The Business License Certificate of Occupancy process requires approvals from:
Zoning Confirms that your property is zoned for your business' particular use.
Fire Marshal Division - Conducts a fire safety inspection by reviewing the business activity and facility to help ensure minimum fire safety requirements have been achieved. Once all reviews are complete you will receive an email notifying you that you can schedule your inspection through our Customer Self Service Portal. In order to expedite the process, each applicant will be required to complete a Fire Inspection Self Survey (PDF). Completed surveys are to be provided to the fire marshal at the time of inspection.
Ensures that the structure is in compliance with all building codes and requirements and issue a certificate of occupancy.
Business License Completes paperwork and assignment of NAICS codes based on business type.
Once the Business License Certificate of Occupancy is approved, the Business License Division will contact you to assign your business a NAICS Code. Business license fees are based on the type of business and the projected gross income of the business for the balance of the calendar year. Once all fees are paid your business license will be issued.
Placement Certificate of Occupancy
The certificate of occupancy must be framed and posted within ten feet of the primary entry door, or approved the alternate location, with the top of the frame measuring no higher than six feet above the floor and an immediate view of the public.
All signage in the City of Charleston requires Zoning and Building Inspections approval. Zoning staff will inform you if your signage requires additional approvals, such as the Board of Architectural Review.
Business License Assistance
For assistance with the Business License Certificate of Occupancy Process, please contact the Business License Division at 843-724-3711.
If you would like to help to start a business, please contact the city's business services at 843-724-7472. The Business Services Division works to promote and maintain a strong business climate throughout the City and to foster a healthy and sustainable economy for the benefit of all citizens. They offer one-on-one consultations as well as informational seminars to provide you with the assistance you might need or to help connect you with outside resources to start your business off on the right foot.