Guide to Opening a Business in The City of Miami

1. Before You Begin

NOTE: Read this guide before signing any lease.  Property owners may or may not check your zoning category. 

  • First, determine what type of business you can open in your property. We strongly recommend meeting with our zoning departmentbefore moving forward on any permitting or construction, or applying for a CU. 
  • Next, get permits for any building/construction desired, and complete your work.
  • Then, proceed with the following processes.

These pages offer a general guideline to opening a business. If you need additional information, our Economic Initiatives team created a more thorough and detailed resource guide. 

View Business Resource Guide

2. Overview

The main two items you need from The City in order to open a business in Miami are:

1. Your Certificate of Use (This comes after you've completed construction).

2. Your Business Tax Receipt

This process can take several months from beginning to end, depending on your type of use, inspections, and more.  If you follow this list thoroughly and in-order, your wait time will be significantly reduced.  

Food Trucks/Peddlers

If you are a Food Truck vendor or a peddler, you do not need to complete all of the below items. View Miami's Food Truck Ordinance

3. What you Need for Zoning

Review these steps before applying for your Certificate of Use. 

If you have all of the above documents/procedures completed, apply for your Certificate of Use.

4. What you Need for Code Compliance/Fire

After applying for a CU, part of the approval process includes Code and Fire inspections. The below guidelines will help you properly prepare and avoid delays. 

  • Have you paid for your Certificate of Use invoice? (When making check payments, there is a 14-day hold).   You will not be able to schedule inspections until payment for your CU has cleared. You can pay online using the "Transaction ID" on your invoice.  
    NOTE: If you paid with a check, it may take up to 14 days for your check to clear. Your inspection will not be marked as 'passed' until this payment has cleared, so we highly recommend waiting to schedule an inspection until this time. 


  • When scheduling your inspections, you will need to provide a valid point of contact for the person who will be present during the inspection.  If you have provided a non-working phone number or a contact who will not be at the property during the inspection,  your inspection will be delayed.
  • If you got a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) or a Certificate of Completion (CC), you need to have this on-hand, as well as your floor plans. 
  • If you require an Occupant Load (restaurants, night clubs, places of assembly), you need to show a floor plan.
  • Is your business completely ready to operate? You will not pass a code inspection if your business is not ready to operate that day. (i.e. A beauty salon without hair dryers will fail inspection, a restaurant without a finalized kitchen will fail inspection, etc.).  Do not set up an inspection before this time. 
  • Do you have a service contract with a solid waste hauler company? If you have not set up garbage pick-up for your business.  Provided is a list of city-approved private haulers who you can do this with. You must have trash pick-up in place before scheduling inspection.
    NOTE: A majority of code inspections that fail do so because the owner hasn't contracted a hauler. 
  • We recommend you have your floorpan ready. While it's not required for all inspections, if the inspector cannot verify your square footage/occupancy load, you will not pass inspection. 
  • If you are a renter, do you have a copy of your space lease agreement? 

If you've completed the above, go ahead and schedule your code and fire inspections.  You will also need to schedule an in-person DERM inspection before returning to the Office of Zoning for final approval of the Certificate of Use. 

5. What you Need for Your Business Tax Receipt

The last step to opening a new business is getting a Business Tax Receipt (BTR).

  • You must provide a copy of your completed Certificate of Use. (Exception: Peddlers, Food Trucks, or if you do not have a physical location in the City of Miami, but you are doing business here).
  • You must provide the Federal Employee Identification Number (EIN) for your Business. Your Social Security Number is acceptable if you're using your legal name as your business name. 
  • If this is for a hotel, restaurant, or convenience store, do you have the proper State of Florida Licensing?
  • If your BTR is State regulated, the following are required, if applicable:
  • State License for Business
  • State License for each Professional
  • Social Security Number for each Professional
  • Government-Issued Photo Identification
  • Notarized City Affidavit

If you've completed all of the above, apply for your Business Tax Receipt.