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What licenses do you need for your Florida business?

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Starting a business comes with a long to-do list, from coming up with a name to creating contracts. One of the items on that list is securing the licenses and permits you need to legally do business. Their purpose is to track transactions for taxes and to protect customers from unsafe or fraudulent actions.

There are so many licenses that you may not know which ones you need. Some are requirements for all Florida businesses, whereas others depend on the industry you are in, the products you offer and how far-reaching your company is geographically.

General business licenses and permits

All companies, no matter the niche, require the following licenses and permits:

  • Local business operation: This license from the city or county allows you to do business in the area. Home-based and online businesses need permits, too.
  • Tax ID (federal employee identification number): This is necessary for tax purposes, even if you are a nonprofit company.
  • Zoning license: This ensures you can conduct your business in a specific part of the city.

Remember to display your licenses and review renewal dates to ensure you always stay compliant with the law. 

Specific business licenses and permits

Being in certain industries require additional licenses and permits. You may need ones from federal agencies for areas such as agriculture, alcohol, transportation and communications, says the U.S. Small Business Administration. Medical, legal, personal-care and other professions require state licensure. If you sell food, you must have a health permit. If you have a large establishment open to the public, you need a permit from the fire department to ensure safety. If you are building the establishment instead of using an already existing one, you require a building permit.

If you expand the size or service of your company, you may need to re-license the business to accommodate the changes. When in doubt, the best thing to do is talk to your local government or your attorney.

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