Skip to Content

Should I Set Up an LLC for My Flower Shop or Use a C-Corp?

For a flower shop, you should consider setting up an LLC as against setting up a C-Corp. This is so because the flexibility of LLC and the nature of flower shops make it an ideal business structure to settle for.

A limited liability company (LLC) is a business structure that offers limited liability protection and pass-through taxation. The LLC legally exists as a separate entity from its owners.

Owners of flower shops that choose LLC as their business structure cannot be held responsible for the business debts and liabilities.

A C corporation (or C Corp) is a legal structure for a corporation, and generally, flower shops can hardly be operated as a corporation. C corporation (or C Corp) usually has owners, or shareholders who are taxed separately from the entity.

The choice between an LLC and a C-Corp for your flower shop depends on factors such as the owner’s tax preferences, long-term growth plans, liability concerns, and administrative capabilities

Comparison of Using LLC Vs C-Corp for Flower Shop

  1. Tax Structure:

Limited Liability Company (LLC): Offers pass-through taxation, meaning profits and losses pass through to the owners’ tax returns, avoiding double taxation.

C Corporation (or C Corp): Subject to double taxation, where the corporation is taxed on its profits, and shareholders are taxed again on dividends received.

  1. Ownership and Management:

Limited Liability Company (LLC): Flexible ownership structure and management, allowing for easy transfer of ownership and less stringent formalities.

C Corporation (or C Corp): A more formal structure with shareholders, directors, and officers, which may be preferable for businesses seeking outside investment or planning for IPOs.

  1. Liability Protection:

Limited Liability Company (LLC): Owners enjoy limited liability protection, shielding personal assets from business debts and lawsuits.

C Corporation (or C Corp): Provides strong liability protection, separating personal assets from business liabilities, which can be beneficial for high-risk businesses like flower shops.

  1. Raising Capital:

Limited Liability Company (LLC): Limited options for raising capital as ownership interests cannot be sold publicly, typically relying on personal investments, loans, or partnerships.

C Corporation (or C Corp): Ideal for raising capital through the sale of stock to investors, venture capitalists, or through public offerings, providing greater access to funding for expansion and growth.

  1. Administrative Requirements:

Limited Liability Company (LLC): Minimal administrative requirements with no need for annual meetings or extensive record-keeping, offering simplicity and flexibility for small businesses.

C Corporation (or C Corp): More administrative burdens, including regular meetings, maintaining corporate records, and compliance with state regulations, can increase administrative costs and complexity.

Steps to File an LLC for a Flower Shop

STEP 1: Choose A Name for Your Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Under most states’ law, an LLC’s name must contain the words “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviations “LLC” or “L.L.C.”

Your LLC’s name may not contain a word or phrase that indicates or implies that it is organized for a purpose not contained in its articles of organization.

Your LLC’s name must be distinguishable from the names of other business entities already on file with the Secretary of State.

You must reserve your LLC’s name with the Secretary of State before filing your LLC formation documents. You may do so online for a $28 fee depending on the state.

Your proposed name will be automatically checked for availability, and you will receive your name reservation immediately at the end of the process.

Alternatively, you can submit a Name Reservation Request Form for Domestic Entities form by postal mail to the Secretary of State’s office. This requires payment of a $10 fee.

Before submitting the form, you should search the Secretary of State’s business name database to be sure the proposed name is available. To give you a better understanding, here are some of the naming guidelines:

  • Your company name must contain the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or any of its abbreviations (L.L.C. or L.L.C.)
  • Your company should not include words or phrases that might make the public confuse your company with a government agency such as F.B.I., State Department, NASA, or Treasury. Examples of such restricted words include Bank, University, and Attorney.
  • If you want to make use of restricted words like Attorney, Bank, and the rest, you will need more paperwork as well as a licensed individual such as a lawyer or doctor to be a member of your L.L.C.
  • You can check if the name you intend to use is available by searching.

So also, you must make sure that the name you want to use for your flower shop business is not already taken. You can check if the name is unique by searching the name on the State’s website.

Also, make sure your business can use its name as a web domain. Even though creating a business website is not on your plan, you should purchase the URL to stop others from using it.

After you have registered a domain name, consider creating a professional email account. A professional email that makes use of your domain name is vital to establishing trust between your business and its customers.

In this modern era, where scams are high, companies need to make use of a professional email address to provide a sense of professionalism and credibility.

Please note that you do not have to use your LLC’s official name when you do business. Instead, you can use a trade name, also called a “DBA” (short for doing business as), assumed name, or fictitious business name. To do so in most states, you simply start using the trade name to identify your LLC in the state.

You may also apply to Register a Trade Name with the Secretary of State by mail and pay a $30 fee. Registration is not mandatory or confer any legal rights but does alert others that the name is in use in your state.

Step 2: Appoint A Registered Agent in Your State

Next, you are required to choose a registered agent for your L.L.C. in your state. A Resident Agent is the person or company who receives your LLC’s documents, notices, and legal mail (called Service of Process).

Not everyone can be a registered agent. For a person to be eligible to become a registered agent, the person or corporation must be a resident of the state. If your member knows the ropes of being a registered agent, you may elect him or her rather than hire one.

This will help you save some dollars, especially if you are running a small flower shop business. However, hiring a seasoned registered agent offers tons of benefits like privacy and peace of mind.

Step 3: Prepare and File a Certificate of Formation with the County Probate Court

You are expected to prepare and file a certificate of formation for your LLC as required by your state. For example, an Alabama LLC is created by filing a Certificate of Formation. Unlike most states, the certificate is not filed with the Secretary of State.

Instead, you must file it by postal mail with the Office of the Judge of Probate in the county where the LLC’s initial registered office is located.

The Probate Court files the form and provides you with a stamped copy. The court then transmits the certificate to the secretary of state along with your fee.

A list of the names and addresses of the probate judges for every Alabama county can be found on the Alabama Secretary of State website. The certificate of formation must include the following information:

  • the LLC’s name
  • the name and address of the LLC’s registered agent
  • an indication whether the LLC is a series LLC, professional LLC, or non-profit LLC by checking the appropriate box–not applicable to most LLCs
  • the effective date the LLC will begin is different from the Certificate of Formation filing date, and
  • the signature of the organizer or attorney-in-fact.

A copy of the Name Reservation certificate from the Secretary of State must be attached.

The filing fee is $100 to the Secretary of State plus a separate Probate Court filing fee which is at least $50.

Step 4: Prepare an Operating Agreement

An LLC operating agreement is required in some states and is highly advisable. This is an internal document that establishes how your LLC will be run. It sets out the rights and responsibilities of the members and managers, including how the LLC will be managed.

It can also help preserve your limited liability by showing that your LLC is truly a separate business entity. In the absence of an operating agreement, state LLC law will govern how your LLC operates.

Step 5: Acquire an Employer Identification Number

An Employer identification number (E.I.N.)  also known Federal Tax Identification number is a 9-digit number similar to a social security number. The Employer identification number will be used to identify your business. It is like a social security number for your company.

An Employer Identification Number is essential because you will need it to open a business account for your company, to hire employees as well as tax purposes.

You can obtain your E.I.N. from the I.R.S. after creating your company. You can do it via mail or online. Note: It will not cost you a dime to get an E.I.N. from the I.R.S.

You can obtain an EIN from the IRS either

  • Via mail (approval takes 4 weeks)
  • Via fax (approval takes 4 business days)
  • Via online application (approval is instant at the end of the application)

Step 6: File State Tax Return/Annual Report

Some states require LLCs to file a combined Business Privilege Tax Return and Annual Report with the Department of Revenue each year.

The initial report (Form BPT-IN) is due two and one-half months after your LLC is formed. Subsequent reports (Form PPT) are due on or before three and one-half months after the beginning of the LLC’s taxable year.

A minimum $100 tax must be paid each year. For details and tax forms, see your state’s Department of Revenue website. Additional tax and regulatory requirements may apply to your LLC. These may include:


If your LLC has more than one member, it must obtain its own IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is so even if it has no employees. If you form a one-member LLC, you must obtain an EIN for it only if you elect to have it taxed as a corporation instead of a sole proprietorship (disregarded entity). You may obtain an EIN by completing an online EIN application on the IRS website. There is no filing fee.

Business Licenses

Depending on the type of business and where it is located, your LLC may need to obtain other local and state business licenses. Check with the county probate office or county licensing commission for the county where your LLC office is located.

LLC Records

An LLC must keep the following records in its principal office and make them available for inspection by LLC members:

  • a current list of the full name and last known business or residence street address of each member, and each manager, if any
  • a copy of the filed articles of organization and all amendments, and executed copies of any powers of attorney pursuant to which any documents have been executed
  • copies of the LLC’s federal, state, and local income tax returns and reports, if any, for the three most recent years
  • copies of any then effective operating agreements including any amendments, and
  • copies of any financial statements of the LLC for the three most recent years.

Step 7: Securing Business Licenses and /or Permits

The next step you are expected to take is to secure your business license and permits as the case may be. The type of business licenses and/or permits your LLC will need to legally operate will depend on its location and the industry it is involved.

Please note that to operate your LLC you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, flower shops likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.

The details of business licenses and permits vary from state to state. Make sure you read carefully. Do not be surprised if there are short classes required as well.

Fees for business licenses and permits will vary depending on what sort of license you are seeking to obtain.

To find out more, contact your local agencies in the city, town, or county where your LLC is located.

Step 8: Sort – Out Taxes

Federal taxes

LLCs in most states have what is called “pass-through” taxation. This means your LLC does not pay separate federal taxes; instead, all its profits/losses “flow-through” to you and are filed with your tax return (Form 1040), usually on a Schedule C.

State and local taxes

In addition to your Personal Property Tax Return, your LLC may also need to file and pay additional taxes, both at the state level and the local level (county, city, township, etc.) Depending on the nature of your flower business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of state tax.

Sales Tax

Since you will be selling a physical product, you will typically need to register for a seller’s permit. This certificate allows a business to collect sales tax on taxable sales.

Sales tax, also called “Sales and Use Tax,” is a tax levied by states, counties, and municipalities on business transactions involving the exchange of certain taxable goods or services.

Employer Taxes

If you have employees, you will have to register for the Unemployment Insurance Tax, and the Employee Withholding Tax through the Department of Labour, Licensing, and Regulation.

Step 9: Open Your LLC Bank Account

To keep your flower business finances apart from your finances, you should open a separate bank account for your LLC. A separate bank account helps maintain your liability protection and it also makes business accounting and taxes a lot easier.

The items needed to open an account in most states are your approved Articles of Organization, EIN Confirmation Letter from the IRS, and your driver’s license or passport. We also recommend calling the bank ahead of time to find out if additional documents are required.

Tips: Look for free business checking: Call a few banks in your state and take down notes for comparison. Some banks charge monthly maintenance fees for your LLC’s checking accounts, others do not.

Debit card: A debit card for your LLC will be issued when opening the account.

Credit card: If you want to start building business credit for your LLC (or get travel and cashback rewards), you can get a credit card or two for your LLC. We recommend using to find a business credit card.

Step 10: Apply and Obtain Your Business Phone Number

Instead of using your home telephone number or your cell phone, you can purchase an affordable “virtual business number” specifically for your LLC. You can check out as they have the cheapest plans, and their customer service is excellent.

They offer local phone numbers as well as 1-800 toll-free numbers. You can easily set up call forwarding and pre-recorded prompts, and get voicemail messages forwarded to your email.

Getting a separate business phone number for your LLC is also a good idea to keep your actual number private from those pesky “public record” websites.

Step 11: File Your LLC Biennial Report

It is important to point out that in some states, an LLC may face fines and even automatic dissolution when they miss one or more state filings.

When this happens, LLC owners risk the loss of limited liability protection. A quality registered agent service can help prevent this outcome by notifying you of upcoming filing deadlines and by submitting reports on your behalf.