A limited liability company, or LLC, is one of the best asset-protection tools available to entrepreneurs today. It is the most popular type of business entity in Florida (532,137 LLCs were registered in 2021 alone), and can offer you and your business stronger credibility, liability protection, and no state income tax.
There are two categories of costs you’ll be responsible for when starting your Florida LLC: formation costs (one-time fees) and maintenance costs (annual fees). Here’s everything you need to know about both.
Florida LLC Formation Costs
When you form your Florida LLC, you’ll be responsible for paying several startup expenses. These include your Articles of Organization filing fee, Registered Agent Designation fee, and any fees associated with business permits and licenses.
Here’s a brief breakdown of the individual costs.
Articles of Organization Filing Fee ($100)
Your Articles of Organization are the first (and most important) legal document you’ll need to file for your Florida LLC. Think of this document as your business’s birth certificate. It’s what officially recognizes your business as an LLC, so it’s kind of a big deal.
When you have your Articles of Organization completed and are ready to file (filing online is the easiest way), you will be prompted to pay a one-time fee of $100.
Registered Agent Designation Fee ($25)
Florida has a mandatory Registered Agent Designation fee ($25) that you must pay regardless of who you designate as your registered agent. It’s your place holder to operate in the state of Florida.
It’s important to note that you DO NOT automatically receive registered agent services just because you pay this fee. You will still have to designate a registered agent of your choosing. You can either A) be your own registered agent (which is free, but there are risks) or B) hire a registered agent service to ensure your business maintains compliance (prices will vary).
Be Your Own Registered Agent or Hire a Third-Party
Florida LLCs are required by law to have a registered agent. You can act as your own (here’s why that’s a bad idea) or hire a registered agent service to simplify things. Being your own registered agent will come at no extra cost to you, while third-party services can range anywhere from $50-$100 a year.
Acting as your own registered agent is not recommended, especially if you’re someone who values their privacy. When you designate yourself as your registered agent, your name and address will be made publicly available online. All it takes is a visit to the Florida Divisions of Corporations website to uncover the personal details of registered agents in Florida (and yes – that includes your name and address).
Florida Secretary of State registered agent search
Principal address, mailing address, registered agent address
Did those images above give you chills? Think how easy it is for anyone to search your personal information if you used your home address for all of it.
How do you avoid all that private information (mailing address, business address, and registered agent address) from being public? There’s good news, a better option available for you is using a virtual mailbox combined with registered agent services.
Get FREE Registered Agent Services
Not quite ready for the commitment of being your own registered agent, but don’t want to shell out the extra fees to hire one? With a VPM virtual mailbox, you’ll get FREE registered agent services for as long as you are a customer.
Your VPM virtual mailbox allows you to view and manage your mail and packages online from anywhere in the world. You’ll get a permanent mailing and business address that never moves, even if you do. Best of all, you’ll be able to take advantage of FREE registered agent services, allowing you to protect your privacy and access all service of process with same day access. Check out what you can get by combining a virtual mailbox and registered agent.
Business Permits and Licenses (Varies)
Florida does not require a state-wide business license, so that’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about. However, if you’re operating in a regulated industry (think real estate, food service, or anything medical-related), there’s a good chance you may need to apply for a business license through the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation.
Foreign Qualification Fee ($125)
If your LLC was formed in another state and you are planning to expand your business into Florida, you will need to file an Application for Authorization and pay the associated foreign qualification fee ($125).
Optional: Certified Copy of Record ($30)
Acquiring a certified copy of your LLC formation documents is optional, but it’s a good idea for every business owner to have one. You may need a certified copy of your Articles of Organization at some point in the future, when opening a business bank account or securing a business loan. Certain business licenses may also require it.
For these reasons, it’s recommended that you order a Copy of Record and place it in your internal records for safekeeping.
Optional: Certificate of Status ($5)
A certificate of status (sometimes referred to as a certificate of good standing) is a written document that verifies that your LLC was legally formed in the state of Florida.
It is not a legal requirement to obtain a certificate of status for your Florida LLC. However, you may need this document should you decide to open a business bank account or conduct business outside of the state of Florida.
Florida LLC Maintenance Costs
After you form your Florida LLC, the only recurring expenses you’ll need to worry about are your annual report fee, as well as any fees associated with renewing registered agent services and business licenses.
Annual Report Fee ($138.75)
Your Florida LLC’s annual report is due by May 1st each calendar year. If you forget to pay by the due date, a $400 late fee will be assessed.
Think of all the things you could’ve bought with $400: a brand new desk, a fancy laptop, a comfortable office chair… the list goes on! To avoid this fate, set a Google alert on your phone to remind you of this payment well in advance.
If you need to make changes to your Articles of Organization, you will need to file an Amended Report and pay the associated fee ($50).
Registered Agent Renewal (Varies)
If you’re not updating your registered agent information, this particular fee won’t apply to you. To update your registered agent information you will have to pay $25 for a change of registered agent.
For general compliance and maintaining the current registered agent you can expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $100 a year for if you’ve chosen to employ a third-party registered agent service.
Is there a cost that you’re not seeing? You can check out the full list here.
Cost Comparison Chart
If you’ve made it this far into the article, you’re probably pretty confident in your choice to incorporate in Florida. But just in case you’re still on the fence, here’s a handy chart that displays the different LLC formation costs between some of the more popular states.
LLC cost comparison chart: FL, NV, DE, CA
*In the state of California, LLCs making over $250,000 in annual profits will have to pay additional fees. To find out more details go here.
With that being said, states like Delaware and Nevada offer unique sets of benefits compared to Florida so be sure to evaluate what you want to achieve for your business because the location matters.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to costs associated with forming a Florida LLC.
What documents will I need to form my LLC?
In the state of Florida, the only mandatory document you’ll need to file for LLC incorporation is your Articles of Organization. However, you must also apply for an EIN, obtain a registered agent, and create an operating agreement (though not required, it is highly recommended).
What other costs are associated with forming a Florida LLC?
Forming a Florida LLC can be intimidating, leading many first-time business owners to hire outside help. This will add another expense to your list of startup costs.
Other costs associated with forming a Florida LLC include paying for a domain name and website for your business (important for branding purposes and visibility), attorney fees if you’re operating in a complicated or highly regulated industry and have additional questions, and of course, taxes. Florida LLCs aren’t required to file a corporate tax return, but you may owe unemployment tax if you hire additional employees.
Have other questions? You can see what others have asked here or you can ask on VPM’s community forum.
Form Your Florida LLC
When forming your Florida LLC, you can expect to pay a minimum of $125 and you can prepare for all the costs to expect before and after you form.
Ready to get your Florida LLC up and running so you can sit back and relax in the sand? You don’t need to hire a third-party to help, you can do it all on your own with this guide.