Checklist for Starting an LLC in Florida

Starting a limited liability company (LLC) in Florida is easy. To make it even easier, we’ve created a Florida LLC formation checklist.

A limited liability company offers the benefits of limited liability protection and tax options for small businesses. This makes the LLC the most popular business structure for Florida small businesses and startups.

This Checklist for Starting an LLC in Florida covers the necessary steps you need to take when you create your LLC.

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Florida LLC Formation Checklist

Our Florida LLC startup checklist will help you get your business off the ground quickly. These are the first steps you will need to take when starting your LLC:

Name Your LLC

Once you’ve decided to start a new business, choosing a business name is the first step.

There are several things to keep in mind when naming your business:

Legal Requirements

Your name must be unique and it will need to meet Florida naming requirements, which include:

  • Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (e.g., LLC or L.L.C.).
  • In some states, certain restricted words (e.g., Bank, Attorney, University, etc.) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual to be part of your LLC.
  • Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in the state, except for certain fictitious name registrations, general partnership registrations, and limited liability partnership statements.

You can complete a Florida LLC name search to learn if your business name is unique and distinguishable.

Domain Name

If your business name is available as a web domain, that’s a big plus. However, there are often creative alternatives if the domain isn't available.

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Marketing

You want your name to be easy to market. This can mean different things for different businesses.

Learn more in our How to Name a Business in Florida guide.

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Having trouble coming up with a business name? Try our free business name generator tool.

Choose a Registered Agent

Florida requires LLCs to have a registered agent. A registered agent is an individual or business entity that accepts tax and legal documents on behalf of your business.

You have to elect your registered agent when you complete your LLC’s Articles of Organization, which is the main LLC formation document in Florida.

A member of the LLC or other individual in the company can be the LLC’s registered agent as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • 18 years or older
  • Has a physical address in the state where the business is formed
  • Available (in person) during normal business hours

However, it is usually a good idea to hire a registered agent service. There are a few advantages to hiring a registered agent service:

  • Compliance with the law
  • Peace of mind
  • Flexibility
  • Privacy

Check out our Best Registered Agent Services guide for help picking the best registered agent for your LLC.

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ZenBusiness offers a free year of registered agent service when you hire them to form an LLC.

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File Formation Documents

To register your Florida LLC, you'll need to file Articles of Organization with the Florida Department of State. You can apply online or by mail.

In this document, you’ll list some of the basic information about the company. This includes its address, registered agent, whether it is member-managed or manager-managed, and its owners.

The Florida Articles of Organization filing fee is $125.

Our Florida Articles of Organization guide will help walk you through the process step by step.

If you want professional help, these Best LLC Services can file the Articles of Organization for you.

Draft an LLC Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a legal document that outlines the ownership and member duties of your limited liability company.

While an operating agreement isn't legally required in Florida, we recommend having one for a few reasons.

First, an operating agreement can help prevent or resolve disputes between LLC owners. And even if your business is a single-member LLC, an operating agreement can bring the company credibility and ensure courts uphold its limited liability status.

Operating agreements usually have at least six main sections:

  • Organization
  • Management and Voting
  • Capital Contributions
  • Distributions
  • Membership Changes
  • Dissolution

For more information, check out our Florida LLC Operating Agreement guide.

Get an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a Social Security number (SSN) for your LLC. It is sometimes called a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN).

Most banks will require an EIN to open your business bank account. You will also need an EIN if any of the following apply to your business:

  • Your LLC has employees
  • Your LLC is a multi-member LLC
  • Your LLC files excise taxes
  • Your LLC withholds taxes for nonwage income paid to a nonresident alien

But even if you own a single-member LLC with no employees, getting an EIN is a good idea. Most banks require that your LLC have one to open a business bank account. Check out our 7 Benefits of Getting an EIN article to better understand why your LLC should have one.

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Need Help Starting Your LLC?

Check out our Best LLC Services review.

After Forming a Florida LLC

After forming an LLC, there are some important things you should do that will help ensure that you comply with any relevant local, state, and federal regulations, keep your liability protection intact, maintain accurate financial records, and attract customers to your business.

Register for Taxes

If you are selling a physical product, you’ll typically need to register for a seller's permit through the Registration and Account Maintenance section of the Florida Department of Revenue website. This certificate allows a business to collect sales tax on taxable sales.

If you have employees in Florida, you will need to register for Florida Reemployment Tax, a type of unemployment tax, through the Florida Department of Revenue.

You can learn more about LLC taxes with our guide.

Get an Accountant

Many small business owners think they can do their own accounting and are looking to avoid paying for a professional service. However, hiring an accountant can save you money, stress, and potentially legal troubles in the long run.

If you want to keep track of your LLC’s finances yourself, check out our guide to the best accounting software.

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Find out how much you could be saving today by scheduling a consultation with a business accountant.

Research and Apply for Business Licenses

Getting the right LLC business licenses and permits is one of the most important things to do after forming an LLC.

The main state-level permit or license in Florida is the sales tax permit, also known as a seller’s permit.

Additionally, many industries and professions are required to have a separate business license in Florida. You can find more information about these licensing requirements from the Florida Division of Library and Information Services.

In Florida, you may need other licenses or permits from your local government depending on your business activity or location. Check with your local Florida government office for more information.

Open a Business Bank Account

Opening a business bank account is an essential part of maintaining your LLC’s corporate veil and its limited liability protection. You’ll need to keep your personal financial accounts separate from the LLC’s accounts and never make business purchases with your personal bank account or credit card.

Recommended: Check out our review of the best banks for small business and our article about small business credit cards for more details.

Get Insurance

Every LLC should have some type (or types) of business insurance.

At a minimum, your LLC should have general liability insurance, which is a broad insurance policy that protects your business from lawsuits. Other insurance policies an LLC may need depend on the type of business, if you have employees or not, and other factors.

Before you decide on which business insurance to get for your LLC, check out our review of the 7 Best Small Business Insurance Companies.

Establish a Web Presence

All businesses should have an internet presence. This includes having:

  • A website
  • Social media accounts
  • A YouTube channel

If you don’t feel comfortable making your own website, there are a lot of tools and website builders that can help you create your own business website.

Publish a Press Release

One easy and inexpensive way to promote your new business is by issuing a press release. A press release is an official statement by a business that is given to the press for public knowledge. Press releases are typically short and to the point.

Read our review of the best press release distribution services to help you get the word out about your new LLC.

To learn more, visit our guide on the important things you need to do after forming an LLC.

How to Form an LLC

Forming an LLC is easy. There are two options for forming your LLC. You can hire a service for a small fee or use our free Form an LLC guides.

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Recommended: Use our free Form an LLC in Florida guide to get started.

Florida LLC Checklist FAQ

What must be filed to form an LLC in Florida?

The Articles of Organization must be filed to form an LLC in Florida. The filing fee is $125.

How do I create an LLC in Florida?

Setting up an LLC in Florida is easy. Our How to Start an LLC in Florida step-by-step guide can help you through the process.

How much does it cost to start an LLC in Florida?

It costs $125 to start an LLC in Florida by filing the Articles of Organization.

How long does it take to get an LLC in Florida?

How long it takes to get an LLC in Florida depends on how many documents the state has to process. Florida has a web page of document processing dates where you can get up-to-date details.

How long does it take Sunbiz to approve LLC?

LLC registrations filed online with Sunbiz are approved quicker than paper filings, but the exact processing time depends on how many documents the Department of State is currently processing. Florida provides a web page of document processing dates where you can get up-to-date details.

How do you structure an LLC?

LLCs can be structured as either a single-member LLC (one owner) or a multi-member LLC (more than one owner). They can also be either member-managed or manager-managed.

Is an S corp better than an LLC?

An S corp could potentially be better than an LLC if the company meets certain conditions. Check out our LLC vs. S corp guide for more information.

How do owners of an LLC get paid?

Owners of an LLC get paid in a couple of different ways: either a distribution that passes through to your individual tax return or a reasonable salary and distribution if the LLC elects to be taxed as an S corporation (S corp).

Should I hire a lawyer to form an LLC?

You generally don’t need to hire a lawyer to form an LLC. You can start an LLC using our How to Form an LLC guides or hire an LLC formation service to help you.

Do I need a separate bank account for my LLC?

Yes, you need a separate business bank account for your LLC. This will prevent the company’s corporate veil from being pierced and maintain the LLC’s personal liability protection.

Which bank is best for LLC?

Check out our Best Banks for Small Business guide to help choose the best bank for your LLC.

Can I be my own registered agent in Florida?

Yes, you can be your own registered agent in Florida if you meet all the requirements. However, it is usually a good idea to hire a registered agent service.

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