Have you ever set up a company before? Or, is it your first time starting your own business?

Regardless of the case, this comprehensive guide on how to open a small business in Florida has everything you need to know.

You’ll learn about:

  • Important statistics about businesses in Florida
  • The step-by-step process to open a small business
  • How to name your business
  • The legal documentation, licenses, and permits required to do business in Florida
  • The easiest way to handle all of the required federal and state filings using our packages
  • Other startup tips for small business owners

Are you ready to open a small business in Florida and turn it into a profitable venture?

Let’s get started.

Things to Know Before Opening a Small Business in Florida

Florida is the third most populous state in the U.S. with 21.3M people living there. The per capita personal income is $49K+.

The state offers remarkable business opportunities and supports emerging businesses. It is known for its industrial capabilities and is one of the largest exporters of trade goods. There is no dearth of the right talent and connections within the state.

And the best part?

The cost of doing business in Florida is less as compared to other states in the U.S. This includes the cost of land, labor, and other operational expenses.

Sound good?

If you are still working on your business idea, here are some statistics that can help you decide on the industry to choose and the type of business to set up in Florida:

    • Fastest-growing industry: Health
    • Industries with the highest number of companies: Advertising, marketing, business products and services, construction
    • Biggest revenue-generating industry: Business products and services
    • Average two-year revenue growth rate: 303%

Are you ready to open your own business?

Start by finalizing a business idea after evaluating its pros and cons. Shape your business idea into a well-written business plan. It should include details about your products/service, competitors, audience, capital investment, operational processes, and everything in between.

Which Steps Should You Follow to Set Up and Run Your Small Business?

Let’s take a look at the step-by-step process to start your new business in Florida.

Step 1: Choose a Business Structure and Name

Naming your business is crucial but it can be tricky at the same time.

You should look for names that are:

  • Unique (It shouldn’t be trademarked by anyone else.)
  • Relevant to your industry and type of business
  • Available as a domain (You will need a web address to take your business online and accelerate its growth.)
  • Brandable (It should be easy to remember and should offer scalability.)

Next, you need to choose a business structure. Two popular choices include a limited liability company (LLC) and a corporation.

What are the differences between the two?

An LLC is easier to form, offers minimal compliance, more flexibility, pass-through taxation, and flexible management structures.

Forming a corporation involves more legal documentation and imposes double taxation. But it offers infinite growth potential by allowing you to sell stocks in the company and attract wealthy investors. There is no limit to the number of shareholders a corporation can have.

Choose wisely depending on your individual business needs and preferences.

Step 2: Open and Register Your Small Business in Florida

Regardless of the business structure you choose to form, you need to register your business with the Florida Department of State’s office. This is essential to get authorized to conduct business within the state.

Registering your business involves documentation and administrative fees. The Department of State’s office may take up to 3-6 days to process the paperwork. This may increase during peak season. Florida’s fee for the formation for LLCs is $125, and $70 for incorporation.

Which documents do you need to file to open a limited liability company or a corporation in Florida?

Let’s take a look at the requirements:

  • First, you need to choose a Registered Agent to form either an LLC or a corporation in Florida. A Registered Agent is a person that has a physical street address within the state as they will receive all legal documents on the behalf of your company.
  • To open an LLC, you need to file Articles of Organization with the Florida Department of State’s office. Forming a corporation requires that you file Articles of Incorporation with the same.
  • You should hold an Organizational Meeting to properly organize your company’s processes. Though many small business owners ignore this step, you should not. It can help you save time and money by preventing disputes about legal, taxation, and compliance issues.
  • You should also create a legal document to define the financial and functional rights and processes of your company. An LLC Operating Agreement lists the roles, responsibilities, and rights of all members of an LLC while Corporate Bylaws mentions the roles, responsibilities, and rights of all shareholders of a corporation.

Step 3: Acquire Your Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)

EIN or Tax ID number is required for both LLCs and corporations. You need to file for an EIN with the IRS to acquire a unique tax ID for your company.

Pro tip: Instead of going through the tedious process of obtaining an EIN from the IRS, you can fill out this simple EIN application with GovDocFiling online to get BOTH your EIN and state formation/incorporation done quickly. 

Step 4: Get Necessary Business Licenses and Permits

Some types of businesses require special licenses and permits to operate in Florida, including:

  • Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products-based businesses
  • Architects
  • Talent agencies
  • Yacht and ship brokers
  • Restaurants, caterers, and mobile food vendors
  • And more.

You should apply for the required licenses with the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation. This depends on the type of business you choose to open and conduct within the state.

You should also register for state taxes and permits depending on the particular city or county requirements of doing business.

Step 5: Open a Business Bank Account

This is another important step involved in opening a small business in Florida.

What are the benefits of opening a business bank account?

It allows you to keep your business and personal expenses separate. Having a business account also helps protect your personal assets from any business debts and liabilities.

Lenders, creditors, and banks will not be able to come after your personal assets such as your home, car, personal bank accounts, or other properties for business liabilities.

In addition, you can also apply for business credit cards to build and enhance your company’s credit profile as an LLC or a corporation. This will help improve your credibility for larger business loans.

The question is: How can you open a business bank account?

To open a business bank account, you’ll need:

  • Your business formation paperwork
  • Your EIN (Employer Identification Number) or Tax ID number
  • A resolution signed by either the owners, members, or directors that authorizes the company to open a bank account

Ready to Open a Small Business in Florida?

Whether you want to form an LLC or a corporation in Florida, our business formation packages can help you complete all of the paperwork smoothly. Along with state and federal filings, you’ll also get essential legal documents for doing business within the state.

Trust us, it will be really helpful to have everything ready in hand. Check out our pricing plans here.

Do you have other questions about starting a business in Florida? Tell us in the comments below. We’ll get back to you with the most satisfying solutions as soon as possible.