Apply for a Business License

Every person engaged in any calling, business, occupation or profession within the incorporated limits of the city is required to obtain a business license.

Any person opening a place of business in the City of Florence, SC must follow the guidelines below:

A.  Prior to making application for a City of Florence Business License, a prospective business must first obtain a Zoning Certificate of Compliance and pass a Fire Marshal inspection. 

To begin this process, contact the City of Florence Planning, Research and Development Department located in the Development Services Office, Room 200 located at 324 West Evans Street (Telephone:  843-665-2047). 

The following documents are required to demonstrate that a building or facility has been approved for business operation:

1. A City of Florence Municipal Zoning Compliance Certification; and
2. A Fire Marshal Inspection Order.

The City of Florence Municipal Zoning Compliance Certificate may be obtained at the City of Florence Planning, Research and Development Department.

Upon obtaining a Municipal Zoning Compliance Certification, the Planning Research and Development Department will coordinate a Fire Marshal inspection. The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that the building or structure complies with all required fire safety standards and requirements of the City of Florence Fire Department. A Fire Inspector will contact you to schedule an inspection. Typically, it takes no more than two days to schedule and have a building inspected.

Note:  If any electrical, mechanical, plumbing, structural or other modifications are being made at the prospective business site, the City of Florence Licensing & Permitting Department located on the 4th floor at 324 West Evans Street should be contacted.  The telephone number is 843-665-3151.

B.  When a prospective business has been cleared for operation within the City limits the process for obtaining a business license may be completed.  The following documents must be submitted to obtain your City of Florence business license:

1. A complete business license application. A blank application may be faxed or emailed to the applicant, or downloaded from the website linked below.
2. Copies of the Zoning Compliance Certification and the Fire Marshal Inspection Order.

The documents listed in numbers 1 & 2 above may be faxed to 843-665-3281, mailed to the Licensing & Permitting Department, 324 West Evans Street, Florence, SC 29501 or hand delivered to the City of Florence Licensing & Permitting Department located on the 4th floor at 324 West Evans Street, Florence, SC.   Payment for the business license may be made with cash, credit card or check made payable to the City of Florence.

Please note that the requirements above pertain only to the City of Florence for business operation. Other state and federal laws and regulations may apply.

Online Fillable Form

Download & Print the Business License Application

What is a business?

The City of Florence Occupational License Ordinance states that individuals, partnerships, and corporations need a license to "do business" inside the city's limits.  This license is referred to as a Business License.  An annual fee is paid to the City of Florence for the license.

What is the City's definition of "doing business"?

It means a calling, occupation, profession, or activity engaged in with the object of gain, benefit or advantage, either directly or indirectly.  One does not have to be located in the City of Florence to be doing business in the City.

When do I need to get my business license?

If you are operating any type of business inside the City of Florence or performing work or services inside the city limits, then a business license is required prior to operation. Penalties for operating without a license can accrue.

How do I apply for a business license?

There is an application form on the web site.  You may also receive an application form by mail, fax, or come by our office, located on the 4th floor at 324 West Evans Street, Florence, S.C.  Our telephone number is 843-665-3173.

How is the business license fee calculated?

License fees are based on gross receipts for the prior year.  For new businesses, fees are based on estimates of gross receipts for the first year or portion thereof.

Gross Receipts means the total revenue of a business, received or accrued, for those businesses located inside the city's limits.  Income generated from outside the city's limits on which a license tax is paid to some other municipality or county and fully reported to that city is not subject to a City of Florence business license.

Gross Receipts for a business located outside the city's limits means the total revenue generated from business done within Florence's city limits.

What other information might I need to complete the application process?

You must have all of the proper State licenses (contractor, specialty license, retail license) prior to applying for a City of Florence Business License.  If any electrical, mechanical, plumbing, structural or other modifications are being made at the prospective business site, the City of Florence Licensing & Permitting Department located on the 4th floor at 324 West Evans Street should be contacted.  The telephone number is 843-665-3151.

If your business is located inside the City limits of Florence you will need the following documents to demonstrate that a building or facility has been approved for business operation: (1) a City of Florence Municipal Zoning Compliance Certification; and (2) a Fire Marshal Inspection Order. To begin this process, contact the City of Florence Planning, Research and Development Department located at 324 West Evans St. (Telephone: 843-665-2047).

May I operate all of my businesses under one business?

As long as businesses are located at the same address, you may operate more than one business under one license.  Please keep in mind that if the business types are in different rate classes, then the higher rate will apply.  You would need to determine if it is to your advantage to keep the businesses separate or combined.  The Business License Department can help you with this determination.

I sometimes earn extra money by working after regular hours as a repairman. Do I need a state license or a city business license?

Yes.  You need to register with the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation in Columbia as a Residential Specialty Contractor.  This licensing process is not difficult or expensive, and we will be glad to assist you with it.  You also need a City of Florence Business License.

If someone is trying to sell me a service or a product, may I call the Business License Division to determine if they have a license to operate in Florence?

Yes

This page provides only a representative sample of the questions we receive most.  There are potentially many more.  Please do not hesitate to contact the City of Florence Business License Division at 843-665-3173 if you have questions or concerns.