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City of Rochester

Business Permits

The City of Rochester's Business Permit Program is designed to ensure that City businesses are operated safely and legally.  Certain types of businesses are required to obtain a Business Permit, and as with all businesses, must maintain good order on the business premise and obey the codes and laws of the City of Rochester and the State of New York.  Learn more about obtaining a permit here.

Who Needs a Business Permit?

The following types of businesses requiring a Business Permit include:

  • Retail Stores that sell any of the following:
    • Beer
    • Lottery Tickets
    • Tobacco
    • Smoking Paraphernalia
  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Automobile Service Facilities
  • Salons:
    • Hairdresser
    • Barber Shop
    • Appearance Enhancement
    • Tattoo Parlor
    • Body Piercing

Please note that businesses that hold the following other types of City licenses do not have to obtain a Business Permit:

  • Entertainment
  • Amusement
  • Second Hand Dealer
  • Pawn Broker

Further detailed information on the rules and regulations of Business Permits can be found in Chapter 90-32 of the City Code. 

Applying for a New Business Permit

Complete a Business Permit Application.  Copies are also available in City Hall, 30 Church Street, Permit Office, Room 121B, Rochester, New York.

The completed application, $25.00 application fee payable to the City of Rochester Treasurer, Photo Identification, Certificate of Authority, and numbers of any other licenses or permits required for your business operation (see below), must be submitted to:

City Hall
Permit Office
30 Church Street - Room 121B
Rochester, New York 14614

Additional license information necessary may include, but is not limited to:

  • State Liquor Authority License
  • New York State Cigarette License
  • Master Barber's License
  • Cosmetology License
  • Registered New York State DMV Dealer or Repair Shop License (or applicable NYS DMV license)

Photo Identification:

  • Current Driver's License or Non-Driver Identification
  • Passport
  • Benefit Card

Application Processing

Once the application process is complete, the submitted Business Permit Application is reviewed by the local Neighborhood Service Center.  A property inspection may be required to determine compliance with Zoning and all other applicable codes.  A background check is performed by the Rochester Police Department. Other requirements include:

  • A meeting with the Neighborhood Service Center is required to discuss the application and a Good Neighbor Agreement
  • You must authorize the release of any outstanding tax liability information

If no issues of concern are identified, the Business Permit will be issued within 30 days of receipt.  If an application is found to be incomplete, or cannot be processed due to unresolved concerns, the applicant will be notified in writing within 30 days.  If there is sufficient cause for concern on the part of the City of Rochester regarding the operation of the business, the owner/operator may be offered a Conditional Business Permit. 

Business Permits are valid for 1 year only, provided there is no change in the type, location, owner/operator/partner in the business, or if there is no other cause for the permit to be suspended or revoked.

PLEASE NOTE:  YOU CANNOT OPERATE YOUR BUSINESS WITHOUT AN ISSUED BUSINESS PERMIT.

Renewing a Business Permit:

You will receive notification of the need to renew your Business Permit 30 to 60 days prior to the month in which it was granted, with a renewal application.  If you do not receive a renewal notification, please contact your local Neighborhood Service Center to obtain the Business Permit Renewal Form.   

Within 30 days of receipt of your renewal notification:

If all information for your business remains unchanged, please carefully review the renewal application sent with your renewal notification and make any necessary changes/corrections.  Provided there has been no change to the type, location, owner/operator of the business, sign and return the completed renewal application to:

City of Rochester
Permit Office
30 Church Street - 121B
Rochester, New York 14614

Applications received by the City within 30 days of receipt of the renewal notification will be processed free of charge.  After 30 days, application must include a $25.00 renewal fee made payable to the City of Rochester Treasurer.

Please Note:  If the type, location, owner/operator of your business has changed, you may NOT renew your permit.  You must apply for a new Business Permit.

Your Renewal Application will be reviewed by City staff.  If no issues are identified, your Business Permit will be granted and mailed to you within 30 days.  If the City finds cause for concern regarding the operation of your business, you will be notified by the City within 30 days.

Additional Questions/Information

Please contact your local Neighborhood Service Center if you have additional questions or concerns, they will be happy to assist you.

 

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