The Dundee Building and Business Development Department is ready to assist you in every aspect of opening a new business in the Town of Dundee. Through a team approach that consolidates nearly all town services related to investing in Dundee within one administrative department, the Town of Dundee has developed a seamless process to take you from concept to ribbon cutting. This guide provides an overview of the steps and resources available to help you succeed.
Step 1: Plan Ahead
Although not required, developing a business plan is recommended. A well-crafted business plan provides the appropriate tools to create and operate a successful business. To develop a robust business plan you will need to consider your target customer, location requirements, financial needs, and marketing strategies.
Step 2: Contact the Building & Business Services Department
The Business Services Division is the first step in starting a new business in Dundee. Located at Town Hall, 202 East Main Street., the staff offers individualized services tailored to your unique needs. Whether you are an experienced business operator or just beginning to cultivate the seed of a great idea, we help you to succeed by making sure you have the right information at the right time. Services provided by the Business Services Division include:
- Guidance on what is needed to start or expand a business in Dundee.
- A central point of entry at Town Hall, to help guide you through Town processes.
- A customized roadmap through the steps necessary to operate and grow in the Town.
- Coordinated, multi-division oversight for opening a new business.
- Someone to call when questions come up.
Step 3: Apply for Local & County Tax Licenses
Before any work can begin, you are required to apply and obtain a Local Business Tax License and a Polk County Business Tax License. In order to receive these, you should have the following
- A Signed Copy of the Businesses Lease Agreement
- Any State required licenses
- Your Fictitious Name Filing (if applicable)
Step 4: Site Location & Zoning
Site Location – One of your most critical decisions is where to locate your new business. Based on your desired customer demographics, traffic patterns, and delivery and pick-up requirements, the right location can be the difference between success and failure. So your location must be chosen carefully.
Zoning Confirmation – Knowing how a site is zoned is critical to choosing a location for your business. Zoning classifications are the local laws that define how private property can be used. Typically, zoning ordinances govern the types of uses that are allowed in the business corridors, provide information on parking requirements, and specify signage allowances and restrictions. Town zoning professionals can help you understand all applicable regulations before you begin seeking permits or licenses. Before your sign a lease or install a business sign be sure to contact the Town’s Building & Business Services Department.
Step 5: Understanding Permit Requirements
The financial realities of opening a new business can be significant. That’s why it is important to fully understand any physical requirements for opening a safe and successful environment for you, your employees, and your customers.
A free preliminary requirements assessment of prospective locations is offered to all businesses entering or expanding in Dundee. During this initial inspection, Town staff will be on hand to provide you with a preliminary assessment of improvements that may be required.
Please note, this step is only a preliminary assessment and is not intended to be an official review of required work. A preliminary property assessment typically focuses on the following:
- General maintenance of walkways and stairs, heating and air conditioning equipment, electrical components, windows, doors, and exterior walls
- All means of egress/exiting including aisles, stairs, exit doors, ramps, and accessibility
- Fire safety
- Public health safety for food establishments
To discuss a prospective location and to set up a preliminary assessment, contact Donna Looper at 863-438-8335 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 6: SECURE THE NECESSARY PERMITS
A permit is required to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move or demolish a building or structure. Erecting, installing, enlarging, altering, repairing, removing, converting, or replacing any electrical, gas, mechanical, plumbing, or fire safety systems also requires a permit.
To ensure the most timely and cost-effective process, the following steps are recommended:
- Hire a professional, state-licensed architect to prepare your plans
- Make sure your professional contractor is registered and insured and has the appropriate experience to fully manage your project
- Check with your contractor to make sure all subcontractors working on your project are registered with the Town before work begins
Once your permit application – including your architectural drawings – is accepted, a Town-certified plans examiner will review your drawings and provide a written report detailing any corrections that will need to be addressed. If all necessary corrections to your applications have been made, appropriate permits can be provided following a final review.
For larger projects, a representative of the Town will be available to meet with your architect and contractor to review the project before permit applications and plans are submitted.
Step 7: Inspecting the Work and Completing Your Project
Depending on the project, a number of professional inspections may be required, such as for plumbing, electrical, building, mechanical equipment, fire suppression, and public health. Be sure your contractor understands all inspections that will be required. Once you have passed all of your final inspections, the Town will provide a Certificate of Occupancy verifying that all requirements needed to open for business have been made.
Step 8: Getting Your Business License
While you can complete a Business License Application at any time, a business license cannot be issued until all permit work is complete and inspections passed. Once you have received your Certificate of Occupancy you will need to set up two final commercial inspections, the last steps to opening your new business: The Commercial Inspection & The Fire Inspection. The final commercial inspection is intended to ensure you have physically set up your operation in a way that is safe for you and your customers, and the Fire Inspection ensures that your location is in compliance with local and state fire codes. Once you have passed these final inspections and paid your first annual business license fee, you may open your doors to your new customers.
NOTE: If your new business is a restaurant, you will have to have a Polk County Public Health inspection as well prior to opening your business.
Contact the Building & Business Services Department
Staff: Donna Looper, Development Services Coordinator
Office Location: Town Hall
Office Phone: (863) 438-8335 Ext. 223
Office Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday
Office is closed Saturday, Sunday, and holidays