Business Licensing

General Information

All business and professional operations, according to Ordinance Number 38,573, must purchase a business license before commencing operation in the City of Norfolk, including Home Businesses and Special Events.

Licenses expire December 31 of each year.

Your business may qualify for location based incentives including Business License fee reduction. For more information visit the Incentives page prior to purchasing a business license.

In order to obtain a Norfolk City Business License, you must have a definite place of business. A definite place of business is an office or location where a regular and continuous course of dealing with the public occurs. In the City of Norfolk, zoning laws may prohibit your business from operating at certain locations, such as a residence. The address for your business must be approved by Zoning. A lease or some type of written documentation must be presented for this approval. Zoning charges a fee for this approval.

Register a Trade Name

Any person, partnership, limited liability partnership, limited liability company, or corporation using a name which does not identify the owner of the business must register a trade name with the State Corporation Commission. Registering this name does not prevent your business name from being used by any other business. It is done to assist the public by providing information as to the person with whom the public will be dealing. There is a fee to register this name.

Apply for a Business License online. Your application will be kept on file for 30 days. If you do not complete the business license process within 30 days; the application will be discarded, and you must reapply. 

Cost of Business License

The cost of the business license is based upon your estimate of total gross receipts from the day the business opens to December 31 of the same year. If the estimate is less than $100,000, the license will cost $50.00 which is the minimum tax. If, however, the estimate is greater than $100,000, a tax rate will be applied to your estimate. There are different rates for different types of businesses shown below under associated fees. 

What You Need

When applying in person, please allow at least one hour to complete the application process. When paying by check, bring a separate check for each process. To help streamline your application process, be sure to bring these important documents with you:

  • Visit the City Treasurer's office to obtain a signed certificate of approval
  • Government-issued picture ID
  • Lease or letter of permission from the homeowner
  • Zoning approval ($15 fee - Contact 664-4752)
  • State Corporation Commission Certificate or Corporate Charter (if applicable)
  • Register Trade Name or Partnership with State Corporation Commission
  • Meal Tax Bond (Food establishment - fees vary - Contact 664-7886)
  • Permits (If applicable - fees vary)
  • Estimate of gross receipts through December 31
  • Printable Checklist (PDF)

Associated Fees

  • Contractors - $0.16 per $100 gross receipts
  • Retail - $0.20 per - $100 gross receipts
  • Repair, Personal, and Business Services - $0.36 per $100 gross receipts
  • Financial, Real Estate, and Professional Services - $0.58 per $100 gross receipts
  • Wholesale Business $50 flat fee plus - $.15 per $100 gross purchases ($100,000 threshold does not apply)


If you still need some help or have questions, feel free to give us a call at 757-664-7886.