Sat 09 Apr 2016 | By:

Why and How to Start a Florida LLC

How to Form an LLC Online

Are you thinking about starting an LLC in Florida? In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages of an LLC and how it will benefit your business: both now and later.  If you decide this is the best business structure for you, I will walk you through the entire registration process.

However, if you are nervous about the filing process and would prefer that professionals handle it to ensure accuracy, look into a service like IncFile (for $49) or LegalZoom (for $149). Both services use online questionnaires that take you less than 15 minutes to complete.  The rest is taken care of for you!

If you’d like to handle the incorporation process yourself, keep reading for our step-by-step guide.  Otherwise look into one of the incorporation services mentioned above. Do what is best for your business!


Why Form an LLC in Florida?

1) Protection Against Liabilities

Liability … a word that makes most entrepreneurs quiver.  Liability simply means the state of being responsible for something.  In business, liabilities can be quite complicated.

Liabilities can become a big problem, regardless of the type of business you are conducting.  Liabilities are inevitable, and can be lethal to both the business and the business owner.

Starting a small business will always contain accompanying risks, liabilities being one of them. However, when you incorporate your business, you’ll be able to protect yourself from personal, financial and legal liabilities.

Since you and your business are considered separate and independent entities, one will not be responsible for the mistakes of another.  Your business will also be given the right to due process if you were to encounter any kind of problem in the future.

2) Lesser Compliance Requirements

State imposed compliance requirements for LLCs in Florida are less when compared to other business structures.

This means that you don’t have to complete and maintain numerous documents, pay expensive fees, and visit different offices every year just to continue operating your Florida startup. All you have to do is focus on running your business!

3) Lenient Laws Regulating LLC’s

Unlike other business entities, Florida LLC’s are not subject to strict government regulations.  Restrictions are also less, leaving entrepreneurs who run an LLC with the freedom to run their business as they please, provided they follow Florida law.

Many entrepreneurs view this as of the best advantages to forming an LLC.

4) Flexible Management Structure

Unlike corporations, where you need to create a well-defined management structure, LLC’s can be managed with or without an organizational structure in place. Business owners have the freedom to choose how to run their business. As long as you follow state laws and regulations, you are free to run your business as you choose.

The state of Florida, specifically does not impose rules when it comes to the management structure. You can decide amongst your co-founders/owners if you want to manage your Florida small business on your own, hire managers or appoint board members – it’s all up to you!

5) Builds Business Credibility

It’s simple, when you register your business before the state or concerned offices, you get the legal permission to operate your business.  This leaves you protected by law.  Your consumers are safeguarded as well.

An additional perk is using the term LLC or L.L.C. after your business name. It’s not just cool; it’s a great way to build your business credibility and boost your employees’ morale.

When your reputation is good, you will draw in a more customers. The more customers trust you, the more likely they will patronize your products and services.  Eventually, these patrons will become your loyal customers.  You are laying the groundwork for an important relationship: the business-to-consumer relationship.

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How to Form an LLC in Florida

1) Name Your Florida LLC

Choose a Business NameTo start a Florida LLC, first create a suitable name for your startup. There’s a simple rule when it comes to naming your Florida LLC: select a unique business name that will not confuse the public.

The business name should also not be a duplicate in order for it to be approved by the Florida Secretary of State. You can check for duplicates through the Division of Corporations of Florida business name search database.


2) Hire a Florida Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentA Florida Registered Agent will play a great role in the overall success of your business.

Registered agents are professionals who act as third party representatives to businesses.  They are responsible for receiving and sorting out pertinent documents, such as legal forms and government paperwork.  Having a registered agent is  mandatory in the state of Florida.

When hiring a registered agent, screen them closely to ensure you select the most qualified person for the job.  Examine their credibility, years of experience, track record, and client feedback. This criterion will help you select a professional who is the best fit for you and your Florida startup.

3) File Your Articles of Incorporation

Register an LLCThe Articles of Incorporation is the most important document you need to file when completing your Florida LLC.

This is a fairly easy document to obtain, simply download the Articles of Organization form and fill it out correctly. Everything you need to know is on the form, from the instructions to the address where to send it. You can also submit your form directly online.  Be prepared to pay a $120 filing fee.


4) Obtain an Employer Identification Number

Get an EIN for Your LLCAn Employer Identification Number is another necessary requirement.

An EIN can be compared to a social security number for your business; you need one so the Internal Revenue Service can monitor your business activities, namely your taxes. You can easily obtain an EIN from the IRS for free.

5) Make an Operating Agreement

Create an Operating AgreementAlthough an Operating Agreement is not mandatory when forming an LLC in Florida, creating one is highly recommended. An Operating Agreement will stipulate the functions and financial terms of how you run your business.

This is especially helpful for Florida startups owned by several founders. If you have no experience in writing an Operating Agreement, this site will assist you in making a customizable Operating Agreement.


Supplementary Requirements

1) Write a Solid Business Plan

Write a Business PlanWriting a business plan is not a requirement to form an LLC in Florida, but it will help your business be successful.

If you want to know whether your business idea is viable, you must have a business plan. It will also allow you to create and set reasonable and achievable goals. You will create strategies to work towards your goals and build an evaluation method where you can measure success objectively.

A business plan is a valuable tool that you can use for as long as your business exists.

Quick Links to Writing a Business Plan


2) Pay Your Florida LLC Taxes

Small Business TaxesThis is a mandatory requirement if you want to stay in good graces with the Internal Revenue Service.

LLC’s also have required taxes that must be paid to continue operating your business within the state of Florida.

Avoid sanctions, extra fees and charges by fully understanding tax regulations. Failure to pay taxes may cost you your business.  Secure a proper accounting system so you’ll be able to anticipate future tax costs.


3) Comply with Annual Report

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsAn annual report is required in Florida every year. This must be filed on the first date of your anniversary month every year.

If you miss submitting a report, you may be fined or your business could be closed down.  There may also be other requirements.   Visit your local county or city hall to inquire what documents are needed to stay compliant.

To start your Florida LLC on the right foot, file all the required documents. Doing so will help you avoid problems in the future.  That way you can focus on running your Florida small business.

This guide summarizes the requirements and procedures to help you accomplish your goals as efficiently as possible. Good luck!

Please keep in mind that this guide is not meant for legal purposes and is not legal advice. If you want specific answers for forming an LLC in Florida, consult with a professional.

About Ryan James

Half hardworking hermit, half avid adventurer, Ryan founded Startup Savant to simplify entrepreneurship and pay it forward by donating a portion of all revenue to support children's education via