What Do I Need to Start a Second-hand Store in Florida?


Second-hand stores have become a popular way for bargain hunters to shop. In Florida, anyone who plans to open a second-hand store must abide by the registration and reporting requirements associated its operations. In addition, a second-hand store owner may wish to purchase a variety of different types of insurance, as well as incorporate the business or register the name.

Definition of Second-hand Store

According to Florida law, a second-hand store is any business, other than a metals recycling business, which purchases, consigns or trades second-hand goods. There are, however, a number of items that are excluded from the definition of "second-hand goods" including: coins, organs, clothing, office furniture, pianos, books, motor vehicles, costume jewelry, most sports equipment, most indoor workout equipment, most movies and video games, Internet sales and pawnbrokers who are licensed under a different statute.


All second-hand businesses must first register with the Florida Department of Revenue to collect sales and use tax. Along with the registration, fingerprints must be submitted and the appropriate fee paid which, as of 2011, is $6 per location. A Federal Bureau of Investigations background check will be completed.


A second-hand dealer must abide by a number of record keeping and reporting requirements. Each item purchased must be held for 15 days after the item is purchased. In addition, a written record must be made of each sale and a copy maintained for three years with the copy kept on the premises for the first year. Unless other arrangements are agreed to in advance, a complete report of each item purchased must be delivered to the local law enforcement agency within 24 hours of each item purchased. A second-hand dealer must also require proof of identity from all sellers and obtain a signed verification that the seller is the rightful owner of the property.

Insurance and Name Registration

Aside from the registration and reporting requirements, a second-hand store owner may wish to incorporate her business, or at least register the name, with the Florida Department of State. A name search may be completed online as can most filings for incorporation. A second-hand store owner may also wish to purchase liability and loss insurance prior to opening.

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