Discovering Sunshine Opportunities: 10 Best Businesses to Start in Florida

Best Businesses to Start in Florida

Are you interested in starting a business in the vibrant and sunny state of Florida? Renowned for its thriving tourism, strong agriculture, booming real estate, and diverse population, Florida offers a wealth of business opportunities for ambitious entrepreneurs. 

Whether you are a Florida resident or looking to move to this dynamic state, this guide provides you with a list of some of the best businesses to start in Florida, tailored to the state’s unique characteristics and market demands.

1. Tourism-Based Business

Florida is an internationally renowned destination for tourism. In 2022, the state welcomed over 130 million tourists. That’s an immense market for a tourism-based business, such as a travel agency, a tour company, or a beach equipment rental service. With the ongoing global travel recovery, these numbers are only expected to grow.

Steps to Start a Tourism-Based Business in Florida:

  • Market Research: The first step is to conduct thorough market research. Understand your potential customers’ needs, existing competition, and unique selling propositions you can offer.
  • Business Plan: Based on your research, create a comprehensive business plan outlining your business structure, marketing and sales strategy, financial plan, and growth strategy.
  • Legal Requirements: Register your business with the Florida Department of State and obtain necessary licenses and permits. Tourism businesses may require additional licenses, so check with local and state authorities.
  • Location: Choose a strategic location, preferably in high tourist-traffic areas. This is especially crucial if your business relies on walk-in customers.
  • Build a Team: Depending on the size and scope of your business, you may need to hire employees. These could include tour guides, customer service reps, or equipment technicians.
  • Promote Your Business: Utilize online and offline marketing strategies to promote your business. This could include creating a website, leveraging social media, and networking within local tourism organizations.

Tourism-based businesses in Florida can be both online and offline. The nature of your services will determine your business mode. For example, if you’re running a travel agency or a rental service, you might conduct most of your business online. However, a tour company would be primarily offline, delivering in-person experiences.

2. Agriculture Business

Florida’s fertile soil and warm climate make it an ideal location for agricultural pursuits. Notably, the state produces over 70% of the United States’ citrus, and its agricultural industry contributes around $155 billion to the state’s economy each year.

Steps to Start an Agriculture Business in Florida:

  • Identify your Niche: Do you want to grow citrus, vegetables, or perhaps open a plant nursery? Knowing what you want to produce is the first step.
  • Write a Business Plan: After choosing your niche, prepare a comprehensive business plan. It should include your business goals, marketing strategy, capital investment, projected income, and other essential details.
  • Find the Right Land: The land is key for any agriculture business. It should be fertile and suitable for the type of crops you plan to grow. Remember, location also matters for selling your products.
  • Register your Business: You need to register your business with the Florida Department of State. Depending on your business, you may also need certain permits and licenses.
  • Purchase Necessary Equipment: Buying farming equipment like tractors, planters, and irrigation systems is another important step.
  • Marketing and Distribution: Lastly, plan how you’ll sell your products. This could be through local farmers markets, directly to restaurants, or even through online platforms.

As far as the mode of this business goes, an agriculture business is primarily offline due to the physical nature of farming. However, aspects such as marketing and selling your products can definitely be done online, making this a hybrid model.

3. Real Estate Agency

Florida’s real estate market is booming, thanks in large part to its attractive climate and growing population. In fact, it’s one of the fastest-growing states in the US, with a growth rate that doubles the national average.

Steps to Start a Real Estate Agency in Florida:

  • Real Estate License: Before you start, you need to obtain a real estate broker license from the Florida Real Estate Commission. This involves taking pre-licensing courses and passing a state exam.
  • Create a Business Plan: This should include details such as your target market, marketing and sales strategies, and a detailed financial plan.
  • Register Your Business: Register your business name with the Florida Department of State and get your Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.
  • Choose a Location: If you decide to have a physical office, choose a location that is easily accessible to your clients.
  • Build a Team: You may need to hire other licensed real estate agents to work in your agency, as well as support staff.
  • Marketing: Create a professional website and use online platforms like Zillow and to list properties. Utilize social media for marketing and consider local print advertising as well.

The real estate agency business operates both online and offline. While a lot of property browsing is done online, viewings, signings, and other operations are conducted in-person. Thus, a blend of online and offline presence can greatly enhance the reach and success of a real estate agency in Florida.

4. Retail Store

Florida’s retail market is robust, powered by a mix of locals, retirees, and tourists. In 2020, retail trade represented the 2nd largest employment sector in Florida, signifying a strong demand for retail businesses.

Steps to Start a Retail Store in Florida:

  • Decide on Your Niche: Identify what kind of goods you want to sell. This could range from clothing, souvenirs, local crafts, or specialty food items, among others.
  • Create a Business Plan: A business plan is crucial to guide your business. It should detail your business structure, target market, startup costs, pricing strategy, and marketing plan.
  • Choose a Location: Your store’s location can greatly affect its success. Choose a place with high foot traffic, like shopping malls or popular streets.
  • Register Your Business: Register your business with the Florida Department of State. Obtain all necessary licenses and permits, and ensure you’re compliant with Florida’s retail regulations.
  • Stock Your Store: Source your products from reliable suppliers. Ensure you have enough inventory to meet demand but avoid overstocking.
  • Promotion: Use effective marketing strategies to attract customers. This could involve social media marketing, loyalty programs, or hosting special events.

While a retail store operates primarily offline, establishing an online presence can significantly boost your reach. Many customers prefer the convenience of online shopping, so consider setting up an e-commerce site for your store. Additionally, use online platforms for promotion and customer engagement.

5. Food Truck or Restaurant

Florida’s diverse culture and the influx of tourists create a thriving food industry. The restaurant industry in Florida generated around $50 billion in revenue in 2019, and the food truck sector continues to grow as well.

Steps to Start a Food Truck or Restaurant in Florida:

  • Identify Your Concept: Choose what type of food you want to sell. It could be anything from seafood, Cuban cuisine, farm-to-table meals, or desserts.
  • Business Plan: A comprehensive business plan outlining your target market, menu, pricing, and marketing strategies is essential.
  • Secure Financing: Depending on your business type, you may need significant startup capital. Look into options like business loans, personal savings, or investor financing.
  • Obtain Licenses and Permits: Apply for a food service license from the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation. You’ll also need a business license and possibly other permits, depending on your location and business type.
  • Choose Your Location: If you’re opening a restaurant, find a location with good visibility and foot traffic. If it’s a food truck, research where you can park and sell.
  • Hire Staff: You’ll likely need employees to help run your food business. This could include chefs, servers, and cleaning staff.
  • Marketing: Utilize social media and local food events to market your business. Consider offering opening specials to draw in customers.

A food truck or restaurant operates mostly offline. However, online ordering systems have become popular and are a good way to expand your customer base. Additionally, use social media to announce your location, menu items, and special events.

6. Boat Rental Service

Florida is famous for its beautiful coastline and waterways, making boating a popular recreational activity. Consequently, a boat rental service can be a lucrative business venture in the state.

Steps to Start a Boat Rental Business in Florida:

  • Business Model: Decide whether you want to cater to tourists for leisure boating or fishing excursions, or perhaps both.
  • Business Plan: Your business plan should cover the types of boats you’ll offer, your target market, marketing strategies, pricing, and projected finances.
  • Obtain Boats: Purchase or lease high-quality boats. Ensure they meet safety regulations and are suitable for the type of experiences you plan to offer.
  • Licenses and Insurance: Register your business and get the necessary permits. Moreover, insurance is essential in this industry to protect your business and customers.
  • Choose a Location: Your business should be located near a marina or popular boating area for easy access by customers.
  • Hire Staff: You may need to hire staff for customer service and boat maintenance. If offering guided tours, experienced guides will be needed.
  • Promote Your Business: Use online platforms, local tourism organizations, and hotels to promote your services.

While a boat rental business operates primarily in an offline mode, it’s important to maintain a strong online presence for booking and promotional purposes. A user-friendly website with online booking options can significantly enhance customer experience and reach.

7. Online Retail Business

E-commerce continues to grow, with 2.14 billion people worldwide expected to buy goods and services online by 2024. Starting an online retail business catered to Florida’s specific needs and tastes could tap into this booming market.

Steps to Start an Online Retail Business in Florida:

  • Identify Your Niche: Choose a product category that appeals to Florida’s residents. This could be anything from local art, beachwear, eco-friendly products, or gourmet food items.
  • Business Plan: Draft a detailed business plan that outlines your target market, pricing strategy, marketing efforts, and logistics plan.
  • Source Products: Find reliable suppliers and establish a steady supply of quality products.
  • Create a Website: Build an easy-to-navigate e-commerce website. Make sure it’s mobile-friendly, as many customers shop on their phones.
  • Register Your Business: Even if you operate online, you still need to register your business with the Florida Department of State.
  • Set Up Logistics: Figure out your storage, packing, and shipping process. You could handle this yourself or partner with a third-party logistics company.
  • Marketing: Use digital marketing strategies such as social media advertising, email newsletters, and search engine optimization to attract customers.

An online retail business, as the name suggests, operates entirely online. However, depending on your products, you may want to consider occasional pop-up stores or market stalls for customers to experience your products in person.

Event Planning Business

Florida, with its scenic venues and year-round pleasant weather, is a preferred destination for various events, including weddings, corporate gatherings, and music festivals. An event planning business can thrive in this environment.

Steps to Start an Event Planning Business in Florida:

  • Choose Your Specialty: You could specialize in planning corporate events, weddings, private parties, or concerts. Each requires different skills and contacts.
  • Create a Business Plan: This should include your business’s mission, target market, pricing strategy, and marketing plan.
  • Get Certified: While not required, certification can boost your credibility. Organizations like the Event Planners Association offer various certifications.
  • Register Your Business: Register your business with the Florida Department of State. You might also need certain permits depending on the types of events you’re planning.
  • Build Your Network: Connect with local vendors, including caterers, decorators, and musicians. These relationships will be key to executing successful events.
  • Market Your Business: Use online and offline marketing strategies to attract clients. Showcasing previous events on your website and social media platforms can be particularly effective.

While event planning is primarily an offline business due to the in-person nature of events, online activities are critical for marketing and communication. A well-designed website and active social media presence can attract potential clients and showcase your work.

8. Cleaning Service

Florida’s burgeoning real estate industry and influx of tourists present ample opportunities for cleaning businesses. From vacation rentals to commercial properties, there’s a continuous demand for professional cleaning services.

Steps to Start a Cleaning Service in Florida:

  • Identify Your Market: Determine if you want to focus on residential, commercial, or specialized cleaning such as vacation rental or post-construction cleanups.
  • Create a Business Plan: Your business plan should outline your target market, pricing, and strategies for attracting clients.
  • Purchase Equipment: Buy the necessary cleaning equipment and supplies. Remember to consider environmentally friendly products.
  • Register Your Business: Register your business with the Florida Department of State. You may also need to obtain certain permits, depending on your services.
  • Insurance: Acquire liability insurance to protect your business against potential damage claims.
  • Hire Staff: As your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire additional cleaners.
  • Market Your Business: Use both online and offline marketing strategies. This could include social media, local advertisements, and partnerships with local businesses.

A cleaning service operates mostly offline due to the nature of the work. However, having an online presence is vital for attracting clients, managing bookings, and gathering reviews.

9. Home Healthcare Service

Florida’s large aging population — nearly 20% are 65 or older — presents a significant demand for home healthcare services. These services offer medical care, personal care, or both, right in the comfort of the patient’s home.

Steps to Start a Home Healthcare Service in Florida:

  • Decide Your Services: Determine whether you’ll provide medical care, non-medical personal care, or both.
  • Develop a Business Plan: Your business plan should outline your services, target market, marketing strategy, and financial projections.
  • Get Licensed: Acquire a home health agency license from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. You’ll need to meet various requirements, including staff qualifications and patient rights protections.
  • Hire Qualified Staff: You’ll need to hire healthcare professionals who meet the qualifications set by the state. This might include registered nurses, physical therapists, or home health aides.
  • Register Your Business: Register your business with the Florida Department of State and get your Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.
  • Marketing: Leverage online platforms, local healthcare providers, and community organizations to promote your services.

A home healthcare service operates primarily offline due to the in-person nature of the care provided. However, an online presence is crucial for sharing information about your services, gathering customer reviews, and providing a point of contact for potential clients.

10. Fitness or Wellness Center

Health and wellness are paramount concerns for many Floridians, with an increasing number of people investing in their physical well-being. Thus, a fitness or wellness center can be a profitable business in Florida.

Steps to Start a Fitness or Wellness Center in Florida:

  • Identify Your Specialty: Determine the type of fitness or wellness center you want to open. This could range from a traditional gym, yoga studio, health spa, or a wellness center offering holistic treatments.
  • Business Plan: Write a comprehensive business plan, detailing your target audience, financial projections, marketing strategy, and how you plan to differentiate your center from competitors.
  • Find a Suitable Location: Look for a location that’s accessible and has enough space for all your activities.
  • Acquire Necessary Equipment: Purchase the necessary equipment for your fitness or wellness center.
  • Hire Staff: You’ll need to hire experienced and certified trainers or therapists. You might also need reception and cleaning staff.
  • Register Your Business and Get Licenses: Register your business with the Florida Department of State. Depending on the services you offer, you may also need health and safety permits.
  • Marketing: Leverage both online and offline platforms to reach potential customers. Offering opening discounts or free trials can also help attract initial customers.

While a fitness or wellness center operates primarily offline, an online presence is essential for attracting new clients, providing information about classes or services, and offering online booking options.


In conclusion, Florida’s diverse economy and population provide a myriad of business opportunities. Whether it’s a tourism-based business making the most of the state’s popularity with visitors, a fitness center catering to health-conscious Floridians, or a home healthcare service meeting the needs of the aging population, the potential is vast. 

The key is to choose a business that aligns with your skills, passions, and the specific demands of the Florida market. Remember, success in business comes not only from the idea but also from the execution. Plan carefully, and take the plunge. Good luck with your Florida business venture!

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