Opening a Business


Joshua Hunt – Director, Business & Community Development

Welcome to the City of Florence, KY

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Starting a new business can be an exciting yet complicated process.  We want to try to make that as easy as we can by providing the information or access to the information you will need to accomplish your goals.  We have listed below the processes you need to complete prior to the business opening.

To start a new business or expand an existing business in Florence, the business entity should contact the following offices prior to building occupancy or construction:


City of Florence – Finance Department

The business entity must complete the Occupational License/Payroll Tax Application and submit the appropriate fee by using the calculation on the application. If the business is located in the city limits of Florence, an applicant must file a joint application and submit a fee to both the Boone County Occupational License Department and the Florence Occupational License Department.

A fire inspection of the building in which the business is located is required. Contact the City of Florence Fire Department at (859) 647-5660.

The City of Florence also requires state licenses and certifications for the following applicants:

Attorney, Cosmetologist, Nail Technician, Electrician, HVAC, Insurance Agents, Massage Therapist, New and Used Auto Sales, Pawn Brokers (special provisions), Physicians/Dentists/Chiropractors, Plumbers

If there is more than one location within the city limits of Florence, a separate application must be completed for each location, and a payment of $25.00 must be submitted for each application.

Boone County Planning Commission

Prospective new businesses are encouraged to have an initial meeting with the City of Florence to discuss the business activity and/or development. The new business will then make application to the Boone County Planning Commission, as the organization that handles planning and zoning matters for all of Boone County, including Florence. Approval by the planning commission verifies that a proposed business and/or physical improvements conform to the zoning requirements adopted by the City of Florence, such as that the business is placed in the proper zone and that there is sufficient parking for the type and size of the business.

A “Tenant Finish” application is necessary in most instances, and a “Home Occupation Permit” is required for home-based businesses. A “Sign Permit” is needed for permanent exterior signage, and a “Temporary Advertising Display” Permit (TAD) is needed for temporary signs like banners. Depending on the proposed business or if any additions, exterior improvements or site work are intended, other types of applications (e.g. Site Plan Review, Board of Adjustment Review, and Design Review) to the planning commission may be required. The planning commission’s staff can verify which application(s) applies to your circumstances.

Application documents and additional information can be found here.

Boone County Building Department

The Boone County Building Department Building permits are required when a structure has an occupant change, change of usage, is enlarged or remodeled; when any electrical mechanical, gas or plumbing systems that are regulated by the Kentucky Building Code (KBC) are installed, enlarged, altered, repaired or removed; when pallet racking is installed altered or moved. Permits and inspections are required per state law to safeguard the health safety and welfare of persons within the built environment.

Application documents and additional information can be found here.

Government Grants

Government grants for small businesses are particularly important for developing a country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector.  Because these grants are funded by tax dollars, they have more restrictions than grants offered by private entities like FedEx and Cartier, as welll as foundation grants like WomensNet’s Amber Grant.  Chief amongst these restrictions is an emphasis on how the money will be used to help the business make a meaningful impact in the community.  Grants from the federal government were created to encourage businesses to be community builders and contribute to economic growth.  A business that focuses on community development and innovation is sustainable and respected.  This is the rimary reason government grants for small businesses will remain relevant in 2020 and beyond.  Many grant opportunities tend to reward innovation and scientific research.  Click here to find out more about government grants for small businesses:

Why Do You Need to Register?

According to Chapter 110, Section 3 of the Florence Code of Ordinances, every business entity engaged in any trade, occupation, employment, business, or profession shall be required to obtain the occupational license and pay a license tax.

Application documents and additional information can be found here.