New Business FAQ

New Business FAQ

These are the most common issues facing small business owners as they seek to launch or expand their business. For more comprehensive information on launching or expanding your small business, visit cosopenforbiz.com.

Do I need a business license? Where do I go to get one?

The City of Colorado Springs only requires licensing for certain business types. Click here to see if a City license is required for your business.

To obtain a license, visit the City Clerk’s Office Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 30 S. Nevada Ave., Suite 101, Colorado Springs, CO 80903, or visit the City’s business license web page to apply online.

For questions, call the City Clerk Office at 719-385-5901 or email businesslicense@springsgov.com.

How do I get a liquor license?

Liquor licensing in Colorado is dual-jurisdictional, meaning businesses that wish to sell liquor or beer must first apply for a license with their local jurisdiction and then apply for a similar license with the State of Colorado Department of Revenue.

There are several different types of liquor licenses from hotel and restaurant licenses to art gallery and special event licenses. It is important to know which license is appropriate for your business.

Applications for all liquor licenses are subject to approval by the City’s Liquor License Board.

To begin the process of applying for a City of Colorado Springs liquor license, visit the City’s liquor license web page to apply online. Or, visit the City Clerk’s Office Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 30 S. Nevada Ave., Suite 101, Colorado Springs, CO 80903.

To learn more about State liquor licensing, visit the State of Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division web page.

What land use and building permits do I need?

If you are constructing a new building for your business, you will need to submit a plan of development to the City’s Planning & Development Office. You will also need to apply for a new commercial building permit with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.

If you are renovating an existing structure for your business, you will need to submit a minor or major improvement plan to the City’s Planning & Development Office. You will also need to apply for a commercial remodel permit with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.

In both cases, the first step is scheduling a pre-application or pre-submittal meeting.

To request a pre-application meeting with the City’s Planning & Development Office visit the City’s Planning & Development web page and complete the meeting request form provided.

To request a pre-submittal meeting with regional building, complete and submit this meeting request form. To learn more about the submittal process prior to a pre-submittal meeting, review this commercial plan packet.

Do I need a new occupancy or change of use permit?

Of the various occupancy types, the four that are most relevant to new businesses include: Assembly Groups, Business Groups, Factory Groups, and Mercantile Groups.

Even if you are not planning to do a commercial remodel for your business, you may need to apply for a new occupancy based on the nature of your business and the use type of the previous tenant.

To learn more about the different occupancy types, review this document. To learn more about the process of applying for a change of occupancy permit, review this document or contact Pikes Peak Regional Building Department by calling 719-327-2880. Prospective applicants can also visit pprbd.org.

How can I make sure my signage is compliant with local code?

Commercial signage on private property does require a permit from the City of Colorado Springs, and if a commercial sign encroaches on public right of way, a revocable permit is also required. To learn more about regulatory requirements for your business signage, visit the City’s Sign Application web page.

For questions regarding signage permitting, contact Kurt Schmitt, City of Colorado Springs Sign Inspector, by calling 719-385-5072 or by emailing kschmitt@springsgov.com.

How do I find out if my fire suppression system needs to be upgraded?

The City of Colorado Springs adopted the 2015 edition of the International Fire Code (IFC) in 2018. As such, many businesses that were in compliance with the previous code may not be compliant with the updated code and could be subject to citation from the Fire Marshal.

For most businesses, fire inspections occur irregularly and may be triggered by a number of factors including, but not limited to: a business or property changing ownership, new construction at a new or existing business, and complaints of code violations filed with the Fire Marshal.

Often times, businesses are not aware that they are in violation of the fire code until they are visited by an inspector. The results of an inspection can leave a business facing costly, unanticipated upgrades to equipment that, if ignored, could threaten their ability to operate legally and safely.

Businesses should be proactive in ensuring they are compliant with fire code. To do this, businesses can administer a self-inspection using this form. Businesses can also solicit a third party inspection from a local vendor or request a courtesy inspection from the Fire Department.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department also administers the RESTART program, which offers prospective business owners direct assistance in vetting a building for use and code compliance prior to executing a lease or purchase.

To learn more about the City of Colorado Springs fire code and the inspection process, visit the City’s Fire Code Resources web page.

Do I need a grease trap? Is my current grease trap up to code?

Food service businesses that use or produce fats, oils, or grease (FOG) in the process of preparing food need a grease trap and/or a grease interceptor. However, many businesses are not aware that updates to a menu, an increase in the volume of food being produced, and poor maintenance of existing equipment can trigger code-mandated upgrades to their grease trap or interceptor.

Businesses are encouraged to be proactive in ensuring their FOG equipment is code compliant, up-to-date, and well maintained. Much like fire code, many businesses are unaware that they are non-compliant with FOG code until they are visited by an inspector.

Businesses can review best management practices here and learn more about FOG policies and procedures here.