When starting a new business in Florida, it is important to determine if you’ll need any licenses, insurance, or permits that you will need on federal, state, and local levels.
Registering your business
Registering your business is the first step you will need to take. To form a business in Florida, go to https://dos.myflorida.com/sunbiz/ and find the business type under “Filing Services.” The type of business you choose may have different tax and legal implications, so we recommend working with a licensed CPA rather than doing this on your own so there aren’t any surprises for you later on.
Federal permits and licenses
Additionally, businesses operating in an industry regulated by a federal agency will need to obtain federal licenses or permits before commencing operations. Some business sectors that are federally regulated include:
Transportation and logistics
Firearms, ammunition, and explosives
Fish and wildlife
Mining and drilling
Radio and television broadcasting
Please note that the list above is not comprehensive. Check if the industry that you intend to operate in is Federally regulated. If you will be operating in any of the activities above, go to https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/launch-your-business/apply-licenses-permits. This page provides links to each relevant federal agency to find out how to apply for the licenses and permits your business will require.
State permits and licenses
Florida doesn’t require businesses to obtain a general business license, but there are still other licenses and permits you will likely need to obtain before your business commences operations.
Most businesses in Florida are required to obtain a business tax receipt. If the business that you intend to operate involves providing any type of goods or services, regardless of whether this is from a home or a commercial location, you will need a business tax receipt. Register with the tax office if your business’ city, town, or county to obtain these receipts.
In addition to a business tax receipt, you may need other state permits or licenses. To determine what permits and licenses are required based on the industry that you intend to operate in, go to http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/licensing-and-regulation/
City permits and licenses
While the state of Florida doesn’t require businesses to obtain a general business license, most cities and towns do require business licenses. You can contact your Florida municipality to check on their local licensing requirements. The type of license you will need depends on the industry in which you intend to operate. To check, contact your local tax collector’s office to see what they require. Check with your city, town, or county to determine what other licenses and permits you may require. To find information from the county you intend to operate from, go to https://dos.myflorida.com/library-archives/research/florida-information/government/local-resources/fl-counties/. To check your city, go to https://dos.myflorida.com/library-archives/research/florida-information/government/local-resources/fl-cities/.
Whether or not you are required to have insurance depends on the size and activity of your business. Florida is one of the only states that doesn’t require a general liability policy for small businesses, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea to have one! Florida is one of the worst states in terms of business lawsuits. We recommend that everyone get business insurance regardless of whether or not it's required as a method of risk management. However, here are some of the insurance requirements that may apply to your business:
Worker’s Compensation – Florida’s Department of Financial Services states that you need worker’s compensation if you have four or more employees for a non-construction business. Construction businesses that have even one employee are required to provide worker’s compensation. Construction companies must also ensure that all sub-contractors have worker’s compensation.
Commercial Auto Insurance – Businesses that operate company vehicles need to be covered by a commercial auto policy. This also applies if you use your personal car for business activities. 
Health Insurance – Florida does not require businesses to provide health insurance, but you might be required to provide health insurance under federal regulation if you have over 50 full-time employees. 
Our clients here at Visa Business Plans benefit from our expertise in starting and growing business operations. Additionally, our business coaching services help equip entrepreneurs with the tools and right mindset they need to succeed. So if you are thinking about starting a business, growing your current operation, or investing in the U.S., call us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals.
Please note that the information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to constitute legal advice; instead, all information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date information. Website materials should never be a substitute for conferring directly with professional legal counsel with respect to your particular legal matters in the appropriate state or other jurisdiction. This website contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader; Visa Business Plans does not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.
Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally-based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in four different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.
Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and high-growth enterprises.
At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and investors with business planning services in the areas of U.S. and Canadian immigration, SBA loans, and others.