Helping consumers navigate Florida’s construction
laws & reach successful project completion!

Where to Begin

Choosing a contractor.
For most people, this is the first step. You may find a model home you love, built by a contractor or construction company, or you may be working with a designer or architect. You may find a contractor through recommendations of someone you know. However you find the contractor you want to work with, there is some due diligence you should do at the front end.
Make sure your contractor has an active Florida license.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation licenses and disciplines contractors in the state of Florida. Go to to search for your contractor. You will be able to see whether the contractor’s license is active, for how long they have had their license, and if you scroll down to the bottom of the licensee details page, you can check to see if the contractor has been disciplined for any complaints made.
Check references.
Remember a construction license means your contractor has met the minimum requirements for state licensure. Ask for references and check them. If your contractor doesn’t want to give you references, that should be a red flag from the start.
Obtain Multiple Bids
Unless you have a history with a specific contractor, it is customary to obtain several bids for the work you want performed. In evaluating the contractor, you should consider many factors and not just the amount of a bid or estimate to do the work. Sometimes the lowest bidder may not be the best qualified. As the owner you should use due diligence to check out all possible bidders.
Have a construction law attorney review your contract before you sign it.
You may ask, "Why should I spend the extra money to pay a lawyer when I really think this contractor is great?" The answer is simple. It is relatively inexpensive to pay a lawyer for an hour of his or her time to review your contract and make sure it is well balanced and protects you in the event issues arise during construction. It can be very costly to go to an attorney after-the-fact and find out your contract does not protect you. The Florida Bar has a list of attorneys who are board certified in construction law. Go to to search for a board certified construction attorney. You can enter your locale if you want, or just pull up a list of all construction attorneys by selecting "more options" and picking construction as the specialty.
Get current certificates of insurance from your contractor.
Your contractor is required by law to carry a minimum amount of general liability insurance. In addition, your contractor is required to either carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover injury to workers on the project or to have an exemption from that requirement. Ask your contractor for insurance certificates for both liability and workers’ compensation insurance, or for the certificate of exemption from the Florida Department of Labor in lieu of the workers’ compensation insurance.
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