Danger! Hiring Unlicensed Landscapers in Florida

Did you know that in Florida, hiring an unlicensed landscape contractor can be illegal? According to State law, if an unlicensed landscape contractor uses pesticides on your property or has been hired to do hardscape or softscape work, the state may issue a cease and desist notice to stop. Worse yet, you may find yourself 100% responsible for any damages or worker injuries since uninsured contractors rarely, if ever, carry their own insurance.

If you have a dispute about the quality of the work, the methods and materials used, the plants, mulch, rock and other material used for your garden and lawn, you have no recourse except to hire a lawyer. 

What kind of landscape work requires a Florida license?

  • General garden and yard maintenance does not require a license—unless you want to use pesticides. A commercial applicator license is required to apply pesticides as a business service to residential and other properties.
  • Landscape Designers who mow, trim, plant and maintain yards require only a business license from the State of Florida, but they can’t use pesticides without at least a certification from FDACS.
  • Landscape Architects who actually contour the land for proper drainage, build or install walls and fences, install and maintain irrigation systems, or build structures require a license. 

What many homeowners don’t know is that, according to Florida Statute 455.228, if you knowingly hire an unlicensed contractor to perform any landscape job that requires a license you become the general contractor! Unlicensed contractors tend to operate without general liability and/or workers’ compensation insurance. This could mean that if they, or their employees, are injured while doing work on your property, you are responsible and could even be sued by the unlicensed contractor — or by anyone working for him. It’s worthwhile to note that contractor unwilling or unable to pay for licensing fees tend to use below-par equipment and deliver shoddy service.

You received this newsletter because you value the Jenkins commitment to education and proper licensing procedures. If you know someone who may benefit from this information, please feel free to share.