Besides finding yourself the mobile food truck of your dreams, you’ll need to follow the state of Florida’s rules and regulations regarding your business. Depending on where in Florida you intend to locate, you may also need to comply with additional rules. You must pay fees for inspection, plan review and licensing. You’ll also be required to collect sales tax on all food you sell to customers.
The State of Florida requires you to apply for a Mobile Food Dispensing Vehicle license. In addition, you must have your plan reviewed by the state prior to opening your business. You’ll also be subjected to a food safety and sanitation exam of the premises prior to your opening date. Fees vary based on license; as of July 2010, the fee for plan review is $150. Check with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s website, or call them at 850-487-1395 for the most current fee schedule.
Within the state of Florida, your mobile food vendor business may also be subject to the need for local licenses within your city, town or county. Some larger metropolitan areas may only have a limited number of mobile food vendor licenses available. For example, Key West only has 25 such licenses available at one time, and, as of July 2011, does not have any currently available.
Florida’s state regulations require you to submit a form stating that you have adequate access to commissary facilities for your mobile food truck. Acceptable commissary facilities must give you access to potable water as well as a place to dispose of your waste water. These facilities may not be part of a private residence. In addition to the necessities, these facilities may provide amenities such as commercial-grade three-basin sinks in which to wash your dishes.
To obtain a business license in Florida, you must also obtain a federal employer identification number (FEIN). When your business files tax returns with the IRS, you’ll be required to use your FEIN on all official documentation. If you hire employees, you’ll also be required to provide it on their W-2 statements at the end of each fiscal year. Your local government may require you to obtain a sales tax receipt from them, which allows you to collect sales tax on the locality’s behalf.