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Planning, Zoning & Economic Development

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I ready to start my own business?
The Small Business Development Center can give you advice if you should start up your own business, and how to open a business.  Their website is www.FloridaSBDC.org/Broward.  Also, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers an assessment tool to help you understand if you are ready to start a business.  The assessment is a series of questions which helps you to evaluate your skills, and preparedness to open a business.  The assessment can be accessed by going to www.sba.gov

How do I determine a location for my business?

In order to obtain a business license tax certificate, you will first need to determine if your business is permitted at the address or building site you have selected. All land in the City (public and private) is divided up into zoning categories or districts.  Each zoning district lists permitted (allowed) uses and conditional (discretionary) uses. Conditional uses may be allowed under certain circumstances.  If you wish to occupy an existing building or tenant space, the Zoning Division will determine if the proposed use is permitted, and if so, if sufficient parking is provided in accordance with the city parking code.

TO ENSURE THE BUSINESS LOCATION YOU ARE CONSIDERING IS PROPERLY ZONED FOR YOUR INTENDED USE, CONTACT THE PLANNING, ZONING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT BEFORE YOU SIGN A LEASE OR PURCHASE PROPERTY.  The Zoning Division (954-797-2225) is located on the second floor at 401 Northwest 70th Terrace in the Development Services Building.

What should I do first?
Your first decision as a business owner is to determine the legal structure of your business.  Your choice determines what kind of taxes the business must pay, who’s liable and what forms are necessary.  There are four main choices: 1) Sole Proprietorship; 2) Partnership; 3) Corporation; and 4) Limited Liability Company.  Contact the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations, Post Office Box 6327, Tallahassee, Florida 32314, www.sunbiz.org

How do I start my own business?
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers various assistance at different levels to anyone interested in starting a business.  Information pertaining to: planning, opening, managing, and even closing your business can be found on their website which is www.sba.gov.  Business advice and ideas are also available on through SBA from the National Advisory Council. The Small Business Development Center can also give you advice.  Their website is www.FloridaSBDC.org/Broward.

What do I need to do to get organized for my business?
It is important to become organized when starting a business to ensure all essential regulatory requirements are addressed, and for you to be a success.  Start by creating a list of the essential items which may be required to be completed before you can open the doors to your business.  This list should address; business license regulations and requirements, taxes, business plan, legal documentation, zoning, insurance, and fees.

What is a business plan?
A business plan describes your business, including the purpose, mission of your business, long and short term goals, and annual activities to be performed to operate your business.  It should also include a balance sheet, income statement and cash flow analysis.  Preparing a business plan is often necessary and helpful when acquiring loan or financial assistance.

What legal issues do I need to consider before starting my business?
Depending upon the type of business you are planning to establish various legal issues may need to be addressed such as patents, copyrights, and licenses.  General guidance can be obtained through www.sba.gov, or by contacting an attorney.

Do I need an Employer ID Number?
Yes, Employer ID numbers are necessary.  The Employer ID Number is the federal tax identification number which is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Information is provided on www.irs.gov.

Will I have to pay other taxes?
If your business will involve taxable transactions, you must register as a sales and use tax dealer before you begin conducting business.  Form DR-1 must be completed.  You are responsible for collecting sales tax at the time of each sale and remitting the tax each month to the Department of Revenue.  Contact the Florida Department of Revenue at 1-800-352-3671, or www.myflorida.com/dor

Do I need a business license?
Yes. All businesses in the City of Plantation are required to have a business license from the City and Broward County.  To obtain a City’s business license visit the City of Plantation City Clerk’s Office, City Hall, 400 Northwest 73rd Avenue, call 954-797-2239 for assistance, or click here for information.   Broward County business licenses can be obtained from the Government Center Annex, located at 115 South Andrews Avenue, Room A-100, Fort Lauderdale, or call 954-831-4000.

PLEASE NOTE:  As part of the Business Licensing process, your building or tenant space will be inspected by the Building and Fire Departments for life-safety code compliance.  If Building or Fire determine a code compliance issue exists, you may be required to obtain building permits to correct bring the property into compliance. See below.

Will I need building permits?
Building permits may be required by the City.  If your business requires interior or exterior improvements to the building structure or property, building permits will be required.  For example, building permits are required for signage, paving parking lots, and more.  Building permits can be obtained from the Building Department located at 401 NW 70th Terrace, or call 954-797-2250 for assistance or click here for the Building Department’s online permitting.

I have so many general questions to ask.  Is there any service where I can get free business advice?
Yes.  Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is a non-profit association consisting of volunteers who are reatired business owners or corporate leaders who act as mentors to small and new businesses.  To contact SCORE, visit, www.score.org.  Also the Small Business Development Center can assist you.  They can be contacted at www.FloridaSBDC.org/Broward.

I have a business and I would like to meet other business owners and professionals.
The Greater Plantation Chamber of Commerce is a local organization made of business owners and professionals.  By joining the Chamber you can meet others in business who you can market your product or services to, and talk to about various issues important to you.  To learn how to become a Chamber member call 954-587-1410, or visit www.plantationchamber.org.

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