How to Start a Business in Florida:
Once you have an idea of the business you want to start, actually starting your business in Florida can be done in a few short steps. You'll need to choose a structure for your business and register as a legal entity to avoid personal liability. The next steps include registering a business name and applying for a tax number and business licenses.
Form your business.
Review Florida formation options.
Florida offers 4 ways of forming your business, which we cover in detail below. Review these closely and pick the one that fits your business best.
Name your business.
When deciding on a name for your Florida business, you can use the Division of Corporations' website to see if your chosen name has already been registered. If it hasn't, you can file to have your chosen business name registered at dos.myflorida.com and pay the registration fee by credit card.
You will need to download and complete the PDF form and mail it to the Division of Corporations with the required payment or proof of online payment.
If you need help finding a business name, be sure to check out NameSnack's free business name generator.
Name registration, or "Fictitious Name Registration" as it is called in Florida, is not required to form a business entity, but it will help your business to be more recognizable.
Get an Employer Identification Number.
Nearly all businesses will need to register for federal taxes by applying for an Employer Identification Number.
Register your business in Florida.
Register a profit or nonprofit corporation.
You can register your profit or nonprofit Florida corporation on sunbiz.org.
Download the Profit Articles of Incorporation or the Non-Profit Articles of Incorporation or navigate to the online registration form from the link above.
Complete the registration form with the corporate name, stock shares, business address, mailing address, the name and address of your registered agent, and the name and address of each officer/director.
Submit your online form or mail your printed form with the $70.00 (or $87.50 if you opt to receive a certified copy and certificate of status) registration fee. You can pay your registration fee with a check, mail order, or by credit card.
Register an LLC.
You can register an LLC on the sunbiz.org website.
Download the Articles of Organization or navigate to the online form from the link above.
Complete the registration form with the limited liability company name, business address, mailing address, the name and address of your registered agent, and the name and address of each person authorized to manage the LLC.
Submit your online form or mail your printed form with the $125.00 (or $160.00 if you opt to receive a certified copy and certificate of status) registration fee. You can pay your registration fee with a check, mail order, or by credit card.
Follow our steps to learn how to create an LLC in Florida.
Form a Florida Partnership.
There are three types of partnerships that can be registered in Florida: general partnerships, limited partnerships, and foreign partnerships. Each requires various forms that must be filed online or printed and mailed.
Navigate to the sunbiz.org webpage and go to the appropriate section to find your forms.
Download all the files you need or select "e-file now."
Complete the forms and submit them online, or print them out and mail them to the Division of Corporations with the required payment.
If paying by check, the check must be made out to the Florida Department of State.
Obtain necessary permits and licenses.
Determine what licenses and permits are needed for your industry.
Whatever industry you are in, chances are that there are specific licenses and permits that you need to do business in the State of Florida. You can view requirements by business type on www.myfloridalicense.com, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation's official website. You can also use the industry pages to find more information about what licenses you need.
Florida does not have a state-wide business license requirement, except for occupations that need extensive training or include potential hazards, such as medical professionals, lawyers, cosmetologists, and security services.
Apply for the necessary licenses and permits.
This can be done through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. You can also use the industry pages on their website to access application pages.
Apply for a Florida county business tax receipt.
Almost every Florida county requires all businesses to have a general business license, otherwise known as a "business tax receipt," which can be obtained by registering with your county tax collector.
Apply for a local city business tax receipt.
If your business is located within a city's limits, that city may require you to apply for a local business tax receipt. You will need to check with the city government where your business is based.
Register your business for taxes.
Set up your tax accounts.
When you are starting a business in Florida, you need to set up your tax accounts so that you can pay your taxes accurately and regularly. In Florida, businesses must pay the following:
- Federal Tax.
- State Tax.
- County Tax.
- Municipal Tax.
Florida corporations are subject to a 5.5% income tax, while LLCs, sole proprietorships, and S corporations are exempt from state income tax.
Create a state tax account with the Department of Revenue.
The Florida Department of Revenue is responsible for collecting state taxes. You can create a business account with the Department of Revenue online in order to remit taxes from sales in your business. Just go to taxapps.floridarevenue.com/IRegistration/ to get started. This interactive registration site will help you to determine which taxes you need to be paying.
Be sure to pay your county and municipal taxes.
The county and municipal taxes that your business is subject to will depend on your location. You can contact your county's business office and your city's administration for more details on what the rates are and how to pay.
Hire and register new employees.
Report new and rehired employees.
All newly hired and rehired employees must be registered with the Florida Department of Revenue within 20 days of their hiring date.
Information on new hires is recorded in the National Directory of New Hires.
Keep up with payroll taxes.
The payroll taxes that must be paid include Federal Income Tax Withholding, Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment Insurance.
Apply for Worker's Compensation Insurance.
All Florida businesses that hire employees are required by law to have worker's compensation insurance. You can find all the necessary information and forms on the Division of Worker's Compensation website.
Display the required posters.
All Florida businesses must display federal and state employment law posters in easy view of the employees. These posters include:
- Florida Minimum Wage poster.
- Employment and Reemployment Right Act.
- Family and Medical Leave.
- Fair Labor Standards Act.
- Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law.
- Job Safety and Health.
- Florida Law Prohibits Discrimination.
More information on the required posters and notices can be found on the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity's website.
Florida Business Types:
Florida Corporations are independent legal entities that separate the business owner from the business and give the owner limited liability protection. This also means that business expenses are more easily deductible for tax benefits, and share transfers and asset sales are made easier.
Florida has developed a zero-taxation model with corporation-friendly laws and fees that ranks Florida as one of the top states to be incorporated in.
2. Limited Liability Company (LLC).
Florida LLCs offer limited personal liability to the business owner while not requiring the business owner to comply with corporate formalities, such as regular stockholder meetings. It also gives the business owner more flexibility in structuring the management of the business and allows for pass-through taxation.
Florida offers four different types of partnerships: General Partnerships, Limited Partnerships, Florida Limited Liability Partnerships, and Limited Liability Limited Partnerships. They are formed when two or more people co-own a business and share in the profits and losses. Each owner will contribute something to the business, such as money or property.
Florida Limited Partnership.
In a Florida Limited Partnership, there are two kinds of partners. The first is a general partner – someone who manages the business and holds all liability. The second is a limited partner – someone who is an investor in the business but who is not involved in the management and cannot be held liable. The partners can enjoy pass-through taxation, flexibility in adding or removing partners, a varied type of partnership (limited partners can be people, corporations, LLCs, associations, or other partnerships), and an easy transfer of ownership.
Florida General Partnership.
In a Florida General Partnership, the partners hold equal shares and equal legal status. General partnerships are quick, easy, and inexpensive to set up (as there are no organizational formalities) and do not need to register with the state. This business structure also enjoys pass-through taxation.
4. Sole Proprietorship.
This is Florida's simplest and most common business structure and involves an unincorporated business that is owned and operated by a single person. A sole proprietorship is not distinct from the owner and, if it operates under a name other than the business owner's, must register a fictitious name.
Florida Business Filing Fees:
Corporation filing fees with Registered Agent Designation
Corporation Name Reservation
LLC filing fee with Registered Agent Fee
LLC Name Reservation
General Partnership Registration Statement
Limited Partnership Filing Fees
Limited Partnership Name Reservation
Registration of Fictitious Name
How much money do you need to start a business in Florida?
Startup costs in Florida are very low, but if you are trying to figure out how to start a business in Florida with no money, you may have some difficulty. You need at least $160.00 to legally create a business in Florida.
How do I start a self-employed business in Florida?
A sole proprietorship is not distinct from the owner and, if it operates under a name other than the business owner's, must register a fictitious name. There are no other filing needs but you should check if your business requires any licenses or permits.
How much does it cost for a business license in Florida?
A business license in Florida costs around $160.00. This includes the state filing fee, registered agent fee, and certified copy of the record.
How do I start an LLC in Florida?
- Choose a name and do a search to make sure it is available.
- Choose a registered agent.
- File articles of organization.
- Create an operating agreement.
- Register for an Employer Identification Number with the IRS.
How do I start a business in Florida online?
How do I register a business in Florida?
Navigate to the sunbiz.org website and select the legal structure you are registering to start the e-filing process.
Can I use sunbiz to start a business?
You can use sunbiz.org, Florida's official Division of Corporations' business filing section, to register your business structure and fil a fictitious business name.
What are the top 5 useful websites for starting a business in Florida?
Is there a "starting a business in Florida" checklist?
Yes, read our full guide with an accompanying checklist for starting a business in Florida.
Can I apply for a Florida business license on sunbiz?
Apply for a business license through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. You can view requirements by business type on www.myfloridalicense.com, the department's official website.
How much does it cost to register a business in Florida?
It costs between $70.00 and $160.00 to register a business in Florida. This includes four basic fees: the filing fee, the certificate of status, articles of organization, and the registered agent fee.
How do you get a cleaning business license in Florida?
You can view requirements by business type on www.myfloridalicense.com.
How do I get a vendor's license in Florida?
Apply for a Temporary Event Vendor License at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. You'll need a Social Security number. It costs between $91.00 and $1,000.00, depending on the term for which the license will be valid.
Do photographers need a business license in Florida?
The vast majority of cities require professional photographers to have a business license.
Do I need a business license in Florida to sell online?
You need a Florida Resale Certificate to sell online. You get this by registering with the Department of Revenue.
How do I register my business name in Florida?
What permits do I need to start a business in Florida?
Depending on the city or county you start your business in, you may need specific permits to comply with municipal regulations. Such permits include:
- Alarm permit.
- Building permit.
- Business license and/or tax permit.
- Health permit.
- Occupational permit.
- Signage permit.
- Zoning permit.
How do I start a property management company in Florida?
- Write a business plan and get funding.
- Obtain the necessary property management licenses.
- Hire specialist property management roles, such as leasing agents, field managers, maintenance staff, and more.
- Invest in property management software.
- Invest in marketing your business.
- Decide if you want to charge percentage-based fees, flat fees, or per-project fees.