How Do I Start or Relocate My Business?
- Find Your Business Location
- Register Your Sole Proprietorship, Trade Name, Corporation, or Partnership
- Apply for a Building Permit, if necessary
- Apply for a Certificate of Occupancy (CO)
- Apply for a Business License
Step 1: Find your Business Location
- A prospective business owner must first find an appropriate location for their business. This includes considering zoning restrictions, size of the space, price, parking availability, etc.
- The City's Real Estate Assessment database can be found here.
- A list of Falls Church business resources like the Chamber of Commerce as well as regional, state, and federal business organizations can be found here.
To find available commercial space, visit this webpage. If you have any questions or need help, contact the City of Falls Church Economic Development Division at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-248-5224 (TTY 711).
Step 2: Register your Sole Proprietorship, Trade Name, Corporation, or Partnership
- A sole proprietorship and trade name must be registered with State Corporation Commission. Corporations or Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) must also register with the State Corporation Commission.
- If you are a corporation or partnership (LLC), you must obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number. This can be obtained through the Internal Revenue Service Office in person or online.
Step 3: Apply for Building Permits
A building permit is required if you plan to make changes to your business space.
- Visit the City's website for details on when you need a building permit.
- Visit the City's website for permit details and helpful information.
- Visit the City's website for permit applications.
If you have any questions regarding your plans, please contact the Development Services Center at email@example.com or 703-248-5080 (TTY 711).
Step 4: Apply for a Certificate of Occupancy (CO)
- The CO is the City’s permission to allow your business to operate in a specific space. This is required of all businesses, and you can apply at the Development Services Counter in City Hall.
- You may apply for your CO while applying for your building permits, if required, but your CO will not be issued until final inspection and approval of the building modifications.
- Once the CO is issued, it is active indefinitely and does not need to be renewed, unless the business use changes, like if a food store adds or changes to a carryout. Changes of business use need to be reviewed by the Zoning Administrator.
- You will need to apply for a new CO if there are changes in the business name or ownership, or if the business moves.
To apply for a certificate of occupancy, visit the City of Falls Church website here. If you have any questions, please contact the Development Services Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-248-5080 (TTY 711).
Step 5: Apply for a Business License
- You first need both your sole proprietorship and trade name registered with the State Corporation Commission (see Step 2, above) and Certificate of Occupancy (see Step 4, above) in order to receive a business license from the City of Falls Church.
- Business licenses are administered by the City of Falls Church Commissioner of Revenue.
- License tax renewals must be submitted by March 1 of each year.
- A business license must be obtained within 30 days from the day the business begins operation.
- A business license can be revoked at any time if the use is denied by other City departments.
To apply for a business license, visit the City of Falls Church website here. If you have any questions, please contact the Commissioner of the Revenue's Office at email@example.com or 703-248-5450 (TTY 711).