Overview

This industry comprises a broad category of businesses that are not included in other retail trade categories. It includes but is not limited to businesses that deal in durable and nondurable goods such as: furniture, home furnishings, art, construction materials, explosives, photography, office equipment, computers, metals, electronics, household appliances, hardware, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, machinery, sporting goods, jewelry, paper, printing, books, apparel, candles, etc.

Business types included in this category:
  • Book Stores and News Dealers

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books, newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals.

  • Building Material and Supplies Dealers

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in retailing new building materials and supplies.

  • Clothing Stores

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in retailing new clothing.

  • Department Stores

    This industry comprises establishments known as department stores primarily engaged in retailing a wide range of the following new products with no one merchandise line predominating: apparel, furniture, appliances and home furnishings; and selected additional items, such as paint, hardware, toiletries, cosmetics, photographic equipment, jewelry, toys, and sporting goods. Merchandise lines are normally arranged in separate departments.

  • Direct Selling Establishments

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in nonstore retailing (except electronic, mail-order, or vending machine sales). These establishments typically go to the customers’ location rather than the customer coming to them (e.g., door-to-door sales, home parties). Examples of establishments in this industry are home delivery newspaper routes; home delivery of heating oil, liquefied petroleum (LP) gas, and other fuels; locker meat provisioners; frozen food and freezer meal plan providers; coffee-break service providers; and bottled water or water softener services.

  • Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in retailing all types of merchandise using nonstore means, such as catalogs, toll free telephone numbers, or electronic media, such as interactive television or computer. Included in this industry are establishments primarily engaged in retailing from catalog showrooms of mail-order houses.

  • Electronics and Appliance Stores

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in one of the following: (1) retailing an array of new household-type appliances and consumer-type electronic products, such as televisions, computers, and cameras; (2) specializing in retailing a single line of new consumer-type electronic products; (3) retailing these new products in combination with repair and support services; (4) retailing new prepackaged computer software; and/or (5) retailing prerecorded audio and video media, such as CDs, DVDs, and tapes.

  • Florists

    This industry comprises establishments known as florists primarily engaged in retailing cut flowers, floral arrangements, and potted plants purchased from others. These establishments usually prepare the arrangements they sell.

  • Furniture Stores

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in retailing new furniture, such as household furniture (e.g., baby furniture, box springs, and mattresses) and outdoor furniture; office furniture (except those sold in combination with office supplies and equipment); and/or furniture sold in combination with major appliances, home electronics, home furnishings, or floor coverings.

  • Home Furnishings Stores

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in retailing new home furnishings (except furniture).

  • Jewelry, Luggage, and Leather Goods Stores

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in retailing new jewelry (except costume jewelry); new sterling and plated silverware; new watches and clocks; and new luggage with or without a general line of new leather goods and accessories, such as hats, gloves, handbags, ties, and belts.

  • Office Supplies, Stationery, and Gift Stores

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in one or more of the following: (1) retailing new stationery, school supplies, and office supplies; (2) retailing a combination of new office equipment, furniture, and supplies; and (3) retailing new office equipment, furniture, and supplies in combination with selling new computers.

  • Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in retailing new miscellaneous specialty store merchandise (except motor vehicle and parts dealers; furniture and home furnishings stores; consumer-type electronics and appliance stores; building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers; food and beverage stores; health and personal care stores; gasoline stations; clothing and clothing accessories stores; sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores; general merchandise stores; florists; office supplies, stationery, and gift stores; and used merchandise stores).

  • Shoe Stores

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in retailing all types of new footwear (except hosiery and specialty sports footwear, such as golf shoes, bowling shoes, and spiked shoes). Establishments primarily engaged in retailing new tennis shoes or sneakers are included in this industry.

  • Sporting Goods, Hobby, and Musical Instrument Stores

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in retailing new sporting goods, games and toys, and musical instruments.

  • Used Merchandise Stores

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in retailing used merchandise, antiques, and secondhand goods (except motor vehicles, such as automobiles, RVs, motorcycles, and boats; motor vehicle parts; tires; and mobile homes).

General Considerations

Before starting a business, you probably will need to register with the Florida Department of State, the IRS and the Florida Department of Revenue. For businesses located outside of the State of Florida, evidence of registration with their Division of Corporations or Corporate Registry may be required.

Most businesses in this category do not require a state-issued business license to operate. However, licenses are required for these specific business types and Florida agencies:

  • Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – LP gas dealers, LP gas cylinder exchange operators, and LP gas dispensers
  • Department of Financial Services – explosives and sparkler dealers

Individuals who want to obtain a gun dealer’s license in the state of Florida are not required to obtain a state license or permit; however, a federal license is still required. A gun dealer’s license, also known as the Federal Firearms License (FFL), can be obtained directly through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Business owners in this category may also wish to explore assistance offered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the advantages of becoming a Florida Lottery retailer.

Get Started

The following represents your interactive licensing checklist for this business category. Select the expandable blue bars below for more information on the specific licenses, permits or registrations that may be required to open your business. We have also included a printable version of the following checklist available at the top of this page for your convenience.

Register your business with the Department of State

Department of State

The Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations serves as the state’s central depository for a number of commercial activities. These activities include a variety of business entity filings, trade and service mark registrations, federal lien recordings, judgment lien filings, uniform commercial code financing statements, fictitious name registrations, notary commissions, and cable and video service franchises.

To file a complaint regarding a business or person licensed by this agency, please see their website.  To obtain this agency’s public records, visit: https://www.dos.myflorida.com/offices/general-counsel/public-records-requests/.

Steps to Opening

Agency Introduction

The Department of State (DOS) is where you register your business. You can search and access filed information for corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, general partnerships, trademarks, fictitious name registrations and liens. Also, electronic filing and certification can be processed via the Department’s website.


Apply for your Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Internal Revenue Service

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the nation’s tax collection agency and administers the Internal Revenue Code enacted by Congress.

Steps to Opening

Agency Introduction

If you are required to report employment taxes or give tax statements to employees, you need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to send with all items you report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Social Security Administration. If you do not intend to hire others, you may skip this step.


Register your business with the Department of Revenue

Department of Revenue

The Florida Department of Revenue administers three programs: general tax administration, property tax oversight and child support. The general tax administration program works with Florida businesses that are required to register for, collect, report and remit the taxes and fees administered by the Department.

The Department also manages the State of Florida’s New Hire Reporting Center. Federal and state laws require employers to report newly hired, re-hired and temporary employees within 20 days of an employee’s start date. This information is used to assist the Department’s child support program with child support orders. The employment information reported through the state’s New Hire Reporting Center is also used to detect and prevent public assistance and reemployment assistance fraud.

For additional information, please visit floridarevenue.com.

To file a complaint regarding a business or person licensed by this agency, please see their website.  To obtain this agency’s public records, visit:https://floridarevenue.com/opengovt/Pages/default.aspx.

 

Steps to Opening

Agency Introduction

A business owner or contractor may need to register for, collect, report and/or remit one or more of the taxes, fees and licenses administered by the Florida Department of Revenue. This is dependent on the structure of a business, the activities of a business, and whether the business hires employees. In addition, businesses must report newly hired, re-hired and temporary employees through the State of Florida’s New Hire Reporting program managed by the Florida Department of Revenue.


Business Taxes, Fees and Surcharge

Businesses in this category may be required to register for, collect, report and/or remit one or more of the following taxes and fees.

  • Corporate Income Tax Liability
  • Reemployment Tax Registration
  • Sales and Use Tax Registration
  • Discretionary Sales Surtax (local option county taxes)
  • Prepaid Wireless E911 Fee Registration
  • Solid Waste Tax, Fees and Surcharge Registration

Visit: https://floridarevenue.com/taxes/Pages/default.aspx

Reporting Employment Information

The Department manages the State of Florida’s New Hire Reporting Center. Federal and state laws require employers to report newly hired, re-hired and temporary employees within 20 days of an employee’s start date. The Department’s Child Support program utilizes employment information and employer cooperation to assist with child support order compliance. The reported employment information through the state’s New Hire Reporting Center is also used to detect and prevent public assistance and reemployment fraud.

  • New Hire Reporting Registration
  • Working with the Child Support Program

Visit: https://servicesforemployers.floridarevenue.com/Pages/home.aspx

Secondhand Dealers and Secondary Metals Recyclers

Businesses in this category may be subject to one or more of the following registration requirements.

  • Secondhand Dealer Registration
  • Mail-in Secondhand Precious Metals Dealer Registration
  • Secondary Metals Recycler Registration

Visit: https://floridarevenue.com/taxes/taxesfees/Pages/secondhand_dealers_recyclers.aspx

Coin-Operated Amusement Machine Operators

Businesses in this category may be subject to the following certificate requirements.

  • Amusement Machine Certificate Registration

Visit: http://floridarevenue.com/Forms_library/current/dr18.pdf

Apply for a license or registration from the Department of Financial Services

Department of Financial Services

The Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) is the agency responsible for providing services and regulating businesses in financial and insurance related professions, as well as serving as the state’s fire marshal and chief financial officer. Financial and insurance related professionals will need to coordinate with DFS to obtain applicable licenses, registrations and/or permits.

To file a complaint regarding a business or person licensed by this agency, please see their website.  To obtain this agency’s public records, visit: https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/publicrecords/.

Steps to Opening


Division of State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Fire Prevention

The Division of State Fire Marshal’s Bureau of Fire Prevention is comprised of a variety of compliance and enforcement programs including boiler inspections, licensure of fire related industries, explosives, and fire code development. The Bureau of Fire Prevention is responsible for the licensing, inspection, and regulation of the Fire Equipment Industry (Portable Fire Extinguisher and Pre-Engineered Systems Dealers), the Engineered Fire Protection System Industry (Fire Sprinkler Contractors), the Explosives Industry (Manufacture, Distribution, and Use), the Sparkler Industry (manufacture, Distribution, Wholesale, and Retail Sales), and the Construction Materials Mining Industry.

  • Explosives Dealer License
  • Retailer of Sparklers
  • Seasonal Retailer of Sparklers

Visit: https://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/SFM/BFP/RegulatoryLicensing/default.htm

Apply for a license from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) supports and promotes Florida agriculture, protects the environment, safeguards consumers, and ensures the safety and wholesomeness of food.  FDACS licenses and inspects various businesses and professions in Florida, such as bakeries, milk producers, weights and measurements, pesticide dealers, oyster harvesting, pre-packaged food sales, beekeepers and travel agents, among others. A variety of different businesses may need to coordinate with FDACS to obtain applicable licenses, registrations and/or permits.

To file a complaint regarding a business or person licensed by this agency, please see their website.  To obtain this agency’s public records, visit: https://fdacs.mycusthelp.com/WEBAPP/.

Steps to Opening


  • Category I LP Gas Dealer License Application License
  • Category II LP Gas Dispenser License
  • Category IV LP Gas Dispenser and Recreational Vehicle (RV) Servicer
  • Dealer in Appliances and Equipment for Use of LP Gas
  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas Cylinder Exchange Operator
  • Weights and Measures Permit

Visit: https://www.fdacs.gov/Divisions-Offices/Food-Safety

Explore assistance from the Department of Economic Opportunity (optional)

Department of Economic Opportunity

In collaboration with our partners, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) assists the Governor in advancing Florida’s economy by championing the state’s economic development vision and by administering state and federal programs and initiatives to help visitors, citizens, businesses, and communities.

To file a complaint regarding a business or person licensed by this agency, please see their website.  To obtain this agency’s public records, visit: https://floridajobs.org/about-us/who-we-are-and-what-we-do/requests-for-public-records.

Steps to Opening

Agency Introduction

The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) utilizes public and private sector expertise to attract, retain and grow businesses and create jobs in Florida. It also provides valuable resources for businesses and entrepreneurs; assistance with recruiting workers; and statistical information regarding Florida businesses and employment. Your business may qualify for various state or federal assistance.


  • Assistance Programs

Visit: http://www.floridajobs.org/

Become a Florida Lottery retailer (optional)

Florida Lottery

The Florida Lottery was established by the Florida Legislature in 1987 to maximize revenues for the enhancement of public education in Florida and to enable the people of the state to play the best Lottery Games available.

To file a complaint regarding a business or person licensed by this agency, please see their website.  To obtain this agency’s public records, visit: https://www.flalottery.com/openGovernment.

Steps to Opening

Agency Introduction

The Florida Lottery was established by the Florida Legislature in 1987 to maximize revenues for the enhancement of public education in Florida and to enable the people of the state to play the best Lottery games available. The Florida Lottery offers fun and excitement for all who play, with new games, bigger prizes and more winners. Becoming a Florida Lottery retailer can add a new and exciting dimension to your business. Retailers earn a commission on each ticket sold, and a cashing bonus on every prize paid valued under $600. Retailers can also earn extra cash through various incentive programs.


  • Lottery Retailer Contract

Visit: https://www.flalottery.com/retailers

Additional Local Government Information

County Business Requirements

Steps to Opening


Explore Federal Licensing Considerations

Federal Business Requirements

In addition to state and local licensing, many business activities are also regulated by federal agencies.  Businesses within this category may also be required to obtain additional federal licenses, permits, registration, etc. depending on your specific business activities.  It is recommended that you consult with a professional (e.g., attorney, CPA, SBA, etc.) to ensure you meet all requirements before starting your business.  The U.S. Small Business Administration is an excellent resource for potential and current business owners seeking assistance navigating federal licensing requirements.  For more information on the Federal Government, please visit www.usa.gov.

In most cases, you will need not need a license to import or export services or goods into or from the US.  However, international transfer of certain goods may require a license, permit or certification.  All items are subject to export control laws and regulations.  For more information, please visit USA.gov’s importing and exporting page.

Steps to Opening


The U.S. Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the federal agency that oversees the American farming industry. USDA duties range from helping farmers with price support subsidies, to inspecting food to ensure the safety of the American public. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service issues permits for the import, transit and release of regulated animals, animal products, veterinary biologics, plants, plant products, pests, organisms, soil, and genetically engineered organisms including, but not limited to, Commercial Animal Dealers, Exhibitors, Research Facilities, and Transporters.

The USDA licenses various types of businesses and professionals including:

  • Animal and Animal Products
  • Biotechnology
  • Plants, Organisms, and Soil
  • Veterinary Biologics
  • National Veterinary Accreditation Program
  • AHPHIS-Approved Laboratories
  • Horse Boarding/Racing
  • Dog import Permit
  • Commercial Animal Dealers
  • Exhibitors
  • Transporters
  • Research Facilities

Special Consideration: Importing Dogs into the United States for resale, whether through commercial sale of adoption, requires a permit under the Animal Welfare Act.

Visit: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/permits

U.S. Federal Trade Commission

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a bipartisan federal agency with a unique dual mission to protect consumers and promote competition.

The FTC protects consumers by stopping unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices in the marketplace. The FTC conducts investigations, sues companies and people that violate the law, develops rules to ensure a vibrant marketplace, and educates consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities. They collect reports on hundreds of issues from data security and deceptive advertising to identity theft and Do Not Call violations, and make them available to law enforcement agencies worldwide for follow-up. The FTC’s experienced and motivated staff uses 21st century tools to anticipate – and respond to – changes in the marketplace.

Competition in America is about price, selection, and service. It benefits consumers by keeping prices low and the quality and choice of goods and services high. By enforcing antitrust laws, the FTC helps ensure that our markets are open and free. The FTC will challenge anticompetitive mergers and business practices that could harm consumers by resulting in higher prices, lower quality, fewer choices, or reduced rates of innovation. We monitor business practices, review potential mergers, and challenge them when appropriate to ensure that the market works according to consumer preferences, not illegal practices.

The FTC regulates or provides on many industries, including:

Visit: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center

Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) protects the public from crimes involving firearms, explosives, arson, and the diversion of alcohol and tobacco products; regulates lawful commerce in firearms and explosives; and provides worldwide support to law enforcement, public safety, and industry partners.

The ATF regulates alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives businesses, including:

  • Manufacturer
  • Gunsmith
  • Dealer-Gunsmith
  • Importation of Firearms, Ammunition and Defense Articles

Visit: https://www.atf.gov/firearms

U.S. Department of Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

The TTB administers the Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax (FAET), a tax imposed on the sale of firearms and ammunition by manufacturers, producers, and importers. Dealers, Importers and Manufacturers of Firearms and Ammunition must file TTB F 5300.26 Federal Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax Return when they incur an FAET liability for the sale and use of firearms and ammunition and only need to file a registration with TTB if they intend to conduct tax free sales. For more information on the Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax or to determine if your business is liable for paying the FAET, please visit the TTB’s Firearms and Ammunition Taxes and Tax Exemptions page.

Visit: https://www.ttb.gov/firearms

Disclaimer: The State of Florida operates OpenMyFloridaBusiness.gov as a public service to Florida residents and visitors worldwide. While efforts were made to verify that the content of this website is accurate and comprehensive, it is recommended that you consult with a professional (e.g., attorney, CPA, SBDC, etc.) to ensure you meet all requirements before starting your business. OpenMyFloridaBusiness.gov is not responsible for the content of external websites.