Jacksonville is a city that is located on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, and also the largest city by area in the contiguous United States as of 2020. As of 2020, Jacksonville’s population was 949,611, making it the 12th most populous city in the U.S., the most populous city in the Southeast, and the most populous city in the South of Texas.

Florida, which Jacksonville is a part of, is known to be a tax-friendly state that doesn’t enforce an income tax on individuals and has a 6 percent sales tax. Corporations conducting their businesses in Jacksonville, Florida are expected to pay a 5.5 percent income tax. But S corporations, LLCs, and sole proprietorships do not pay tax from their income.

How to Start a Business in Jacksonville Florida

Step One: Pick a Practicable Business Niche or Idea

One of the most important steps to take if you want to start a business in Jacksonville, Florida is to choose a workable business idea or niche. Interestingly, Jacksonville is privileged to have a diverse economy, and the key industries include financial services, advanced transportation and logistics, health and biomedical, advanced manufacturing, IT and innovation, and military/defense contracting.

In essence, your first port of call if you want to start a business should be to choose a practicable business idea that can succeed in the location you want to start the business, and of course, it should be a business idea that you truly care for.

Step Two: Carry Out Your Market Survey and Feasibility Study

The next step to take after you have picked a practicable business idea is to carry out market surveys and feasibility studies.

The result you get from your market survey and feasibility study will help you make the right decision, especially as it relates to the business you want to start, your choice of office location, your factory, or shop facility, and the demographic composition of your target market.

Your market survey and feasibility study should also give you a hint about the competition you are likely to face, where to get your products, your raw materials, and every other resource that can help determine the success of the business.

Step Three: Pick an Attractive Name for Your Business

Another important step you are expected to take if you want to start a business in Jacksonville, Florida is to pick an attractive name for your business. When picking a name for your business, just make sure you are creative with the business name you come up with.

The rule of thumb when it comes to picking a name for your business is to go by what is obtainable in the industry you want to operate.

In Jacksonville, Florida, prior to picking a name for your business, it is advisable to use viable online resources. Please make sure that the name you choose is available in Florida and has a URL. If the URL is still available, you can just go ahead to tie it down so as to prevent someone else from making use of it.

Step Four: Draft a Practicable Business Plan Document

Another important thing to note if you want to start a business in Jacksonville, Florida is to prepare your business plan regardless of the nature or the size of the business you want to start. A Business plan is a blueprint that is needed to successfully run a business; with a well-written and practicable business plan, you would have succeeded in reducing errors when it comes to running your business.

Please note that when writing your business plan, you should make sure that you are realistic and do not over-project when allocating figures on your projected profits and income. The truth is that it is better when you underestimate than to over-project.

Step Five: Pick a Legal Entity for Your Business

In Jacksonville, Florida, it is crime to operate a business without duly registering the business as a legal entity. Registering your Florida company as a legal business entity has two important benefits; it will boost the business’s credibility and will also give the business the needed protection especially as it relates to personal liability whenever the business is taken to court.

For a large percentage of businesses in Jacksonville, Florida, registering as a limited liability company (LLC ) is the best option. When compared to other business entities, limited liability companies (LLCs) are by far less stressful to start and operate.

Besides, limited liability companies (LLCs) also enjoy good tax treatment. It will cost you a total of $125 to register your limited liability company (LLC) in Florida. Please note that this fee covers the fees for the registered agent designate and also for filing the Articles of Organization.

Step Six: Register Your Business Name

After you must have done all that is stated above, then you need to register your business name. Of course, you would have done the needed business name search that will confirm that you are not using a name that is already in the official database.

For most small businesses in Jacksonville, Florida, registering a limited liability company (an LLC) is a great option. In comparison to other business entities, limited liability companies (LLCs) are easier to set up and manage and they have favorable tax treatment. To find a company’s registered agent, you would need to go online to search for one or look through your state’s business directories.

Step Seven: Look for Finance

As it relates to sourcing a loan for startups in Jacksonville, Florida, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is your sure plug. Getting first-hand information on how SBA loans work in the United States might be all an aspiring entrepreneur needs to finance his or her business.

This is so because the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) is a major source of financing for entrepreneurs especially those that operate small businesses. In the United States, the Small Business Administration has loads of loan programs that have made it easy for businesses to access the needed funding.

Come to think of it, available data shows that some companies that are currently listed under Fortune 500 in the US also started off with SBA loans.

Step Eight: Apply and Obtain the Needed Business License and Permits

Another important step you are expected to take if you want to start a business in Jacksonville, Florida is to obtain the required state business licenses and permits to operate your business. Please note that before you can operate your newly registered business legally in Jacksonville, Florida, you are required to conform to local government, state, and federal regulations.

In most cases, it will require that you get just a business license and/or permit. For example, a food or drink-related business is expected to apply for and obtain food and drink handling permits, health permits, signage permits, building permits, et al.

In Florida, a license can be available for as low as just a day and as long as a year. The license fees start from $95 for a one to three-day license, $105 for a four- to 30-day license, and $1,000 for an annual license.

Before applying for this license, make sure you have all the required documents handy, including your Social Security number if you want to apply for a Temporary Event Vendor License. In Florida, sales tax permit application is free when you register online. But when you apply via the mail you will pay $5.

STEP Nine: Register for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)

In Jacksonville, Florida, and all other states in the United States, you are required to register for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). Before you can register for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), you are required to complete and file IRS Form SS-4, EIN.

You are required to file this if you: pay wages to one or more employees; or are required to have a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) to use on a specific return, statement, or document (often banks will require this for a business checking account); or plan to incorporate (please note that if you earn from the business as the owner, you will be considered as an employee of the company).

You can get the form from the closest IRS office, or call 1-800-829-3676. IRS forms and publications can be downloaded from their website: www.irs.gov. Have in mind that if you hire employees in Florida, you will have to register for Unemployment Insurance Tax and Employee Withholding Tax on behalf of your employees.

STEP Ten: Open a Florida Bank Account

Part of the requirements for starting a business in Jacksonville, Florida is to open a Florida bank account. The documents you would need to open an account in Florida are your approved Articles of Organization, your EIN Confirmation Letter from the IRS, and your driver’s license or passport.

You may as well call your preferred bank ahead of time to find out if you need to come along with any other document that is not listed on their website.

Step Eleven: Buy the Required Business Insurance

In Florida, you cannot legally run your business without first securing the needed insurance. You may want to talk to an insurance expert, they are in the best position to tell you all you need to know as it relates to insurance for your business.

But you should make plans to buy general Insurance, Workers’ compensation, Liability insurance, Health/Medical insurance, Overhead expense disability insurance, Payment protection insurance, and Business owner’s policy group insurance.

In Florida, you will need workers’ compensation insurance if you have plans to hire a minimum of four full-time or part-time employees. If you run a construction-related business, it is also mandatory that you get workers’ compensation insurance for all your employees.

Please note that the above may not apply to businesses that operate from home and that is why you should visit the regulating authority to know the type of insurance policy cover you need for your home-based business.

Step Twelve: Rent or Lease Your Office or Factory 

Lastly, a good location to start your business is part of what you need to consider if you want to start a business in Jacksonville, Florida. If you want to lease or rent an office or production facility in Jacksonville, Florida, you should be mindful of the zoning law.

Before making a choice of location, it is advisable to visit the county office to know if your business will meet the local zoning laws.

In Conclusion,

In as much as all the information given above are correct, you can still double-check with the regulating authority to be sure nothing has changed from the time this article was written.