate and up-to-date information on licensing requirements.

When to Hire a Licensed Contractor

When it comes to construction projects, it is important to hire a licensed contractor. A licensed contractor has the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to ensure that the project is completed safely and up to code.

While there may be certain circumstances where hiring an unlicensed contractor is permissible, it is generally best to work with someone who is licensed.

Major Construction Projects

For major construction projects, such as building a new home or renovating a commercial space, it is crucial to hire a licensed contractor. These types of projects often require complex planning and execution, and a licensed contractor will have the expertise needed to handle the job effectively.

Additionally, working with a licensed contractor provides a level of protection for both the homeowner and the contractor, as they are bound by state regulations and can be held accountable for any issues that may arise during the project.

Specialized Work

When it comes to specialized work, such as electrical or plumbing installations, it is essential to hire a licensed contractor. These trades require specific knowledge and expertise to ensure that the work is done safely and up to code.

Hiring a licensed contractor not only guarantees that the work will be done correctly, but it also provides peace of mind knowing that the contractor has undergone the necessary training and certifications to perform the job.

Permit Requirements

In many cases, obtaining permits is a requirement for construction projects. Hiring a licensed contractor can help streamline this process, as they are familiar with the necessary permits and can handle the paperwork on behalf of the homeowner.

Unlicensed contractors may not have the knowledge or experience to navigate the permit process, which can lead to delays and potential issues down the line.


In summary, working under another contractor’s license instead of obtaining your own carries significant legal risks in Florida. Limited exceptions exist, but in most cases, aspiring contractors should study requirements and go through proper licensing steps. This helps ensure your competency and ability to perform work legally and safely.

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