In recent years, Miami and other Florida cities have gained recognition as prime locations for newly formed businesses and for businesses relocating from other states. In fact, according to U.S. Census data, Florida was the top location for newly formed business entities. Out of the 5.8 million new business applications filed nationally from January 2021 to January 2022, 683,680 – 12% – were in Florida.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many established companies of all sizes have decided to make Florida their home, including the real estate investment group Blackstone, global investment bank Goldman Sachs and autonomous vehicle technology company Argo AI, along with hundreds of smaller businesses.
FYI: If your business growth plan includes relocating to Florida, consider that LinkedIn Economic Graph team researchers listed Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville and Tampa among the top 10 cities for economic growth.
Why are companies moving to Florida?
Rising costs and oversaturation in areas such as Silicon Valley, Silicon Beach and New York City make them prohibitively expensive, leading many business owners to consider relocating. Here are six reasons they’re choosing Florida.
1. Businesses are rethinking priorities amid the pandemic.
The pandemic prompted many business owners to rethink their locations. Many decided to leave behind dense, cold and expensive urban areas in favor of a more laid-back lifestyle in sunny Florida. After being cooped up inside small apartments during social distancing periods, people understandably find the idea of single-family homes with year-round outdoor access extremely attractive.
Did you know? Moving to a new state is relatively seamless for online businesses and companies with remote work plans.
2. Businesses relocate to Florida to follow their customers.
Florida cities, particularly Miami, draw young people because of the beaches, climate and vibrant entertainment scene. Companies all over the U.S. track the movement of young people seeking more affordable living situations, and plenty of them are moving to Florida.
For example, thousands of millennials have moved to Cape Coral, about 20 minutes from Fort Myers, since 2019, accounting for 18% of the city’s population. Additionally, with a large international airport, multilingual population and a reputation as the gateway to the Americas, Miami is attractive to businesses that operate internationally.
3. Florida is attractive for small businesses seeking growth.
Florida offers various business incubators and accelerators to attract and encourage business innovation. Some examples include the Tech Runway in Boca Raton, the Goldstein Business Accelerator in Orlando, and The Launch Pad in Miami.
When startups flock to an area, more businesses tend to follow, since money typically follows opportunity. In a WalletHub study, Florida ranked fourth in the country for the highest average growth in the number of small businesses.
4. Florida appeals to businesses looking for lower costs.
Florida is attractive from a financial perspective. It doesn’t have state income tax, inheritance taxes or intangible tax. Additionally, its corporate and sales taxes are lower than those of most other states, and the cost of living is much lower than it is in states such as New York and California, giving employees greater financial freedom.
5. Florida lets employers source a youthful talent pool.
As more young people flock to Miami and other Florida cities, they form a talent pool of educated, young go-getters excited to start their careers. Growing companies are eager to tap this talent pool, and it’s easy to hire for a cultural fit.
Likewise, millennial and Gen Z workers are energized by joining forces with startup companies, especially in growing industries such as artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and other tech businesses.
6. Florida appeals to business owners seeking a good quality of life.
Florida’s climate and beaches are big draws, especially for people who live in the snowy climes of the Northeast and Midwest. Cities such as Miami are increasingly cosmopolitan, with world-class restaurants, cultural attractions and nightlife, creating a vibrancy missing in some other cities.
Residents embrace creativity through art, music, museums and festivals. The area is also an international melting pot and has a consistent influx of tourism that helps create an evolving cultural identity.
FYI: If your current workforce is unionized, you may be able to lower your wages by moving to Florida; it’s one of only 10 states with a “right to work” provision in its state constitution.
How to move your company to another state
If you’ve decided to relocate to Florida or another state, follow these best practices:
- Inform your customers. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, you’ll likely lose the bulk of your customers when you relocate to another state. Thank your customers for their business, and direct them to your website to salvage lost sales. Let them know where you will be moving so they can visit your business when they’re in the area. E-commerce and other virtual businesses should send customers a notice and change the address on their invoices.
- Notify the proper entities. Sole proprietorships and partnerships must cancel their local business licenses and permits and apply for new ones in their new location. You will also have to inform the IRS so that your federal tax ID number has the correct business address on file. Corporations must register in the new state, either by dissolving the corporation in the original state and restarting it in the new state or by filing a foreign qualification in the new state. If you’re dissolving the existing corporation, pay off any outstanding debts and taxes.
- Conduct market research on your new location. If you sell locally, researching your new location will give you the insight you need to modify your marketing plan to get up and running quickly.
- Apply for new business licenses and permits as needed. Be sure to research what registrations are required in your new state, since there may be different rules. [Here’s what sole proprietors need to know about business licenses.]
- Pack up and ship your things. If you have a brick-and-mortar business with inventory, consider hiring a professional mover to help. You may be able to negotiate a package deal to also move your personal furniture and belongings.
- Set up your new location. You’ll need to settle on a new personal residence as well as a business location. You’ll also have to set up a new business phone system and secure the proper business insurance for your location and industry. [See our picks for the best business phone systems and our business insurance guide.]
- Change your address. Forward your mail and change your address with the post office. Be sure to update your address on your marketing materials and business website. You’ll also need to change your business address on Google and Yelp and your social media profiles.
- Register your vehicles. Your personal and business vehicles, including company cars, will need new titles and registrations in your new state.
- Market your business in its new location. Implement your new marketing plan, and start making sales to establish your presence in your new location. Here are some ways to improve your local marketing strategy.
Tip: If you’re relocating and dealing with excess inventory, consider using an inventory liquidator, donating excess inventory for a tax break, or conducting promotional giveaways.
Florida relocation do’s and don’ts
When you’re starting a new business in Florida or relocating a business to Florida, be sure to do the following:
- Be aware of seasonality. Florida’s tourist season is October through May, when there’s mild, dry weather and it’s cold elsewhere. There is a massive influx of tourists and also “snowbirds,” people who spend the winter in Florida. There is much more traffic, crowds and money spent during the high season than in the off-season, June through September.
- Play some golf. Florida is home to many golf courses, where much business is transacted. If you play, make time to get out on the course. You never know when you might meet a new business partner or client.
- Tap into the tourist market. Many people walking around in Florida don’t live there. Depending on what kind of product or service you provide, consider how you can market it to the throngs of visitors to Florida.
Don’t do the following in Florida:
- Dismiss the danger posed by hurricanes. Hurricanes are common during the summer months through November, and if they hit directly, they can cause severe damage. Get hurricane shutters or board up your windows, especially near the coast, and always follow evacuation orders.
- Only consider city centers. Real estate prices are booming in Florida, and finding an affordable location in downtown Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville or Orlando may be out of reach. However, each of these cities has numerous surrounding communities where you may be able to find a calmer, more suburban and affordable lifestyle.
- Rely on mass transit. If you’re coming from a large city like New York, Chicago or San Francisco, you may be accustomed to using trains and other mass transit to commute to work and get around. That won’t be the case in Florida, which has sprawling metropolitan areas and relatively few trains and buses.
Nick Hastreiter contributed to the writing and reporting in this article.