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Licenses, Permits, Zoning and Enforcement: What Business Owners Need to Know About Administrative Law

When starting a new business in Florida, there are several legal considerations that need to be addressed. While some of these considerations are the same for all new businesses (such as choosing a business entity and preparing contracts for use with vendors and customers), certain legal requirements will vary from one business to the next.

One area where this is the case is administrative compliance. Depending upon the nature of your business, the size of your business and where you will operate, your company may be subject to a host of licensing, permitting and zoning conditions. The following is a non-exclusive list of administrative requirements that apply to businesses operating in Florida:

1. State and County Tax Registrations

Florida law imposes a variety of different taxes that apply to different types of businesses. From selling physical products to disposing of hazardous substances, various business practices can trigger special tax obligations in Florida, including:

  • Communications services tax
  • Discretionary sales surtax (a county-level tax similar to sales and use tax)
  • Fuel tax
  • Pollutants tax
  • Reemployment tax
  • Sales and use tax

2. Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) Licenses

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) regulates businesses operating in Florida, and many businesses are subject to licensing requirements imposed by DBPR. The following types of businesses are all subject to DBPR licensing requirements:

  • Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco
  • Architects
  • Asbestos Contractors and Consultants
  • Athlete Agents
  • Auctioneers
  • Barbers
  • Boxing, Kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts
  • Building Code Administrators and Inspectors
  • Certified Public Accounting
  • Community Association Managers
  • Construction Industry
  • Cosmetology
  • Drugs, Devices and Cosmetics Program
  • Electrical and Alarm Contractors
  • Elevators and Other Conveyances, Technicians, Inspectors and Companies
  • Employee Leasing Companies
  • Geologists
  • Harbor Pilots
  • Home Inspectors
  • Hotels, Motels, Apartments and other lodging
  • Interior Design
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Mold-Related Services
  • Pari-Mutuel Wagering Facilities
  • Real Estate
  • Restaurants, Take-outs, Delivery, Caterers and Mobile Food Vendors
  • Talent Agencies
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Yacht and Ship Brokers and Salespersons

3. Permits and Zoning

Cities and counties throughout Florida require local business to obtain various types of permits and zoning approvals before opening for business. Some of the most-common permitting requirements include:

  • Alarm permits
  • Building permits
  • Health and safety permits
  • Local business licenses
  • Occupancy permits
  • Sign permits
  • Tax permits

4. Trade Name Registrations

If your business operates under a name that is different from the legal name of your corporation or limited liability company (LLC), you will need to register your “trade name” (also known as a “fictitious name” or “doing business as” registration) with the Florida Division of Corporations.

5. Workers’ Compensation Insurance (or Self-Insurance)

Before hiring employees, your company must purchase workers’ compensation insurance from the Florida Workers’ Compensation Joint Underwriting Association or a commercial insurance carrier. Alternatively, your company can self-insure; or, if your company is eligible, you can file for an exemption.

Speak With a Fort Lauderdale Administrative Lawyer About Your Company’s Needs

If you are starting a business in South Florida and need help making sure your company is legally-compliant, we encourage you to contact us for an initial consultation. To speak with a lawyer about your company’s needs, please call (954) 767-9662 or inquire online today.