Starting Your Business in Florida | A Step-by-Step Guide

Steve Bennett
Business Formation Expert  |   Fact Checked by Editorial Team
Last updated: 
WebinarCare offers informative content for educational purposes only, not as a substitute for professional legal or tax advice. We may earn commissions if you use the services we recommend on this site.
WebinarCare is led by Steve Bennett, a seasoned expert in the business world. He's gathered a team that's passionate about giving you reliable advice on everything from starting a business to picking the right tools. We base our tips and guides on real-life experience, ensuring you get straightforward and proven advice. Our goal is to make your business journey smoother and more successful. When you choose WebinarCare, you're choosing a trustworthy guide for all things business.
Start a Business in Florida

If you want to start an LLC in Florida, there are numerous factors to consider. Starting your own business is one of the most exciting and profitable things you can do in Florida. But where do you start? Follow our comprehensive guide on How to Start a Business in Florida. We will assist you in removing doubt from the process and investigate your success chances. It will begin with defining your business idea and progress to establishing, launching, and expanding your business. Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you every step of the way!

What Business to Start in Florida?

If you’re looking to start a business in Florida, consider starting a limited liability company (LLC). LLCs offer personal liability protection for their owners while also providing the flexibility of a partnership or sole proprietorship. Beyond that, here is the list of businesses to consider in Florida.

  1. Food and restaurant
  2. Real Estate Business
  3. Microbreweries
  4. Nail Salon business
  5. Grocery Stores

Whatever business you choose to start, it’s important to conduct thorough market research and create a solid business plan before diving in. We reviewed some of the Best LLC Services and provided features as an add-on with their packages for you to check out.

LLC Service

Rating & Pricing

Top Features

Learn More

#1 Recommendation

$0 + State fee

  • Free LLC Formation

  • Legal Support

  • Highly Reputed Company

$299 + State fee

  • Single LLC formation package

  • Flat price for all services

  • Legal consultation

Starting a business can be a challenging but highly rewarding endeavor. By taking the time to research and plan, you can increase your chances of success. Whether you choose to form a corporation or start an LLC in Florida, it’s important to surround yourself with a strong team that will guide you. Don’t let fear hold you back, take that first step towards turning your business dreams into a reality.

WEBINARCARE EDITORIAL TEAM

How to Start a Business in Florida?

To form a business in Florida, you must follow a few steps that include creating a business plan, choosing a business entity type, determining your business costs, naming your business, registering a business, and lastly, marketing your business.

Please continue reading to learn more about the overall procedure and what new small business owners should keep in mind as they complete each step.

Step 1: Creating a Business Plan

When developing a business plan, many factors should be considered during the decision-making process. Your business plan in Florida serves as a road map for your company’s success.

A business plan should take into account the specific goals of your company. You should know the product or service you will provide in Florida. A well-thought-out business plan is essential for determining how your company will make a profit. If the purpose of the business plan is ambiguous and unrelated to the service you provide, it will impact the business you are forming. Make sure your business goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound). Also, researching your competitors’ services will help you determine your strategy for your state business. Finally, you should consider your company’s funding.

With this article’s assistance, you can better comprehend your business’s essential components and success strategy. You can apply for Florida Small Business Loans from banks and investor funding to help support your company in Florida.

Once you have the entire plan in your hands, you can work on the legal framework of your company. Legally, you can form an LLC for your ideal business.

Step 2: Choose a Business Entity in Florida

Selecting a business entity for your Florida company. When starting your own business, you must choose a business structure. How well your personal assets are secured, how much tax you pay, and how much paperwork you have to deal with will all be significantly impacted by the type of corporate entity you choose. Consider setting up a corporation, LLC, LLP, or sole proprietorship as your business entity in Florida.

Sole Proprietorships

Consider a sole proprietorship if you want to start a business in Florida by yourself. A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure in which a single individual owns and operates the entire business. The owner and the business are considered the same legal entity in a sole proprietorship. There is no legal distinction between the owner and the business, meaning that the owner has complete control over the business operations, profits, and losses.

Sole proprietorships are best suited for Florida small businesses with low risks and for individuals who want to maintain complete control over their business without the complexities of establishing a separate legal entity.

Limited Liability Company

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business structure that combines features of both partnerships and corporations, offering limited liability protection to its owners (called members) while allowing flexibility in management and taxation. An LLC is a separate legal entity from its owners, meaning the members are not personally liable for the business’s debts, obligations, or liabilities.

It is a popular choice for small to medium-sized businesses that want the liability protection of a corporation while maintaining management flexibility and simpler tax treatment. It’s essential to consult with a legal or financial professional to determine if an LLC is the best choice for your specific business situation.

Limited Liability Partnership

A limited liability partnership (LLP) is comparable to an LLC. However, it is usually used by licensed business professionals like attorneys or accountants. A partnership agreement is necessary for this kind of business entity. You can form an LLP in Florida if you are planning to.

Corporation

Forming a Corporation in Florida reduces your personal liability for business debts as an LLC does. A corporation is a legal entity that is separate and distinct from its owners, known as shareholders. It is created under the laws of the state it is incorporated in and is considered a separate “person” under the law. The corporation can enter into contracts, own property, sue and be sued, and pay taxes separately from its owners.

A corporation can be taxed as an S-corporation (S-Corp) or a C-corporation (C-Corp). If a small corporation satisfies certain Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standards, then S-corporation status is available, providing pass-through taxation. However, most larger businesses and startups seeking venture financing are taxed as C-corps.

To choose the right business structure in Florida, consider personal liability protection, taxation, management flexibility, administrative requirements, and setup costs. Consult a legal or financial professional to help you make the best decision.

Recommended: Incorporating a business has never been easier that’s why Legalzoom’s corporation formation provide a comprehensive and streamlined approach for your business. Whether you have plans to crowdfund or go public, get help from LegalZoom every step of the way. We recommend using –

LegalZoom Starts at $149 + filing fees

Step 3: Determine your Florida Business Cost

In Florida, you should determine the cost of your business. You should consider paying the Articles of Organization fee, business licenses fee, office supplies and equipment, payroll, rent, utilities, transportation, and taxes.

Usually, filing an initial Florida Articles of Organization fee costs $100, while the LLC annual fee costs $138.75 in Florida. In terms of filing Florida Articles of Incorporation, the costs usually range up to $35 for filing in-person and by mail.

If forming an LLC is your ideal business, consider knowing the LLC Cost in Florida.

Step 4: Name your Business in Florida

Naming your business doesn’t take a lot of time. With the help of Florida Business Name Search, you can acquire a name for your business. If you form an LLC in Florida, you must follow the below rules while naming your business-

  • The name should not be confused with a government entity.
  • The name should be unique.
  • The name should be available to use.
  • Any other business does not use the name.
  • The new name must include “LLC” if it is a limited liability company.

In Florida, if you do not wish to file your business right away but want to hold the name that you have decided on, then you can reserve your business name. You must file a name reservation application in the Florida Secretary of State to keep the name.

If the business name is available, you may choose to reserve it for a specific period of 120 days. The online name reservation fee is $35 and the mail name reservation fee is $25. If your business plans to operate under a name other than its legal name, you may also need to register a fictitious or “doing business as” (DBA) name.

The DBA filing can be done in three methods, online, by mail, and in person filing., which you can file in Florida Secretary of State. You can check out how to file a DBA in Florida for clearer understanding.

Recommended: Unlock your business’s full potential with LegalZoom’s DBA service, providing a hassle-free experience that allows you to focus on what matters most – turning your passion into profit. We recommend –

LegalZoom – Starts at $99 + filing fees

Step 5: Register Florida Business

To register a business in Florida, you need to file it with the Florida Secretary of State. Before that, you must have a Florida Registered Agent for your business. The Registered Agent is a person who is responsible for receiving important legal documents on your behalf.

You can serve as your own Registered Agent, or you can appoint a friend or family member, or you can check the Best Registered Agent Services in Florida.

Apply For Articles of Organization

After you have a Registered Agent, you need to file the Florida Articles of Organization, if you want to have an LLC structure, or you need to file the Florida Articles of Incorporation if you want to have a Corporation.

Request For an EIN

In addition to the paperwork, your Registered Agent should apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in Florida. An EIN will serve as the tax ID for your professional corporation. EIN can be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is a 9-digit number similar to Social Security Number. EIN, however, is distinct from SSN. It is only used for business-related activities, particularly for submitting general taxes. The form must be completed and uploaded to the IRS website. You can obtain the EIN for free from the IRS.

The application of an EIN in Florida can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone (for International Applicants)– International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

After you have your EIN number, you can benefit in several ways. It will give your LLC the absolute advantage necessary to operate at full capacity without encountering legal or judicial issues.

Recommended: Professional services have the EIN included in their LLC formation package. We recommend using –

LegalZoom($0 + State Fee for LLC formation)

Step 6: Apply for Business License and Permit

Business licenses and operating permits are necessary to run any business in Florida. Before launching your new business, request any required business license or permission. Most Florida businesses need licenses or permits to operate. Federal, state, and local governments may all require businesses to have licenses and permits. The business license fee depends on the type of license you are applying for. It can start from $25 till going up to $100+. However, in Florida, the business license fee ranges from $50 – $300.

Step 7: Obtain a Bank Account

Your business dealings in Florida might be simpler with a US business bank account because it boosts your company’s legitimacy and liquidity. Opening a separate bank account for your Florida business is essential for maintaining a clear separation between your personal and business finances.

You can check out the Best Banks in Florida, which offers the best fees, services, and convenience for your business needs.

Step 8: Market your Business in Florida

Now that your Florida business is registered, you can market it with an ideal marketing plan. An ideal marketing plan can help a start-up business to become known. Making a comprehensive social media network like META, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube falls within this category. While creating an SEO campaign for your company website, you may also look at specialized communities on Facebook and LinkedIn.

FAQs

What are the legal requirements for starting a business in Florida?
Registering the business with the state, obtaining any necessary licenses or permits, and registering for state and federal taxes.
Can I start a business in Florida if I live elsewhere?
Yes, you can start a business in Florida even if you don’t live in the state.
What type of business structures are available in Florida?
Florida offers structures like sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, and nonprofit.
How do I register my business in Florida?
You must register for a business permit through the Florida Department of State and file necessary paperwork like a DBA or Trade Name.
Do I need to obtain any specific licenses or permits for my Florida-based business?
Yes, depending on the type of business you want to run and its locations, you’ll need particular permits and licenses in Florida.
Can you start a business in Florida without having a physical address there?
No, if you do business in Florida, you must have a registered address.
How long will it take to start a business in Florida?
The duration doesn’t have a fixed period, but if you have proper papers, you can file in-state within an hour.
Do you have to file income taxes in Florida?
Yes, if you have a business in Florida, you have to file corporate taxes.
Do I need a business plan to start a business in Florida?
It is not necessary, but it is recommended since it helps formalize a roadmap for your business afterward.
How much does it cost to start a business in Florida?
It entirely depends on the type of business you want to run, licenses, and permits you’ll need, and method of formation and operation.
Can I get free assistance with starting my Florida business?
Yes, the Florida SBDC offers resources on marketing, business registration, pricing, and more. Access is free.
Can I amend a business plan I have submitted to the Florida government once it’s registered?
Yes. It is always suggested inform your attorney beforehand for legal procedures relating to amendments.
Do taxes vary in Florida depending on the county where the business is located?
No. However, Florida law has sales tax rates that will need to be obtained from them.
Can individuals residing outside the US start a business in Florida?
Yes, individuals can start a business in Florida and the citizenship status doesn’t matter.
Does Florida require a business license to operate from someone’s home?
Yes! You’ll need a certificate of home occupation from the county your primary address is based.
Is Florida friendly to small business owners?
Yes, Florida ranks near annually on top for an excellent business climate for entrepreneurs today.
Are there Florida-based conventions where entrepreneurs can meet up?
Yes, Florida has plenty of conventions with various organizations for entrepreneurs to engage in.
Can I hire employees if I start a business in Florida?
Yes and you’ll have to learn and comply with legal obligations relating to employee-at-will class, benefits law, and higher comp no-fault rules, for example.
Do I need insurance to have a business in Florida?
Florida mandates general “no fault” coverage for commercial vehicle insurance. Additionally, other coverage may be mandated state-wise depending on your region/business type.
Can I sell products outside Florida if I have a Florida business license?
Yes, you can unless there are prohibitions that violate taxable practices implemented.
Does zoning impact starting a business in Florida?
Yes, specific commercial zones and operational/money-saving regulations are necessary.
Can I hire drivers without a commercial driving license for a new business in Florida?
No, before hiring it would be best to confirm this legally.
Do I have to form a company to start a business in Florida legally?
No, non-incorporated part-time ownership is okay for certain professions and cases under certain regulatory processes.
How can I patent my Florida-based business idea?
You can patent your idea throughout the state in which your business operates by submitting a patent application with the USPTO.
Can I nickname my business in Florida?
Yes, you can file with the Florida Department of State for a “DBA” business name or corporation.
Should I charge sales tax to Florida residents from the beginning of my business?
Yes, you should incorporate tax and Florida asks businesses turn taxes sur over monthly.
Does acellular agreement have an effect on the legal structure of my Florida business?
Contracts can affect external relationships and file and pricing design or asset sharing matters, whereas complete structures shouldn’t be affected.
How quickly must I pay rent or security deposits for the Florida business space?
Always a good idea to turn any required timely deposits into lease agreements on time. It depends on regulation in different counties.
Can you change the address of your registered Florida business, and would it take long to accomplish?
Yes! File form so that you do not have to undergo business dissolution or registering to do this again.
What are the steps to start a business in Florida?
The steps to start a business in Florida are to register your business with the Department of State, obtain any necessary licenses and permits, and register for any required taxes.
Is Florida a good state to start a business in?
Yes, Florida is a great state to start a business in because of its supportive business environment, low taxes, and abundance of resources for entrepreneurs.
What are the popular industries in Florida for startups?
Popular industries in Florida for startups include healthcare, tourism, real estate, and logistics.
What are some of the benefits of starting a business in Florida?
Some benefits of starting a business in Florida include low taxes, a statewide entrepreneurial ecosystem, and access to a diverse and skilled workforce.
What are some of the challenges of starting a business in Florida?
Some of the challenges of starting a business in Florida include high competition in certain industries, strict regulations and licensing requirements, and natural disasters such as hurricanes.
How do I obtain a Florida business license?
To obtain a Florida business license, you will need to apply with the state Division of Corporations and obtain a local business tax receipt from the county where your business will operate.
Are there any special requirements for starting a home-based business in Florida?
Yes, home-based businesses in Florida must comply with certain zoning regulations and obtain a Certificate of Use from their local government office.
How do I choose the right legal structure for my Florida business?
Choosing the right legal structure for your Florida business depends on factors such as your level of personal liability, tax considerations, and management style.
Can non-US citizens start a business in Florida?
Yes, non-US citizens can start a business in Florida, but they may need to obtain special visas or permits to do so.
How do I register my Florida business for taxes?
To register your Florida business for taxes, you will need to obtain a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) and register for state and local taxes with the appropriate agencies.
What are the requirements for hiring employees in Florida?
Employers in Florida must comply with federal and state labor laws regarding wages, hours, and worker safety. Florida also requires employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance.
Do I need insurance for my Florida business?
Yes, Florida requires certain types of insurance based on the industry and nature of your business, such as workers’ compensation, liability insurance, and professional liability insurance.
What types of financing are available for Florida startups?
Financing options for Florida startups include traditional bank loans, angel investors, venture capitalists, crowdfunding, and economic development grants.
Can I operate my Florida business from another state?
Yes, but you may need to register as a foreign business entity and obtain any necessary licenses and permits for the state where you will be operating.
Does Florida offer any tax incentives or benefits for startups?
Yes, Florida offers various tax incentives and benefits for startups, such as the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program and the Enterprise Zone Program.
How can I find an affordable office space in Florida?
Affordable office space can be found in coworking spaces, subleasing opportunities, and in areas outside of major metropolitan centers in Florida.
How long does it take to start a business in Florida?
The time it takes to start a business in Florida can vary depending on the legal structure, licensing requirements, and whether you work with a legal or accounting professional.
What is the liability of a small business owner in Florida?
Small business owners in Florida can be held personally liable for any business debts or legal actions, depending on the legal structure chosen.
Do beach businesses require special permits in Florida?
Yes, beach businesses in Florida may require special permits and licenses, such as for parking, vending, or alcohol.
How do I find reliable contractors for my Florida-based business?
You can find reliable contractors for your Florida business by asking for referrals from local business groups or through online contractor databases.
Are there any tax breaks for Florida-based green businesses?
Yes, Florida offers tax breaks for businesses that implement certain green practices or operate in specific green industry sectors.
How can I protect my Florida business from hurricane damage?
You can protect your Florida business from hurricane damage by creating an emergency preparedness plan, reviewing your insurance policy, and securing your property.
Do Florida businesses need to comply with health and safety regulations?
Yes, Florida businesses must comply with OSHA regulations and other state and federal laws concerning workplace health and safety.
Can I operate a business without a business license in Florida?
No, all Florida businesses need to obtain a business license to legally operate.
What are some of the hot spots for entrepreneurship in Florida?
Some of the hot spots for entrepreneurship in Florida include Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville.
What is the cost of living in Florida?
The cost of living in Florida is relatively affordable when compared to other major metropolitan areas in the country.
Do Florida businesses file taxes annually or quarterly?
Florida businesses are required to file certain taxes on a quarterly basis, such as sales and use tax, while others may be filed annually, such as corporate income tax.
How can I market my Florida-based business to tourists?
You can market your Florida-based business to tourists through targeted advertising, social media, and by offering unique local experiences.
How can I network with other Florida-based entrepreneurs?
You can network with other Florida-based entrepreneurs through attending local business events, joining business organizations, and participating in business incubator programs.

Also Read

Why You Should Start Business in Florida

One of the most compelling reasons to start a business in Florida is its dynamic and fast-growing economy. The state boasts a robust GDP that ranks it among the largest economies in the world. With a population of over 21 million people, Florida offers a significant customer base hungry for new products and services. The state’s strategic location also helps to tap into the broader market potentials of North and South America, positioning businesses at a unique advantage to reach customers both domestically and internationally.

Furthermore, Florida provides numerous tax benefits for entrepreneurs. As one of the few states without personal income tax, individuals starting a business in Florida can enjoy significant savings and a higher take-home income. Moreover, the state has implemented favorable business tax policies, offering exemptions and incentives to encourage new ventures to establish and flourish within its borders. These measures ease the financial burden on entrepreneurs and create a conducive environment for growth and success.

Beyond the economic incentives, Florida’s vibrant and diverse communities are instrumental in fostering a strong entrepreneurial spirit. The state is home to people from various ethnic, cultural, and professional backgrounds, cultivating a rich melting pot of talent and ideas. This diversity is not only inspirational but also translates into priceless opportunities for collaboration, networking, and creating a market with wide-ranging needs. Florida’s communities offer an exceptional blend of creativity, innovation, and resourcefulness, all essential for achieving long-term success in business.

Moreover, Florida’s investment in infrastructure plays a vital role in attracting and supporting business ventures. The state features extensive transportation networks, including major airports, seaports, and an expansive highway system that ensures seamless connectivity within Florida and beyond. These infrastructural developments facilitate smoother shipping and logistics, which proves crucial for businesses engaged in manufacturing, wholesale, or international exports. Additionally, Florida is home to innovative research and educational facilities, creating a fertile environment for technological and scientific advancements that can be translated into commercial success.

Lastly, let us not forget about the unparalleled quality of life that Florida offers both residents and businesses alike. Picture-perfect beaches, year-round sunshine, and a plethora of recreational activities are just a few of the perks that make working in Florida feel like a permanent vacation. Embracing a healthy work-life balance and feeling energized by the natural beauty and outdoor opportunities helps business owners face challenges head-on and thrive in their endeavors.

In conclusion, Florida is a state brimming with potential for businesses to prosper and thrive. Its vibrant economy, favorable tax policies, diverse communities, and excellent infrastructure contribute to making entrepreneurship a highly rewarding and successful enterprise. To entrepreneurs seeking a location to start their business venture, Florida shines brightly as an exceptional choice, offering ample opportunities for growth, collaboration, and personal happiness.

Conclusion

Starting a business in Florida has unique advantages and challenges since it offers a large and diverse market, access to skilled talent, and numerous networking opportunities, making it an attractive location for entrepreneurs. However, business owners must also contend with a high cost of living, intense competition, and potentially complex regulations.

Ultimately, whether starting a business in Florida is the right decision depends on the entrepreneur’s specific needs, goals, and industry. It is crucial to conduct thorough research and consider factors such as taxes, regulations, workforce availability, and target market when choosing a location for a new business. By carefully weighing the pros and cons, entrepreneurs can make informed decisions and set themselves up for success in the competitive Florida business landscape.

Leave a Comment