Overview

This industry includes businesses engaged in the construction of buildings, roads, residential or other engineering projects. Projects typically include contractors and sub-contractors for new work, additions, alterations or maintenance and repairs.

Business types included in this category:
  • Building Finishing Contractors

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in the specialty trades needed to finish buildings. The work performed may include new work, additions, alterations, maintenance, and repairs.

  • Foundation, Structure, and Building Exterior Contractors

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in the specialty trades needed to complete the basic structure (i.e., foundation, frame, and shell) of buildings. The work performed may include new work, additions, alterations, maintenance, and repairs.

  • Highway, Street, and Bridge Construction

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in the construction of highways (including elevated), streets, roads, airport runways, public sidewalks, or bridges. The work performed may include new work, reconstruction, rehabilitation, and repairs. Specialty trade contractors are included in this group if they are engaged in activities primarily related to highway, street, and bridge construction (e.g., installing guardrails on highways).

  • Land Subdivision

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in servicing land and subdividing real property into lots, for subsequent sale to builders. Servicing of land may include excavation work for the installation of roads and utility lines. The extent of work may vary from project to project. Land subdivision precedes building activity and the subsequent building is often residential, but may also be commercial tracts and industrial parks. These establishments may do all the work themselves or subcontract the work to others. Establishments that perform only the legal subdivision of land are not included in this industry.

  • Nonresidential Building Construction

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily responsible for the construction (including new work, additions, alterations, maintenance, and repairs) of nonresidential buildings. This industry group includes nonresidential general contractors, nonresidential for-sale builders, nonresidential design-build firms, and nonresidential project construction management firms.

  • Other Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in heavy and engineering construction projects (excluding highway, street, bridge, and distribution line construction). The work performed may include new work, reconstruction, rehabilitation, and repairs. Specialty trade contractors are included in this group if they are engaged in activities primarily related to engineering construction projects (excluding highway, street, bridge, distribution line, oil and gas structure, and utilities building and structure construction). Construction projects involving water resources (e.g., dredging and land drainage), development of marine facilities, and projects involving open space improvement (e.g., parks and trails) are included in this industry.

  • Other Specialty Trade Contractors

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in specialized trades (except foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors; building equipment contractors; building finishing contractors; and site preparation contractors). The specialty trade work performed includes new work, additions, alterations, maintenance, and repairs.

  • Residential Building Construction

    This industry comprises establishments primarily responsible for the construction or remodeling and renovation of single-family and multifamily residential buildings; residential housing general contractors (i.e., new construction, remodeling, or renovating existing residential structures), for-sale builders and remodelers of residential structures, residential project construction management firms, and residential design-build firms; primarily responsible for the entire construction of new single-family housing, such as single-family detached houses and town houses or row houses where each housing unit (1) is separated from its neighbors by a ground-to-roof wall and (2) has no housing units constructed above or below; general contractors responsible for the on-site assembly of modular and prefabricated houses; single-family housing design-build firms and single-family construction management firms acting as general contractors; primarily responsible for the construction of new multifamily residential housing units (e.g., high-rise, garden, town house apartments, and condominiums where each unit is not separated from its neighbors by a ground-to-roof wall); multifamily design-build firms and multifamily housing construction management firms acting as general contractors are included in this industry; primarily engaged in building new homes on land that is owned or controlled by the builder rather than the homebuyer or investor; build single and/or multifamily homes; ;merchant builders; for-sale builders; remodeling construction (including additions, alterations, reconstruction, maintenance, and repair work) of houses and other residential buildings, single-family, and multifamily; remodeling general contractors, for-sale remodelers, remodeling design-build firms, and remodeling project construction management firms.

  • Utility System Construction

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in the construction of distribution lines and related buildings and structures for utilities (i.e., water, sewer, petroleum, gas, power, and communication). All structures (including buildings) that are integral parts of utility systems (e.g., storage tanks, pumping stations, power plants, and refineries) are included in this industry group.

General Considerations

Before starting a business, you probably will need to register with the Florida Department of State, the IRS and the Florida Department of Revenue. When you have completed those steps, you may need to get a license from one of these Florida agencies:

  • Department of Business and Professional Regulation – business licenses for building, mechanical, pool and spa, roofing, solar, and various specialty contractors
  • Department of Financial Services – fire equipment and fire protection system contractors and dealers
  • Department of Health – mobile home park permits and septic tank contracting businesses

Business owners in this category may also wish to explore assistance offered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Get Started

The following represents your interactive licensing checklist for this business category. Select the expandable blue bars below for more information on the specific licenses, permits or registrations that may be required to open your business. We have also included a printable version of the following checklist available at the top of this page for your convenience.

Register your business with the Department of State

Department of State

The Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations serves as the state’s central depository for a number of commercial activities. These activities include a variety of business entity filings, trade and service mark registrations, federal lien recordings, judgment lien filings, uniform commercial code financing statements, fictitious name registrations, notary commissions, and cable and video service franchises.

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Agency Introduction

The Department of State (DOS) is where you register your business. You can search and access filed information for corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, general partnerships, trademarks, fictitious name registrations and liens. Also, electronic filing and certification can be processed via the Department’s website.


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Apply for your Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Internal Revenue Service

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the nation’s tax collection agency and administers the Internal Revenue Code enacted by Congress.

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Agency Introduction

If you are required to report employment taxes or give tax statements to employees, you need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to send with all items you report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Social Security Administration. If you do not intend to hire others, you may skip this step.


  • You may apply for an EIN online if your principal business is located in the United States or U.S. Territories. The person applying online must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN, ITIN, EIN). You are limited to one EIN per responsible party per day.

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Register your business with the Department of Revenue

Department of Revenue

The Florida Department of Revenue administers three programs: general tax administration, property tax oversight and child support. The general tax administration program works with Florida businesses that are required to register for, collect, report and remit the taxes and fees administered by the Department.

The Department also manages the State of Florida’s New Hire Reporting Center. Federal and state laws require employers to report newly hired, re-hired and temporary employees within 20 days of an employee’s start date. This information is used to assist the Department’s child support program with child support orders. The employment information reported through the state’s New Hire Reporting Center is also used to detect and prevent public assistance and reemployment assistance fraud.

For additional information, please visit www.floridarevenue.com.

Steps to Opening

Agency Introduction

A business owner or contractor may need to register for, collect, report and/or remit one or more of the taxes, fees and licenses administered by the Florida Department of Revenue. This is dependent on the structure of a business, the activities of a business, and whether the business hires employees. In addition, businesses must report newly hired, re-hired and temporary employees through the State of Florida’s New Hire Reporting program managed by the Florida Department of Revenue.


Reporting Employment Information

The Department manages the State of Florida’s New Hire Reporting Center. Federal and state laws require employers to report newly hired, re-hired and temporary employees within 20 days of an employee’s start date. The Department’s Child Support program utilizes employment information and employer cooperation to assist with child support order compliance. The reported employment information through the state’s New Hire Reporting Center is also used to detect and prevent public assistance and reemployment fraud.

  • Register your business to report newly hired, re-hired or temporary employees within 20 days of an employee’s start date.

    More info

  • The Department of Revenue’s Child Support Program works with employers in a variety of ways to ensure compliance with child support orders when applicable. Employers must work with the Child Support Program to respond to income withholding requests and to enroll children in medical insurance plans. Once registered with the New Hire Reporting Center, businesses will be able to access the Child Support Employer Services website to report employee termination and bonus or lump sum payments, request replacement copies of income withholding notices currently in place for employees, and use the Program’s online calculator to get pro-rated child support amounts for employees that have more than one child support case.

    More info

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Business Taxes, Fees and Surcharge

Businesses in this category may be required to register for, collect, report and/or remit one or more of the following taxes and fees.

  • Most corporations and certain entities conducting business, or who are incorporated in Florida, including out-of-state corporations, must file a Florida corporate income tax return.

    Register online or by submitting a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1), or by filing the Florida Corporate Income/Franchise Tax Return (Form F-1120).

    More info

  • Reemployment Assistance gives partial, temporary income to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own and are able and available for work. If your business will employ workers in Florida, you may register online or submit a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1).

    More info

  • Before conducting business, anyone selling, renting, leasing or repairing goods, providing certain services, charging admissions, or renting or leasing short-term lodging, housekeeping accommodations, or commercial real property must register with the Department of Revenue.

    Additionally, use tax is due on the use or consumption of taxable goods or services when sales tax was not paid at the time of purchase.

    Register online or by submitting a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1).

    More info

  • This surtax, imposed by most Florida counties, applies to most transactions subject to sales or use tax. Businesses must also collect the applicable discretionary sales surtax from the purchaser at the time of sale, then report and remit it to the Department of Revenue.

    No additional registration is required.

    More info

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Apply for a contractor license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation

Department of Business and Professional Regulation

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is the agency charged with licensing and regulating businesses and professionals in Florida. A variety of businesses will need to coordinate with DBPR to obtain applicable licenses, registrations and/or permits.

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Construction Industry Licensing Board

The Division of Professions, Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) is responsible for licensing and regulating a variety of construction contractors in Florida. This board offers licenses for both businesses and professionals. If you see the business type you want in the list below, go to this website for more information or go to the link under the list to apply.

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Division of Hotels and Restaurants, Bureau of Elevator Safety

The Bureau of Elevator Safety licenses and regulates elevators and elevator professionals in Florida. If you want to start a business to construct, install, inspect, maintain, or repair any elevator, escalator or other vertical conveyance in Florida, you will need a registered elevator company license. These companies must employ one or more certified elevator inspectors, certified elevator technicians or certificate of competency holders to be eligible for a license.

  • A registered elevator company is a company authorized by the Bureau of Elevator Safety to construct, install, inspect, maintain, or repair any elevator, escalator or other vertical conveyance in Florida. Registered elevator companies must employ at least one Certified Elevator Inspector or person with a current Certificate of Competency.

    More info

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Asbestos Licensing Unit

The Division of Professions, Asbestos Licensing Unit is responsible for licensing and regulating asbestos contractors and asbestos consultants

  • This application is used for individuals or businesses who propose to engage in asbestos consulting or contracting. The business must be qualified by a Florida-licensed asbestos consultant or contractor.

    More info

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Apply for a fire equipment or protection license from the Department of Financial Services

Department of Financial Services

The Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) is the agency responsible for providing services and regulating businesses in financial and insurance related professions, as well as serving as the state’s fire marshal and chief financial officer. Financial and insurance related professionals will need to coordinate with DFS to obtain applicable licenses, registrations and/or permits.

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Division of State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Fire Prevention

The Division of State Fire Marshal’s Bureau of Fire Prevention is comprised of a variety of compliance and enforcement programs including boiler inspections, licensure of fire related industries, explosives, and fire code development. The Bureau of Fire Prevention is responsible for the licensing, inspection, and regulation of the Fire Equipment Industry (Portable Fire Extinguisher and Pre-Engineered Systems Dealers), the Engineered Fire Protection System Industry (Fire Sprinkler Contractors), the Explosives Industry (Manufacture, Distribution, and Use), the Sparkler Industry (manufacture, Distribution, Wholesale, and Retail Sales), and the Construction Materials Mining Industry.

  • Fire equipment dealers are licensed businesses limited to servicing, recharging, repairing, installing or inspecting fire extinguishers.

    More info

  • Contractors engaged to lay out, fabricate, install, inspect, alter, repair, and service fire protection systems are required to be certified by the Division of State Fire Marshal. “Fire protection system” means a system individually designed to protect the interior or exterior of a specific building or buildings, structure, or other special hazard from fire. Such systems include, but are not limited to, water sprinkler systems, water spray systems, foam-water sprinkler systems, foam-water spray systems, carbon dioxide systems, foam extinguishing systems, dry chemical systems, and Halon and other chemical systems used for fire protection use.

    More info

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Apply for a permit or license from the Department of Health

Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.  The department’s goal is to be the healthiest state in the nation through innovation, collaboration, accountability, responsiveness and excellence.

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Explore assistance from the Department of Economic Opportunity (optional)

Department of Economic Opportunity

In collaboration with our partners, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) assists the Governor in advancing Florida’s economy by championing the state’s economic development vision and by administering state and federal programs and initiatives to help visitors, citizens, businesses, and communities.

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Agency Introduction

The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) utilizes public and private sector expertise to attract, retain and grow businesses and create jobs in Florida. It also provides valuable resources for businesses and entrepreneurs; assistance with recruiting workers; and statistical information regarding Florida businesses and employment. Your business may qualify for various state or federal assistance.


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Federal & Local Government Requirements

This checklist provides state requirements only. Remember to check federal requirements and your local county and municipal agencies. The following organizations and websites can help:

  • Florida’s Small Business Development Center Network (FLSBDC) – State designated as Florida’s principal provider of small business assistance, the network provides no-cost, professional business consulting, in-person and on-demand training, and access to business research resources to help Florida businesses—no matter their stage of business—grow and succeed.
  • Florida Chamber of Commerce – The chamber is a Florida business organization whose goal is to further the interest of businesses in Florida.
  • County Websites – Florida’s county governments require various licenses, permits and filings above and beyond state requirements, depending on the type of business you wish to open. Find out about other public services and opportunities related to Florida counties and their governments by visiting the Florida Association of Counties website.
  • City Websites – Business owners should be aware of local government requirements, especially local business taxes (occupational licenses), building permits and inspections, planning and zoning, and community and economic development opportunities. The Florida League of Cities offers a comprehensive, alphabetical listing of municipality websites and additional information about local events and government requirements.

Disclaimer: The State of Florida operates OpenMyFloridaBusiness.gov as a public service to Florida residents and visitors worldwide. While efforts were made to verify that the content of this website is accurate and comprehensive, it is recommended that you consult with a professional (e.g., attorney, CPA, SBDC, etc.) to ensure you meet all requirements before starting your business. OpenMyFloridaBusiness.gov is not responsible for the content of external websites.