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What's required to do business in New York City?

Select your business type
Create a Business Plan
Register Your Business
  • Choose a legal structure. This will determine who will own and be legally responsible for your business and affects how you file your taxes. GET FREE ADVICE ON LEGAL STRUCTURES

  • Register your business. Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, and Limited Partnerships register with New York State. General Partnerships and Sole Proprietorships register with the appropriate County Clerk. GET FREE LEGAL ADVICE

  • Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax ID Number. If you are a sole proprietor, you may be able to use your Social Security Number instead. LEARN MORE ABOUT EIN

  • Register as a Sales Tax Vendor with the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance in order to sell products and services.  Apply early to avoid delays receiving other permits. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SALES TAX VENDOR CERTIFICATE
  • Research required insurance such as workers' compensation, liability, and disability insurance.  Some are needed for permits and licenses and protect you from loss, fines, and lawsuits.
Finance Your Business
  • Determine your financing needs. To start your business, you will need money or capital to purchase equipment and run your operations. Increase your chances of getting financing for your business.

  • Identify incentive programs. Your business can benefit from programs that allow you to lower your cost of doing business. SBS can help you identify and access energy cost savings, tax credits, and other incentives. LEARN MORE ABOUT INCENTIVES

  • Understand your insurance needs, such as workers' compensation, liability, and disability insurance. Some are needed for permits and licenses and protect you from loss, fines, and lawsuits. Managing risk is an essential part of your business. LEARN MORE ABOUT INSURANCE

Find, Plan, and Build Out Your Space
  • Find a location zoned for your business, and at the legally required distance from a school or place of worship if you plan to serve alcohol. Your business location and the opinion of the local Community Board will be reviewed for your liquor license application. LEARN MORE ABOUT ZONING REQUIREMENTS

  • Learn more about zoning in your neighborhood with the Department of City Planning's ZoLa map. USE THE ZOLA MAP
  • Learn about facilities and program sites in your prospective neighborhood that might impact your business on the Department of City Planning's Facilities Explorer. USE THE FACILITIES EXPLORER

  • Get help understanding and signing your lease. Before signing, talk to a lawyer to make sure the timing is right, the terms are legal, and the agreement is good for you. GET FREE COMMERCIAL LEASE ASSISTANCE THROUGH SBS

  • Review your building plans for major and minor construction within your space. The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) offers free plan examinations, and experienced client managers can help you navigate the process. GET HELP WITH PLAN EXAMINATIONS
  • Plan your food establishment design. Select and engage architect(s), general contractor(s), and/or interior and kitchen designers to plan any changes and ensure that your space complies with building and fire codes. Make sure your architect and/or contractor is licensed.

  • Changes to a landmarked property or building in a historic district must be approved by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) before work can begin. LPC has a Business Express Service that serves as a one-stop shop for business owners in landmark buildings, making it easier for them to get their permits. LEARN MORE ABOUT WORK ON LANDMARKED PROPERTIES

  • If your location will host events where 75 people or more will gather, you will need a Place of Assembly Permit. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PLACE OF ASSEMBLY PERMIT

  • Follow the Noise Code, limit construction noise, plan to limit noise from your establishment to avoid fines, and do not play music in front of your business to attract customers. You must create and post a noise mitigation plan to keep noises from bothering neighbors. Failure to do so can result in fines. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NOISE CODE

  • Limit construction noise. You must create and post a noise mitigation plan to keep noises from bothering neighbors. Failure to do so can result in fines. LEARN ABOUT CONSTRUCTION NOISE REGULATIONS
  • Hire a private carting service and set up your space to comply with commercial recycling rules. LEARN MORE ABOUT HIRING A PRIVATE CARTER
  • Your construction should match what your business permits require. Make sure your licensed professional plans spaces and utilities connections to match the requirements of your business permits.
Prepare to Open
Hire a Team
  • The minimum wage for all employees in New York City is $15.00 per hour starting December 31, 2019. Businesses that violate this law will be punished. LEARN MORE ABOUT MINIMUM WAGE
  • Recruit talented staff that will contribute to the success of your business. NYC Department of Small Business Services can help you save time and money. GET HELP HIRING A TEAM
  • Train your employees, so that your team has the skills your business needs. LEARN MORE ABOUT EMPLOYEE TRAINING
  • Clarify your unemployment insurance requirements. Contact the New York State Department of Labor for more information. LEARN ABOUT UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
  • Clarify your workers' compensation insurance requirements. Contact the New York State Department of Labor for more information. LEARN ABOUT WORKERS' COMPENSATION INSURANCE
  • Be sure to comply with all applicable laws involving employee wages, including living wage, sick leave, and transit benefits. LEARN MORE ABOUT WAGE LAWS
Open and Operate
  • Display licenses and required posters.
  • Give customers clear receipts.  Show prices and print your business name and address on your invoices and receipts.
  • Prepare and pay your taxes.  LEARN ABOUT TAXES IN NYC
  • Hazardous materials above threshold amounts must be registered under NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s Right-to-Know program. Many common materials such as paint, solvents, inks, pool chemicals, and cleaning products can have hazardous characteristics. LEARN MORE ABOUT RIGHT-TO-KNOW
  • All vehicles may only idle as permitted or face fines. As a general rule of thumb, no person should allow the engine of a motor vehicle to idle for longer than three minutes while parking, unless it is an authorized emergency motor vehicle, or a vehicle using an engine to operate a loading device. The legal idling time is reduced to one minute if the vehicle is parked adjacent to a school facility. LEARN MORE ABOUT IDLING REGULATIONS
  • Watch for asbestos. A licensed asbestos investigator must determine if asbestos is present, and if so then a licensed abatement contractor must contain it and give notice to NYC Department of Environmental Protection before you can demolish or renovate the structure. LEARN MORE ABOUT ASBESTOS RULES AND REGULATIONS

  • Train your employees on sexual harassment prevention. You must do so under state law. LEARN MORE ABOUT SEXUAL HARASSMENT TRAINING

Find out how to stay in compliance with New York City regulations and avoid fines, tickets, and citations. 

Compliance Consultations

Compliance Consultations

Schedule a free on-site compliance consultation to learn how to avoid common health, sanitation, and consumer affairs violations. REQUEST CONSULTATION

10 Things Every Business Should Know

10 Things Every Business Should Know

This guide includes important tips that every retail business that sells goods and services should know to avoid violations. VIEW PDF

NYC Business Guide to Avoiding Common Violations

Violations Guide

This guide offers simple tips to help business owners avoid the most common health and safety violations. VIEW PDF

What to Expect When You Are Inspected

What to Expect When You're Inspected

This guide outlines the inspection process and defines the parameters of the restaurant grading program. VIEW PDF

Self Inspection Checklist for Food Service Violations

Self-Inspection Worksheet for Food Service Establishments

This guide outlines the inspection process and defines the parameters of the restaurant grading program. VIEW PDF