Apply For A Business License Cincinnati, Ohio

Looking to start a business in Cincinnati, Ohio and need a business license or permit?

If you are looking to begin a business now or soon in the future you should know that the City of Cincinnati requires business licenses and business permits from only certain types of business activities. At this point in time, the city obligates all business owners to obtain permits that encompass these:

  1. Street Solicitation Permit includes: door to door solicitations, handbills, non-residential, charitable solicitation in the roadway, and for both charitable and non-charitable organizations
  2. Special Parade Permit (call the Police Department 513-352-4569)
  3. Block Party and Street Blocking Permit: including block parties, parades and any events involving street closures (call the Police Department 513-352-4569)
  4. Special Event Permit (call the Police Department 513-352-4569)
  5. Food Service Permit (call the Police Department 513-352-4569)
  6. Special Event Liquor Sales License (call the Police Department 513-352-4569)
  7. Delivery Vendor’s License (call the State of Ohio 888-338-6446)
  8. Regular Vendor’s License (call the State of Ohio 888-338-6446)
  9. Transient Vendor’s License (call the State of Ohio 888-338-6446)
  10. Food Sales License (call the Health Department 513-357-7200)
  11. Tattoo and Body Piercing Permit (call the Health Department 513-357-7200)
  12. Transient Accommodation License (call the Health Department 513-357-7200 and the City Treasurer 513-352-3224)

Permits are not issued after 4:00 p.m. daily.

What should I do for a Cincinnati Street Solicitor’s Permit or a Transient Vendor’s License?

You will first need to complete the Street Solicitor’s Permit Application found online at Cincinnati Street Permit. You should be aware that you may not solicit in the City of Cincinnati except between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. You may not solicit on federal holidays. The term for the permit is only for a period of five consecutive days. A renewal must be completed once it expires each time. The permit fee is $25 and must be included with the remittance of the application, therefore, you will need to either submit it in person or mail it, along with a DMV-issued photo identification. The mailing and physical addresses are the same:

City of Cincinnati
Police Department
Special Events Unit
310 Ezzard Charles Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45214
(513) 352-4569

For a Transient Vendor’s License, you will need to acquire the application issued by the Department of Taxation. This license is defined by someone who “makes sales based on delivery of tangible personal property and certain services at the consumer’s location.” Find the application online at Ohio Vendor License. If you have any questions regarding this type of license please contact (888) 338-6446.

What do I do to apply for a Liquor License in Cincinnati?

First, you will need to discover whether or not you will be able to open a liquor store. Per state law, one liquor license can be issued per population density of 400,000 or more. You may call the State of Ohio Department of Taxation for information regarding whether or not you will be permitted to own or operate a liquor store or establishment. Call (888) 338-6446. Visit the state’s website for details: Ohio Department of Taxation. Next, you will need call and request that the application be mailed or faxed to you: (817) 652-5912. Some cities require their own permitting for alcoholic beverages along with the State of Ohio, however, the City of Cincinnati does not. The only liquor license that the City of Cincinnati issues is the Special Event and Temporary Liquor Permit that only allows for a permit to be granted for the sale of alcohol at a special event for the period of five consecutive days. The application and policy information for the City of Cincinnati can be found at Cincinnati Application and Policy.

What about a Cincinnati, Ohio special event permit?

You will need to completely fill out the City of Cincinnati Special Event application. It is important to note that this application must be completed and filed with the city at least two full weeks prior to the event itself. The application can be found at: Cincinnati Special Events. The cost of the event itself will be determined by the Cincinnati Police Department, for they will have to supply officers, barricades, etc. The Police Department may be reached at (513) 352-4569.

City of Cincinnati
Police Department
Special Events Unit
310 Ezzard Charles Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45214
(513) 352-4569

What costs are expected of those who apply for any business permits in Cincinnati, Ohio?

The fees associated with obtaining necessary permits range from $20 to $2,000 approximately. Please call the City Secretary’s Office for further details. For special events, street closures, and activities, you must call the Richardson Police Department at (972) 744-4800. They will be supplying the manpower to operate the event and therefore charge the fee.

  1. Street Solicitation Permit - $25
  2. Special Parade Permit - begins at $25, Police Department determines remainder of fee
  3. Block Party and Street Blocking Permit - begins at $25, Police Department determines remainder of fee
  4. Special Event Permit - begins at $25, Police Department determines remainder of fee
  5. Food Service Permit
  6. Special Event Liquor Sales License - begins at $25, Police Department determines remainder of fee          
  1. Delivery Vendor’s License - $25
  2. Regular Vendor’s License - $25
  3. Transient Vendor’s License - $25
  4. Food Sales License (establishments and mobile) - $145
  5. Tattoo and Body Piercing Permit - $25
  6. Transient Accommodation - begins at $200, Health Department and City Treasurer determine the remainder of the fee

Are there any programs to assist business owners in Cincinnati?

Yes. The City of Cincinnati Business Development and Permit Center offers programs in the form of guidance and financial assistance through both grants and loans. Please contact (513) 352-3271 for further details. You may also visit the city’s webpage at Cincinnati Business Development Assistance.

What information will be needed for the City of Cincinnati permits?

If you are one of the specified businesses in which a permit is required, you will need these details:

  1. Applicant Name
  2. Business Name
  3. Applicant’s Phone Number and Address
  4. Business Owner’s Name
  5. Business Owner’s Number and Address
  6. Name of Person in Charge of Solicitation, if applicable
  7. If Solicitor’s Permit, whether or not the FDA has declared any of the proposed products to be harmful
  8. Business Service Specifics, ex: What Type of Food Will be Served? Etc.
  9. Driver’s License Numbers for both Applicant and Business Owner
  10. Business Type: Individual or Sole Proprietor, Corporation, Partnership, or Other
  11. Business Website Address
  12. Date Business Will Commence
  13. Number of Expected Employees
  14. Expected Employees’ Information such as Numbers and Driver’s License Numbers
  15. Certification from the Planning and Zoning Commission

  16. Signatures of both the Applicant and Business Owner

Will those who apply need other licenses or permits or verification of any kind in Cincinnati?

Yes. It is a requirement to have your business property inspected by the Community Development Department. They verify that your chosen property conforms to all of the City Ordinances for your business type and for safety. To contact the Community Development Department you may call (513) 591-6000. Please have all of your specifics with you regarding the location of your building, age, dimensions, and the like. A Certificate of Occupancy must be issued prior to the commencement of your business.

Any further questions?

You may contact the City Permit Center at (513) 352-3271. The City of Cincinnati hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Additionally, you may need to call the Business Development and Permit Center at (513) 352-3271 for information regarding possible financial assistance for your business. The first question contains other essential phone numbers you may need. Walk-in hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is crucial to know that none of the permits will be issued after 4:00 p.m. daily.

City of Cincinnati
Business Development and Permit Center
3300 Central Parkway
Cincinnati, OH 45214

Cincinnati Business Development and Permit Center

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