Guide to Starting a Business in Florida

Start a Business in Florida

Anyone can start a business in Florida and Florida is one of the best states to own and operate your own business. With a growing economy and good tax advantages, Florida offers small business owners easy start-ups and management.

We put together this Guide with everything you need to know including resources to start a business in Florida, move a business to Florida and run a business in Florida.

This includes registering with the appropriate state regulatory authorities, contacting the Florida Department of Revenue to obtain the required tax information, and applying for occupational licenses.

Steps to set up your business in Florida

Step 1 – Choose a Business Name

Do a search on Google and Sunbiz for your name to be sure it is not being used or conflicts with another business. It is a good idea to search social media and domain names to see what is available before moving forward with a name.

Tips for choosing a good name include clarity, spelling, how easy it is to pronounce and is it memorable and unique. This is an important decision and making sure it is not in conflict with a competitor and is something your clients will relate to is vital to long term viability. A trademark search is highly recommended to check for variations that could cause problems down the road.

Step 2 – Choose a legal structure for your business

When starting a business in Florida, you have to determine a legal structure for entity formation. Common options include sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Each structure has different legal and tax implications, so it is advisable to consult with a business attorney, tax professional or do your research to determine the best fit for your venture.


A corporation is a legal entity that is a separate entity from the owners and operators. Corporations provide asset protection, personal liability protection and keeps the debts and taxes separate. There are two types of corporations: S and C corporations. Most small businesses do not start as a corporation in Florida.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

LLCs are the most common business structure in Florida. The LLC is a more flexible option that protects the business owners from personal liability while passing through the tax benefits to the members. LLCs can also be multi-member parnterships or single-member LLCs, making it a good choice for individual entrepreneurs and small business start-ups. LLCs can also choose to operate as an S corp for tax purposes giving the owners more flexibility in managing your accounting.

Sole Proprietors

Starting a business in Florida can be even simpler and more affordable with a sole proprietor entity. A sole proprietor is someone who plans to do business under their own name or a DBA.

DBA (Doing Business As)

In Florida, DBAs are granted by filing a fictitious name registration that allows you to operate legally under a company name. LLCs may also register a DBA under the LLC if you plan to conduct business under a different name. Note, you do not need to file a DBA if you plan to file as an LLC and are doing business under the filed LLC name.

Read more on the Florida Division of Corporations website


Step 3 – Register your business in Florida

No matter what structure you choose, you need to Register your business with the Florida Division of Corporations. Florida’s state fees are more affordable than many states with a DBA starting at only $50 and LLC at $125 for the Articles of Organization and Registered Agent Designation. Get a registered agent and protect your private information. Get a Registered Agent Today!  You can also add a Certificate of Status and a Certified Copy, though both are optional and typically not needed.

Registering as an LLC and submitting the Articles of Organization

This is a fairly simple process that requires you to submit your Entity Name, Location, Registered Agent and address, purpose of the LLC, who is the manager or authorized representative and the effective date. You can list a date in the future if you are still in the planning stages and not yet ready to conduct business. Once the LLC is registered with the Articles of Organization completed, there is an annual report that must be filed in order to keep the business in active status. This fee is currently $138.75 if paid by May 1, and a $400 late fee if not paid on time. If you do not submit the annual report, your LLC will be dissolved by the state in September of that year.

Operating Agreement

Once you have submitted your LLC and been approved by the state, Florida law requires that your LLC file an Operating Agreement. This is filed within your organization between members whether a single-member or multi-member.

Step 4 – EIN (Employer Identification Number) and Tax Obligations

You will need to register your business for state and federal taxes with an EIN or Tax ID Number. This will be required to open a bank account, file tax returns, manage employees, etc.

In Florida, businesses generally need to register for sales tax, unemployment tax, and employer withholding tax if applicable. Visit the Florida Department of Revenue website to register your tax id and get started. This is probably the most complex part of the registration process so do your research or consult with an accountant or tax advisor to ensure compliance with tax regulations. Note that if you will be hiring employees, you will need to declare that when you register.


Step 5 – Obtain necessary licenses and permits

Depending on your business activities, you may need to obtain specific licenses and permits at the local, state, and federal levels. The requirements vary based on the nature of your business. Visit the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website to determine the licenses and permits required for your industry.


Step 6 – Set up business operations & Registered Agents

With millions of businesses setting up as home-based businesses, it is important to protect your private residence from your business by using a registered agent. This is a 3rd party that provides an address for your business to officially conduct business and receive official documents.

This is also a good idea even if you have a physical office space in order to keep your mail and official documents secure.

Open a Business Bank Account

Whether you are set up as a DBA, Sole Proprietor, Partnership, LLC or Corp, you will need to set up a business bank account to keep your personal and business finances separate. Once you have your business set up with your official address and your tax id documents have been received from the state, you can set up your bank account. Your bank will require the EIN documents along with your LLC or DBA registration. Every bank has different requirements so it is a good idea to call your bank to make sure you have the documents they require prior to starting the process.

Setting up your Workplace

Establish a physical location for your business, whether it’s a commercial space, home office, or virtual office. Obtain necessary utilities, phone lines, and internet services.

Secure financing and set up a budget

Determine the financial needs of your business and explore financing options. These may include personal savings, loans from banks or credit unions, venture capital, angel investors, or government programs. Prepare a detailed financial plan and consider working with a financial advisor to secure the necessary funds.

Hire employees

If your business requires employees, familiarize yourself with Florida’s labor laws, including minimum wage, overtime regulations, and workers’ compensation requirements. Develop job descriptions, conduct interviews, and ensure compliance with hiring laws.

Obtain business insurance

Protect your business by obtaining appropriate insurance coverage. Consider liability insurance, property insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and other policies relevant to your industry.

Marketing and promotion

Develop a marketing strategy to reach your target audience. Build a professional website, create social media profiles, put out a press release and use online and offline marketing channels to promote your business. Network with local business organizations and attend industry events to expand your reach.

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