Florida is a fantastic place to start a business, and why wouldn’t it be? You’ve got year-round sunshine, no state income tax, and plenty of small business support. Disney World is close by, there are lots of great cities to visit, and if you can withstand the occasional hurricane, you’re all set.

If you’re looking to start a business in Florida, then we have a quick guide for you. Setting up a business in all states has the same basic structure, but the details can vary from place to place. 

Below, we’re going to walk through the seven necessary steps to get your business up and running.

Choosing a Business Structure

The first step into getting your business off the ground is choosing a business structure. Once you are able to choose, creating a concrete business plan will be much easier.  This is going to vary wildly depending on the type of business you’re going to be opening up.

It gets even more complicated when you realize that the basic business structures all have various subtypes that can divide everything up even more.

For example, if you’re going to start an LLC, there are L3C companies, member-managed LLCs, restricted LLCs, family-run LLCs, and more. 

You may also be looking into partnerships, sole proprietorships, or even corporations. There’s no right answer here, so do your homework on which one works for you.

Registration

Fortunately, you can do this entire step online. Filling out the forms and paying the registration fee ($35-100 depending on your business type) can all be done on Florida’s Department of State website.

There, you’ll also find out more specific information about which documents you’ll need to present depending on your business entity and other requirements that you will have to fulfill such as obtaining business insurance before opening up. 

The DBA

Somewhat unique to Florida, you’ll have to purchase a DBA which stands for doing business as.

This is “optional”, but if you’re going to want to run a business with anything other than your real name, then you’re going to have to go through this step. This can all be done online and costs $50 to do so.

You’ll also be able to check which names are taken to see if yours is available. It’s also important to know that names can’t be reserved, so get going as soon as you have a name. 

Taxes!

Yay, everyone’s favorite subject.

In Florida, you’re going to have to pay federal, state, local, and city taxes. Some of these may seem obvious, but let’s run through them.

Your federal taxes are, of course, collected by the IRS. You’ve been doing it ever since you earned money and is pretty easy to follow.

While Florida doesn’t collect income tax, they do collect state business taxes like sales tax, reemployment tax, and corporate income tax. You can register for that online as well.

Local taxes are collected by the county and the requirements vary county by county, so contact your local tax official to find out.

City taxes aren’t collected by every city and can also vary depending on where you are. 

The Business License

Another option that’s not necessary, obtaining a license depends on the business that you have and the governmental agency you’ll have to make a visit to. You will either have to head to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation or the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. 

The division between the two is a bit confusing, as the DBPR is for barbershops, vets, and other professional services. The DACS deals with agricultural jobs, obviously, but also telemarketers, pawnbrokers, and movers.

Getting into the nitty-gritty of who does and doesn’t need a license is tricky, so we recommend heading to each of these agencies’ respective websites to find out if you will need one or not.

Closing Thoughts

Setting up a business in Florida, as you can see, is not that difficult. All of the steps can be taken care of online and local governments provide quick and easy support to help you navigate through any confusing or difficult moments.

Of course, this isn’t all you have to do as it’s vital to find funding and an adequate location for your business where you can thrive.

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