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Starting A Business
There are many resources available to assist you in starting your own business. The City of Cocoa wants you to be successful in this endeavor. You are urged to contact one of the following organizations for assistance.

Step 1
Small Business Development Center
(Funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and most of their services are free)
Eastern Florida State College
3865 N. Wickham Rd., Bldg. 10, Rm. 117
Melbourne, FL 32935-2399
SBDC's website

Ph: (321) 433-5570
City of Cocoa Business Assistance Team
(Available to assist you in starting your business in Cocoa – services are free)
Office of Economic Development

65 Stone St.
Cocoa, FL 32922

Ph: (321) 433-8525

Step 2

Once you have determined the type of business you wish to open, contact Brevard County and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations to determine if you need a state license or certification of competency. There are more than 50 regulated professions requiring state licensing.

Brevard County

Ph: (321) 633-2058
Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulations

Ph: (850) 486-1395

Step 3

Contact the City of Cocoa Planning and Zoning Division to make sure you can operate your business within the City limits of Cocoa and determine the type of zoning classification required. Sometimes zoning changes once a property changes ownership. ONLY Planning and Zoning can give you the correct zoning regulations. The regulations are different for home based businesses and Planning and Zoning can assist you in determining if you can operate your business out of your home.

City of Cocoa Planning & Zoning Division
65 Stone St.
Cocoa, FL 32922

Ph: (321) 433-8535

Step 4

The City of Cocoa has Programs and Incentives for businesses that locate in designated areas or for targeted industries. Contact the Office of Economic Developement at (321) 433-8525 to determine if you are located in a special district.

Secure a location to operate your business that is properly zoned for your type of business. Obtain a letter of authorization from the property owner to operate your business from your preferred location.

Landlord Letters of Authorization forms are online:

Step 5

Determine the legal structure of your business. The most common structures are Sole Proprietorships, General and Limited Partnerships, C and S Corporations and Limited Liability Companies. You are encouraged to research each thoroughly and consult a tax accountant and/or attorney prior to making your decision. If you incorporate or have employees, you will need to establish a Federal Employer Identification Number. Call (800) 829-3676 to obtain the number.

Internal Revenue Service

431 N. Wickham Rd
Melbourne, FL 32935

Ph: (321) 253-7700

Step 6

Register the name of your business. If your business will use any name other than the owner’s legal name or a properly registered corporate name, a fictitious name (also referred to as a DBA) must be registered with the state. The City of Cocoa also has the fictitious name form in the lobby at City Hall. To conduct a name search contact the Florida Secretary of State.

Florida Secretary of State
State Capitol - Tallahassee, Florida

Ph: (850) 488-9000

Step 7

There are many types of licenses, both state and local, as well as professional, depending on the type of business you plan to operate. One license, which is required for all businesses, is a Business Tax Receipt. A Business Tax (paid annually) is levied on each business operated within the city limits. In some states, it is called an occupational license. The fee varies per city and per occupation but it is a requirement by most municipalities nationwide. There is one form for home based businesses and one form for non home based businesses - see the Local Business Tax Receipt page. Please note: If your business is located in the Enterprise Zone, your business tax will be waived for three years. Please contact the Building & Permitting Division to learn more.

City of Cocoa Building & Permitting Division
65 Stone St.
Cocoa, FL 32922

Ph: (321) 433-8502

Step 8

Once you have obtained a Cocoa Business Tax Receipt, you must obtain a Brevard County Business Tax Receipt. Complete the Business Tax Receipt / Zoning Use Permit application and submit it to the Brevard County Tax Collector. To minimize delays, contact the Brevard County Tax Collector's Office for pre-requisites applicable to your classification and location. A tax receipt may be issued upon application and presentation of required prerequisites and payments of applicable fees.

Brevard County Tax Collector

2575 N. Courtenay Pkwy.
Merritt Island, FL

Ph: (321) 455-1413

Step 9

Other agencies you may need to contact. Contact Brevard County Environmental Health Services at (321) 633-2100 if you have a business that could possibly pose a hazard to the public – eating / drinking establishments, use of chemicals, onsite disposal, and treatment systems, including industrial manufacturing permits. For hazardous material disposal, contact the Office of Natural Resource Management at (321) 633-2017.


Step 10
You may be required to collect and remit taxes.

Cocoa Service Center

2428 Clearlake Rd.
Bldg M
Cocoa, FL 32922-5731

Ph: (321) 504-0950

License / Inspections Compliance

You may be subject to other licenses or inspections depending on your type of business. It is in your best interest to fully disclose your proposed operation so that you are in compliance. Disclosure after you have opened your business could result in a shut down or unforeseen expenditures to become compliant.

You may need to be in compliance with the Offices listed below:


The following organizations can provide assistance to start-up and existing businesses: