Startup Costs: What business to start in Florida in 2024?

Startup Costs: What business to start in Florida in 2024

Are you a visionary entrepreneur but need help deciding what business to start in Florida? Don’t worry, we’re here to help! In this post, we’ll navigate the startup costs for businesses in Florida while giving you the lowdown on the top 10 profitable business ideas to pursue in 2024. 

Although this is an overview review, you can find specific budget breakdowns through the handy backlinks scattered throughout the post. Plus, don’t miss your chance to download our free, limited-time resource packed with digital marketing strategies to propel your business forward! 

Ready to launch your Florida dream business? Let’s dive in!

Starting a Business in Florida: General Startup Costs

First things first: why Florida? Well, for starters, it boasts the most active and dynamic entrepreneurial scene in the nation, with a staggering 13,238 small businesses per 100,000 residents – the highest rate in the U.S.! Plus, with no state income taxes and a thriving tourism industry, there’s no better place to start a business than in the Sunshine State.

Up from this background, let’s explore a general overview of startup costs for businesses in Florida. Certainly, this will give you a realistic idea of the investment required to turn your dream into a reality.

Budget Breakdown Range Businesses to Launch in Florida
0 to 10k E-commerce: online retail stores
Service-based businesses (Cleaning, Handyman, Pet Sitting, Elder and Child Care)
Low-Budget Food Cart
Personal Training
Real State Agent
Event Planning
10k-25k Nail saloon
Flower shop
Mid-Budget Food Cart
Online Bakery
Pet Shop
Smoke Stores
Mobile Car Wash
Freelance Graphic Design
Event Decorating
Electronic Repairment Workshop
Souvenir or Artisanal Shop
Social Media Marketing Agency
Vacation Rental Management 
26k-50k Specialty Coffee Shop
Catering Services
Pop-Up Restaurant
Retail Bakery
Upscale Consignment Shop
Specialty Grocery Store
Home Staging
Pool Cleaning & Maintenance
Fitness Studio
51k-100k Food Trucks with Seating Area
Craft Brewery 
Salon & Spa 
Delivery-Focused QSR
Specialty Bakery
Wholesale Bakery 
Drive-Thru Restaurant
Licensed Child Care Center
100k-1Mill QSR restaurant
FSR Restaurant
Mid-Scale Hotel Franchise
Craft Brewery with Restaurant
Tech Startup
High-End Salon & Spa
Fitness Center with Amenities
Specialty Medical Practice

What business to start in Florida? Top 10 Ideas and Specific Startup Costs

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur seeking a profitable business idea that aligns with your budget and personal skills, you’re in luck! We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 ideas that could help you get started. So join us as we explore the key considerations you should evaluate when budget planning your business, along with estimated startup costs for each one. 

1. Catering Services in Florida

Catering Services in Florida

Catering businesses have become increasingly popular among food entrepreneurs due to their flexible and home-based operation, along with their high customer retention rates. Moreover, catering is a lucrative business with relatively low startup costs. To calculate the budget breakdown for a catering business you have to consider the following investment:

  • Essential Equipment: Ovens, stoves, refrigerators, food processors, serving utensils, and disposable containers.
  • Presentation: Catering tables, chafing dishes, serving platters, and tablecloths.
  • Transportation: A reliable vehicle to transport food and equipment to event locations.
  • Permits and Licenses: Necessary local and state permits for catering can be a business License, Catering Business License, Food Handler’s License, and Seller’s Permit.
  • Point-of-sales System: For catering a good POS system should include secure and diverse payment options, inventory management, and online order processing, to further streamline your operations and provide customer convenience.

Estimated Startup Costs: While the specific cost can vary, a reasonable budget range for starting a catering service in Florida is  $25,000 to $75,000.

2. Beauty Salon and Nail Salon

Beauty Salon and Nail Salon

The spa industry in Florida reflects the state’s multicultural heritage, with influences from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe. Whether you envision offering haircuts and hairstyling, or a spa featuring facials, massages, and nail treatments, this business venture necessitates an initial investment. Then you have to consider:

  • Leasehold Improvements: This could include renovations, painting, flooring, installing plumbing and electrical for sinks and equipment, and creating separate areas for different services depending on your offerings. 
  • Essential Equipment: Salon chairs, styling stations, shampoo bowls, spa treatment tables, massage chairs, pedicure chairs, facial steamers, and sterilizers. 
  • Inventory: High-quality hair care products, skin care products, massage oils, spa treatment supplies, makeup, and nail polishes.
  • Permits and Licenses: These include Salon License, Florida Seller Permit, and a Business Operation License, and Certificate of Occupancy.
  • Utilities and Rent: Budget for monthly rent for your salon or spa space and utilities like electricity, water, and waste disposal.

Estimated Startup Costs: While the specific cost can vary depending on factors like your salon/spa location, size, and desired level of equipment and furnishing, a reasonable budget range for starting a beauty salon or spa in Florida is  $20,000 to $75,000.

3. Food Trucks in Florida:

Food Trucks in Florida

Florida’s love for street food makes it a prime location for launching a food truck business.  These mobile kitchens offer a unique and delicious dining experience, perfect for festivals, events, and busy lunch spots.  However, taking your culinary creations on the road requires an initial investment. Here’s a breakdown of some key expenses to consider:

  • Food Truck Vehicle: This is a major cost. You can either purchase a used truck and retrofit it with a kitchen, or buy a new truck specifically designed for food service.
  • Permits and Licenses: Research and budget for any necessary local and state permits or licenses, including General Business License from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Certified Food Manager and Food Handlers Card, and Mobile Food Unit Permit, along with other permits such as Mobile Food Establishment permit and Health.
  • Kitchen Equipment: Ovens, refrigerators, freezers, grills, food prep stations, and storage containers are essential for onboard food preparation.
  • Point-of-sale System: Invest in streaming your operation with a modern cloud-based POS System. 
  • Inventory and Supplies: Stock up on ingredients, cooking utensils, serving ware, and disposable containers.
  • Truck Wrap and Branding: A visually appealing truck wrap can grab attention and promote your brand.

Estimated Startup Costs:  The specific cost can vary depending on factors like the size and condition of your truck, chosen equipment, and desired level of customization. However, a reasonable food truck budget range in Florida is  $50,000 to $125,000.

4. Coffee Shop in Florida

Coffee Shop in Florida

Coffee shops are popular businesses, offering more than just beverages—they serve as spaces for socialization, work, and relaxation. It is also a diverse business field, including drive-thru, kiosk, coffee cart, and brew bar. Anyhow, when defining your budget breakdown you must consider:

  • Essential Equipment: Espresso machines, coffee grinders, blenders, refrigerators, display cases, and disposable containers.
  • Location and Lease: Securing a location with significant foot traffic is crucial; but lease expenses can vary widely depending on the location.
  • Permits and Licenses: Research the costs of a Business License, Food Handler’s License, and Seller’s Permit.
  • Point-of-Sales System: Implement a system to manage sales, inventory, and customer relationships.

Estimated Startup Costs: The initial budget can vary significantly based on location, size, and type. However, for starting a coffee shop in Florida budget typically ranges from $50,000 to $400,000.

5. Bakeries or Dessert Shop

Bakeries or Dessert Shop

According to Statista, it is projected that the revenue of retail bakeries in Florida will amount to approximately $202.5 million by 2024. So, starting a bakery in Florida it is a rather profitable and popular venture. When developing your budget breakdown consider the following spending:

  • Essential Equipment: High-quality ovens, mixers, refrigerators, freezers, and baking tools.
  • Presentation and Display: Display cases to showcase your creations, along with tongs, serving trays, and packaging materials.
  • Ingredients: Factor in the cost of high-quality flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and other baking staples.
  • Permits and Licenses: Including Florida Home Bakery License, Retail Food Establishment Permit, Business License, Food Handlers PermitFood service LicenseSales tax License, and Liability Licenses.
  • Rent and Utilities: Secure a suitable retail space and factor in utility costs like electricity, water, and waste disposal.
  • Point-of-sale System: Regardless the size of your retail bakery, a cloud-based POS solution for your bakery can help to manage stock, collect customer data, and provide streamlined service, including for online and takeout orders.

Estimated Startup Costs: A reasonable budget for starting a small bakery or dessert shop in Florida ranges from $30,000 to $70,000.

6. Retail Store in Florida

Retail Store in Florida

Whether you specialize in clothing, electronics, home goods, or any other product category, a well-planned retail store can be a rewarding venture. However, before you open your doors, it’s crucial to understand the startup costs involved.

  • Lease or Purchase: Securing a suitable retail space is a major cost. Research local zoning regulations and factor in rent or potential property purchase costs, along with any necessary renovations.
  • Initial Stock: Invest in a well-curated selection of products to attract customers. Consider factors like seasonality, target market, and competitor offerings when purchasing your initial inventory. (Budget varies based on product category)
  • Store Fixtures and Equipment: Invest in functional and visually appealing fixtures to showcase your products effectively. 
  • Point-of-Sale System (POS): Choose a reliable POS system to manage sales, inventory, and customer data. Besides, if you are considering expanding your store onlinego for a POS that includes an online ordering and delivery system.
  • Permits and Licenses: These may include business licenses, sales tax permits, and health department permits (depending on your products).

Estimated Startup Costs: For a retail store initial costs can vary significantly depending on location, size, product category, and chosen fixtures. However, a reasonable budget range for starting a retail store in Florida is  $30,000 to $100,000.

7. Pet Shop in Florida

Pet Shop in Florida

Pet ownership in the United States is a big deal since Americans love animals. Consumers are increasingly less willing to cut pet spending, therefore the pet stores industry in Florida is expected to grow to $2 billion by 2024

These factors make investing in a pet shop in Florida a potentially profitable venture. However, starting a pet shop in Florida requires careful planning and budgeting, so consider these factors:

  • Location and Lease: The cost of leasing a retail space can vary widely depending on the location.
  • Inventory: This includes the cost of purchasing animals, food, toys, cages, and other pet supplies.
  • Licenses and Permits: You’ll need to budget for any necessary local and state permits or licenses, like Business License, Florida Pet Law Compliance, and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation License.
  • Store Setup: This includes the cost of fixtures, shelving, counters, and other store setup costs.
  • Point-of-Sales System: Implement a system to manage sales, inventory, and customer relationships.

Estimated Startup Costs: Although costs may vary, the average small pet store budget is around $50,000 to $100,000.

8. Microbrewery

Microbrewery in Florida

On average, microbrewery beer bars generally earn around 10 to 15 cents in net profit for each dollar of revenue generated. If you are a passionate and creative entrepreneur dreaming of opening a microbrewery in Florida, it’s important to factor in these considerations when calculating your budget breakdown:

  • Essential Equipment: Grain mill, mash-lauter system, heat exchanger, fermentation systems, brite tanks, cooling system, valves, hoses, refractometer, and hydrometer.
  • Presentation: Brewery layout, decor, lighting, signage, and tasting room ambiance.
  • Permits and Licenses: In this case, some licenses that apply include Federal Brewers Notice, Business Permit, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) License, and other permits (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Sales Tax Permit, Food Processing and Health) 
  • Point-of-Sales System: Make sure to manage your stock properly, provide payment facilities, and streamline the whole sales and operation by using a modern POS System. 

Estimated Startup Costs: While the type of your brewery (e.g., brewpub, taproom, or distribution brewery) determines the overall startup cost, a reasonable budget range for starting a microbrewery in Florida ranges from $100,000 to $500,000.

9. Quick service restaurants (QSRs)

Quick service restaurants (QSRs)

Investing in Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) is rapidly becoming one of the hottest business ideas for food entrepreneurs in Florida. This is due to various reasons, including lower overhead costs and the potential for regenerative profits, compared to other segments like the full-service restaurant (FSR). 

With a range of options available, such as fast food restaurants, self-service establishments, assisted self-service formats, and full-service restaurants, the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) model is adaptable to meet the evolving needs of customers.

Starting a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) in Florida requires careful planning and budgeting, so when calculating your startup budget make sure to include these issues:

  • Location and Lease: The cost of leasing a retail space can vary widely depending on the location.
  • Kitchen Appliances & Equipment: Essential and non-essential items; including kitchen and bar equipment, furniture, tables, etc.
  • Restaurant Technology: Software (POS, KDS, etc.) and hardware (iPads, payment terminals, etc.)
  • Licenses & Permits: It might include Food service license, liquor license, and other permits (business, health, entertainment, etc.) vary
  • Miscellaneous/Unexpected Costs: Construction mishaps and emergency funds.
  • Administrative Charges: Business entity formation, franchise taxes, legal fees.

Estimated Startup Costs: For a QSR in Florida initial expenses can range from $120,000 to $1 million.

10. Full-Service Restaurant in Florida

Full service restaurant in Florida

Owning a full-service restaurant can be the ultimate dream for many aspiring restaurateurs.  Florida’s booming tourism industry and diverse population create a fertile ground for unique culinary experiences.  However, this venture requires a significant initial investment to create the perfect ambiance and delectable offerings. Then, take note on this breakdown with key expenses to consider:

  • Rent or Purchase: Securing a suitable restaurant space is a major cost, so factor in rent, potential renovations, and build-out costs.
  • Permits and Licenses: Food service license, Food Handlers License, Liquor license, and other permits (business, health, entertainment, etc.)
  • Kitchen Essentials: High-capacity ovens, refrigerators, freezers, grills, food prep stations, and specialized cooking equipment.
  • Dining Area: Tables, chairs, tableware, flatware, and décor to create the desired atmosphere.
  • Point-of-Sales System: A POS System is a must for dining businesses. Then invest in a system like iPos with tools like an inventory manager, loyalty programs, and a mobile ordering system. Additionally, online ordering and delivery systems definitely will impact your revenue and customer retention.
  • Inventory and Supplies: Stock up on a continuous supply of food ingredients, beverages, and other operational supplies.
  • Staffing: Factor in salaries for chefs, servers, bartenders, bussers, and management personnel.
  • Delivery or Take-Out Services: Invest in additional equipment and packaging if you plan to offer delivery or take-out options.

Estimated Startup Costs: Given the multitude of variables, the cost of opening a full-service restaurant can vary greatly. However, a starting point for a full-service restaurant in Florida could be a budget range of $200,000 to $1 million or more.

Additional Budget Breakdown: Marketing & Branding Startup Costs

Every startup needs to factor in marketing and branding costs for success. Whether you’re opening a retail store, restaurant, or coffee shop, brand recognition is crucial. So, here’s a breakdown of key marketing expenses:

  • Brand Identity (Estimated Range: $1,000 – $10,000+)
    • Logo Design: $300 – $3,000+ (depending on complexity and designer experience)
    • Website Design: $1,000 – $10,000+ (depending on features and complexity)
    • Social Media Graphics & Branding: $100 – $1,000+ (can be done in-house or outsourced)
  • Website (Estimated Range: $500 – $5,000+)
    • Domain Name & Hosting: $10 – $20/month (annual cost)
    • Website Development Platform: Free (limited features) – $30/month+ (for more advanced features and customization)
    • Basic SEO Optimization: Can be done in-house or outsourced for $500+
  • Promotional Materials (Estimated Range: $500 – $5,000+)
    • Business Cards: $100 – $500+ (depending on quantity and design)
    • Signage: $200 – $5,000+ (depending on size, materials, and complexity)
    • Packaging (if applicable): $100 – $2,000+ (depending on design, quantity, and materials)
  • Social Media Marketing (Estimated Range: $0 – $10,000+)
    • Organic Content Creation: Free (time investment)
    • Paid Social Media Advertising: $100 – $10,000+ per month (depending on platform, target audience, and campaign goals)
    • Influencer Outreach (Optional): Highly variable depending on influencer and campaign scope.

Explore our free guide for cost-effective social media marketing tips for small businesses. Download it for free here.

Final Considerations in Deciding What Business Start in Florida

While Florida boasts a prosperous climate for businesses to flourish, thorough preparation is key to success. Here’s how to ensure a smooth launch:

  • Research is King: Before diving in, meticulously research startup costs, licensing requirements, and market opportunities specific to your industry. Resources like the Florida SBDC (Small Business Development Center) offer invaluable assistance, information, and even loan opportunities
  • Craft a Compelling Business Plan: Develop a well-defined business plan that outlines your business concept, target market, financial projections, and marketing strategy. But, make sure to be realistic when reflects your budget.
  • Budget Meticulously: Create a comprehensive budget that details your startup costs, including licensing fees, equipment purchases, marketing expenses, and operational costs. Don’t forget that this is an ongoing process, so make sure to regularly review and adjust your budget as needed.

By following these steps, you can increase your chances of success and make your Florida business dream a reality!

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