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Guide to Starting a Business in Florida in 2024

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You want to learn how to start a business in Florida? but need help figuring out where to start? The good news is that the Sunshine State is entrepreneur-friendly, making it an excellent area to start a new firm.

Still, when starting a new business, it pays to conduct your research so you don’t make costly mistakes you’ll later regret. Countick’s expert created this step-by-step guide to starting a business in Florida to give you everything you need to know to get going.

You’ll learn how to choose the right entity type for your purposes, register your business in Florida, set up your finances, obtain funding, and stay in compliance with Florida business rules and regulations.

Starting a new business is risky, as only roughly half of all new enterprises survive for more than five years. You will greatly boost your chances of long-term success if you first conduct thorough market research and competitive analysis, followed by the development of a good business plan. Below are the steps to starting a business in Florida:

conduct your research

Do you already have a company idea in mind, or are you unsure what type of business you want to establish in Florida?

The first step is to come up with a viable idea. When exploring your business concept, consider the following questions:

  • What products or services should you offer, and how are those requirements already being met?
  • Who are your prospective clients, and why should they do business with you?
  • Who will be your main rivals?
  • How will you set your products or services apart from the competition?
  • How will you get customers?
  • Will the location you chose in Florida affect your sales? If so, are there any areas that appear to be over-served or underserved?

Visiting firms comparable to the one you intend to create is beneficial. To enjoy the whole customer experience, purchase a product or service from future competitors.

You should also conduct primary research by speaking with people who fit your concept of an ideal consumer. This will allow you to check or reject your assumptions, preventing you from making costly mistakes when beginning your business.

explore more: 12 steps to start a consulting business

make a business plan

You may not understand how to construct a business plan, but it is not as difficult as you may believe. At its core, a business plan is an outline of what your company is all about.

It covers an overview of your company’s activities, products or services offered, short-term and long-term goals, market research findings, optimal business location possibilities, estimated business launch costs, operations costs, and start-up funding options for your new Florida-based firm.

read more: is a business plan vital to start a business?

select your entity

To start a business in Florida, you must first decide on a firm name and structure. Examples of business entities are sole proprietorships, limited liability companies (LLCs), limited liability partnerships (LLPs), and corporations.

sole proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is a single-owner, unincorporated business. Unlike corporations, the income of a sole proprietorship is taxed as the owner’s personal income.

If you choose a sole proprietorship, you will be individually liable for your company’s debts and obligations as the owner. There is no Florida income tax if you operate in Florida, but you must collect sales tax if relevant.

Freelance and gig workers sometimes begin as sole proprietorships and subsequently upgrade to an LLC once business profits justify the investment of forming an LLC.

llc (limited liability company)

Unlike a sole proprietorship, an LLC is a separate legal entity with one or more owners or members. When you form an LLC, creditors cannot legally seize your personal assets as long as they are secured by the LLC rather than you personally.

If your LLC goes bankrupt, your personal assets are protected from creditors and employees. A limited liability company (LLC) can be taxed as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation.

In Florida, there are numerous ways to form an LLC.

The top LLC services handle all aspects of business formation, such as acquiring a federal employment identification number (EIN) and completing the legal documents required by the state of Florida to start your corporation.

limited liability partnership (llp)

An LLP is comparable to an LLC in providing legal protection to owner partners. In Florida, however, LLPs are nonetheless personally accountable for the partnership’s debts.

The LLP shields each partner from the liabilities of the other partners. Professional service providers like architects, attorneys, and accountants frequently use LLPs. While some states do not permit the use of LLPs, Florida does.

LLPs are pass-through tax companies, which means that the partners pay income tax on the company’s profits on their individual tax returns.

helpful resource: the 14 must-have startup tools in 2024


The process of forming a corporation is identical to that of forming an LLC, although the structure of a corporation differs.

Corporations, like LLCs, are separate legal entities that protect owners’ personal assets; however, corporations also have shareholders, directors, and officials.

Other obligations for corporations include conducting regular shareholder meetings and keeping company documents.

An S Corporation is a form of corporation that provides specific tax benefits to people who meet the S-corp eligibility requirements.

Larger firms that seek to issue multiple classes of stock or rely on venture capital are typically formed as C corporations (C-corps).

helpful resource: what are the 4 types of partnerships in business

select a registered agent

If you are forming an LLC, LLP, or corporation in Florida, you must designate a registered agent. A registered agent is an individual or firm you appoint to receive important legal, tax, and government letters on your behalf.

You have the authority to operate as your own registered agent. Many firms opt to hire a third party to act as their registered agent.

The top registered agent services ensure that you never miss a vital piece of correspondence and notify you of future filing deadlines for your business for a relatively low charge.

helpful resource: is a registered agent required for your company?

register your business

After deciding on the type of business entity to form, you are ready to register your company in the state of Florida.

Working with an online legal service that provides business formation services is the quickest and most effortless approach to forming a new company.

You can also register your company by filling out the forms on the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations web page.

When registering your new corporation in Florida, you must provide the following information:

  • Your company’s name; you can check the Florida Department of State’s database to see if your desired name is available.
  • A federal EIN is necessary for all business entities except sole proprietorships and LLCs with no workers.
  • Your full name and business address

When forming a new LLC on your own in Florida, you must pay a $100 filing fee as well as a $25 registered agent fee. A $35 filing fee plus a $35 registered agent designation charge is required when forming a new corporation in Florida.

The registration fee for a new limited partnership is $965, plus a $35 fee for selecting a registered agent.

create a dba.

If you intend to conduct business under a name other than your own legal name or one you’ve established for your company, you’ll need to register a DBA in Florida.

DBA stands for doing business as. For example, if your consumers know you as Adventure Website Design but your company is called Janny Saen Creative Services, LLC, you will need a DBA for the name Adventure Website Design.

The filing charge for a DBA, often known as a fictitious name, is $50, plus an additional $30 if you want a certified copy of your DBA registration.

business permits

While registering your new business in Florida is crucial, you may be subject to extra small business law obligations. Some businesses that provide specific services, such as architects, real estate brokers, medical experts, and accountants, require a Florida business license.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (FDBPR) and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDAC) provide specific Florida licensing requirements for various types of enterprises.

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

Local licensing rules and permits may also apply to your new firm. The state of Florida maintains a website called Open My Florida Business, which lists specific company criteria by county.

finance your new company

Many new businesses are self-funded. If you don’t have enough money to start your new firm, various small business finance solutions are available to help you get started.

Here are a few financial possibilities to consider:

  • Loans for new businesses

Start-up company loans are perfect for new businesses with no credit history. Terms and costs differ depending on the loan type and provider.

  • Crowdfunding

Equity crowdfunding is a relatively new method of raising funds for the start-up of a firm.

  • Small company funding

Nonprofits, companies, and government agencies all offer small business grants. Grants, unlike loans, do not have to be repaid.

  • Financing from family and friends

Many new enterprises begin with financing from family or friends. Family loans have both advantages and disadvantages. Set clear loan terms and expectations if you go this way. However, be cautious because this can jeopardize relationships.

  • Angel investors

If your start-up appears promising, an angel investor, an individual, or a firm may want to contribute capital to your company in exchange for an equity stake.

  • Loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Another popular option for financing your new business is through SBA loan programs. You can borrow up to $50,000 with an SBA microloan; other SBA loans have loan limits of up to $5 million.

Remember that the most outstanding small business loans have terms appropriate for your business strategy. It’s a good idea to look into different funding sources to see which is ideal for your business needs. You can check Countick for business tax services and startup branding services.

prepare your finances

When establishing a firm in Florida, you must also establish financial management systems. You’ll need to set up business bank accounts as well as an accounting system. You should also apply for a company credit card.

Low service costs are a key consideration when selecting a business bank account. Still, you also want to choose a bank that is easy to work with, does not have transaction limitations, and has an easy-to-access network.

The finest business checking accounts provide the features you need while offering cheap business rates.

The finest accounting software for small businesses makes tracking expenditures and sales simple.

Zoho Books and FreshBooks are two of the most popular accounting systems for small businesses since they are inexpensive and simple.

You could also get a company credit card. The best credit cards for start-ups and small businesses usually include a low annual fee and a large welcome bonus in the form of business points.

select a location

You may intend to run a business online from home, so you won’t need to worry about location specifics. If you intend to build an office for your service-based business or open a physical site where you will serve consumers, you need to consider your alternatives carefully.

When deciding on a business location, you should look at local government taxes and zoning ordinances. Examine customer travel patterns, general site visibility, and other nearby businesses. You do not want to make the mistake of locating your start-up in a troubled area.

purchase commercial 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 are also obligated to provide unemployment insurance, sometimes known as the reemployment tax.

  • General liability insurance
  • Commercial property insurance
  • Business interruption insurance
  • Commercial umbrella insurance
  • Commercial auto insurance
  • Commercial umbrella insurance
  • Commercial auto insurance
  • BOP (business owners policy)
  • Cyber liability insurance
  • Product liability insurance
  • Errors and omissions insurance (E&O)

The best small business insurance providers provide a wide range of products to help you secure your new venture. A knowledgeable insurance specialist can guide you through the insurance coverage that is best suited to your specific business needs.

register for florida tax payment

You must register your company with the Florida Department of Revenue. The online application includes an interactive wizard to calculate your tax obligations.

If you intend to sell taxable services or items in Florida, you must follow Florida’s sales and use tax requirements.

The Florida Department of Revenue provides an online New Business Start-Up Kit that answers specific questions about tax obligations for new businesses.

helpful resource: business entities understanding tax implications

In conclusion

Florida’s economy is expanding, and the state has a reputation for being business-friendly. Starting a business in Florida is quite simple and might be a wise decision on your behalf. Follow the steps outlined here, and you’ll be up and running in the Sunshine State.

faqs (frequently asked questions)

  • what is the cost of starting a business in florida?

In Florida, the filing fee for a new LLC is $100. The state also levies a $25 registered agent fee. Other expenses vary substantially based on the type of business you intend to launch.

  • what is the purpose of a company checking account?

To start a business, you must keep corporate earnings and expenses distinct from your personal assets. This is why every business owner requires a business checking account.

  • what is the first step in establishing a company in florida?

The first step in starting a business in Florida is to conduct research on the type of business you wish to establish. Create a solid business plan that details the type of business entity you intend to establish, start-up capital, and operational financing plans.

  • what licenses and permits will I need to start a business in florida?

To operate in Florida, most counties and certain cities require a business license, occupational license, and numerous other permissions, depending on the type of operation.

For more information, contact your country and city tax collectors in Florida. If you intend to operate an LLC or company in Florida, you must file business formation forms with the state.

  • what are some simple businesses to launch?

Selling digital items is one of the simplest companies to start and has the lowest overhead. Examples of such goods are E-books, online courses, audio files, and software. This is an excellent option if you have knowledge in a specific area or specialization.

Dropshipping is also an excellent alternative because it eliminates the need for inventories. You might also buy wholesale or make your own. After creating your product, you may sell it on your own website or on third-party sites like Amazon or Etsy.

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