Apply For A Business License Buffalo, New York

Are you opening a business in Buffalo, New York?

The first step in starting a business in Buffalo, NY is to contact Office of Licenses at (716) 851-4078, to discuss your business plans. Once you have discussed your business ideas with the Office of Licenses, you will need to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy. You must print out the Certificate of Occupancy application from the City of Buffalo website, located at Buffalo Occupany License.

What are the specialty business licenses that the City of Buffalo requires of you?

The application asks questions pertaining to the use of your business space, what materials you will use, if any hazardous materials will be used or produced at the place you conduct your business, and so on. Please note that you will need a new Certificate of Occupancy even if your business moves or changes ownership. Additionally, it is important to know that the real estate taxes, water, sewer, and inspection fees must be paid to a current standing. When you have completed your Certificate of Occupancy application, you will need to submit it with the appropriate fee that is assessed by Planning Division (please consult with them regarding what you will owe). You may visit them at:

City of Buffalo
Planning Division
301 City Hall
65 Niagara Square
Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone: (716) 851-5035
Fax: (716) 854-0172

You should receive your issuance in about two weeks, but if you have any questions you may call (716) 851-5035. If you will have a residential-based business, you will still be required to contact Office of Planning for property certification. You will need to apply for a business license. There are a few specialty licenses in which business owners are required to obtain. Furthermore, it is suggested that you speak with a representative of the City of Buffalo to ensure whether or not you will need to obtain a license as the city may update the list at their discretion.

There are a few business-specific licenses that are offered:

  • Arcade License
  • Billiard Parlor License
  • Catering License
  • Baker and Confectioner License
  • Bowling Alley License
  • Certificate of Inspection License (for all public assemblies)
  • Coin Controlled Amusement License
  • Collection Agency License
  • Contractor’s License
  • Food Store License
  • Meat, Fish and Poultry License
  • Music (Mechanical) License
  • Music (Live with No Dancing) License
  • Newsstand License
  • Public Dance Hall License
  • Restaurant Dance License
  • Restaurant License
  • Restaurant Take-Out or Fast Food License

*If your business service is not one of these, you should still contact the Office of Licenses to determine if you will need a business license of any kind. This will prevent any future frustration on your part. You can find these applications located at Buffalo Business Licenses.

What information is necessary to complete your Buffalo business license?

Although some of the license applications vary, here is some of the basic information that you will need:

  • Business name
  • Business owner’s name
  • Business owner’s address
  • Signature(s)
  • Proof of notary public
  • Name of applicant
  • Applicant’s address
  • Applicant’s phone number
  • Property owner’s name
  • Property owner’s address
  • Property owner’s phone number
  • If property owner has any other locations, those addresses are also required
  • Applicant’s signature
  • City Tax Collector staff name and signature certifying taxes are not owed
  • Water staff name and signature certifying taxes are not owed
  • Inspectional Services staff name and signature certifying taxes are not owed

Additionally, you will be required to submit photocopies of the following in conjunction with the application:

  • Valid driver’s license or Green Card
  • Utility bill with applicant’s address
  • New York State Tax ID certificate or Birth Certificate
  • DBA (Business Certificate) or cooperate filing receipt
  • Proof of ownership of property (deed) for a business location or a commercial lease agreement (not required for personal license; i.e. taxi driver, peddler)
  • Completed application and license fee

A background check will be conducted by the Buffalo Police Department.

What are the fees for your Buffalo business license?

Various fees are specified on the business license application. If you do not see a fee for your business type, contact the city offices for assistance as not all of the fees are available to view online. There may be other fees due as well, such as inspection fees for safety and facilities. Here is the list of business fees:

Arcade $47.25 each game
Coin-controlled amusement device $47.25 each game
Newsstand $63.00
Billiard Parlor $31.50 per table
Go-go dancing $131.25
Public dance hall Based on square footage
Music (mechanical) $52.50
Music (live no dancing) $52.50
Certificate of Inspection $56.00
Skating Rink $210.00

Once the necessary information and application are ready, where can you submit your paperwork?

Once you are ready and you have ALL of your paperwork together, you may submit it to:

City of Buffalo
Office of Licenses
301 City Hall
65 Niagara Square
Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone: (716) 851-4078
Fax: (716) 851-4952

Don’t forget that ALL of your paperwork must be submitted at once with your application, NO EXCEPTIONS.

Once the business license application is submitted, what’s next?

Once the office has received your application, they will coordinate all necessary reviews by departments such as Police, Zoning, Fire Prevention, Health, and Building Inspection to assist you in obtaining your license. It can be a time-consuming process, but they will contact you with any issues, additional paperwork, or information. 

Do you need more information?

If you still need information that is not provided here, you will want to visit the Buffalo Office of Licenses at:

City of Buffalo
Office of Licenses
301 City Hall
65 Niagara Square
Buffalo, NY 14202

They can also be contacted via telephone at (716) 851-4078. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you wish, you may visit the city at their website Buffalo Business.

Click the link to your city below to apply for a business license

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New York Rochester

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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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