How to Start a Business in Florida: Step by Step

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African American business woman in her tailoring shop in Florida on her laptop

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

With its sunny skies and crystal blue water, it’s not surprising that so many people flock to Florida to live. But it’s also a great place to start and grow a business.

This is largely due to its growing economy, which is a tax advantage over small businesses in other states. So, now it’s time to learn how to start a business in Florida.

Lucky for you, in this blog post, we’ll take you step by step through the process of how to start a business in Florida, including general requirements you need to prepare for and the resources you need to succeed. This way you can learn the ins and outs of opening a business in Florida.

Choose a Business Entity

To understand how to start a small business in Florida, you need to understand entity formation. The most popular entity structures are Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) or Corporations.

A corporation is a legal entity created separately from those who own and operate it. A corporation’s debts and taxes are separate from its owners, thereby offering the greatest personal liability protection of all business structures. The two most common types of corporations are S and C corporations.

LLCs are the most popular business structure. This is because they blending the aspects of corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships into a simple and flexible business entity. Like corporations, LLCs protect the owners and operators from personal liability, and they possess the “pass-through” tax benefits of a partnership.

So, as you can see, starting a business in Florida isn’t difficult once you understand the ins and outs of this powerful entity structure.

Florida Filing Fee

The state filing fee is often the most expensive cost of forming an LLC or corporation. Luckily, the Florida state filing fee is only $125. Compared to Massachusetts’ $500 filing fee, Florida’s fee isn’t so bad.

Create a Business Name

To open a company in Florida, you to figure out your business name. It’s actually one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. It may not seem as important as choosing the type business entity, but it is. As a matter of fact, many legal issues can arise from choosing the wrong name for your business startup. So, let’s look at how to register a business name in New York:

  • First off, come up with a unique business name that captures what your business will do, is easy to pronounce, and isn’t era specific or too niche. This is easier said than done, so take your time.
  • Once you’ve decided on a name, search the web to make sure no one is using it. This may force you to go back to the drawing board. You might also want to check if your desired website URL name is already taken, then plan for an alternative,
  • After doing a basic search, you’ll need to do a more thorough trademark search. This is an important step that can lead to a lawsuit if done incorrectly. A good rule of thumb to follow when doing a trademark search is to search for misspellings, plurals, variations of spelling, sound-alike and more…

Register Your Business

For LLCs

You’ll need to file what is known as Articles of Organization with the Florida Secretary of State LLC Division.

Then, once filed and approved, you’ll need to properly organize your LLC with an Operating Agreement.

For Corporations

Similar to setting up an LLC, you’ll first need to file Articles of Incorporation with the Florida Secretary of State Corporation Division.

After that, you’ll need to hold an “Organizational Meeting” to determine the percentage of ownership for each shareholder as well as resolve to do a number of other tasks.

To elect S-Corporation status with the IRS, corporations must file IRS Form 2553.

Get Your Employee Identification Number or EIN

The next step in understanding how to start a business in Florida is getting your EIN or Tax ID Number (TIN). This federal number is like your business’s social security number, separating you from your business. This protects you from fraud and identity theft.

Additionally, an EIN is required by your bank to open a Business Checking Account, file tax returns, obtain payroll services, and credit cards.

Attain Your Business Licenses and Permits

The final step you must learn is how to get a business license in Florida. Getting the proper licenses and permits for your small business, authorizes your company to do business in your city/county.

Florida makes getting the required licenses easy with their Florida Department of State website. It’s a robust system that helps entrepreneurs discover what licenses/permits they need. Remember, license requirements vary depending on your operating city county and industry.

Let’s get started

Starting a business in Florida is an exciting opportunity, but like starting most businesses it can be overwhelming. Why not let the business experts at Inc Authority do all the heavy lifting for you?

We’ll form your LLC or corporation, run a business name check, get your EIN, and make sure you have all the licenses and permits needed to run your business in Florida.

Not to mention we offer a ton of free management tools to help make running your business as simple as possible. Contact us today to get started!

GET STARTED

Incorporating is the most powerful thing you can do to legitimize your business. And at IncAuthority.com, our setup LLC services are 100% free. Always. So, don’t wait. Form your free LLC today and enjoy the protection due to you and your business under the law.