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    Guia de Negocios

    This guide includes resources and City requirements for a typical business and may not be exhaustive. The absence of an item from this guide does not constitute a waiver. While some links to external web pages are included for convenience, it remains the business owner's responsibility to communicate with and meet the requirements of all relevant local, state, and federal agencies.

    Please Note: In order to submit online building, planning, sign, and traffic permit applications, a free account must first be established. To set up a first-time account, please visit the Inspection Services Portal and click "Register for an Account" (located in the upper-right corner). After an account has been created, return to this page to continue your search.

    Checklist: Open For Business in Grand Rapids!

    Quick Links
    Who can provide entrepreneurial resources?
    How do I find a location for my business?
    Are incentives or financing assistance available?
    What licenses and permits will be needed?
    How do I start utilities and services for my business
    What taxes and fees will my business need to pay (and collect)?

    Who can Provide Entrepreneurial Resources?

    Michigan Small Business Resource Guide

    The West Michigan Small Business Resource Guide is a compilation of various organizations, resources and information which may be helpful for small businesses. The guide was created in cooperation between local organizations and the City's Economic Development Department in order to enhance small business communities throughout the West Michigan area.

    West Michigan Small Business Resource Guide
    For more information or changes to information, please contact the Economic Development Department at (616) 456-3431.

    Michigan Small Business Development Center

    The MI-SBDC is a SBA funded non-profit organization that provides valuable resources to entrepreneurs. Low-cost training, one-on-one counseling, and market research are a few of the services the SBDC offers to assist companies in achieving their desired outcomes. Whether yours is a new business looking for guidance, an existing business primed for growth or a high tech venture, the SBDC has services designed specifically for you.

    Phone:(616) 331-7370

    West Michigan Science and Technology Initiative

    The Initiative helps new high tech ventures, including biotech, information technology and advanced manufacturing access a host of services to grow a business. The Business Accelerator Center serves as a one stop shop to help transfer technology to product development. It offers incubation space, business plan development, access to venture capital, market research, management recruitment, professional legal services, national technology review, and student interns.

    Phone:(616) 331-5840


    GROW is an SBA funded, non-profit business center. GROW provides training and ongoing counseling for clients to develop skills and acquire the knowledge needed to achieve financial independence. Their programs focus on entrepreneurial training through mentoring, counseling, seminars and classes. GROW also offers a microloan program for qualified individuals looking to secure a loan. Click here for more information.

    Phone: (616) 458-3404


    SCORE is a non-profit organization sponsored by the SBA and located at the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. They are dedicated to helping the small business community through free mentoring and business counseling and low-cost workshops. SCORE volunteers use their real life business experience to help your business thrive.

    Phone: (616) 771-0305

    Grand Rapids Public Library

    Grand Rapids Public Library is located in eight urban Grand Rapids neighborhoods. The Library provides access to a host of entrepreneurial information and resources both on-site as well as via the internet. With a valid Library or Internet Access Card, individuals may search online databases from home or at one of the Library's convenient locations. Most specifically, Reference USA provides detailed information regarding US and Canadian Businesses. Users can search by company name, location, and even the type of business. Additionally, users have the ability to search residential databases by name, number, or address. Access to the Library and its internet sites are limited to Card holding members only. Library cards are free and available for individuals residing within the City Limits.

    Phone: (616) 998-5400

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    How do I find a location for my business?

    How do I find the right Grand Rapids property for my business?

    Identifying the right location can be one of the most difficult tasks for entrepreneurs looking to start or expand a business. Many factors influence business location including market size, competition, condition of existing buildings, feasibility of renovation or new construction, zoning, etc. Taking advantage of all of the resources available to help with your decision can improve your chance for success.

    If you haven't already identified a location for your business, resources are available to help you match your vision to available properties:

    Downtown Retail Opportunities

    Economic Development

    The Right Place

    Is a special planning/zoning approval needed to operate in this location (zone district)?

    Business uses may be permitted by right, require a special approval, or require a hearing by the Board of Zoning Appeals. You will need to reference the Zoning Ordinance or contact the Planning Department. To determine the zoning and related requirements for a specific property, click here.To determine whether a special approval is required for a specific business use, reference the Zoning Ordinance. For documentation regarding potential non-conforming ("grandfathered") uses, submit a Property Use Verification application online. If you need assistance, Planning staff members are available to help.

    City of Grand Rapids Planning Department
    Phone: (616) 456-4100

    What's my Zoning?

    Zoning Ordinance

    Property Use Verification Online Application

    What structural or building system modifications (if any) are needed to operate in this building?

    Any structure in which you open or re-locate a business must meet code requirements for use and occupancy, including electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems. The structure must also meet the requirements of the International Fire Code, as adopted by the City of Grand Rapids. For information on use and occupancy certificates issued by Building Inspections during the past 10 years, check our Online Inspection Services. Try an address search in the "Permits" section.

    If you are changing the use of a structure, a Change of Use (Building Permit Application PDF) is required to verify compliance. Additionally, any changes of use must also be reported to the Fire Department. If you need assistance, Development Center staff members are available to help.

    City of Grand Rapids Development Center
    Phone: (616) 456-4100

    Online Inspection Services

    Change of Use (Building Permit Application)

    Fire Department Requirements

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    Are incentives or financing assistance available?

    Economic Development

    The Economic Development Office assists businesses with site development, expansion and location within the City. Staff can provide information and assistance for tax abatements, site selection,and Neighborhood Enterprise Zones, and the redevelopment of blighted, obsolete and contaminated properties. Economic Development also serves as your liaison with the SmartZone, Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and the Economic Development Corporation.

    Phone: (616) 456-3431

    Downtown Development Authority

    The DDA was created in 1979 to promote economic growth and revitalization and encourage historic preservation within the central business district. The DDA offers incentives for building reuse, areaway (the portion of the basement extending under the sidewalk) fill expenses, streetscape improvements and may provide additional assistance to major projects within the central business district.

    Phone: (616) 456-3034

    Michigan Economic Development Corporation

    The MEDC's mandate includes attracting new businesses, keeping existing businesses in Michigan, and providing industry information. The MEDC assists businesses with site location, financing, employee recruiting and training, permitting and coordination of site development, resources and services.

    Phone: 1 (888) 522-0103

    Economic Development Foundation

    The EDF, a Michigan non-profit organization, is licensed to administer the Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 Loan Program. All 504 loans are made in conjunction with a lending institution, such as a bank. 504 loans benefit small businesses by allowing them to access capital at low, fixed interest rates with a 20 year term, and with only 10% down. The loans can be used to purchase land, construct a building, or purchase an existing building.

    Phone: (616) 459-4825

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    What licenses and permits will be needed?

    What State of Michigan requirements apply?

    Use this comprehensive tool to identify state requirements for business, including licenses and permits. The idea behind the Michigan Business One Stop is to make doing business in our state easier than ever!

    Michigan Business One Stop Website

    What City-issued business licenses are required?

    One or more business license(s) may be required for any person operating, conducting, maintaining, or otherwise engaging in any trade, business, profession, occupation, amusement, or privilege. The City Clerk's Office will issue a business license in accordance with the relevant provisions of the City Code for the purpose of preserving public health, safety, or welfare.

    City of Grand Rapids Clerk's Office

    What construction permits are required?

    The City's Development Center is your one stop source for project planning, construction plan review, permitting and inspection services. One or more permit(s) is/are required for site work; for modifications to any structure (including a single wall); or to an electrical, HVAC, or plumbing system. Most work must be performed by a licensed contractor, and a professional designer (architect or engineer) is highly recommended. Special requirements apply in historic districts

    Development Center Website
    Phone: (616) 456-4100

    What Fire Department permits are required?

    A Fire Department Operational Permit is required for restaurants, bars, and night clubs; many industrial processing activities; and businesses involving the processing, handling, or storage of hazardous materials. For a complete listing, click here.

    Additionally, ALL business are required to complete the Grand Rapids Fire Department Chemical Survey. For more information regarding the Chemical Survery, or to complete the survey online, click here. Permits are also required for Special Events or Pyrotechnics Special Effects.

    Inspections and Permits
    Fire Prevention

    How can I obtain approval to install a sign?

    A sign permit is required for any sign or banner, whether permanent or temporary, placed in the City of Grand Rapids. Sign regulations are detailed, and are intended to balance the advertising needs of businesses with the public's general interest in an attractive and clutter-free community. Sign regulations are included in the Zoning Ordinance. A sign permit is required for an awning that functions as a sign.

    Sign Permit Application (PDF)

    Zoning Ordinance

    How can I obtain permission to use the City right-of-way (street, sidewalk, etc.)?

    A Sidewalk Permit issued to a licensed sidewalk builder is needed to construct or repair sidewalk located in the public right-of-way, a curb cut / drive approach from a public street to a private driveway, or curb / gutter. A Temporary Occupancy Permit for City right-of-way (Online Application) is needed to occupy the public right-of-way for non-permanent construction-related purposes (e.g., scaffolding, dumpster, equipment). An Encroachment Permit (PDF Application) is needed for ongoing use of the right-of-way for awnings, overhanging building features (e.g., sign, equipment).

    Engineering Department-Sidewalk Division Website

    Online Temporary Occupancy Permit Application

    Encroachment Permit Application (PDF)

    What Kent County licenses and registrations are required?

    You must register your "Doing Business As" (DBA) name with the County Clerk. Also, food service establishments and temporary food vendors must be licensed by the County Health Department. For additional information, visit Kent County's contact us page.

    Kent County Clerk Website

    Kent County Health Department

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    How do I start utilities and services for my business?

    Electric Utility

    Consumers Energy is the local electric utility. To visit their business customer service page, click here. To submit an online request to start service, click here.

    Phone: 1 (800) 805-0490

    Gas Utility

    DTE Energy is the local natural gas utility. To visit their business customer service page, click here. To submit an online request to start service, click here.

    Phone: 1 (800) 477-4747

    Water Utility

    Grand Rapids Water System Customer Service staff members are available to answer your questions regarding opening and closing accounts, billing and payment options, meter reading and leaks, and other water related issues.

    Email *Do not report water emergencies via email*
    Phone: (616) 456-3200

    Recycling & Refuse Service

    The Recycling and Waste Services division of Public Services is committed to making the City of Grand Rapids one of cleanest and most sustainable cities in the United States. They aim to leverage the latest innovation in waste systems management and recycling to reduce the environmental and financial impact of waste in the Grand Rapids Region. Open a new account online!

    Phone: (616) 456-3020

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    What taxes and fees will my business need to pay (and collect)?

    Property Taxes


    Personal property assessments are based on the value of equipment and other business assets owned in the City. Every business, not specifically exempted, in the State of Michigan is required to file a Personal Property Statement before February 20th each year. Failure to file will result in an estimated assessment. Click here for more information on Personal Property Tax filing. The City Assessor mails reminders to file in January. Assessment Notices are mailed in March. The City Treasurer mails Summer and Winter Tax Bills and processes payments. Click here to look up current and delinquent property taxes for a specific property.


    Real property assessments are calculated annually by the City Assessor. Businesses leasing a location may pay real and personal property taxes directly or indirectly. Assessment Notices are mailed to owners of real property in late January every year. The Notice indicates the current and prior year assessments, and explains the appeal process. Be sure to have an accurate mailing address on file with the City Assessor's Office to ensure timely delivery. Click here for Address Change or other Assessor Forms. The City Treasurer mails Summer and Winter Tax Bills and processes payments. Click here to look up property taxes for a specific property, or click here to estimate Real Property taxes.

    City Treasurer's Website
    Phone: (616) 456-3232

    City Assessor's Website
    Phone: (616) 456-4081

    City Income Taxes

    Every corporation doing business in the city, whether or not it has an office or place of business in the city and whether or not it has net profits, is required to file a City return. Corporations cannot choose to file and be taxed as partnerships. For information on corporate City income tax, click here. For information on withholding individual City income tax for employees, click here.

    City Income Tax Website
    Phone: (616) 456-3415

    State of Michigan Taxes

    Information regarding Michigan business taxes is available through the State Department of Treasury website.

    Michigan Department of Treasury website
    Phone: (517) 373-3200

    Sales Tax

    Individuals or businesses that sell tangible personal property to the final consumer need a sales tax license. Information regarding Michigan sales tax is available through the State Department of Treasury website.

    Michigan Department of Treasury website
    Phone: (517) 373-3200

    Federal Taxes

    Information regarding federal taxes is available through the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and is not furnished as part of this web site.

    Internal Revenue Service website
    Phone: 1(800) 829-1040

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