Start a Business

Are you planning to start a business in the City of Greenville? If so, the following checklist is a convenient tool that outlines some of the most important steps that are required. It's important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and depending on your situation, other requirements may apply. Representatives from the City's Building Codes, Business License and Planning & Development Divisions are available to assist you, so please call or come in to discuss your plans with a City staff member if you have any questions.

For those already familiar with the process, the list is a just a great way to make sure you've covered all the bases.

1. Have you verified the address where you plan to set up your new business? Address Locator

2. Have you confirmed that the zoning and available parking on the site are suitable for your business? Zoning Classifications

3. If you're locating in the Central Business District (CBD), have you checked to see if special zoning requirements apply for renovations? View CBD Design Guidelines

4. If you're planning to build or make renovations to an existing building, have you received a building permit? Building permit requirements

Building permits can be obtained in the Permits & License office on the 4th floor of City Hall. Commercial building permits can only be issued to properly licensed contractors, so make sure your contractor is properly licensed by the State of South Carolina and

has a City of Greenville business license. The following steps are typically handled by your contractor:

New Business Requirements Checklist

A. Submit building renovation plans to the Building Codes office at City Hall. City staff will review the plans, and based on code requirements, will either approve them or request that you make some changes. Staff will issue a building permit once all building code and zoning requirements have been met.

B. Acquire plumbing, heating, air conditioning and gas permits if building or renovation plans will require alterations of these systems. These permits can be obtained at the Permits & License office on the 4th floor of City Hall.

5. Have you applied for a sign permit?

You must have a sign permit before you can erect any signs at your address. Sign permits

6. Has your contractor requested all of the required inspections throughout the
 construction process?

Inspections are conducted by the City over the course of construction and a final inspection is required once building renovations are completed. Your contractor is responsible for ensuring that all inspections are requested in the proper sequence. Your contractor must request inspections in advance.

7. Have you applied for a Certificate of Occupancy?

Once your building passes all inspections you will need a Certificate of Occupancy. You may apply for the Certificate of Occupancy at any time during the process but the certificate cannot be issued until all inspections for any other permits have been completed. Applications can be obtained online or at the Permits and License office on the 4th floor of City Hall. A separate inspection is required for issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy. Normally this application and request for inspection is handled by the tenant or business owner. A 24-hour application processing time is required prior to scheduling this inspection.

8. Have you applied for a business license?

You must have a business license to operate your business in the city of Greenville.

Applications can be obtained online or at the Permits and License office on the 4th floor of City Hall. Fees for business licenses vary according to the type of business you are operating. Some businesses such as restaurants and nightclubs are required to have a background check on all owners, officers and managers of the business. This requirement will add additional time to your business license process and must be completed prior to applying for and obtaining a license for these types of businesses.