Ready to Take the Plunge
Alright, okay, this is exciting. You want to start a business in Florida. If you are not in Florida, the steps will be similar.
- Determine your business entity type
- Hire a Registered Agent Service
- Get an EIN from the IRS
- File with your Secretary of State
- Open a Business Bank Account
Determine Your Business Entity Type
- Profit Corporation
- Non-Profit Corporation
- Limited Liability Company
- Limited Partnership
- Sole Proprietorship (Fictitious Name)
Do your research. Find out what will work for your situation. You don’t want to spend extra money and file extra forms because you started with the wrong one. You can read about entity types and requirements on Florida’s Sunbiz.org website.
Hire a Registered Agent Service
What is a registered agent? For some entity types you are required to specify a person known as a registered agent. This is someone who will be named to be available during business hours at a specified address in the case that your business is to be served with legal documents.
Can I be the registered agent myself?
Sure you can. If you are okay with your personal address being visible in the public record. You cannot use a PO Box for the registered agent address. Also, will you be available at your address from 9-5?
For my registered agent I hired Sunshine Corporate Filings. I signed up completely online in minutes. For only $35/yr they gave me a physical address to use as my registered agent address on my state forms. They will accept postal mail on behalf of my business, scan it into the computer and make it available for me to download.
Get an EIN from the IRS
An Employer Identification Number is like a social security number for your business. It is free and you can apply yourself at the IRS website. You CAN use a PO Box for your address on this form.
File with Your Secretary of State
Florida made a nice little website called Sunbiz.org where you can register your business in a few easy steps. After you are approved you can do a search for your business and download a copy of your documents. You will need that to open a business bank account. Remember, this is public record. Anyone can find the info you put here. Think about getting a PO box instead of using your home address.
Open a Business Bank Account
You can’t use that piggybank anymore. You are a grown up business owner. You can open an account at a local bank or an online account can be opened for free with Relay Financial
Disclaimer: As with any advice, consult with an accountant and/or lawyer to make sure you are doing what is best for your situation.
Meir is a web developer who has been writing code since 2000. He enjoys his family, movies, cooking, golf, and bowling.