State laws may vary as to the procedure for forming an LLC, with most states requiring that LLCs be formed by filing the appropriate documentation with the secretary of state’s office where the business will be organized. Florida LLCs may be formed by mail or entirely online through Florida’s Division of Corporations.
Choose a name for your LLC. Go to the Division of Corporations' website and click on the “Search Our Records” link to make sure your name is not already being used by another active business in the state (see Resources). Enter your proposed name -- with no suffix -- in the space provided, and a list of similar names will appear. Scroll through the list and determine if your name is already being used by an active LLC or corporation. If a name is designated as “INACT,” it means that the business is no longer active in the state and the name is available for use.
Once you have determined that your name is available, go back to the homepage on the site and click on the “Electronic Filing” link under the “Popular Links” menu. On the “Electronic Filing and Certification” page, click on the “File New Florida Limited Liability Company or LLC” link. Read the disclaimer, check the box acknowledging same, and click on the “Add Filing & Pay Fee” box. Complete the form that appears by designating a registered agent and entering his contact information. The registered agent will be the contact person who is available to receive correspondence and answer general business questions related to the LLC. Enter the names and contact information for all managers of the LLC, state a business purpose, and sign the articles, as member (owner), with your electronic signature. Choose “Continue” and proceed to the payment screen where you can pay with a credit card.
File by Mail
If you wish to file by mail, choose the “Print Filing Forms” link. Choose “Florida Limited Liability Company/LLC” from the resulting “Forms” page, and click on the link for "Articles of Organization." A fillable PDF form will appear, along with instructions for completing the form and the accompanying cover letter. Completed the Articles with the same information as for electronic filing, then sign it. Mail the complete form -- along with a check for filing fees in the amount of $125, as of December 2010, made payable to the Florida Department of State -- to the address provided on the website.
Although operating agreements are not required in order to transact business as an LLC, they are often prepared, frequently by an attorney, to specify the rules and regulations applicable to the operation of the business. Many members of larger LLCs or LLCs that contain unrelated parties or entities often consider an operating agreement to be essential to the smooth operation of their business. Operating agreements are often consulted by courts when resolving disputes, if they occur. Consult an attorney to determine if an operating agreement should be prepared for your LLC.