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How to Set Up a New Business in Florida

Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at April 7th, 2019

Starting a Business in Florida

Do you want to set up a new business in Florida? So have you been wondering: precisely how do I start a business in Florida? And more importantly, can I do so no matter what the economic conditions are? Can I start a new business in Florida during a recession?

A New Business in Florida – Pros and Cons

First of all, Business Insider says the Sunshine State is the tenth best state to start a business, per a 2016 article. Florida hosts over 100 startup firms per 1,000 firms. This is the second highest density of startup businesses in the United States. The state also has an excellent business tax climate. This includes no individual income tax. Plus, Florida also has a rate of new entrepreneurs that ranks near the top.

Slight Upsurge

According to a 2018 article by Forbes, Florida was in seventh place. But keep in mind, the methods used by Forbes and Business Insider are undoubtedly different.

Still, why the change? Forbes likes Florida for its growth prospects (second in the nation) and its economic climate. Its regulatory environment and labor supply were not too shabby, either. Bust keep in mind that business costs were in the lower middle of the pack.

DBA for a New Business in Florida

By filing a fictitious name, or “Doing Business As,” a business owner can thereby provide their business with a name that stands apart from their own personal name or the registered name of a corporation or partnership. The Florida Division of Corporations has an online fictitious name registration service.

Start a New Business in Florida – Top Florida Industries

Per Investopedia, the top industries in the state of Florida are tourism and agriculture. Other Florida top industries are international trade; and aerospace and aviation. Another group of Florida top industries are in the life sciences and financial services. In addition, Florida is well known to be a retirement destination.

Smart business owners should be able to readily find opportunities amidst the larger industries. These can potentially include food service and hospitality; and inventing and supplying safety devices for agriculture. They can also include device manufacture and distribution for elder care; and trucking for any industry. Another opportunity is to offer data support for the financial services sector.

Here is exactly how to start a business in Florida.

Start a New Business in Florida – Florida New Business Secretary of State Requirements

Register a Business Name

By filing a fictitious name, or “Doing Business As,” a business owner can provide your business with a name that stands apart from their personal name or the registered name of the corporation or partnership. The Florida Division of Corporations provides an online fictitious name registration service.

There are special rules for naming corporations in Florida. To incorporate a small business in Florida, the name that a business owner chooses for their corporation must include the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” or “company.” If they would prefer, they may choose to use an abbreviation of one of these words in the name of the corporation instead of the full word.

Business Permits and Licenses

Go to the official website of Florida. There is a list of all professions and businesses that need licenses.

Local Permits and Licenses

Go to a non-government-affiliated website, “State of Florida”. They have a list of links to both Florida city offices and county websites.

Start a New Business in Florida – Business Registration

Visit the Florida Division of Corporations website. Surf to the “Start a Business” page.

Tax Registration

Go to the Florida Department of Revenue website for all tax registration information and forms.

New Business in Florida – the Virtual Office

Alliance offers several choices of cities for Florida virtual business offices. Note: the division of Northern, Central, and Southern Florida is rough. Alliance’s locations are:

Alliance – Northern Florida

Northern Florida is north of Gainesville.

  • Jacksonville

Alliance – Central Florida

Central Florida stretches from about Gainesville to Port St. Lucie.

  • Celebration
  • Lake Mary
  • Lakeland
  • Orlando
  • St. Petersburg
  • Tampa

Alliance – Southern Florida

Southern Florida is south of Port St. Lucie and includes the keys.

  • Aventura Boca Raton
  • Bonita Springs
  • Coral Gables
  • Doral
  • Estero
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Hollywood
  • Miami
  • Miami Beach
  • Naples
  • Palm Beach Gardens
  • Pembroke Pines
  • Plantation
  • West Palm Beach
  • Weston
  • Wilton Manors

In addition to many of the above cities, DaVinci offers Florida virtual office space. However, they don’t seem to have any unique spaces in Northern Florida. Instead, they have virtual office space in the following other cities:

DaVinci – Central Florida

Central Florida runs from about Gainesville to Port St. Lucie.

  • Altamonte Springs
  • Bradenton
  • Clearwater
  • Daytona Beach
  • Eustis
  • Sarasota
  • Wesley Chapel
  • Winter Park

DaVinci – Southern Florida

Southern Florida is south of Port St. Lucie and it includes the keys.

  • Boynton Beach Cape Coral
  • Coconut Grove
  • Coral Springs
  • Davie
  • Deerfield Beach
  • Delray Beach
  • Fort Myers
  • Jupiter
  • Key West
  • Miami Lakes
  • North Palm Beach
  • Pompano Beach
  • Sunrise

For virtual office space in other areas of the state, try Regus. Business owners might want to seek out local business owners. Or they could maybe even talk to computer user groups to try to find help in this area. Other options could include securing virtual business office space in Georgia or Alabama. Either may have the bonus of being less expensive.

Start a New Business in Florida – Build Business Credit

Business credit is credit in a company’s name. It doesn’t link to an entrepreneur’s personal credit, not even if the owner is a sole proprietor and the solitary employee of the company.

Thus, a business owner’s business and consumer credit scores can be very different.

The Benefits

Due to the fact that company credit is independent from personal, it helps to secure a small business owner’s personal assets, in case of legal action or business bankruptcy.

Also, with two separate credit scores, an entrepreneur can get two separate cards from the same vendor. This effectively doubles purchasing power.

Another advantage is that even startups can do this. Visiting a bank for a business loan can be a recipe for frustration. But building small business credit, when done properly, is a plan for success.

Individual credit scores depend upon payments but also various other considerations like credit utilization percentages.

But for small business credit, the scores truly only hinge on if a small business pays its bills on a timely basis.

Start a Business in Florida Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

The Process

Establishing company credit is a process, and it does not happen without effort. A company needs to proactively work to establish company credit.

Nonetheless, it can be done easily and quickly, and it is much faster than developing personal credit scores.

Merchants are a big aspect of this process.

Performing the steps out of order will lead to repetitive rejections. Nobody can start at the top with business credit. For example, you can’t start with retail or cash credit from your bank. If you do, you’ll get a rejection 100% of the time.

Small Business Fundability

A business has to be fundable to credit issuers and vendors.

Consequently, a small business will need a professional-looking web site and e-mail address. And it needs to have site hosting from a supplier such as GoDaddy.

Additionally, business phone and fax numbers ought to have a listing on 411.com.

Additionally, the business phone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or comparable).

A small business will also need a bank account devoted purely to it, and it must have every one of the licenses necessary for operation.

Start a New Business in Florida Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

Working with the Internal Revenue Service

Visit the Internal Revenue Service web site and get an EIN for the business. They’re free. Select a business entity like corporation, LLC, etc.

A business can start off as a sole proprietor. But they will probably wish to change to a form of corporation or an LLC.

This is in order to reduce risk. And it will take full advantage of tax benefits.

A business entity will matter when it pertains to tax obligations and liability in the event of litigation. A sole proprietorship means the owner is it when it comes to liability and tax obligations. Nobody else is responsible.

Sole Proprietors Take Note

If you run a small business as a sole proprietor, then at the very least be sure to file for a DBA. This is ‘doing business as’ status.

If you do not, then your personal name is the same as the business name. Consequently, you can end up being directly responsible for all business debts.

And also, per the Internal Revenue Service, using this structure there is a 1 in 7 chance of an IRS audit. There is a 1 in 50 chance for corporations! Steer clear of confusion and dramatically reduce the chances of an IRS audit at the same time.

Starting Off the Business Credit Reporting Process

Begin at the D&B web site and obtain a totally free D-U-N-S number. A D-U-N-S number is how D&B gets a small business in their system, to generate a PAYDEX score. If there is no D-U-N-S number, then there is no record and no PAYDEX score.

Once in D&B’s system, search Equifax and Experian’s websites for the company. You can do this at www.creditsuite.com/reports. If there is a record with them, check it for correctness and completeness. If there are no records with them, go to the next step in the process.

By doing so, Experian and Equifax will have activity to report on.

Vendor Credit Tier

First, you must build trade lines that report. This is also referred to as the vendor credit tier. Then you’ll have an established credit profile, and you’ll get a business credit score.

And with an established business credit profile and score you can start to obtain credit in the retail and cash credit tiers.

These sorts of accounts have the tendency to be for the things bought all the time, like marketing materials, shipping boxes, outdoor work wear, ink and toner, and office furniture.

But first off, what is trade credit? These trade lines are credit issuers who will give you initial credit when you have none now. Terms are frequently Net 30, versus revolving.

So, if you get approval for $1,000 in vendor credit and use all of it, you need to pay that money back in a set term, such as within 30 days on a Net 30 account.

DetailsStart a New Business in Florida Credit Suite

Net 30 accounts must be paid in full within 30 days. 60 accounts must be paid completely within 60 days. In comparison with revolving accounts, you have a set time when you have to pay back what you borrowed or the credit you used.

To kick off your business credit profile the proper way, you should get approval for vendor accounts that report to the business credit reporting agencies. Once that’s done, you can then use the credit.

Then pay back what you used, and the account is on report to Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, or Equifax.

Vendor Credit Tier – It Makes Sense

Not every vendor can help in the same way true starter credit can. These are merchants that will grant an approval with very little effort. You also need them to be reporting to one or more of the big three CRAs: Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian.

You want 5 to 8 of these to move onto the next step, which is the retail credit tier. But you may have to apply more than one time to these vendors. So, this is to prove you are responsible and will pay on time.

Retail Credit Tier

Once there are 5 to 8 or more vendor trade accounts reporting to at least one of the CRAs, then move onto the retail credit tier. These are businesses such as Office Depot and Staples.

Only use your Social Security Number and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, use the company’s EIN on these credit applications.

One good example is Lowe’s. They report to D&B, Equifax and Business Experian. They want to see a D-U-N-S and a PAYDEX score of 78 or more.

Fleet Credit Tier

Are there 8 to 10 accounts reporting? Then move onto the fleet credit tier. These are companies like BP and Conoco. Use this credit to purchase fuel, and to fix, and take care of vehicles. Only use your Social Security Number and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, make sure to apply using the business’s EIN.

One such example is Shell. They report to D&B and Business Experian. They need to see a PAYDEX Score of 78 or better and a 411 business telephone listing.

Shell may say they want a particular amount of time in business or revenue. But if you already have enough vendor accounts, that won’t be necessary. And you can still get approval.

Start a New Business in Florida Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

Cash Credit Tier

Have you been sensibly handling the credit you’ve up to this point? Then move to the cash credit tier. These are service providers like Visa and MasterCard. Just use your SSN and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, use your EIN instead.

One example is the Fuelman MasterCard. They report to D&B and Equifax Business. They need to see a PAYDEX Score of 78 or higher. And they also want you to have 10 trade lines reporting on your D&B report.

Plus, they want to see a $10,000 high credit limit reporting on your D&B report (other account reporting).

Additionally, they want you to have an established company.

These are service providers such as Walmart and Dell, and also Home Depot, BP, and Racetrac. These are often MasterCard credit cards. If you have 14 trade accounts reporting, then these are doable.

Start a New Business in Florida –Monitor Your Business Credit

Know what is happening with your credit. Make sure it is being reported and attend to any mistakes as soon as possible. Get in the practice of checking credit reports and digging into the specifics, and not just the scores.

We can help you monitor business credit at Experian and D&B for only $24/month.

See: www.creditsuite.com/monitoring.

Update Your Information

Update the info if there are mistakes or the information is incomplete.

Start a New Business in Florida –Fix Your Business Credit

So, what’s all this monitoring for? It’s to contest any mistakes in your records. Mistakes in your credit report(s) can be corrected. But the CRAs normally want you to dispute in a particular way.

Disputes

Disputing credit report errors commonly means you send a paper letter with duplicates of any proof of payment with it. These are documents like receipts and cancelled checks. Never mail the originals. Always send copies and retain the original copies.

Fixing credit report errors also means you precisely itemize any charges you dispute. Make your dispute letter as crystal clear as possible. Be specific about the issues with your report. Use certified mail so that you will have proof that you sent in your dispute.

Start a New Business in Florida – A Word about Business Credit Building

Always use credit smartly! Don’t borrow beyond what you can pay back. Keep an eye on balances and deadlines for payments. Paying in a timely manner and in full will do more to boost business credit scores than almost anything else.

Building small business credit pays. Good business credit scores help a company get loans. Your lending institution knows the company can pay its financial obligations. They understand the company is bona fide.

The business’s EIN links to high scores and credit issuers won’t feel the need to request a personal guarantee.

Business credit is an asset which can help your business in years to come.

Learn more here and get started toward opening a new business in Florida.

Want to start a new business someplace else in America? Then check out our handy guide to starting a business in any state in the country.

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