Quick Guides

FAQ

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

Select your business type for a summary of key steps for meeting government regulations when starting your business.

Create a Business Plan

  • Develop your business idea. Every business starts as an idea. Take advantage of free Business Planning courses to translate your business idea into a business plan. REGISTER FOR BUSINESS PLANNING COURSES
  • Seek out advice. Get feedback on your business idea and plan. SBS offers hands-on, intensive instruction for your business plan and connects you with a business coach. SIGN UP FOR CLASSES
  • Write your business plan. A business plan is a living document that serves as a roadmap for your business. Here is an online guide to create your business plan. LEARN ABOUT WRITING 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 legal advice to help you choose your legal structure.  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 to help you file your paperwork. 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
  • 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. SBS can increase your chances of getting financing for your business. SECURE FINANCING
  • Identify incentive programs. Your business can benefit from incentive 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. Managing risk is an essential part of your business. SBS can help you learn more about your insurance coverage and the claims process. LEARN MORE ABOUT INSURANCE

Find and Plan Your Space

  • Learn more about zoning in your neighborhood with the Department of City Planning's ZoLa map. USE THE ZOLA MAP
  • Learn about City facilities that can help your business on the Facilities Explorer from the Department of City Planning. USE THE FACILITIES EXPLORER
  • Get assistance in 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 legal advice to complete a lease. GET FREE LEGAL ADVICE
  • 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
  • Work with licensed professionals to plan any changes and to ensure that your space complies with building and fire codes.  Make sure your architect or contractor is licensed.
  • Changes to a landmarked property or building in a historic district must be approved by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission before work can begin.  Allow time to receive approval. LEARN MORE ABOUT WORK ON LANDMARKED PROPERTIES
  • Plan to limit noise from your establishment to avoid fines and do not play music in front of your business to attract customers. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NOISE CODE
  • 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.
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Prepare to Open

  • Research specific requirements. Make sure you and your employees have all permits and licenses applicable to your business.  Use Step by Step, a tool that helps you build a customized list of requirements. USE THE STEP BY STEP
  • Set-up your space to maximize recycling and avoid violations. Attend a DSNY training and download or order educational materials. ATTEND A TRAINING
  • Post applicable worker protection posters. Follow Federal as well as New York State requirements. DOWNLOAD POSTERS

Hire a Team

  • 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
  • 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.
  • Give customers clear invoices.  Show prices and print your business name and address.
  • Get permits and limit air pollution. If you release fumes into the air, you may be subject to the New York City Air Pollution Control Code (Air Code).
  • 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

Learn which permits, licenses and regulations matter to you

Use the Step by Step Tool to get an exhaustive list of requirements that matter to you.

  • 10 Minutes or less

    It takes the average person about 10 minutes to complete the questionnaire.

  • Avoid Fines & Complaints

    It takes the average person about 10 minutes to complete the questionnaire.

  • Resources and Incentives

    Many businesses qualify for money-saving incentive programs. For some incentive programs, you can try the Incentives Estimator to provide dollar-value estimates of the benefit that you might receive.