Perhaps you taught yourself how to repair air conditioners, install ductwork, service swimming pools, or maintain plumbing systems. Your skills are pretty well developed, and you can undertake the work like a professional. Although performing such work on your own home is generally legal (as long as you received necessary permits), doing so for others in exchange for compensation is not allowed. Florida’s law states that it is unlawful for a person to perform contracting work on any structure or building without a valid license.
The following types of work on a building or structure require you to have a contractor’s license if you are going to do them for pay:
Actually performing the work isn’t the only thing the law prohibits. Even making a bid for contracting services is illegal.
Just recently, seven people in Florida were arrested for doing just that. Law enforcement set up an operation to catch individuals that the Department of Business and Professional Regulation had received complaints about operating without a valid contractor’s license.
The potential contractors were contacted to perform renovations on a home a couple (who were actually undercover deputies) said they were fixing up for a relative. The work they said they wanted to be performed included installing a bathtub, putting in new doors, and replacing lights.
A couple of the contractors provided bids on the spot, while the others said they would email the cost for the job.
Unfortunately, while the potential contractors were being told what work the couple wanted to be done, law enforcement officers were running their plates. They determined that the contractors didn’t have the proper licenses and arrested the individuals.
What Type of Contractor’s License Is Needed?
Florida’s law states that you can perform contracting work if you have a general contractor’s license or a specialized one. A general license allows you to complete any type of contracting job.
Specialized licenses are for specific types of contracting projects, including:
- Commercial building
- Sheet metal
- Air conditioning
- Commercial or residential pool/spa
- Pollutant storage
What Types of Conduct Are Illegal?
Under Florida Statute 489.127, you cannot:
- Falsely say you have a contracting license
- Falsely claim you are a certificateholder or registrant
- Use someone else’s license as your own
- Provide false information to a licensing board
- Use a suspended or revoked license
- Advertise yourself as a licensed contractor when you aren’t
- Perform work on a building without a valid permit
If you engage in any unlawful contracting behavior, you could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. A conviction could result in up to 1 year in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
If you were previously convicted of contracting without a license, the level of charge increases to a third-degree felony. The penalties for being found guilty of this offense could result in a maximum prison sentence of 5 years and a maximum fine of $5,000.
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