Florida Cleaning Business Start-up Laws

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This article provides three key state business startup requirements for self-employed sole proprietors and general partners who run residential house cleaning businesses. Information from the Secretary of State, the Florida Department of Revenue and selected city and county government sources were used to research this article.

Be aware that sole proprietor and general partner startup requirements in this state are always changing. Some requirements even vary from county to county.  It is important that you call or visit your local county or city government to find out local requirements for residential house cleaning businesses and home-based businesses. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal or tax advice.

Business Name Registration

Sole proprietors and general partners who want a business name that does not include the owner(s) full names (for example, Janice Smith’s Cleaning Service or Martha Harris  and Tom Graham’s Maid Service) need to find out whether the name they want to use is available in the state of Florida. Start with a statewide corporate business name search to avoid legal problems and customer confusion.

Then do an online search for names similar to the one you plan to use. For example, if you want to use the name, Crystal Clean Maid Service, do simple Google searches for “Crystal Clean Maid Service+Florida” plus Crystal Clean Maid Service+your county” and “Crystal Clean Maid Service+your town or city”. Search beyond the first page of results. Go at least five pages deep into the search results to see if the name you want or similar names are being used in your state, county or city.

In the state of Florida, filing a Fictitious Name or DBA (“doing business as” name) does not guarantee a business sole rights to the use of that name. Other businesses in the state may also register the same fictitious name. Registered businesses are expected to legally defend their trade names.  Register a Fictitious Name with the state.

Note: In the State of Florida, if you choose to register a fictitious name, you must certify on your application that the Fictitious Name you are registering has been advertised at least once in a newspaper located in the same county where your business will be located (or where you reside).

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Business License Registration

Sole Proprietors are not required to register with the state.  Sole Proprietors should check with their local county court clerk for registration requirements. Find a County Court Clerk in Florida.

General partnerships of two or more persons must register with the Division of Corporations.

In Florida, a general partnership is created when two or more owners form an oral or written agreement to start a business together. It is advisable for general partnerships to file for a Fictitious Name and a Statement of Partnership Authority. A Statement of Partnership Authority authorizes one partner as the primary contact person to the State of Florida, local taxing authorities and banks. A written partnership agreement drawn up by a lawyer is important for both or all partners.

Sole proprietors and general partners may apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS even if they do not plan to hire employees. Getting an EIN may make it easier to open a bank account and reduce your risk of identity theft.  You can apply for an EIN online.  In addition, some business registration forms will require a a NAICS business classification number for the house cleaning industry.

Business Tax Registration

Residential housecleaning services are not taxable in Florida. Cleaning services do not have to collect and send sales taxes to the Florida Department of Revenue.

Florida has no personal income tax. Business income from sole proprietorships and general partnerships is not taxed by the state. Sole proprietors and general partners do not have to file Florida Corporate Income/Franchise Tax Returns.

Florida general partnerships that file a Federal partnership information Form 1065, may need to file state income tax Form F-1065. Get more information from a CPA or qualified tax preparer to find out if your partnership must file those returns.

Selected Florida City Licenses (Business Tax Receipts)

Cape Coral Business License: https://www.capecoral.net/entrepreneur_guide/online.php

Clearwater Business License: https://www.myclearwater.com/government/city-departments/planning-development/divisions-/construction-services-building/business-tax-receipts-btr

Daytona Beach Business License: http://www.codb.us/index.aspx?nid=345

Fort Lauderdale Business License: https://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/sustainable-development/business-tax

Gainesville Business License: https://eservices1.cityofgainesville.org/BusinessTax/6/NewBusiness.aspx

Jacksonville Business License: http://www.coj.net/departments/tax-collector/local-business-tax

Miami-Dade County Business License: http://www.miamidade.gov/taxcollector/local-business-tax.asp

Orlando Business License: http://www.cityoforlando.net/permits/business-tax-receipt/

Pensacola Business License: https://www.cityofpensacola.com/FormCenter/Tax-5/Application-for-Business-LicenseTax-Rece-108

Port St. Lucie: https://www.cityofpsl.com/government/departments/financial-management-department/business-tax-division/business-tax-faqs#60

St. Petersburg Business License: http://www.stpete.org/assistance/business_tax_division/business_tax_application.php

Tallahassee Business License: No license or Business Tax Certificate needed since June of 2017.

Tampa Business License: https://apps.tampagov.net/www_webapp/default.aspx?page_id=11

14 Comments

  1. I registered my cleaning business through
    Inc Authority
    I am only waiting on my EIN
    I work alone and have no plans to hire anyone at this time
    I live in Lady Lake, Florida how do I find out what taxes I need to pay and what do I need come tax time
    I work out of my house
    Thank you

    1. Hi Kim,

      While you may not have to pay state taxes in Florida, your local city or county may tax your business. It would be a good idea to contact your county clerk and city clerk to find out about business tax registration. I would start with the city clerk’s office in Lady Lake, FL.

      Nearly every city, county and town in the US has a website. Just google your city’s name. Most cities have special pages for business licenses and tax registration. If you can’t find a dedicated business page, look for the city clerk’s office. Call or email the city clerk’s office to get more information. They are usually pretty helpful to new business owners.

      Kim, good luck with your new business!

  2. youlanda watkins says:

    I want to start a cleaning business in florida; cleaning vacation homes on the beach. I eventually want to hire employees. Where do I get my LLC or do I need one. Where do I go or how do I apply for a license. I live in Defuniak Springs Florida (walton county). No one is able to tell me.

    1. Hi Youlanda,

      You can start your cleaning business as a sole proprietor. When you are ready to hire W-2 employees, you can apply for a Limited Liability Company (LLC) with the State of Florida.

      The state of Florida and Walton County, do not require business licenses for house cleaners. The city of DeFuniak Springs, Fl does require a business license.

      Youlanda, if you still have any questions after reading those web pages, let me know.

      Good luck with your new business!

  3. Kathy Huestis says:

    Good morning. I would like to start a cleaning business for residential and dont know where to start. Can you please guide me in the right direction thank you

    1. Hi Kathy,

      Start by going to the State Start-up laws page. Click on your state. There you will find information on how to get started in your residential cleaning business.

  4. I am in West Palm beach and have a post construction/demolition clean up company. Do I need any license or are there any special requirements?

    1. Hi Siuler,

      You will get accurate information if you contact West Palm Beach, FL directly for that information. Every city, county and state is happy to provide information to business owners.

  5. Claribel Burgos Santiago says:

    Hello
    I reside in naples, fl i want to start a residential and Commercial cleaning company how do i start? Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Claribel,

      You can read articles on how to get started in residential cleaning in Getting Started.

      When you have made decisions about your business name, local licenses and who you want as customers, you can use the information on this page to legally start your house cleaning business.

      Good luck with your new business.

  6. Michelle Patterson says:

    Hello Judith, I am in the process of starting my cleaning business for vacation homes, apartment clean outs and new homes in 3 counties in the Orlando area . I have already registered the name, received the EIN number but now I am told I may need to obtain a business license to operate and an occupational license. But most of the sites I went to talks about a business tax registration, is that one in the same?

    Michelle P.

    1. Hi Michelle P.,

      Yes, they are one and the same. Many cities and counties across the country use business tax registration certificates instead of business licenses. Another name for business license is business privilege license.

      Kudos to you on doing what it takes to build your business on solid ground.

  7. Sara yarmesch says:

    Hi I live in Pinellas Co. TARPON SPRINGS .I registered my business LLC with Florida and irs .Do I need to have a business licenses for the county too ?

    1. Hi Sara,

      As an LLC, you need to go to the state division of corporations –Sunbiz.org– to get an accurate answer to your question.

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