Thinking About Becoming a Builder

7 Replies


I figure since I plan on reading all the books, I might as well take the exam. Plus I like the idea of having the option to pull permits on multiple houses, and being able to freely sell the houses once they are finished. It just seems like this will give me more freedom.

Since I don't plan on going over 2 stories anytime soon, so either Residential or Commercial will be more than enough. I plan on sitting for the General after the 3-4 yrs experience as a CB or CR. I will be calling DBPR monday to verify that my BS Mech Eng will allow me to sit for the exam.

My next task is to find all the study materials that I can. I was thinking about buying them 2nd hand.

1. Would say, the material from a 1995 or a 2004 course be completely outdated? I would imagine that outside of codes and osha- the course material is the same?

2. Anyone know where I can find the right material for the best price?


So you have any experience in the construction industry? I don't know what a CB or CR is. You do have a degree in mechanical engineering so that is a start and goes a long way towards getting you on the path. I think you probably need to go to work for a builder as a superintendent or project manager, maybe you already have. A lot of building homes is credibility with subs, people buying your houses, lenders, etc... I know a lot of guy that decided to be builders in the housing boom a few years ago that are no longer doing it. They thought it would be easy and it turned out not to be as easy as they predicted. And a lot of it was getting screwed over by subs and overall just not knowing what they were doing.

@Brian Mathews Hello and Thanks for the reply! Although my experience only dates back to 2007, I feel that I have a pretty good understanding of the components of a house. Enough so that I would try studying on my own and taking the test. my understanding is that a:

CR is residential contractor and allow for homes and up to a triplex(not to exceed 2 stories)

CB building contractor can do residential and commercial up to 3 stories

CG general can do it all

You are absolutely correct that I need experience, and that is part of the plan. I worked under the guidance of a General Contractor for 5 years was planning on gaining further experience by hiring a licensed builder for my beginning projects(rehabs, no new construction) while I am studying. Once i feel confident that I am ready to venture out on my own, I will take the test and see if I am actually capable of becoming a builder. I like to have options. You brought up a lot of great points, and I appreciate it :)



just got back from panama city bch, where I purchased a box full of books from a 1994 contractor's course. I got the following for $150. Now all I gotta do is read it..

Here is the Craigslist description of what I purchased:

Complete set of Florida contracting books. Includes all test questions from Gulf Coast Collage exam course. Includes. Retail
Design and control of concrete mixtures 34.00
Placing of reinforcing bars 44.95
Concrete masonry handbook 43.95
Concrete Formwork 125.95
Builders guide to accounting 22.50
Code of Fed. reg. OSHA 35.95
Walker's building estimators reference 76.95
Standard building code 60.00
Contractors Manual
Span tables
Design values for joist and rafters
Unemployment Comp.
Standard specs for ready mix
Lien laws
Contracting laws
Application and finishing gypsum board
Tax Laws
Fair labor
Workman's comp
All tests from GCCC contractors exam Priceless
Handling, installing , bracing trusses 9.95
Handling and erecting steel joist 22.95
Code of standard practice for steel buildings/bridges 13.95
All books and papers are in great shape. I took the exam in 1996 and passed with ease. Most books are factual and do not have to be updated. However the standard building code will have to be updated. $ 150.00 takes all

I passed the FL GC exam when I was 20. I was 2 full yrs into the trades, but had built spec houses with my dad. That being said, I studied for 3-4 hrs a day, for about 3 months. I also took the Cam-tech classes and they did wonders for me on the exam, just because of the fact that they would show you what and how the state wanted certain answers answered. Look into that, and take pre-exams.

@Kevin Lochen thanks for the info! I will definitely check out Cam-tech. Passing that exam at the age of 20 is quite impressive. does IL recognize your FL license, or did you have to take their exam?

Well IL has licensing, but doesn't require it. It's just a measure of paying for a yearly fee and bonding for what level or dollar amount of the projects you predict you're going to do for the year. I've always lived in IL, I have some family in Naples and was going to start a Biz with my brother, and things fell threw, but I should have just leased out my license. That's another option you can do! Well at least you could lease licenses when I lived there in 07-08. Good luck, if you do move fwd!

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