Applying for a Business or Professional License in Florida
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is the regulatory agency charged with licensing and regulating businesses and professionals in the State of Florida. The DBPR operates under the executive branch of the Governor and is governed by Chapter 120, F.S. The Department is structured according to the requirements of Section 20.165, F.S.
The DBPR includes the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) which administers and enforces the real estate license law and the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) which is is responsible for licensing and regulating the construction industry.
Before anyone can legally open a shop, conduct a trade, operate a business, or provide certain services to the state’s citizens, he or she must apply for, and be granted, a license. All told, the Department’s Division of Professions is responsible for approving the licensure of over 360,000 Florida professionals. Its Division of Regulation is the state’s enforcement authority for the professional boards and programs that oversee each individual professional category. It is the Division of Regulation’s job to investigate any complaints of wrongdoing, issue notices of noncompliance and citations, and conduct mandatory inspections.
Florida License Application Scenarios
There are several ways in which someone can initiate the license application process. Depending on the nature and complexity of your application, you may consider consulting an attorney to help guide you through the process or provide assistance to an application that has been denied or deemed incomplete. Otherwise you are able to apply directly yourself by visiting the Department’s Business and Professional Regulation’s Application Center website where you can apply for and update existing licenses. There you can select the appropriate profession or business from the list.
Applying For a First Time License
You are applying for a new license in Florida for the first time. You have no existing professional license for the desired occupation or business and must proceed with the initial application, exam and qualification process.
Issues With An Existing License Application
You have applied for a license but have encountered issues. Perhaps the license has been denied or set for board review. Or the application has been deemed incomplete or insufficient and additional information and documentation must be provided.
Existing Qualifying Agent Wants to Qualify Another Business
You are already named as a qualifying agent and are looking to qualify an additional business with your existing license. For example, an individual currently licensed by the Construction Industry Licensing Board that would like to qualify an additional business entity. (See CILB 9 – QUALIFY ADDITIONAL BUSINESS ENTITY WITH AN EXISTING LICENSE.)
Florida Business and Professional License Categories and Requirements
Florida requires licensing for a wide variety of professional occupations and industries throughout the state. Whether you want to apply for a Certificate of Authority naming a qualifying agent, need to qualify a new business, or apply for a new business or professional license, you will want to verify the specific license requirements for each business. See the following top-level categories. Each top-level licensing category will often have additional sub-categories to chose from.
Architecture & Interior Design
Asbestos Contractors and Consultants
Boxing, Kick Boxing & Mixed Martial Arts
Building Code Administrators and Inspectors
Certified Public Accounting
Community Association Managers and Firms
Condominiums & Cooperatives
Drugs, Devices and Cosmetics
Employee Leasing Companies
Hotels and Restaurants
Real Estate Appraisers
Yacht and Ships
NOTE: You will want to make certain that you select the correct category and sub-category of license before beginning the application process. Too often people apply for a license that may not fully cover the work they will actually being doing. Again this is why you may want to consider getting assistance to determine the correct license for the work actually being done.
On the DBPR website, once you have identified the appropriate profession you will be taken to its specific instructions page. There, using the links, you can get information on licensing regulations, check the status of an existing application, apply using a printable application, or access the online application system if available for the specific business or profession.
If there is a need for assistance in applying for a professional license, The Department’s Customer Contact Center (CCC) can be reached at 850.487.1395. The CCC hours of operations are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. EST. For a quicker response from a DBPR representative, the best times during the day to call are between the hours of 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., or 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Finally, the Department’s mailing address is:
Department of Business and Professional Regulation
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1027
Every business or professional license has a specific set of application requirements depending on the circumstances and nature of the license. It is important that these requirements are carefully followed.
For example, if you were interested in becoming a licensed General Contractor in Florida, there are two types of general contractor licenses in Florida:
- Certified Licenses which are statewide, allowing you to work as a contractor anywhere in Florida; and
- Registered Licenses which are limited to certain local jurisdictions and only allow you to work in the cities or counties where you hold a certificate of competency.
Then within the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) there are are range of sub-categories to chose from:
- Air Conditioning
- Pollutant Storage System
- Pool / Spa
- Precision Tank Tester
- Sheet Metal
- Tank Lining Applicator
- Underground Utility and Excavation
- Limited Non-Renewable Registration
Depending on your specific circumstances the type of license you require, are several different types of applications:
- Application for a new license
- Application to maintain an existing license
- Application to add, change or remove a Financially Responsible Officer; and
- Application to qualify additional business entity with an existing license
While every professional license application is different, you should refer to the specific requirements for your license application. However, some common requirements you can expect:
Application Requirements For a New License
- Age: Minimum age requirement for an individual applying for the certification examination.
- Definitions: Multiple license types may be available in a given licensure category. For a complete listing of each license type and a description of each, you may view a term glossary on the DBPR website.
- Examination: For information regarding the examination, please refer to our Bureau of Education and Testing’s Exam Information website.
- Fee: The fee required as provided in the application. (Military veterans, their spouses and Florida National Guard members may be eligible for a fee waiver, fee reimbursement, and/or fee discount. Please visit our DBPR Military Services page for more information.)
- Application: Complete the application
Application Requirements for Qualifying Business
- Age: Minimum age requirement for license application and certification
- Financial / Credit: Applicants will need to provide proof of financial stability and responsibility by submitting credit reports for themselves and the business entities they wish to qualify. Credit reports must include a FICO derived credit score and indicate that local, state and federal records have been searched. You may find additional information regarding the Board’s financial requirements by visiting the Department’s Financial Responsibility and Stability website.
- Exam: Individuals seeking licensure must first take and pass a state certification examination.
- Experience & Education: Applicants may be required to have a certain number of years of experience or a combination of college and experience. See the application’s instruction page for complete information.
- Military Veterans: Experience gained in the military may be used toward the requirements for licensure. You will need to complete the Veteran Fee Waiver and Military Service Verification Form and submit it along with your application for licensure. Military veterans, their spouses and Florida National Guard members may be eligible for a fee waiver, fee reimbursement, and/or fee discount. Visit the DBPR Military Services page for more information.
- Fingerprints: Applicants may require a background check and fingerprinting as part of the licensing process.
- Insurance: Applicants may be required to attest that they have obtained public liability and property damage insurance in the amounts determined by Board rule. Applicants may also be required to obtain workers compensation insurance or obtain an exemption from workers compensation insurance within 30 days of issuance of their license.
- Fee: Pay the required fee as provided in the application. Make check payable to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. (Military veterans, their spouses and Florida National Guard members may be eligible for a fee waiver, fee reimbursement, and/or fee discount. Please visit our DBPR Military Services page for more information.)
- Application: Complete the application
Qualify Additional Business Entity with an Existing License
- Financial / Credit: Applicants may need to provide proof of financial stability and responsibility by submitting credit reports for themselves and the business entities they wish to qualify. Credit reports must include a FICO derived credit score and indicate that local, state and federal records have been searched. You may find additional information regarding the Board’s financial requirements by visiting the Department’s Financial Responsibility and Stability website.
- Fingerprints: Applicants may require a background check and fingerprinting as part of the licensing process. To learn more about fingerprinting, please visit our fingerprint FAQs.
- Insurance: Applicants may be required to attest that they have obtained public liability and property damage insurance in the amounts determined by Board rule. Applicants are may also be required to obtain workers compensation insurance or obtain an exemption from workers compensation insurance within 30 days of issuance of their license.
- Fee: Pay the required fee as provided in the application. Make check payable to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
- Application: Complete the application.
Getting Help With Your Application From a Licensing Attorney
In some cases, you may need more assistance than you can obtain through the Department’s web pages. Perhaps you need help navigating the site, or you’ve applied for a license but have not received an adequate response from the state. Or, you have been denied a license for some reason, and/or you have been asked to appear before a professional review board, and you simply don’t know how to proceed.
This is when the advice of an experienced attorney can be helpful. Regardless of where along the way you might have hit a bump in the road, an experience Florida licensing attorney can assist you with needed help and information. For example, a knowledgeable attorney can help you with:
Identifying The Correct License to Apply For
The first step in the licensing application process to to first determine what type of license you need for the work that you want to do. There are situations where people have applied for and received licenses that do not cover the work they are doing. It is critical to avoid this.
Evaluating Eligibility for Qualification
It is important to evaluate your skills to determine what you can realistically qualify for, or are eligible for, based on your experience.
Fully Understanding Application Requirements
Once you’ve correctly identified the correct license application and have evaluated your eligibility for qualification, you may need help completely understanding all of the complexities of the application process and requirements.
Filing The Application
Each application has its own set of filing requirements. You may want help ensuring that you complete the application fully and accurately along with providing all of the required documentation is important.
Preparing For Board Review or Hearing
Unfortunately not all business or license applications will go as smoothly as desired. In some cases you may be required to appear before a board for a hearing or review. While we do not have to attend the hearing with you, we can certainly help you fully prepare for the hearing
Accompanying You To A Board Review or Hearing
In addition to helping you prepare for a board review or hearing, we can also accompany you as well so that you have an experienced legal professional by your side, to help represent you and aim to achieve the best outcome.
Contact An Experienced Florida Licensing Attorney To Guide You Through the Process
At John R. Samaan, P.A., we have the necessary expertise to help you obtain your Florida professional license. In order to save time and energy, we invite you to call us for a consultation before you begin the application process. We are available to explain and guide you through the procedures as well as assist you with any problems you may encounter.