STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE YOUR LLC NAME

Choose a Business NameTo secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through the state and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.

Keep in mind your LLC name should contain the words ‘Limited Liability Company’ or ‘Limited Company’. Abbreviations for these words like ‘L.C.’ or ‘L.L.C’ are also acceptable. Also, because there is no name reservation offered by the state, only register your name when you’re ready to organize your business.

STEP 2) SELECT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered AgentA Registered Agent is an intermediary, responsible for receiving and helping you to handle/process all official documentation like state filings, tax forms, legal notices, and so on. This agent can be an individual or a corporate entity, but they need to be a Florida resident (with FL address, non-P.O. Box) and be able to legally conduct business in the state.

You can hire an outside professional service and pay up to $160/year, or get a Florida Registered Agent free of charge when you start your LLC with a service like IncFile or CorpNet. They handle this along with so much more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) FILE THE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION

Register an LLCThis document seals the deal with the state in as much as it is a declaration of your brand, who owns it, how it’s structured, and so forth. The basics of your business for the public record books.

Head on over to the Division of Corporations and get in touch with them, or download the Florida Articles of Organization directly and fill them out. Read the instructions and ensure everything is 100% correct before filing!

Filing Fee: $125.00

STEP 4) OBTAIN AN EIN

Get an EIN for Your LLCYour EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is a unique identifier like a personal social security number. But it’s not just for tax season, it also makes it possible to legally hire employees and set up a business bank account in the next step.

Almost every transaction your business engages in will require an EIN. That said, you can get one quickly, easily and free of charge by applying online through the IRS Website.

STEP 5) OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank AccountTo avoid any tax, asset, or financial confusion as an LLC, open a separate checking account for your brand that isn’t mixed with any other account of any kind. This is a huge mistake entrepreneurs make that’s 100% avoidable. Plus, these days there are tons of perks to opening business bank accounts. In fact, some banks will literally pay you to do business with them!

Shop around at both state and national banks to see who offers the best deal and most convenience. For a brief breakdown on some of our favorite options check out this short Checking Account Guide.

STEP 6) CREATE AN OPERATING AGREEMENT

Create an Operating AgreementThis is a document that our readers, plenty of experts, and ourselves advise you think about creating. It’s not mandatory or a legal requirement, but what it does is add a layer of safety for everyone involved (including the company) and lays out duties/responsibilities. It also, “defines each member or manager’s rights, powers, and entitlements. This includes capital accounts, membership interest, distributions of profit and allocated tax responsibility, etc.”

To get started, consider using this nifty Operating Agreement Tool which you can customize yourself.

STEP 7) HANDLE LLC TAXES & BUSINESS LICENSING

Business LicensesHow complex the “red tape part” gets depends on the nature of your business, whether you work with or serve the public, how many employees you have, location, etc. It could be swift and simple. Once you’re through these woods it’s easy sailing!

To get started bookmark the Miami district office of the Small Business Administration, and the Division of Corporation’s Sun Biz website because they’re likely going to be go-to sources for a variety of things along the way. If you need help, consider leveraging professional Business License Research packages that quickly source all documents for you.

OPTIONAL) CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business PlanHonestly, how do you intend to get the most out of your business ideas and expand this brand into the most it can be without a plan? And, what kind of plan do you want, a couple scraps of paper or loosely knit thoughts, or a gorgeous document you can show to potential partners, lending institutions, and investors?

Help yourself and your brand identify unforeseen issues and address impending problems effectively. From marketing and financials to your executive summary and pitch, leverage the power of a great game plan. See what we mean in the links below.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • Our free email-based Business Plan Course is designed to take you smoothly through the process step-by-step.
  • This Comparison Guide is our quick breakdown of all the software solutions to help you plan better. We’re huge fans of LivePlan, so if your looking for the best business plan software, be sure to read our review and grab the discount they offer our readers.

OPTIONAL) BUILD A BUSINESS WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteIronically, one of the last steps startups take is to tackle the website issue, otherwise known as establishing a digital presence for the 21st century economic landscape. The good news is that because of how platforms like SquareSpace, Wix and Weebly are evolving, it’s getting easier and less expensive all the time.

Each of them offer free trials (until you claim your domain name) to set up shop, whether that be an agency-based site or a comprehensive eCommerce platform. Here’s to a prosperous year ahead!

Need Help Forming Your LLC?

Have a reliable LLC filing service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

Visit IncFile Or Visit LegalZoom

Note that this article on how to form an LLC in Florida isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding how to form an LLC in Florida or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.