Before you open your doors, you had better checked whether your business needs a special permit or licence? Certain types of businesses, namely those that sell, hawk or supply meals or perishable foodstuffs and those that provide certain types of health facilities or entertainment, require a licence to trade. In addition, purveyors of liquor need to apply for a liquor licence.
To obtain a trading licence for your business, you need to apply to the Licensing Department, which in turn requires reports from the health and fire department and town planning. The latter two departments will check that your business meets health and fire regulations and that your proposed premises are in an area zoned for business.
Which brings us to the next issue.
Different areas are zoned for different activities and you cannot simply open a business in a residentially zoned area, unless that business is a one-man show that doesn’t receive clients on a regular basis.
You can apply to the local council to have the area rezoned as a business area (a long process of up to three months with an uncertain outcome) or you can apply for special consent to operate a business in that area.
If you’re looking to start trading right away, choose an area already zoned for business. Bear in mind that you will need to renew your licence to trade if you change premises or change the nature of your business on the original premises.