Starting your own business requires dedication, hard work, and a solid vision of what you want that business to become. And when you start a new business, it’s important to understand if you’ll need any licenses or permits you’ll need on the federal, state, and local levels. Paying attention to the licenses and permits that you’ll need to start your business is one of the most important steps to staying state compliant.
Unfortunately, there’s no one place in Florida where you can go to find information on all the licenses and permits that you might need from each level of government. Fortunately, we are here to help. Let’s take a closer look at what kinds of licenses and permits you might need for your Florida business and how our Business License Report service can help you get it done easily.
A business license grants permission from a government entity to run a business. Your business might require licensing from the local, state, and/or federal government before you can open your doors. Your need for business licenses depends on the industry you’re in, your business activities, and your location. Some states also require a general business license to do any kind of business within their jurisdiction.
A general business license permits you to conduct your business activities within a certain defined geographical area. Florida doesn’t require businesses to obtain a general business license.
However, most cities, towns, or counties in the state do require you to get a business license. That license is often determined by the industry in which you work and the place in which your business is located.
It’s important to note that registering your business with the state is not the same as applying for licenses. Registering your company involves submitting your Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization with the Florida Division of Corporations. Registering your business is the first step you take in forming your business — before you apply for any licenses or permits in your city, town, or county.
Some new businesses in Florida will require a license from a federal agency before they can conduct operations. The following is a list of industries and the federal agency to which they need to apply (you can find more information on these required licenses/permits by visiting the Small Business Administration’s website):
Although Florida doesn’t require a general business license at the state level, there are still permits and licenses required to operate a business within its boundaries.
Almost all businesses in Florida are required to obtain a business tax receipt (which some people refer to as a general business license). This applies to anyone who provides goods or services, whether you operate a home-based business or a commercial location. These receipts are obtained when you register with the tax office in your city, town, and/or county. More information on business tax receipts is available on the website of the Florida Department of Revenue. It provides information on how you can contact the office of your local tax collector.
The type of business you operate in Florida also affects license requirements. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issues many of the appropriate business licenses for the state. A few of the businesses in Florida that require a state license include:
You’ll find a complete listing of the various business licenses and fees on the department’s website.
Running a restaurant, a hot dog cart, or a bed-and-breakfast, or renting your apartment for lodging, requires a license obtained from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (more commonly known by its abbreviation, DBPR).
Along with the licenses or permits that you may need at the federal or state level, many cities, towns, and counties in Florida also require business licenses or permits. Below are a few examples:
Your best bet is to check the website of the city, town, or county in which you plan to operate your business. Many of these websites have information on what licenses and permits you’ll need to operate within their jurisdictions. Remember to check to see if you’ll need licenses for your business from both city/town and county administrations.
If you can’t find the proper information on these local websites, you’ll need to contact your local government offices to determine what licenses you’ll need.
Some professions require an additional license before you can operate a business in Florida. While attorneys and doctors have their own separate licensing boards, the DBPR is responsible for licensing many other professions.
These include barbers, body piercing artists, engineers, automobile dealers, electrical contractors, harbor pilots, surveyors, and sports agents. You can find a complete list of professions that need to be licensed and how to apply at the DBPR website.
Along with general business licenses/business tax receipts needed to operate a business in Florida, there are also several other licenses and permits that you may need to obtain. These include:
A home-based business in Florida requires many of the same permits and licenses needed for a brick-and-mortar business.
It’s extremely important that before you establish a home-based business you check with your local city, town, or county authority to determine if your location is properly zoned and if you can legally run your business from your home.
While some licenses and permits only need to be acquired once, many of them need to be renewed annually or biannually.
Take barbershops. If you operate a barbershop, you must renew your state license every two years. As of this writing, the fee is $110. The deadline is July 31 of every even-numbered year (2022, 2024, 2026, etc.)
Depending on the size of your business and the industry you work in, make sure someone in your operation maintains a record of all needed license/permit renewals. Missing a license or permit renewal can result in significant penalties or fines and temporary or permanent closure of your business.
By now you probably realize how frustrating, confusing, and time-consuming it can be to determine which licenses and permits you’ll need to operate your business in Florida. we are here to help. Our Business License Report can help you determine the licenses and permits needed to operate your business. Using your location, your industry, and your activities, our partners will identify what you need on the federal, state, and local levels.
We can also help you keep up with Florida requirements through our Worry-Free Compliance service. This service helps you stay up to date by tracking your compliance needs and handling two business amendments for you per year if needed.
There is no general business license required by Florida. Most businesses in Florida, however, are required to apply for a business tax receipt. This is done locally.
No. If you sell any tangible product or service, you need a business tax receipt.
Many businesses can be run from your home in Florida. Zoning laws may prohibit you from operating them in certain parts of your city, town, or county, and some locations in Florida prohibit the operation of certain businesses from home. Check with local authorities.
There is no specific license needed to operate an online business in Florida. Online businesses require the same licenses and permits as brick-and-mortar businesses.
Yes, you’ll need a Florida Department of Revenue Sales Tax license.
Florida Business Resources
Licenses and Permits By State