/ Licensing and Permitting
Businesses of all sizes thrive in Charlotte. With our high quality of life and below-average cost of living, world-class arts and major league sports, Charlotte is a great place to start and grow your business. Depending on your business type and location, there are several steps that you need to take prior to opening to ensure you have the licenses and permits that are required by the City of Charlotte and/or Mecklenburg County.
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The information surrounding licensing and permitting can be overwhelming. The City of Charlotte makes things more manageable, with a portal of information on a variety of topics, including zoning, inspections, registering alarm systems, running a home-based business, operating a vehicle for hire and more. To learn more about the specific licensing and permitting requirements, click here.
Need a little more help? OpenCounter is a tool designed to guide entrepreneurs like you through the permitting process. Visit OpenCounter.com for everything you ever wanted to know about permitting a business in Charlotte!
Virtually every business needs some sort of license or permit to operate legally. On their website, the SBA lists everything you need to know about the federal, state and local permits, licenses and registrations you’ll need to run a business. Find out which licenses and permits you’ll need to get started!
Certain licenses and permits are required to own commercial and personal property in Charlotte, and Mecklenburg County can guide you through the process.
- Business Personal Property: Business personal property refers to all the personal property, income-producing property, supplies and leasehold improvements owned by a business or used by an individual for income purposes. Make sure your property is listed with the County Assessor’s Office!
- Commercial Property Services: The County offers a variety of commercial property services, including information about the Commercial Technical Assistance Center, as well as the County Fire Marshal’s Office.
If you’re looking for information on the permits and licenses needed for commercial and personal property in Charlotte, who better to help than the City themselves!
Learn about zoning: When it comes to Charlotte’s zoning regulations, the City of Charlotte can connect you to the resources and people you need to get your questions answered!
Get a fire inspection: All new buildings, additions to existing buildings, renovations and upfits, and changes of use to an existing building require a fire inspection in Charlotte. Learn more about how the City of Charlotte can help make this happen, and request your inspection now!
Register an alarm system: In addition to a fire inspection, you’ll also need to register your alarm system with the City of Charlotte. Access the alarm permit application and more here.
Operate your business from home: Running a business from home? You’ll need a permit for that. Learn more from the City of Charlotte. You can check out a Sample Customary Home Occupation Permit Application too!
Get assistance for land development projects: Whether you’re a citizen, a developer, or a contractor, the City of Charlotte connects you to the information you need to start a land development project in Charlotte. Access the portal here!
Food, Beverage and Special Events
If you’re thinking about opening a food and beverage business or hosting a special event in Mecklenburg County, MECKNC.gov can help you with the permits you need!
Visit Mecklenburg County online for resources and learn more about:
- Food and Beverage Permits
- Food and Beverage Taxes
- Obtaining an Alcohol License
- Operating a Food Truck or Push Cart
- Hosting a Special Event
Charlotte has quickly become a fun, foodie destination for many entrepreneurs. If you’re trying to join the food and beverage industry, or if you’re hoping to host a special event, the City of Charlotte can connect you to the licensing and permitting resources you need. A few of these resources are listed below!
Get a permit for your food truck: Food trucks are here to stay! If you’re hoping to join Charlotte’s thriving food truck community, make sure you have the right permits! Get information on this and more from the City of Charlotte.
Get your ABC permit: Serving alcohol? You’re going to need a permit for that! Businesses manufacturing, distributing, serving and/or selling alcoholic beverages are required to get an ABC permit. Don’t worry—the City of Charlotte can help!
Host a special event, parade, or festival: Charlotte is a great place to hold an event! Before you can officially host your event, make sure you have the right permits. Learn more about what you need and how to submit an application from the City of Charlotte.
Charlotte Food Truck Association
The Charlotte Food Truck Association has developed a guide to starting your own food truck. You can download it here, or visit their website at CharlotteFoodTrucks.org.
Charlotte Center City Partners
The Charlotte Center City Partners can help you find street vending and food truck opportunities in Uptown Charlotte and Historic Southend. Click here to learn more about their program guidelines.
If you’re hoping to open a daycare in Charlotte, there are some things you need to know before you can start. Start by making sure that you’ve provided the proper forms and applications, and make sure to schedule an inspection with Mecklenburg County. Visit Mecklenburg County online for more information!
If you’re operating a vehicle for hire in Charlotte, there are specific things you need to know about licensing, inspection and operations. That includes you, Uber and Lyft drivers! Don’t fret, though. The City of Charlotte connects you to the resources you need to get your business up and running!
Hoping to sell items in Uptown Charlotte? Start by checking out the City of Charlotte’s Code of Ordinances about vending in the Congested Business District and the Tryon Street Mall. The Charlotte Center City Partners manage vendors Uptown. Contact them for more information.
If you want to sell items at a special event or festival Uptown, you will need to contact the event organizer for information on how to get a permit. This type of vending is not handled by the City of Charlotte or Charlotte Center City Partners.