Do I need a license to operate a business in the City of Delray Beach?
All businesses operating within the City are required to have an occupational license. You can apply for a license at the City's Occupational License office, located in the Development Services Wing of City Hall, 100 N.W. 1st Avenue. There is currently a standard fee of $156.56 for each type of business license, however, a few exceptions exist. You may speak with the Business Tax Receipt Office for assistance in determining your license fees. Licenses must be renewed annually.
In addition to a City business tax receipt, certain businesses must have licenses from State or County agencies. For example, restaurants require approvals from the State Division of Hotels and Restaurants. Contractors and certain professionals must be licensed by the State. Approvals from other government agencies must be obtained prior to receiving a City occupational license.
Services or businesses that are located in other cities, but conduct work within the City of Delray Beach (e.g. contractors, lawn services, taxi drivers) are not required to have a license from Delray Beach, however, they must register with the Business Tax Receipt Office.
For more information, contact the Business Tax Receipt Clerk at 243-7209
What is my zoning and how does it affect my business?
Zoning is the means by which local governments regulate the types of uses that are conducted on land within their jurisdictions. For example, businesses are not normally permitted to operate on property zoned for residential purposes. Similarly, certain types of businesses may only be permitted on properties zoned specifically for those purposes.
The City of Delray Beach has numerous commercial and industrial zoning districts which are quite specific as to the type and intensity of businesses allowed. To find out the zoning classification of your prospective location call or visit the Development Services Wing in City Hall. There is a large zoning map on public display in the lobby. A Planner at the front counter can assist you in determining the zoning classification, and can inform you of applicable restrictions on the use, if any. If you have not yet chosen a location for your business, a Planner can help you to determine which areas of the City are zoned for your particular use.
It is important to ensure that the location you select for your business is properly zoned for the use. To avoid unnecessary hassles and expense, check with the Planning and Zoning Department at 243-7040 before you commit to a location.
I'm moving my business into an older building. Is there anything I should be aware of?
If your business is the same as the previous occupant, and they just moved out, you are probably okay. But if you have a different type of business, or if the building has been vacant for six months or more, you may be impacted by code requirements. Check with the Planning and Zoning Department or the Building Department in the Development Services Wing of City Hall. It should be noted that Palm Beach County Impact Fees might apply for a change in occupancy.
I need more space for my business and I want to add on to an existing structure. The property owner says it's okay. How do I get started?
You will need to submit an application for a site plan modification. Before you make a formal submission, you should bring a survey and a basic plan to the Planning and Zoning Department's front counter. A Planner can determine if your addition complies with current codes, and will advise you as to the requirements for applying for a site plan modification. You should also check with a Plan Reviewer in the Building Department for permit requirements.
The building I'm going into used to be a warehouse. I'm going to open a beauty salon. Do I need to make changes to the building?
This type of change in use will require that separate bathrooms be available for both men and women. Handicap facilities must also be provided. Whenever you go into a space that has a different type of use check with the Building Department to find out what type of improvements, if any, are required. It should be noted that Palm Beach County Impact Fees might apply for a change in use.
Some changes in use represent an increase in intensity. Under these conditions provision of additional parking and concurrency concerns may apply. This may require processing of a site plan modification. It is recommended that you check with a Planner in the Planning and Zoning Department.
Will I have to upgrade my new space for fire code compliance?
The Fire Marshal makes random inspections for fire code compliance. To find out if you will have to provide new fire suppression equipment, call the Fire Marshal at 243-7425 for a courtesy inspection prior to signing your lease.
Do I need a permit to put up a sign?
Almost any type of sign you put up will require a permit. Contact Sign Permitting at 243-7200 for an application. Make sure that you obtain a permit prior to having the sign constructed. If a sign is installed without a permit, a triple permit fee will be imposed.
I am on a low start-up budget. I've checked into the requirements and there are some improvements needed that the owner is trying to pass on to me. Is there any way to get some of these requirements waived?
First, work with a Planner or the Building Department Plan Reviewers to determine exactly what improvements are required. It is necessary that the staff person know the full extent of your plans as they pertain to physical improvements to the building or property. If you are still concerned about the requirements, ask the Planner or Plan Reviewer to set up an appointment with a management person. That person may be able to look at your project from a broader perspective and counsel you as to what, if anything, can be done to reduce the costs.
Is there an agency that can give me information that would help me start my business?
The Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce has an organization called the Delray Beach Council of 100. As the economic development arm of the Chamber, the purpose of the Council of 100 is to assist companies locating to and expanding in Delray Beach and Palm Beach County.
Contact Kathy Aguirre at 279-1380 ext. 13, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website at delraybeach.com for new/start-up and relocating business support resources including information about free business counseling and seminars, demographics, retail sales and labor statistics, official Chamber Membership Directory and other brochures and articles about the local business economy. Referrals to local commercial realtors, banking and many other community agencies and contacts are available.
I'm in a special historic district. How does this affect my plans?
The Historic Preservation Board may be able to grant variances and waivers to code requirements, if meeting those requirements would detract from the historic character of the site. Such actions can only be taken at a formal Board meeting, after an application has been submitted and a staff review performed. Your first stop when working within a historic district should be with the City's Historic Preservation Planner, or another member of the Planning staff.
I've heard about impact fees. What are they, and will I be required to pay them before opening a business?
Impact fees are assessed by local governments to recover some of the costs associated with servicing new development. For instance, if it is determined that your business will increase the amount of traffic on the surrounding road system, or will require additional water or sewage capacities, you may be assessed various fees for the provision of those services. Contact the Building Department for more information on those costs.
This sounds complicated. Do I need an attorney or an architect to help me?
If you are moving into an existing structure, and your business is similar to the previous tenant's, you can probably handle the details yourself. If you are going to make repairs, add partitions, or change any plumbing or electrical fixtures, you will probably need permits which can only be issued to a licensed contractor. If you are adding on to a building or making substantial alterations, you will most likely need an architect to draw up plans. However, you do not need anyone in order to stop by the Development Services Wing and ask questions.
I'd like to run my business out of my house. Can I do that?
Home occupations are permitted subject to strict limitations on the type of business, the amount of square footage devoted to the use, the type of equipment or processes used, allowable signage, and the amount of traffic that can be generated by the use. A home occupation is subject to all applicable City occupational licenses and fees. Please note that some residential communities within the City prohibit home occupations altogether. Before you set up a business at home, check with your homeowner's association and the City's Occupational License office to see if your business qualifies as a home occupation.