Ranked 4th among the strongest economies in the nation, Florida offers fertile soil for entrepreneurs who want to own a successful business. Whether creating a business from scratch or purchasing an existing company, it is fundamental to obtain a proper license to operate in Florida.
Do you know to get a small business license in Florida? Read on to find out.
Florida Small Business License – The Basic Elements
If you are starting a business in Florida, the first step is to find the business structure that suits your company’s needs best. Once the new company is properly registered with the state, it is time to identify which licenses and permits are necessary.
Business owners need to examine different regulations at the municipal, county, and state levels to check which licenses they need. In Florida, companies are exposed to different licensing levels, depending on the business structure, location, and activities carried out by the company.
Applying for a Small Business License – Understanding Licensing in Florida
General Business License
Also referred to as a “business tax receipt,” a general business license is a license required for all businesses registered in Florida. No matter how small a business is, a company without a general business license is non-compliant with state law.
This license is obtained through proper registration with the tax collector’s office in the county where the business is located. Depending on the company’s location, the owner may also need a city business tax receipt.
Applicants can file for a general business license by postal mail, in-person, or online application. Different counties and municipalities have distinct requirements in terms of information, but the standard application form requires:
- The company owner’s name
- The company’s fictitious name (if applicable)
- Any applicable corporate documents
- A federal tax ID number
- A copy of the owner’s Social Security card
Additional documents may include proper evidence of professional/commercial certifications and the company’s industry code under the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS).
Licenses and Permits for Regulated Businesses
Depending on the company’s industry, the owner must apply for additional licenses and permits.
Two main government bodies are responsible for licensing businesses within state jurisdiction, which are Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Currently, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is responsible for licensing and regulating businesses in 35 segments with multiple subcategories. Examples of activities and professionals regulated by the DBPR include:
- Architecture and interior design
- Asbestos contractors and consultants
- Athlete agents
- Building code administrators and inspectors
- Certified public accounting
- Community association managers and firms
- Construction industry
- Electrical contractors
- Employee leasing companies
- Home inspectors
- Hotels and restaurants
To apply for a business license or permit in Florida, the owner must identify certain characteristics that require licensing. For example, a restaurant that serves alcohol must obtain a liquor license with the DPBR to operate legally.
Each license involves distinct application requirements, which may confuse small business owners. The best approach is to work with an expert licensing attorney to avoid costly mistakes.