Theme parks, warm weather, an international city – what’s not to like about Orlando, Florida?
Florida’s third-largest city is a great place to visit and a great place to do business. That’s right, it’s not just a tourist destination, it could be the home of your future business.
Sound tempting? Picture yourself working and succeeding in Orlando.
But before you pack up your bags and move, here are five things you need to consider before starting a business in Orlando.
1. Pick Your Location
Maybe you’re interested in running your business out of your home office, or maybe you require an office or retail space. Regardless of what you need, determining where in Orlando you want to be. Consider the pros and cons of each location before you start a business.
2. Check Your Eligibility and Register With the Local Government
You also need to see if your new business is eligible to be opened in Orlando. You can check your eligibility at the Orlando government site. Your business must be located within the city limits.
If your business is being operated within your residence, you must provide a sketch with dimensions of the floor plan, as well as provide a notarized letter of approval from a property manager or owner. There’s also a one-time processing fee of $50.
Once you apply and your application is processed, you then need an Orange County business tax receipt. Tax receipts expire September 30, and payment is due October 1. Delinquency penalties may apply for late payments.
3. Permits, Licenses, and Taxes
Not every business will require permits or licenses. However, certain industries definitely will. For example, a restaurant may need health permits, building permits, and possibly an alcohol license.
If your business will sell taxable goods and services, you need to register with the Florida Department of Revenue. At the very least, you will need to file for corporate income tax. The exception is single-member LLCs.
As of right now, the state tax rate is 4.458 percent, but it will increase to 5.5 percent effective January 1, 2022.
Also, consider sales tax. The sales tax for Orlando is 0 percent. However, the state sales tax is 6 percent, and the county sales tax is 0.5 percent, for a combined minimum sales tax of 6.5 percent.
4. Find the Fun(ding)
Decide how you are going to fund your new business venture. Will you use credit cards, crowdfunding, small business loans, other loans, or a combination? An online business loan is faster and flexible than traditional loans issued by banks or credit unions.
If you’re not sure what type of funding is best for you or how to access it, check out Florida’s Small Business Development Center. They may be able to help you with loan programs and lines of credit.
5. Without Marketing Your Business Is Invisible
One of the best marketing tools is SEO or search engine optimization. It’s the process of improving your ranking in search engines to increase traffic to your site. It’s a tricky process, and not something anyone can do.
You need industry-specific SEO that will reach clients in your local market. The rules of SEO are changing constantly, and what used to work a year ago or even a few months ago may no longer be relevant.
Many businesses will offer SEO, but not all will offer the targeted SEO you need for the Orlando market. A local expert will be able to get your business into local directories, optimize your Google business page, and create inbound SEO for you. It’s a lot for one person to handle, so consult an expert to learn more.
Starting a Business in Orlando Is a Great Choice
Orlando is a great place to start a business. The Sunshine State offers low taxes and warmer year-round weather than most places in the U.S., and Orlando is host to tourists and professional conferences year-round, ensuring you will always have customers.
If you decide to do business in Orlando, follow these tips to make your transition into your new market a success.
For more business tips and tricks, check out other articles in our business section.