Start a Business

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 your Business

  • Plan your business.  NYC Business Solutions offers free services to help start your business and be successful in New York City. Learn more
  • 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. Learn more
  • 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. Learn more
  • 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
  • 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

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.

Find and Plan your Space

  • Find a location zoned for your business. Learn more
  • 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. Learn more
  • 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. Learn more
  • Ensure that your space has a Certificate of Occupancy or acceptable alternative from the NYC Department of Buildings that meets your business needs before you apply for licenses. Learn more

Professional Certification or "Pro-Cert" could save you weeks in receiving permits.  Pro-Cert allows a professional to self-certify projects without initial review from the NYC Department of Buildings.

Digital plan submissions and review saves time.  Have your professionals use the NYC Development Hub, including for Pro-Cert.

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

Prepare to Open

Research specific requirements.  Make sure you and your employees have all permits and licenses applicable to your business.  Complete the Requirements Questionnaire to see what is required for your business type.
Start the Requirements Questionnaire

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. Learn more
  • Prepare and pay your taxes.

Learn which permits, licenses and regulations matter to you

Use the Requirements Questionnaire to get a customized list of requirements for starting or operating your business in New York City.

  • It takes 15 minutes for the average user to complete the questionnaire.
  • Can't finish everything at once? Click “Save” to save your work and come back later.
  • Get your custom list of requirements that matter to your business.

Start the Requirements Questionnaire