Starting A Business
Welcome to Fairfield
We welcome you to our city and appreciate your investment in our community. There are many steps to opening a business, and the city wants to be your partner to make the process as straightforward as possible for you.
Download our Start-Up Packet for New Businesses, in which we have explained the processes you will need to follow in order to occupy your business location. We have also included additional information that you may find helpful. The packet begins with a checklist to consider as you find a location and open your business.
Select content from the Start-Up Packet packet is also highlighted below.
We wish you many years of success in the City of Fairfield!
Small Business Counseling & Support Services
There are numerous agencies that provide small business counseling and support services to budding entrepreneurs. Below are various resources:
- SCORE Cincinnati - Society of Retired Executives, free small business counseling
- Fairfield Chamber of Commerce - free marketing counseling and other networking opportunities
- Ohio Small Business Development Center
- Comprehensive Guide to Starting a Business (WorkCompLab)
- Ohio Secretary of State: Starting a Business
- Starting a Business in Ohio
Change of Occupancy
All businesses new to the city or to a property must receive a certificate of occupancy, which includes applying for a permit and inspection of the space. No new building shall be occupied, nor any change of building use made, until an inspection and a Certificate of Occupancy has been issued by the city.
To begin the process of obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy, visit or contact the Building and Zoning Division to discuss what you are planning. This initial contact will provide the resources and information you will need to make your project a success and avoid potential problems, which could cost you time and money.
Any contractor that is working on electrical, heating, air conditioning, or permanent signage projects in Fairfield must be licensed by the Building and Zoning Division before a permit will be granted. You should inquire as to whether the contractor working on your project is licensed to work in Fairfield and has obtained the proper permits.
You must obtain a permit for all business signage in Fairfield. This includes permanent signs, temporary signs, grand opening or promotional signs/banners, and tents. The size and location of the signage is based on several factors, including the building size and lot street frontage. The complete sign code is located in Chapter 11 of the Fairfield Codified Ordinances. Click here for more details.
Food Service Businesses
Restaurants and other businesses that serve or produce food must obtain a license from the Butler County General Health District. Such businesses should contact the Health District at 513-863-1770 to discuss the appropriate license for your operation. For additional information, visit www.health.bcohio.us.
Municipal Income Tax
The city collects a 1.5% income tax on the gross wages of employees and net profits of businesses operating within the city. Businesses are required to register by completing a business registration form and submitting it to the Income Tax Division at 701 Wessel Drive. The registration form is attached on pages 10-11 and available as a fillable PDF here.
Sales Tax Collection
Most businesses that are selling a product or providing a service must collect and remit sales tax. Accordingly, a vendor’s license from the Butler County Auditor’s Office is required to make taxable sales. The application is available as a fillable PDF at www.butlercountyauditor.org. Complete the form and return to the Butler County Auditor’s Office with the application fee of $25. Checks should be made payable to the Butler County Treasurer's Office.
Setting Up Utility AccountsBusinesses seeking water and sewer service from the City of Fairfield must apply to establish an account. Applicants should complete a Commercial Application and submit it to the Utility Billing Division at 5350 Pleasant Avenue. If you are renting, you will need to bring a copy of your lease agreement, a photo ID, and a deposit for $125. The application can be found here.
Most properties in the city receive electric and gas service from Duke Energy. Additionally, Cincinnati Bell and Spectrum provide internet and landline telephone service in the city.