Before you can begin operating a business in Miami, you must go through
the permitting process. Following the steps below in order will hopefully
prevent you from running back and forth between City and County offices
because you lacked the necessary paperwork.
Step 1: Obtain a Fictitious Business Name
If you are planning to call your business by a name other than your
own, i.e. Tom's Tomatoes, you must first obtain a fictitious business
name from the Florida Department of State. Do this first; you will need
this name to apply for your business license.
How to apply:
(1) Look up the name you want to use on the state's website, http://www.sunbiz.com/.
The name must not be currently taken by another business in the state
(2) If no one else has the rights to the name, you may apply for it
online or call 850-488-9000 for more information.
Cost of a Fictitous Business Name: $50 for five years. After
five years you must reapply for the name.
Step 2: Obtain a Zoning and Use Permit
Once you have picked out your fictitious business name and chosen where
you want your business located, you should apply for a zoning and use
permit. You will need to submit the following information to apply:
- Your name
- the name and address of your business
- square footage of the business
- the type of business (the zoning department will give you a choice
- if your business is incorporated, the name of an officer of the
Where to apply for a zoning permit:
If your business is in:
Unincorporated Miami-Dade county only - You must apply for a
Certificate of Use and Occupancy at the Miami-Dade County zoning department
Once your zoning permit is approved you may apply for an occupational
(business) license. You must have the following documents:
- your zoning ("use and occupancy") permit
- your ficitious business name, if any
- your articles of incorporation, if any
Hours and Location: 11805 sw 26th st. 7:30-4:30 p.m.
Call: 786-315-2666 or 305-375-1806.
Renewal Schedule: certificate of use permits are valid from
January 1 thru December 31 and renewable on the following January
If you obtain your permit in October
you must renew your permit on January 1 of the following year even
though your permit lasted only two months. It is therefore best to
obtain your permit as soon after January 1 as possible.
Miami or Hialeah:
You must first apply for a zoning permit in that city. Cost varies
depending on the type of business and square footage.
In addition, you may be liable for other permits and inspections if
your business is a liquor store, auto repair shop, restaurant or manufacturing
facility. Some require affidavits. Call the zoning office in your city:
Miami - Department of Planning and Zoning 305-416-1499
Hialeah Zoning Department - 501 Palm Avenue,
In Hialeah the process is reversed; first you must apply for your occupational
license on the 1st floor, and then you will be directed to the zoning
department on the second floor to apply for your zoning permit.
When you apply for your occupational license you will need the following
- your articles of incorporation, if any
- the address of your business
- a blank check (the amount of your application fee will depend on
the type and square footage of your business. The clerk will tell
you the amount of your fee at the time you apply.)
After you apply for both your zoning permit and your occupational license
and are approved, you will receive both permits in the mail.
(3) Obtain your occupational license
In the Miami area, a business license is known as an "occupational
If your business is located in a city
like Miami or Hialeah, you will need
TWO occupational licenses: one from the city and one from Miami-Dade
county. If your business is located
in unincorporated Miami-Dade county, you will only need ONE license.
Documents you will need:
- social security card or federal id card
- a copy of your fictitious business name or corporate papers
- The address of your business
Occupational licenses are valid from October 1 thru September 30. You
must renew your license by October 1 even if it did not last an entire
Hours & Location: 8:30-4:30 M-F excluding holidays; 140 West
Flagler St. Rm. 1407
Cost: varies depending on the type of business. For a retail
establishment, the cost is $45 for businesses located in incorporated
Miami Dade County, $35 for those in unincorporated Miami-Dade county.
City of Miami information:
Hours and Location: 444 SW 2nd St., 6th fl. 8-5 pm M-F
call 305/416-1937 for more information.
Hialeah information: Call 305-883-5691, 501 Palm Avenue. See
above for the special permitting process in Hialeah.