How to Open a Sole Proprietorship Business in Florida

By Ari Mushell, J.D.

How to Open a Sole Proprietorship Business in Florida

By Ari Mushell, J.D.

A sole proprietorship is a simple and easy way to launch a business. In contrast to other business models in Florida, a sole proprietorship does not have any legal formalities—such as registering with the Florida Secretary of State. There is, however, a process for maximizing profits and removing possible hindrances when creating your sole proprietorship in Florida.

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1. Choose a business name.

Florida law allows you to use your own name in running a sole proprietorship. Likely, you will choose to run your business under a different name. If so, you should run a search of names to see if those names sound similar to your chosen business name. If the name is similar, you can face trademark infringement issues. One way of running a search is by going to the Florida Department of State's website and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's website to see whether your business name is unique.

2. Find a domain name.

You should find a domain name that is the same or similar to the name of your business and register that domain. In the current climate, it is almost expected that a business has a web presence. Even if you do not plan on operating a website, you should still procure a domain now in the event you launch a website at a later date.

3. File a trade name and advertise the business.

If you are using a business name that is not your own name, you must register that name with the Florida Secretary of State, Department of Corporations. You can submit the information by mail, in person, or online. There is a processing fee.

What's more, Section 50.011 of the Florida Statutes requires that you advertise the business, at least once, in a local newspaper in the county where the sole proprietorship has its principal place of business. Contact the local newspaper for advertising rates.

4. Obtain licenses and permits.

You must obtain a license or permit to run certain businesses. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation regulates most licensing in the state. If you are running an accounting firm, law firm, or healthcare related business, then a different agency regulates such entities.

You must also obtain licensing or permits related to the workspace. For example, if you are incorporating so you can start a construction project, you need to obtain permits for building and variances for zoning. Check with your target municipality for more information.

5. Obtain an employer identification number, if applicable.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues an employer identification number (EIN) to a business for tax purposes. It is a nine-digit number and has parallels to individual Social Security numbers. You can register for an EIN on the IRS website.

Note that only sole proprietorships with employees must register for an EIN. Even if your sole proprietorship does not have employees, you may nevertheless choose to register for an EIN because it provides some advantages:

  • In the event the sole proprietorship hires employees
  • For protecting against identity theft

Some banks require an EIN for opening a business account.

6. Submit a new hire report, if applicable.

If your sole proprietorship is hiring an employee, both Federal and Florida law require that you submit a new hire report within 20 days. You can submit the report through the Florida Department of Revenue's website.

7. Open a bank account.

Open a business bank account, which allows you to easily separate your business and personal affairs.

8. Purchase insurance.

It is wise to have insurance to protect your business. The type of insurance depends on your sole proprietorship's business engagement.

Starting a sole proprietorship in Florida can be an exciting proposition. To launch your business, you should follow the eight steps outlined in this article or seek assistance from an online legal service provider or attorney.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.