Starting A Business

Welcome to Fairfield

The City of Fairfield wants to be your partner so that you can be a successful business in a safe, clean, and attractive environment. Discover information you will need in order to occupy your business location. We have also included additional information that you may find helpful. Good luck and welcome to 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:

Permit Process

Building and zoning codes have been enacted by the city, state and federal governments to protect the public health, safety and welfare. Permits ensure that these codes are followed. Building permits provide the means for building department officials to inspect a business location to ensure minimum standards are met and appropriate materials are used. In the City of Fairfield no new building shall be occupied, nor any change of building use made, until inspection and a Certificate of Occupancy has been issued by the city.
  1. Contact the Building Division

    • Visit or contact the Building 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.
  2. Submit an Application

    • You can obtain a permit application at the Building Division office or you can download a copy. The permit application asks for detailed information about the project. Drawings, plans, or other documentation may be required depending on the complexity of the project. There is a $51.50 fee for a Change of Occupancy permit. We accept cash, check, Mastercard or Visa as payment.
  3. City Review Process

    • The majority of permit applications are processed with little delay. The Building Division will review the application to check compliance with all building codes, zoning codes, and other municipal or state regulations.
  4. Inspection

    • Contact the Building Division to schedule a Change of Occupancy inspection. This inspection is performed to ensure compliance with all building codes and zoning codes as written in Chapter 11 of the Fairfield Codified Ordinances. A Building Inspector will coordinate any other departments involved in the inspection, which may include the Water Division, Fire Department or the Development Services Department.
  5. Corrections

    • If necessary during the inspection the Building Inspector will compile a list of issues that need to be remedied before a Certificate of Occupancy can be issued. At the end of the inspection, you will receive a copy of this list. In the event that a list of all violations cannot be completed at the time of the inspection, the Building Inspector will mail or fax a complete list to you within a reasonable time frame.
  6. Conditional Certificate of Occupancy

    • Under certain circumstances the Building Division may issue a Conditional Certificate of Occupancy if the conditions that need to be remedied are determined not to be too serious in nature. Under this conditional occupancy you may occupy the property temporarily while you are working on correcting the outstanding code violations.
  7. Re-inspection

    • After you have remedied all of the conditions noted during the previous inspection, you need to contact the Building Division for a re-inspection. The Inspector will again compile a list of any remaining conditions that need to be corrected. This process will continue until all conditions are completed. If you do not contact the Building Division to re-inspect the project within 60 days, the Building Inspector will send a letter notifying you of the expired permit and denial of occupancy.
  8. Certificate of Occupancy Issued

    • When code compliance is determined the Building Division will issue a Certificate of Occupancy. This certificate is the formal document that marks the completion of your construction project and gives you permission to occupy your new or renovated building with the knowledge that it has met Fairfield safety standards.

Contractor Licensing

Any contractor that is working on electrical, heating, air conditioning, or permanent signage projects in Fairfield must be licensed by the Building Department before a permit will be granted, view the Contractor Licensing page. 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. You can also contact the Building Division at 513-867-5318 for more information.  Click Here for more details.

Food Service Businesses

Any business that is a food service or food product preparation business must obtain a license from the Butler County Health Department. You can contact the Butler County Health Department at 513-863-1770 or visit the Health Department website.

City of Fairfield Income Tax Information

If a business has employees in Fairfield, it is required to withhold taxes on all employee gross wages at a rate of 1.5%. To set up a new business account, applicants should complete a Business Questionnaire (PDF). More information about income tax collection is available by contacting the Income Tax Division at 513-867-5327.

Sales Tax Collection

Most businesses that are selling a product or providing a service in Ohio must collect and remit sales tax. All businesses that are required to collect sales tax in Butler County must obtain a Vendor License. The application and fee can be mailed or hand-delivered to: Butler County Auditor
130 High Street, 4th Floor
Hamilton, OH 45011

Setting Up Utility Accounts

The City of Fairfield provides water and sewer services. To set up a new business account, applicants should complete a Commercial Application and submit it to the Utility Billing Division.

Information on other utilities, including gas and electric, telephone, Internet, and trash collection, can be found on the Public Utilities page.