Overview

This category includes industries providing air, rail and water-borne transportation of passengers and freight, and related support activities. It also includes businesses primarily engaged in providing scenic and sightseeing transportation by rail or water.

Business types included in this category:
  • Deep Sea, Coastal and Great Lakes Water Transportation

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing deep sea, coastal, Great Lakes, and St. Lawrence Seaway water transportation.

  • Inland Water Transportation

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing inland water transportation of passengers and/or cargo on lakes, rivers, or intracoastal waterways (except on the Great Lakes System).

  • Nonscheduled Air Transportation

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in (1) providing air transportation of passengers and/or cargo with no regular routes and regular schedules or (2) providing specialty flying services with no regular routes and regular schedules using general purpose aircraft. These establishments have more flexibility with respect to choice of airports, hours of operation, load factors, and similar operational characteristics.

  • Rail Transportation

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating railroads (except street railroads, commuter rail, urban rapid transit, and scenic and sightseeing trains). Line-haul railroads and short-line railroads are included in this industry.

  • Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation, Other

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing scenic and sightseeing transportation (except on land and water). The services provided are usually local and involve same-day return to place of departure.

  • Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation, Water

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing scenic and sightseeing transportation on water. The services provided are usually local and involve same-day return to place of origin.

  • Scheduled Air Transportation

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing air transportation of passengers and/or cargo over regular routes and on regular schedules. Establishments in this industry operate flights even if partially loaded. Establishments primarily engaged in providing scheduled air transportation of mail on a contract basis are included in this industry.

  • Support Activities for Air

    This industry group comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing services to the air transportation industry. These services include airport operation, servicing, repairing (except factory conversion and overhaul of aircraft), maintaining and storing aircraft, and ferrying aircraft.

  • Support Activities for Rail

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing specialized services for railroad transportation including servicing, routine repairing (except factory conversion, overhaul or rebuilding of rolling stock), and maintaining rail cars; loading and unloading rail cars; and operating independent terminals.

  • Support Activities for Water

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing services to water transportation to include port and harbor operations (including docking and pier facilities); or canals; stevedoring and marine cargo handling services; navigational services to shipping; and Marine salvage establishments.

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.

After completing these steps, you may need to get a license from one of these Florida agencies:

  • Department of Business and Professional Regulation – harbor pilots as well as consumption of alcoholic beverages at airport waiting lounges and railway stations, and on certain common carriers, such as cruise ships, railroads, steamships, buses and airplanes
  • Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles – operator of uninspected passenger vessels, U.S. Coast Guard captains

Businesses within this category may employ or require individuals holding professional licenses as requirement for a business license.  If you are only pursuing a professional license, you may not need to complete all of the additional steps listed on this checklist.

Business owners in this category may also wish to explore assistance offered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

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.


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

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
  • Communications Services Tax Registration
  • Reemployment Tax Registration
  • Sales and Use Tax Registration
  • Discretionary Sales Surtax (local option county taxes)
  • Solid Waste Tax, Fees and Surcharge Registration

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

Fuel and Pollutants Taxes

Businesses in this category may be required to register for one or more of the following licenses, and remit the associated tax.

  • Fuel Tax License
  • Pollutants Tax License

Visit: http://floridarevenue.com/Forms_library/current/gt400401.pdf

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 an alcoholic beverage license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (optional)

Department of Business and Professional Regulation

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is the agency charged with licensing and regulating businesses and professionals in Florida. A variety of businesses will need to coordinate with DBPR 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: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/instant-public-records/.

Steps to Opening


Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco

This division licenses, inspects and regulates alcoholic beverage and tobacco retailers in Florida.
These include licenses permitting the consumption of alcoholic beverages in airport waiting lounges and on board cruise ships, buses, airplanes and other common carriers.

  • Cruise Ships License
  • Airport Waiting Lounges License
  • Railroads Master and Steamships/Buses/Airplanes Master License
  • Special Boats License

Visit: https://www.myfloridalicense.com/intentions2.asp?chBoard=true&SID=&boardid=400&professionid=4004

Board of Pilot Commissioners

The Board of Pilot Commissioners is responsible for licensing and regulating harbor pilots.

  • Cross-Licensed Deputy Harbor Pilot Certificate
  • Deputy Harbor Pilot Certificate
  • State Harbor Pilot License

Visit: https://www.myfloridalicense.com/intentions2.asp?chBoard=true&boardid=23&SID=

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/

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


U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) mission is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world; the FAA is responsible for the safety of civil aviation. The FAA’s major roles include: regulating civil aviation to promote safety; encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, including new aviation technology; developing and operating a system of air traffic control and navigation for both civil and military aircraft; researching and developing the National Airspace System and civil aeronautics; developing and carrying out programs to control aircraft noise and other environmental effects of civil aviation; and regulating U.S. commercial space transportation.

The FAA regulates various types of aerospace businesses and professionals including:

  • Air Carrier
  • Air Agency
  • Air Shows
  • Air Traffic Control Specialist
  • Aircraft
  • Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting ARFF
  • Airmen
  • Airport Certification
  • Airway Transportation Systems Specialist
  • Aviation Safety Inspector
  • Commercial Space Transportation
  • Drone Pilot
  • Pilot Flight/Ground School
  • Medical Certificate

Visit: https://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/

Federal Maritime Commission

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is the independent federal agency responsible for regulating the U.S. international ocean transportation system for the benefit of U.S. exporters, importers, and the U.S. consumer. The FMC ensures a competitive and reliable international ocean transportation supply system that supports the U.S. economy and protects the public from unfair and deceptive practices.

The FMC regulates various businesses and vessels, including:

  • Passenger Vessel Certification. The FMC Bureau of Certification and licensing (BCL) issues certificates to operators of passenger vessels with 50 or more berths and that embark passengers from U.S. ports (PVOs). The Certificate (Performance) evidences that the PVO has on file with the Commission acceptable coverage to satisfy any liability incurred for nonperformance of transportation, such as when a PVO declares bankruptcy and fails to complete the cruises booked. The coverage is used to reimburse passengers when the PVO fails to perform cruises as contracted and has taken no further actions to refund passengers. The Certificate (Casualty) evidences that the PVO has acceptable coverage to satisfy any liability incurred for death or injury on file with the Commission.
  • Ocean Transport Intermediaries. The Office of Ocean Transportation Intermediaries receives, reviews, and processes all OTI bonds and bond riders. Information regarding these issues can be found at Bond Program Information. The Office processes all revocations, surrenders, recissions of revocation and reissuances of OTI licenses. The Office also manages the Regulated Persons Index(RPI) and the list of FMC Licensed & Bonded OTIs.

Visit: https://www.fmc.gov/about-the-fmc/bureaus-offices/bureau-of-certification-and-licensing/

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

As the lead federal government agency responsible for regulating and providing safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), FMCSA’s mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. The FMCSA monitors and ensures compliance with motor carrier safety (all carriers) and commercial (for-hire, non-exempt carriers) regulations. Companies may find they are subject to registration requirements for both safety (safety registration) and commercial regulation (operating authority registration). Companies subject to the safety requirements are also required to obtain a USDOT Number.

The FMCSA registration process requires that companies define the type of Motor Carrier, Broker, Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP), Cargo Tank Facility, Shipper and/or Freight Forwarder business operation they plan to establish. The Agency administers the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) and Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) that govern interstate – and some intrastate – commercial trucking and bus industries.

Visit: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/getting-started

U.S. Coast Guard

As a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, a law enforcement organization, a regulatory agency, a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community, and a first responder, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) employs a unique mix of authorities, broad jurisdiction, flexible operational capabilities, and a network of partnerships. The Coast Guard is the principal Federal agency responsible for maritime safety, security, and environmental stewardship in U.S. ports and inland waterway.

The USCG regulates a wide variety vessels and mariners, including:

  • Captain License
  • Deck Officer
  • Deck Ratings
  • Engine Officer
  • Engine Ratings
  • Merchant Mariner Credential
  • Merchant Mariner Medical Certificate
  • Towing Vessel Endorsements

Visit: https://www.dco.uscg.mil/national_maritime_center/

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.