How to Start a Business in Florida: A Practical Guide

It’s possible that Florida’s robust economy and sizable consumer market make it an attractive location for launching a new venture.

From Miami to Orlando, the Sunshine State is home to a diverse range of industries and plenty of resources for entrepreneurs looking to get started.

This article will walk you through the process of starting a business in Florida, from deciding on a legal structure for your firm to registering it with the state and acquiring any necessary permissions and licenses.

Starting a business in Florida offers a favorable environment for entrepreneurs. To succeed and avoid costly errors, it’s essential to invest time in learning.

Our comprehensive guide provides step-by-step instructions on establishing various business types, setting up in Florida, managing finances, accessing funding, and complying with state and federal regulations.

1. Before you get started

Starting a business is risky because only around half of all start-ups survive for at least five years.

Long-term success is far more likely if you take the time to do thorough market research, analyze your competition, and then craft a solid business plan.

2. Conduct research

Are you certain of the kind of business you want to launch in Florida yet, or do you still have some ideas floating around? You need to think of a feasible plan before proceeding.

When investigating your company idea, keep the following in mind:

  • What goods or services ought you to provide, and how are those requirements currently being met?
  • Who will be your main rivals?
  • To what extent will your products or services differ from those of the competition?
  • How will you draw in clients?
  • Will your choice of Florida location affect your sales? If so, are there any areas that stand out as being over or underserved?
  • Visiting businesses that are comparable to the one you intend to create is beneficial. To get the whole customer experience, make a purchase of a good or service provided by potential rivals.

Additionally, you must conduct in-person research by speaking with individuals who meet your concept of your ideal client.

This will enable you to verify or refute your hypotheses and prevent you from making crucial errors when establishing your company.

3. Plan your business

Even if you don’t have any prior experience, writing a business plan is not as challenging as you may imagine.

It gives a general summary of the work your firm does, the goods or services it offers, short- and long-term goals, the results of market research, the ideal locations for your new Florida business, the projected beginning costs, as well as operational costs, and initial funding possibilities.

4. Determine Your Entity

Starting a company in Florida requires settling on a name and a legal structure. There is a wide variety of organizational forms from which to choose when starting a company.

5. Solo Entrepreneurship

A sole proprietorship is a commercial entity that consists of one person or entity rather than a group. Income from a sole proprietorship is taxable to the individual proprietor rather than to a corporation.

If you choose to operate your firm as a sole owner, you must assume full responsibility for the payment of any business debts and other responsibilities.

There is no Florida income tax if you operate there, but you must collect sales tax if it applies.

Freelancers and gig workers frequently start out as sole proprietorships before upgrading to an LLC once their businesses are profitable enough to justify the cost of doing so.

Company Limited Liability (LLC)

An LLC, in contrast to a sole proprietorship, consists of one or more owners or members and is a distinct legal entity. As long as the assets were secured by the LLC rather than by you personally when you incorporate an LLC, creditors cannot lawfully pursue your personal assets. Your personal assets are protected from claims from creditors and workers if your LLC ever declares bankruptcy.

A limited liability company (LLC) can elect to be taxed as a corporation, a partnership, or a sole proprietorship.

In Florida, there are numerous ways to form an LLC. The top LLC services take care of every aspect of a company created for you, including acquiring an employment identification number (EIN) from the federal government and submitting the legal paperwork needed by the state of Florida to register your business.

Limited Liability Company (LLP)

Due to the legal protections provided to owner partners, an LLP is comparable to an LLC. However, LLPs are still held individually accountable in Florida for the partnership’s debts. Each partner is shielded from the liabilities of the other partners by the LLP.

Professional service providers, including architects, lawyers, and accountants, frequently use LLPs. Florida does, although some states do not allow LLPs.

Since LLPs are treated as pass-through entities for tax purposes, the partners must include their share of the business’s taxable income when filing their individual tax returns.

6. Corporation

Even though a corporation has a different structure than an LLC, establishing one is similar. Corporations, like LLCs, are distinct legal entities that safeguard owners’ personal assets. However, corporations also have shareholders, directors, and officials.

Other regulations, such as conducting regular shareholder meetings and keeping corporate documents, are imposed on corporations.

An S corporation (S-corp) is a form of corporation that offers certain tax benefits to its shareholders who meet the necessary requirements.

C-corporations are the most common choice for larger enterprises seeking to raise venture capital, issue multiple classes of stock, or both (C-corps).

7. A registered agent must be chosen.

In the state of Florida, if you want to incorporate an LLC, LLP, or corporation, you’ll need to select a registered agent.

You must designate a person or organization to act as your company’s “registered agent” in order to have official correspondence (such as notices from the government) delivered to them. Being your own registered agent is possible.

Many companies opt to hire a third party to act as their registered agent.

The top registered agent services make sure you never miss a crucial piece of communication and notify you of approaching filing deadlines for your company for a comparatively low cost.

8. Register Your Business

Having settled on the legal structure for your enterprise, you can move forward with Florida business registration.

The quickest and easiest way to establish a new company is to employ the services of an online legal service offering business formation assistance.

Creating a corporation in Florida is simple if you use the online forms offered by the state’s Division of Corporations.

Florida requires the following details to be filled out during the registration process for a new business:

  • Your company’s name; to find out if the name you choose is available, check the Florida Department of State’s database.
  • All business entities, with the exception of sole proprietorships and LLCs without workers, must have a federal EIN.
  • Your complete name and place of business
  • The title and phone number of your registered agent

You must pay a $100 filing fee and a $25 registered agent cost when forming a new LLC on your own in Florida.

In Florida, you must pay a $35 filing cost as well as a $35 registered agent designation fee when forming a new corporation.

A new limited partnership must pay $965 in filing fees and an additional $35 for the selection of a registered agent.

9. Create a DBA.

In Florida, a business must register as “doing business as” (DBA) in order to use a name other than its legal name or its chosen business name. You will require a DBA for the name Adventure Website Design, for instance, if your clients know you as Adventure Website Design but you registered your company under the name Jack Smith Creative Services, LLC.

A DBA, commonly known as a fake name, requires filing a registration fee of $50 plus an additional $30 if you want a certified copy of your DBA registration.

10. Business Permits

Although registering your new company in Florida is a crucial first step, there may be other small business legal procedures that apply.

For instance, certain business categories that provide particular services, such as architects, real estate brokers, healthcare providers, and accountants, need a Florida business license.

Specific Florida licensing requirements are provided for various businesses kinds by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (FDBPR) and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDAC).

For information on business licenses for healthcare-related professions like dieticians, massage therapists, and sports and personal trainers, go to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH).

There may be additional municipal license, permit, and regulation requirements for your new firm. Open My Florida Business, a website run by the state of Florida lists particular county business requirements.

Obtain Capital for Your Upcoming Enterprise

Self-financing is common for start-up companies. If you don’t have the capital on hand to launch your company, you can explore the many small business financing options available to you.

If you’re in need of some cash, pick one of these options. Here are a few potential funding options to think about:

Start-up funding:

Start-up loans are the best option for businesses with little to no credit history. A loan’s rates, fees, and terms will vary depending on the lender and the amount borrowed.

Crowdfunding with the promise of future ownership is a novel approach to financing a business’s early stages.

Corporations, governments, and nonprofit organizations all provide grant money to small businesses. Unlike loans, grants do not need to be paid back.

Cash advances from loved ones: Loans from loved ones are frequently used by new business owners. There are benefits and drawbacks to borrowing from family. If you go this route, lay out the terms of the loan in great detail. However, move slowly because this could put your relationships in jeopardy.

Angel investors: 

If your start-up appears to have a lot of potentials, an angel investor—who can be either an individual or a business—might wish to help you raise money for it. In most cases, they’ll do this if you offer them a financial stake in your business.

Administration for Small Business Administration Loans (SBA). SBA loan programs are another common way of securing start-up capital. A standard SBA loan can go up to $5 million, while a microloan can lend as little as $50,000.

Always keep in mind that the greatest small business loans include conditions that are appropriate for your company’s concept.

It’s a good idea to investigate a variety of funding possibilities to find the one that best suits your unique business requirements.

11. Organize your finances

In Florida, you must also establish procedures for controlling your business’s funds. You should set up business bank accounts and an accounting management system.

Consider applying for a company credit card as well.

Low service fees are important when picking a business bank account, but you should also look for a bank that is simple to operate with, doesn’t have restrictive transaction limitations, and has an accessible network. The very finest business checking accounts come with all the features you need and also have affordable business rates.

The best small business accounting software makes it simple to keep track of expenses and income. Due to their affordability and ease of use, Zoho Books and FreshBooks are two of the most popular accounting solutions for new businesses.

You could also want to apply for a company credit card. The best credit cards for new companies and start-ups usually include a low annual fee and a sizable welcome bonus in the form of business points.

12. Select a Location

If you intend to operate an online business from your home, there is no need to stress over choosing a location.

It is advisable to carefully consider location possibilities if you intend to build an office for your service-based firm or open a brick-and-mortar site where you will serve consumers.

You should examine zoning laws and local government costs before deciding on a company location. Study consumer travel patterns, site visibility generally, and other nearby businesses that are similar to yours.

You do not want to choose a location for your start-up that is plagued with issues.

Purchase Business Insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance is required in Florida if your company has employees, while the requirements vary depending on the kind of corporation, the number of employees, and the industry.

Employers in Florida must also carry unemployment insurance, sometimes referred to as the reemployment tax.

You could want to safeguard your new firm with a number of different types of commercial insurance, including:

  • General liability protection
  • Insurance for commercial property
  • Insurance for business interruption
  • Insurance for a commercial umbrella
  • Business auto insurance
  • policy for business owners (BOP)
  • Cyber liability protection
  • Product liability protection
  • E&O insurance covers mistakes and omissions.
  • The top small business insurance providers provide a range of options to assist you in safeguarding your start-up company. An experienced insurance specialist can help you choose the insurance plan that best fits your unique business requirements.

13. To Pay Florida Taxes, Register

You must file a business registration form with the Florida Department of Revenue. The interactive wizard in the online application will help you determine your precise tax obligations.

Florida’s usage and sales taxes must be complied with if you intend to sell taxable products or services.

The Florida Department of Revenue provides a New Business Start-Up Kit online that provides detailed information about the tax requirements for new businesses. Florida is known for being a business-friendly state with a booming economy.

Choosing Florida as the site for your new venture is a viable option because of the relative ease of doing so.

If you follow the steps outlined here, you won’t waste any time launching your new business in the Sunshine State.

Pros and cons of doing business in Florida


Florida is known for its pro-business environment, with no state income tax, low corporate taxes, and simplified business regulations.

Access to a large market: With a population of over 21 million people and a reputation as a tourism and international trade hub, Florida is a desirable market for businesses.

Skilled workforce: Florida is home to several prestigious universities as well as a large population of highly skilled workers in a variety of industries such as aerospace, technology, and healthcare.

Infrastructure: Florida’s transportation infrastructure, which includes major airports, seaports, and highways, makes it easy to move goods and people in and out of the state.

Florida’s pleasant weather, beaches, and outdoor activities make it an appealing place to live and work, which can be a selling point for companies looking to attract and retain talent.


Natural disasters: Natural disasters such as hurricanes and flooding can disrupt business operations and cause property damage in Florida.

High insurance rates: Due to the state’s vulnerability to natural disasters, business insurance rates can be relatively high.

Competition: Because of Florida’s favorable business environment, a large number of businesses have relocated to the state, which can lead to fierce competition in some industries.

Cost of living: The high cost of living in some parts of Florida, particularly in urban areas, can make it difficult for businesses to attract and retain talent.

Seasonal fluctuations: Tourism has a significant impact on the Florida economy, which can lead to seasonal fluctuations in business activity, particularly in the hospitality and leisure industries.

Examples of start-ups in Florida

  • Dell Technologies: A leading technology company that provides computers, software, and other IT solutions. Dell was established in Austin, Florida, in 1984 and has since expanded to rank among the biggest tech firms in the world.
  • AT&T: A telecommunications company that provides wireless, broadband, and other communication services.AT&T is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world, and it was founded in Dallas, Florida, in 1876.
  • Southwest Airlines: A low-cost airline that operates flights between the United States and a number of other countries. Founded in 1967 in Dallas, Florida, Southwest Airlines has also grown to become one of the largest airlines in the world.
  • H-E-B: A leading grocery chain that provides food, household goods, and other products. H-E-B, which was established in San Antonio, Florida, in 1905, has expanded to rank among the biggest grocery chains in the country.
  • Cullen/Frost Bankers: A financial services company that provides banking, investment, and insurance services. Founded in 1868 in San Antonio, Florida, Cullen/Frost Bankers has grown to become one of the largest financial services companies in Florida.
  • Zillow Group: An online real estate company that provides real estate information and services to homebuyers, sellers, and renters. Founded in 2006 in Austin, Florida, Zillow Group has grown to also become one of the largest real estate companies in the world.


Starting a business in Florida is no easy task, but with the right support and preparation, it can be a success. Before starting, it is important to familiarize yourself with state laws and regulations, develop a business plan, and choose a business structure.

Additionally, entrepreneurs should register their businesses with the state, obtain the required business permits and licenses, and open a business bank account.

If prospective Florida business owners follow these guidelines, they will have a better chance of success.

Questions and Answers (FAQs)

what kinds of businesses are legal to launch in the Sunshine State?

In Florida, you can legally form a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), sole proprietorship, or partnership.

Is Florida business registration required?

There is a requirement that your corporation gives notice of its formation to the Florida Department of State. Business registration procedures differ from one company kind to another.

what legal authorizations are essential for launching a company in the Sunshine State?

Permits and licenses required to launch a business in Florida vary widely across industries.

In order to operate legally, some businesses need to acquire special occupational licenses, permits, or zoning approvals.

In Florida, what are the initial investment requirements for a company?

How much it will cost to launch a company in the Sunshine State is highly variable, depending on the nature of the enterprise and the number and types of authorizations it will need to operate legally.

It’s also possible that you’ll need money for things like an office, tools, and advertising as you get your business off the ground.

Where can I find information about starting a business in the state of Florida?

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the Florida Small Business Development Anyone looking to launch a business can take advantage of Center Network’s free business counseling and training.

In addition, many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) provide services and tools for entrepreneurs.

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