Florida LLC Formation Checklist
Launching an LLC for your small business in Florida but not sure where to begin? Just follow these five steps on our LLC checklist:
Step 1: Name Your LLC
Your business’s name is one of the first — and arguably most important — decisions you make when forming an LLC in Florida. When selecting the name for your LLC, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Your state’s naming requirements
- Whether the name is available in Florida
- Whether there is a matching domain name (URL) available
Each state has its own requirements for naming a business entity.
Florida LLC Naming Rules:
- Your business name must include the phrase “limited liability company,” or one of its abbreviations (e.g., LLC, L.L.C., etc.).
- Your business name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (e.g., FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- Restricted words (e.g., Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your Florida LLC.
- Read the Florida state statute about LLC names for a complete list of naming rules.
The first step in naming your LLC is to make sure it is available. In Florida, your business name must be unique for you to use it. To make sure your business name meets this requirement, use our Florida LLC Name Search guide to confirm the availability of your chosen LLC name.
Domain Name Availability
Before you decide on a business name, it is important that you make sure the matching web domain name is available.
Find a Domain Now
Need Help Naming Your Business?
Fortunately, choosing a business name for an LLC is easy with the help of our free business name generator. Simply include a keyword and industry to explore potential business names with available domain names at no cost to you.
For more help, visit our How to Name a Business in Florida guide.
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent
A registered agent is responsible for accepting legal and tax documents on behalf of your business. Your Florida registered agent can be an individual or a business entity (such as a professional service). You can also be your own registered agent.
If you’re not sure about serving as your own registered agent, you might consider hiring a registered agent service. Using a registered agent service ensures that your business never misses important mail or falls behind in legal obligations while also maintaining your privacy.
Form an LLC and get free registered agent service for the first year with Northwest.
Step 3: File Formation Documents
To officially start an LLC in Florida, you need to file the Articles of Organization with the state. You can form an LLC on your own or with the help of an LLC formation service.
For help with completing Form LLC-1, visit our Florida Articles of Organization guide.
Recommended: Check out our Best LLC Services review to learn more about choosing the right service to form your LLC.
Step 4: Draft an LLC Operating Agreement
Now that you’ve officially formed your LLC, the next step is to draft an LLC operating agreement.
An LLC operating agreement outlines the ownership and membership duties of your LLC. In its essence, this document allows you to clearly define both the financial and working relationships between each business owner or “members” as well as the members and managers.
This makes managing your business not only easier but also more streamlined, thanks to a solidified set of rules that inform voting rights, ownership stakes, and more.
How to Draft an LLC Operating Agreement
Here’s the good news: drafting an LLC operating agreement is easy and free using our free operating agreement tool or by downloading this free operating agreement template. If you’d prefer to create your own operating agreement instead, here are the six articles you can generally expect to cover:
- Management and voting
- Capital contributions
- Changes to the membership structure
Visit our full How to Create a Florida LLC Operating Agreement to learn more.
Step 5: Get an EIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a Social Security number for your LLC. Besides allowing the IRS to identify your business for tax reporting, an EIN allows you to get a bank account for your LLC. If you’re not sure if you need an EIN for your business, here are some circumstances that require LLCs to obtain an EIN.
Your LLC is required to get an EIN if:
- Your LLC has employees
- Your LLC files excise tax
- Your LLC withholds taxes for nonwage income paid to a nonresident alien
The benefits of having an EIN outweigh the disadvantages and most banks require LLCs to have an EIN to open a checking account. Not to mention, it is free and easy to file for an EIN using the IRS website.
After You've Formed Your LLC
There are some important tasks you need to complete after forming your LLC, from obtaining the right permits to developing a strong web presence.
These are some of the most important things you need to do after forming your LLC:
Open a Business Bank Account and Credit Card
Opening a business bank account and getting a business credit card before you start operating is one of the most important things to do to maintain your LLC’s liability protection — also known as its corporate veil.
Limited liability protection means that the personal assets of the owner are not in danger if the business is sued or goes into debt. This is one of the biggest benefits of forming an LLC.
The easiest way to lose personal liability protection is to mix your personal financial accounts with the business.
Hire an Accountant
You might be thinking about doing your own accounting and avoiding hiring a professional to save some money. While this might be possible (especially with the help of accounting software), the advantages of hiring an accountant are likely to save you money in the long run — not to mention help you avoid potential legal troubles.
Hiring an accountant for your LLC can:
- Prevent the business from overpaying on taxes and helps it avoid penalties and fines
- Give you more time to focus on your growing business instead of doing accounting and bookkeeping
- Help you discover areas of unforeseen loss or extra profit
Take advantage of a free tax consultation with our trusted partners.
Research and Register for Business Licenses
Getting the right Florida business licenses and permits is one of the most important things to do after forming an LLC.
This can sometimes be an intimidating step, as the business license and permit requirements vary considerably from state to state and even between counties and cities. Different types of businesses may also have different licensing requirements, like seller's permits.
There are three main licensing jurisdictions: federal, state, and local.
To find out which business licenses you might need and how to get them, check out our How to Get a Business License guide.
Get Business Insurance
Every LLC should have some type (or types) of business insurance.
At a minimum, your LLC should have general liability insurance, which is a broad insurance policy that protects your business from lawsuits.
Before you decide on which business insurance to get for your LLC, check out our review of the 7 Best Small Business Insurance Companies.
Establish Your Web Presence
All businesses should have an internet presence. This includes having:
- A website
- Social media accounts
- A YouTube channel
The style of your website could vary greatly depending on the type of business you have as well as your own personal preferences.
If you don’t feel comfortable making your own website, there are a lot of tools and website builders that can help you create your own business website.
Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Florida LLC Checklist FAQ
How do I get my LLC in Florida?
To form an LLC in Florida, simply complete the Articles of Organization and submit them to the Department of State online or by mail along with a $125 filing fee. Alternatively, you can hire a professional LLC formation service to complete and submit your formation documents for you.
How much does it cost to start an LLC in Florida?
To form an LLC in Florida, you can expect to pay a $125 filing fee when you file your Articles of Organization with the Department of State. Learn more about the cost to form an LLC with this helpful guide.
What are the advantages of forming an LLC in Florida?
In addition to the benefits of pass-through taxation and personal liability protection you get when setting up an LLC, in Florida, you also have the advantage of no personal income tax and a relatively low corporate income tax rate of 5.50%. Learn more about the pros and cons of starting an LLC with our guide.