How to Start a Florida LLC

how to start a Florida LLC

Getting started as an LLC is the first step in building your business. We’ll walk you through a step-by-step process of forming your Florida LLC, from choosing a name to filing your articles of organization.

Picking your LLC name is both a legal and marketing decision. It must be unique and distinguishable from existing Florida businesses.

Filing Articles of Organization

The articles of organization are the initial documents that register your company with the state. Florida’s articles are relatively simple and can be filed online or by mail. Once your articles are accepted by the state (normally one week when filed online, a couple of weeks for mailed filings) you will be able to download a copy and store it with your other business records.

You will need to include your LLC name, the address of your registered agent (a physical street address is required), the name and contact information for each manager or member (member-managed LLCs only) and an effective date. You can choose a date up to 90 days in the future, but your company will not be active until that date passes.

We recommend creating an operating agreement, which is a contract between the members and lays out how your company will function. It will also help avoid disagreements and disputes. BetterLegal has helped tens of thousands of businesses set up their operating agreements, and we can prepare yours for a reasonable fee.

Obtaining a Registered Agent

Florida requires every LLC to have a registered agent, which is the person or company who receives legal documents and service of process for your business. Your registered agent should have a physical street address in the state of Florida (not a P.O. box) and be available during normal business hours. You can choose to be your own registered agent, but this puts your personal information into public record and may present privacy issues if you operate your business out of your home. You can also hire a professional registered agent service like BetterLegal to serve as your Florida registered agent for only $50 to $150 per year.

Next, your LLC will need to obtain its federal tax ID number, known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This number is used to file taxes and open a bank account for the LLC. You can get an EIN online for free at the IRS website.

Obtaining a Business License

Obtaining a business license is often a requirement for an LLC before it can operate legally. These are typically obtained through the state agency responsible for that activity or industry.

You must also register your LLC with the Internal Revenue Service for a Federal Employer Identification Number, commonly known as an EIN. This nine-digit number acts similarly to a personal Social Security Number for your LLC. It helps identify your company when filing taxes, annual reports and other official paperwork.

A Florida registered agent must be available during regular business hours to receive legal papers on behalf of your LLC if it is sued. This can be an individual resident in Florida or a business entity licensed to do business in the state.

An operating agreement describes how your LLC is managed and how profits are allocated. It is not required in Florida, but it can help you define your goals and give credibility to your business.

Creating an Operating Agreement

Once the Articles of Organization are filed, you will need to apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). This nine-digit number acts as a business Social Security number and is needed for tax purposes. An EIN can be obtained online.

You must also create an LLC operating agreement. The document will outline how your LLC will be managed, voted on and how capital contributions and profits will be distributed. It should also detail procedures for admitting new members and removing existing ones. It should state whether the LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed and set out the procedure for voting on important decisions.

The operating agreement will also establish the duration of the LLC, which can be a specified period of time or perpetual. It should include details on how the LLC will be dissolved in the event it is sold or closed. It will also define which assets are personal and which belong to the business, helping to protect members’ personal assets.