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Standard business license application to streamline process

Companies that work in multiple cities face unique circumstances as they conduct their business across the state. Different zoning ordinances, permit regulations and business licensing requirements can be confusing and make compliance with local laws difficult.

Since 1985, members of the Business Licensing Officials Association of SC and the Municipal Association's staff have been working to make it easier to do business across the state.

In late 2013, the group introduced a standard business licensing application for interested local governments. The one-page application contains all of the information most cities need to issue a license. Originally developed with contractors in mind, cities can use the standard application for any type of business working in multiple jurisdictions.

"Adopting the application is a local decision for each city to make," stressed Scott Slatton, legislative and public policy advocate for the Municipal Association. Slatton also serves as the staff liaison for BLOA.

"While using the application is strictly voluntary, we encourage cities to adopt it as a way to reduce the paperwork burden on transient business, thereby making cities more business friendly," added Slatton.

Similar to the Association's model business license ordinance, the standard business license application was created to provide cities with a best practice approach while maintaining local flexibility.

The standard application does not relieve the business from complying with each city's zoning or building requirements.

Here's how it works
Instead of gathering and filling out a business license application for each city in which he does work, a contractor (or other transient business owner who does work in multiple locations) can complete the standard application's business information section one time. He will submit copies of the application to participating cities along with job-specific information.