Detroit Drops 34 Small Business Licenses

The Detroit City Council has approved the Buildings Safety, Engineering, and Environmental Department’s (BSEED) recommendation to discontinue 34 types of previously required small business licenses.
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Small Business words on blocks SME and entrepreneur startup businesses concept
The city of Detroit has dropped 34 small business license requirements to increase competition with other cities and regions. // Stock Photo

The Detroit City Council has approved the Buildings Safety, Engineering, and Environmental Department’s (BSEED) recommendation to discontinue 34 types of previously required small business licenses.

The elimination of the licenses will eliminate fees and allow the city to be competitive with other cities in the region.

Among the licenses no longer required are those for bowling alleys, house rental agencies, landscape gardener, pet shop, vending machines, sightseeing buses, and more. Fees for such licenses can cost hundreds of dollars and add weeks to the time it takes to establish a business in the city.

“Having fewer requirements for certain small businesses owners to operate in the City of Detroit will eliminate potential barriers of entry,” says David Bell, director of BSEED. “Our goal is to make it easier to do business in the city of Detroit while ensuring compliance and health and safety guidelines are still followed.”

Bell points out that requirements will remain in place for another 42 businesses for reasons of health, safety, and consumer protections. Some of those include tattoo/body art, shooting gallery, concert and public dance halls, junkyard dealers, and more.

BSEED has also launched a “virtual concierge’ for business owners to manage their entire business licensing process in a central location and potentially in one session. Business owners have access to specific requirements for each license including documents, clearances, and fees.

There are direct connection links to different departments, when and where needed, during the application process.

The business licensing platform also serves as a communication tool by notifying city clearing departments when a license renewal is due and allows business owners to review the status of each required clearance, including delinquencies and denials. The platform will notify business owners of any failed inspections and license expiration dates at 45 days and 15 days prior to necessary filing.

“Communication is key, and we have one source of information that’s streamlined; and all clearing departments as well as business owners now reference that single source,” says Bell. “We must be competitive with the surrounding municipalities and remove archaic roadblocks to economic success for the city and small business.”

The moves follow others made by BSEED in recent years, including a move from paper-based site plan review to digital online, as well as a redesign of its public offices to help guide visitors seeking services to the right area, based on whether they need help with permitting, licensing, plan review, or other BSSEED services.

Below is a full list of eliminated and continued business licenses

The following are licenses to be discontinued:

  • Archery Gallery/School
  • Auctioneer
  • Baseball Batting Net
  • Beverage Retail
  • Bowling Alley
  • Branch Candy/Vending Machines
  • Coin-Operated Game Distributor
  • Dance Studio
  • Dry Cleaning:
    • Laundering Plant
    • Branch Store
    • Ind. Agency (Drop-off)
    • Ind. Driver
    • Ind. Plant (Carpet Cleaner)
  • Furniture Mover
  • Garbage Rubbish Collector
  • General Food (Pre-Packaged)
  • Golf Range
  • Hall:
    • Taxi Dance
  • House Rental Agency
  • Instructional Services
  • Junk Collector (Street)
  • Landscape Gardener
  • Laundry Self Service
  • Location Permit (Coin-op Game)
  • Motor Bus
  • Motorcycle Rental Establishment
  • Pet Shop (Equipment/Supplies)
  • Sightseeing Bus
  • Snow Removal (Street/Sidewalk)
  • Storage House – Public Branch
  • Track (Bicycle/Go Cart, etc.)
  • Trailer Rental Lot
  • Trampoline
  • Vending Machines

These 42 licenses remain part of City code and are required due to health, safety, and consumer protection:

  • Amusement Park (5 Devices or more)
  • Arcade
  • Bar/Class C
  • Bathhouse
  • Billiard Room & Tables
  • Cabaret A-B-C
  • Carnival
  • Cigarette Retail
  • Circus (Indoor/outdoor)
  • Concert Cafe (Entertainment/Food)
  • Gas Station (Full/Self Service)
  • Hall:
    • Concert/Rental
  • Public Dance (2 AM/4 AM Closing)
  • Horse Drawn Carriage and Driver
  • Hotel
  • Industrial Catering
  • Junk Yard Dealer
  • Massage Parlor/School
  • Marijuana Facilities
  • Motor Truck Permit
  • Motor Vehicle for Hire (Limousines)
  • Parking Lot
  • Public Lodging
  • Pawnbroker
  • Pet Shop (Live Animals)
  • Restaurant Standard/Carry-Out
  • Restaurant w/Classic C (MLCC)
  • Rickshaw/Peddle Cab
  • Riding Devices (Carnival Rides)
  • Rink Skating (Indoor/Outdoor)
  • Rooming House (11 Rooms or More)
  • Sexually Oriented Business
  • Scrap Iron and Metal Processor
  • Secondhand Store/Jewelry/Tires
  • Shelter
  • Shooting Gallery
  • Sports Stadium
  • Tattoo/Body Art
  • Theatre:
    • Burlesque/Stage
    • Motion Picture (Adult)
  • Used Auto Dealer (Parts/Wrecking)
  • Valet
  • Vendors

For more information, visit BSEED here.

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