Organize for Your Best Results
Business Structure • Name • Permits and Licenses • Location
Find the right location.
If your business will depend heavily on customer traffic for success, choosing the right location may be equally, if not more, important than choosing a name. In addition to customer exposure, be sure to consider these factors when choosing a site:
Zoning Is the area zoned for your type of business?
Affordability Are rents in this location consistent with your budget?
Condition Is the site ready to be occupied or will renovations be needed?
Competition Are surrounding businesses complementary or competing?
Suppliers Can suppliers find you easily?
Potential Employees Does the area offer a labor pool you could draw from?
Safety What is the crime rate? Will your employees feel safe alone in the building?
Image Is the location consistent with the image you want to project?
Know the permits and licenses you need.
Unless you are a sole proprietor with no employees, working from home, you will likely need one or more of the following licenses and permits in order to legally open and operate:
Beverage Licenses Businesses in Florida that sell alcoholic beverages must apply for a beverage license through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Retailers and wholesalers of beer, wine or liquor are subject to federal occupational tax and must register with and obtain a control number from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Business Tax Receipt (aka Occupational License) Required by most Florida counties and cities. If you are located within your city limits, and the city and county issue separate business tax receipts, contact your municipal and county government offices to determine if you need one or both.
Environmental Permits Required for any business that is an actual or potential polluting source; one-time construction permits and renewable operating permits are also required. Apply through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Health Permits and Licenses Required for public lodging and public food service businesses and available from the Division of Hotels and Restaurants. Licenses for retail food stores, food processing plants and food storage/distribution businesses may be obtained from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Retail Establishment Licenses Required by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation for any business financing the sale of goods or services sold by installment contract or revolving charge account to a retail buyer. Also subject to licensing and regulation: collection agencies, consumer finance companies, mortgage brokers, securities dealers and investment advisors, and mortgage business schools.
State and Professional Business Licenses More than 200 job categories/businesses require a license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation or the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Health-related professions/businesses are licensed and regulated by the Florida Department of Health.
Zoning Permit Required by most Florida counties and cities and must be obtained prior to receiving a business tax receipt. For addresses within city limits, contact the city zoning department; outside city limits, contact the county zoning department. Some jurisdictions require both.