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August 15, 2018

Business Basics

Organize for Your Best Results

Business Structure • Name • Permits and Licenses • Location

| 4/21/2017

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:

Is the area zoned for your type of business?

Are rents in this location consistent with your budget?

Is the site ready to be occupied or will renovations be needed?

Are surrounding businesses complementary or competing?

Can suppliers find you easily?

Does the area offer a labor pool you could draw from?

What is the crime rate? Will your employees feel safe alone in the building?

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:

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.

(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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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