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Start, Open or Locate Business

How to Start, Open or Locate a Business in Haverhill

Determine the legal entity of your business.

You can be incorporated, you could be an LLC, you can be partnership, or you can be a sole proprietorship.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each. 

If you are a corporation and are registered with the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office and are doing business in the same name as your corporation, you do not need to get a business certificate in the City.

Obtain a City of Haverhill Business Certificate   LINK

If you are not a state registered corporation or you are doing business under a different name, you need to obtain a business certificate in the City Clerk’s office.

First, visit the Building Department and get a zoning approval letter ($10) and bring this to the Clerk’s office.  The certificate registers you with the City and costs $60 for 4 years.

 Here is the application:  http://www.haverhillma.gov/forms/docs/Business_Certificate_2015.pdf– if you fill this out outside of the Clerk’s office, you need to have the signatures notarized.

Need to develop a business plan and arrange financing?

 Before you move ahead to find a location please make sure you have and addressed the basics of having a great business plan and understanding financing needs and options. There are a wide range of resources available to assist you in these areas


Need to Find a location?

Either work with your realtor or check the city website to find a spot.    LINK

Once you find some properties that interest you, you need  to make sure to make certain it is properly zoned. Without proper zoning you cannot locate there. Zoning establishes the rules for what type of uses are allowed in what areas of the city. Businesses are not allowed in residential zones but are allowed in commercial and business zones. Match your type of business in the zoning ordinance table and you can see which zones allow your use.   LINK to ZONING OINANCE AND MAP

Once you have your business organized, have your business plan and financing under control, and have found one or more suitable locations with proper zoning!! THEN:

Determine what permits are needed for your location    LINK

  1. Is it properly zoned
  2. Do you need zoning relief Special permit Variance Rezoning
  3. What other permits are needed
    1. Building permit—outline, give links
    2. Electrical
    3. Plumbing
    4. Fire

Get your Business occupancy certificate

Once any work required to the space is completed, you need to work with the Building Inspectors office and apply for your business occupancy certificate. The city inspects your location for compliance with all relevant codes and if the space is ready you will receive your business occupancy permit. LINK

If you are opening a restaurant, contact the License Commission Clerk Laura Angus for applications – Common Victualler, Entertainment, Alcohol. Also contact Laura if you are opening a car dealership – the License commission oversees these licenses.    LINK

Here is the link to the License Commission information and forms: http://www.haverhillma.gov/government/city_clerk/license_commission/index.php

Sometimes other licenses or permits are required for businesses – contact the City Clerk’s office if you have questions (i.e., coin ops, pool tables, movie theaters, bowling alleys, etc.)   LINK

Schedule your open house and your grand opening!!! 

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