Over the past twenty years, I have worked with numerous business startups, mostly from working with these entrepreneurs to create their online presence. Several times the issue of the mechanics of setting up a business arise. One is licensing, which most builders or tradesman understand they need licensing but most other business owners have no idea about business licenses. The City of Greenville requires a business license if you are operating or doing any business withing the city limits. If you are registered, every November you will receive a notification from the City for you to pay your licensing fee, which is based on your gross receipts from the year. The fee is due within the first 2 months of the upcoming year.
Every so often the City will drive through town to see if any new signs have been erected, or come into office buildings to look at all the business listings. If your business is listed, they will check to see if you have registered with the City and also paid your Occupancy fee.
Once you are discovered as having operated within the City limits of Greenville without a business license, the penalties can be devastating. I personally know of two companies who claimed to not have been aware of the business licensing requirement and were assessed in the six figures to pay fees and penalties to comply. When I incorporated Giraffe Web almost 18 years ago, I at least was already aware of the licensing requirements after having helped numerous business startups.
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is backing legislation to coordinate business licensing across the state of South Carolina, as the licensing requirements vary from city-to-city and county-to-county. This way all business licensing will be uniform and streamlined across the state. It is unclear if this will result in higher fees for small business owners.
Click here for the City of Greenville business licensing information and forms: http://www.greenvillesc.gov/340/Business-Licenses
If you want to read more, please visit http://www.thestate.com/opinion/op-ed/article72071037.html.