Steps to Starting a New Business
Starting a New Business - Step 1
Determine the legal structure of your business. The most common structures are Sole Proprietorships, General and Limited Partnerships, C and S Corporations and Limited Liability Companies. You are encouraged to research each thoroughly and consult a tax accountant and/or attorney prior to making your decision. If you incorporate or have employees, you will need to establish a Federal Employer Identification Number. Call 800-829-3676 to obtain the number.
Local Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office
431 N Wickham Road
Melbourne, FL 32935
Internal Revenue Service Website
Starting a New Business - Step 2
Register the name of your business. If your business will use any name other than the owner's legal name or a properly registered corporate name, a fictitious name (also referred to as a DBA) must be registered with the State. The City of Cocoa also has the fictitious name form in the lobby at Cocoa City Hall, 65 Stone Street. To conduct a name search, contact the Florida Secretary of State.
Florida Secretary of State
State Capitol - Tallahassee, Florida
Florida Secretary of State Website (SunBiz)
Starting a New Business - Step 3
There are many types of licenses, both state and local, as well as professional, depending on the type of business you plan to operate.
One license, which is required for all businesses, is a Business Tax Receipt. A Business Tax (paid annually) is levied on each business operated within the city limits. In some states, it is called an occupational license. The fee varies per city and per occupation but it is a requirement by most municipalities nationwide. There is one form for home based businesses and one form for non home based businesses.
City of Cocoa Building and Permitting Division
65 Stone Street
Cocoa, FL 32922
City of Cocoa Building and Permitting Division Website
Starting a New Business - Step 4
Once you have obtained a Cocoa Business Tax Receipt, you must obtain a Brevard County Business Tax Receipt. Complete the Business Tax Receipt / Zoning Use Permit application and submit it to the Brevard County Tax Collector. To minimize delays, contact the Brevard County Tax Collector's Office for prerequisites applicable to your classification and location.
A tax receipt may be issued upon application and presentation of required prerequisites and payments of applicable fees.
Brevard County Tax Collector
400 S Street
Titusville, FL 32780
Brevard County Tax Collector Website
Starting a New Business - Step 5
You may need to contact other agencies.
Contact Brevard County Environmental Health Services at 321-633-2100 if you have a business that could possibly pose a hazard to the public - eating / drinking establishments, use of chemicals, on-site disposal, and treatment systems, including industrial manufacturing permits.
For hazardous material disposal, contact the Office of Natural Resource Management at 321-633-2017.
Starting a New Business - Step 6
You may be required to collect and remit taxes.
Cocoa Service Center
2428 Clearlake Road
Cocoa, FL 32922-5731
Cocoa Service Center Website
Small Business Development Center - Florida SBDC at Eastern Florida State College
(Funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and most of their services are free)
1519 Clearlake Road, Bldg. 3 Suite 114
Cocoa, FL 32922
City of Cocoa Office of Economic Development
(Available to assist you in starting your business in Cocoa - services are free)
65 Stone Street
Cocoa, FL 32922
Economic Development Website
The City of Cocoa's Office of Economic Development offers various programs and incentives to assist new businesses locating or expanding in Cocoa. Contact the Office of Economic Development to determine if you are eligible. View a list of programs and incentives.
Brevard County and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations will be able to help you determine if you need a state license or certification of competency. There are more than 50 regulated professions requiring state licensing.
Brevard County Website
Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulations
Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations Website
City of Cocoa Planning & Zoning
Contact the City of Cocoa's Planning and Zoning Division to make sure you can operate your business within the city limits of Cocoa and determine the type of zoning classification required. Sometimes zoning changes once a property changes ownership. Only Planning and Zoning can give you the correct zoning regulations. The regulations are different for home based businesses and Planning and Zoning can assist you in determining if you can operate your business out of your home.
City of Cocoa Planning & Zoning Division
License / Inspections Compliance
You may be subject to other licenses or inspections depending on your type of business. It is in your best interest to fully disclose your proposed operation so that you are in compliance. Disclosure after you have opened your business could result in a shut down or unforeseen expenditures to become compliant.
You may need to be in compliance with the Offices listed below:
- Certificate of Competency or State of Florida Certification - 850-487-1395
- Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Alcohol, Beverage, and Tobacco Division - 850-487-1395
- Certificate and / or Field Inspection Sheet from Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - 850-488-2221
- Motor Vehicle Repair Registration from Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (PDF) - 850-488-2221
- Secondhand Dealer's License (Brevard County Sheriff Pawn Compliance) - 321-504-0950