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    1. City of Houston ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER


    4. ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER Services GETTING STARTED PACKET: Provides concise, FREE information, which helps businesses concentrate on marketing, competitive and growth COMPLIANCE: Helps businesses comply with local, state, and federal regulations TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE: Referrals to sources of counseling, mentoring, networking, incubators, workshops, and education FINANCING INFO: Provides information on financing programs and local incentives for small businesses

    5. ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER Services MWDBE/SBE: Refers Minority, Women, and financially disadvantaged businesses to certification and HUB programs GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING INFORMATION- Refers businesses to COH and other government contracting opportunities DCA: Provides trouble shooting and liaison services to COH customers WORKSHOPS: Hosts business workshops co-sponsored by Houston Public Library, UH SBDC and other agencies. SCORE COUNSELING: Hosts weekly SCORE counseling service at OSBC.

    6. Regulatory Referrals OSBC refers businesses to government agencies for permits, licenses, regulations, forms, applications, ordinances and statutes, as well as fee schedules. THESE ARE OFTEN AVAILABLE FREE OF CHARGE ON THE AGENCY WEBSITE. (In-depth information is best provided by the administering agency.)

    7. Technical Assistance, Education, and Training Referrals We refer clients to sources of free and low cost technical or management assistance, educational opportunities, seminars, workshops, and business plan support. SCORE UH SBDC Internal Revenue Service- TSU Economic Development Center Executive Service Corps (non-profits)

    8. SCORE Management Counseling SCORE is "Counselors to America's Small Business- professionals with knowledge who donate their time to help businesses succeed. SCORE has experts in accounting, finance, marketing, management, business plan preparation and other fields. One-on-One counseling is FREE OF CHARGE. OSBC has a SCORE counselor at its City Hall Annex office weekly, for one-hour appointments, or at the main SCORE office at 8701 S. Gessner (713.773.6565) Call 832.393.0954 to make an appointment! www.scorehouston,.org

    9. Loan Information and Referrals

    10. Grants Potential grant resources for small businesses: Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance ( The Foundation Center ( The Grantsmanship Center ( City of Houston Housing and Community Development Dept. (CDBG Grants) UH Graduate College of Social Work

    11. Credit And Debt Repair The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nations consumer protection agency, created this website to help you tackle some money issues head-on. Use their website to find tips and resources on money matters. DEBT COLLECTION DEBT RELIEF SERVICES CREDIT REPAIR SERVICES ADVANCE FEE LOANS VEHICLE REPOSSESSION

    12. Business Plan Basics

    13. MWDBE / SBE / PWDBE Certification FREE Pre-Certification Workshops Pre-Certification Workshop every Thursday from 2pm - 4pm at the MOBO Office, 611 Walker, 7th Floor, Downtown. Metered parking nearby (call for directions). How to do business with the City of Houston and other agencies who recognize COH certification. Information on advantages of participation in the certification program. Provides hands-on assistance with forms and applications for certification, and explains various goals and contracting opportunities. CALL: 832.393.0600 for Details (NEW NUMBER!!)

    14. Doing Business with the City of Houston

    15. PWE Small Business Development Group 832-395-2516 The mission of the Small Business Development Group (SBDG) is to promote equal access to PWE contract and procurement opportunities for Small/Minority/Women- Owned Business Enterprises (S/MWBE). Assistance with locating contract opportunities in the PWE Department Coordinate meetings with department representatives, primes and subcontractors. Provide education and outreach opportunities with business events/meetings. Review of PWE contracts and setting realistic participation goals. Serve as an MWDBE/SBE advocate in the PWE Department.

    16. Contact Information & Location One Stop Business Center WHERE: CITY HALL ANNEX, 900 BAGBY ST. (Public level) HOURS: 8 am 5 pm, M - F PHONE: 832.393.0954 / FAX: 832.393.0952 TDD/TTY: 311 EMAIL:

    18. Getting Started Packet - Contents -


    20. DBAs and General Business Licenses in Houston There is NO general business license issued by the COH, Harris Co. or the State of Texas. DBAs, State Sales Tax Permits, or EINs are NOT business licenses. They are business-specific and based on range and scope of activities. DBAs do not prove an operational business. You can register multiple DBAs with no requirement to transact business. DBAs are a public declaration of your intent to operate using that name. DBAs are NOT unique name registrations. Someone else can use the name for their business in the same county. DBAs filed in Texas counties in which you have a business presence. HARRIS COUNTY CLERK: 713-755-6436 DBA DATABASE:

    21. Texas Sales and Use Tax Permit

    22. Texas Sales and Use Tax Resale Certificate A resale certificate should be given to a supplier selling items you wish to purchase for resale. If you buy items exclusively for resale, the supplier can accept a blanket resale certificate. If you buy some items for resale, the specific items should be listed on the resale certificate. The supplier must keep a copy of the resale certificate for 4 years. A sales and use tax permit number is required for the resale certificate. NEITHER THE CITY OF HOUSTON NOR THE STATE OF TEXAS ISSUES A WHOLESALERS PERMIT. STATE COMPTROLLER: RESALE CERT:

    23. Texas Sales and Use Tax Resale Certificate

    24. Federal Taxpayer ID Number (Employer ID Number: SS-4) Q. What is a federal tax ID number? A. A federal tax identification number (also know as an employer identification number or EIN), is a number assigned solely to your business by the IRS. Your tax ID number is used to identify your business to several federal agencies responsible for the regulation of business. Q. Does my business need a federal tax ID number? A. Any business offering products or services that are taxed in any way must get a federal tax ID number. If your state taxes personal services, or if you are required to collect sales taxes on your sales, you need a federal tax ID number. All the government forms you will be required to file for your business will require either a Social Security number or a tax ID number.

    25. HCAD Rendition of Business Personal Property What kinds of property must be rendered? For taxation purposes, your property is classified as either real property (land, buildings, and other items attached to land) or personal property (items that can be owned but are not attached to land). Personal property that you use to produce income or for business purposes must be rendered (as of January 1) unless the total value of all of the personal property is $500 or less. This includes furniture and fixtures, equipment, machinery, computers, inventory held for sale or rental, raw materials, finished goods, and work in process. The filing deadline for renditions is April 15 of each year.

    26. Legal Business Structures in Texas - 1

    27. Legal Business Structures in Texas - 2

    28. Government Regulatory Structure (Where Do I Get Permits?)

    29. Typical City-County Requirements (Not a comprehensive listing- subject to change) Certificate of Occupancy (COH) Building Permit, Demolition (COH) Food Dealers Permits (COH/HC) Sign Permits (COH/HC) Fire Marshall Permits (COH/HC) Non-Smoking Ordinances (COH) (no permit required) Subdivision and Development Ordinances (COH) HPD Permits, Harris County Sheriff Commercial Permits (Resale/Roadside/Scrap) (COH) Wastewater, Water Connections

    30. Commercial Permitting (ARA- COH)

    31. Building/Structure Permit Basics (COH)

    32. Occupancy Inspection Basics (COH)

    33. State of Texas Requirements (Not a comprehensive listing- subject to change) TCEQ: Environmental permits and licenses, dry cleaners, printing shops, a/c servicing, underground storage tanks, gas stations, auto dealers, waste hauling. DPS: Auto glass, hazmat, vehicle inspection, concealed handguns TxDOT: Oversize loads, aviation, trucking, vans, buses Consumer Credit Commission: Registered creditors, pawn shops Family and Protective Services: Day care, adoption, group homes Licensing and Regulation: Employment services, cosmetology, talent agents, electricians, staff leasing, plumbing, a/c installers, combative sports, career counseling, refrigeration installers, court interpreters. TABC: Alcoholic beverages, breweries, lab alcohol TDSHS: Counselors, therapists, nursing homes, paramedics, athletic trainers Agriculture Dept.: Nursery and floral, weights and measures, aquaculture

    34. Federal Requirements (Not a comprehensive listing- subject to change) Customs and Border Patrol: Import licensing, port security International Trade Administration: Exporting activities EPA: Hazmat, environmental pollution sources Federal Trade Commission: Mail order, used car sales, appliance labeling, care labeling, advertising Food and Drug Administration: Food and drug manufacturing and labeling OSHA: Workplace safety Treasury Department: Check cashing, travel agencies USDA: Animal and plant inspection, food inspection USPTO: Patents and trademarks

    35. Permits and Licenses Name Changes / New Applications Some permits and licenses can be re-issued with a new applicants name. Call the issuing agency to determine if you must reapply for a specific permit under the new name or if the existing permit can be transferred. EVERY LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL AGENCY HAS DIFFERENT RULES AND REQUIREMENTS. CONTACT THEM AFTER YOU INVENTORY EXISTING PERMITS AND LICENSES. FEES MAY APPLY. DO NOT ASSUME YOU CAN REGISTER A NAME CHANGE IF YOU BUY AN EXISTING BUSINESS.

    36. Federal / State Minimum Wage

    37. Contract Labor in Texas (Texas Workforce Commission) "Contract labor" may be the most widely used misnomer in business today. The issue is whether a given worker is an employee or an independent contractor. An employee is someone over whose work an employer exercises direction or control and for whom there is extensive wage reporting and tax responsibility. An independent contractor is self-employed, bears responsibility for his or her own taxes and expenses, and is not subject to an employer's direction and control. The distinction depends upon much more than what the parties call themselves. Adapted from: Or Call the Texas Workforce Commission at: 281-933-3858

    38. FAQ - Are Permits, Licenses and Regulations the Same Thing? Business licenses and permits can vary by type of business, range of activities, and enforcing jurisdiction. A business may not be issued a license or a permit (for a fee) but still be regulated by some level of government.

    39. Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act - DTPA

    40. Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act DTPA (continued) * Passing off goods or services as those of another * False representation * False disparagement of goods or services of another business * False advertising (in certain circumstances) * Fraud by repair persons (i.e. mechanics shops) * Misrepresentation * Motor vehicle fraud * False warranties * Failure to disclose certain information in sales of goods and services * False representation of business entity status * Price gouging after a disaster

    41. Do Similar Businesses Always Have Similar Requirements?

    42. License and Permit Comparison RESTAURANT 1 (city): New structure, no alcohol, contract labor, no grease trap, signs, incorporated, wastewater impact fees, occupancy certificate, food dealer, burglar alarm, loudspeaker. RESTAURANT 2 (county): Existing structure, alcohol, employees, grease trap, seafood, signs, sole proprietor, MUD (water/sewer), food dealer, burglar alarm, game machines.

    43. General Guidelines for Purchasing or Leasing Property Verify the existence and status of deed restrictions Check existing property tax records through (or similar) Verify if property has zoning or land use requirements or restrictions (title papers, county clerk) Research distance operating requirements (planning offices) Analyze the availability and cost of utilities (water, sewer, electric, gas) Determine who is responsible for leasehold improvements and obtaining building permits and COs

    44. Home-Based vs. Lease Space? HOME-BASED Check deed restrictions Low capital start-up Some tax deductions Part-time operation possible Flexible hours Family-friendly

    45. Deed Restrictions- I THE CITY OF HOUSTON IS UNZONED. Houston enforces deed restrictions for the protection of citizens and property owners in residential neighborhoods. All residents and citizens benefit, and it promotes the health, safety, and general welfare of the city.

    46. Deed Restrictions- II BEFORE OPERATING FROM A HOME:

    47. Obtaining Deed Restrictions Included with legal papers when real property was purchased. Part of a lease or rental agreement, by reference. Obtain from area homeowners association or civic club. Obtain from the applicable County Clerk office (must have property legal description). In Harris Co. call 713.755.6899 (Real Property Records- fee for copies).

    48. FAQ Are Food Establishments Legal from a Residence? There is no blanket prohibition against home based food service businesses in Houston. They are legal unless they violate deed restrictions, and/or cant meet all the requirements of the COH Food and other ordinances. They must also comply with other applicable licensing requirements.

    49. Commonly Requested Business Types One Stop Business Center

    50. Statistics One Stop Business Center (estimated) 65-70% New Businesses 50% Home-based businesses 40-45% Within Houston City Limits 50% No Employees (sole owner) 40% Originate at the DBA Office (HCC) 55-60% Sole Proprietorship-General Partnership 600-750+ Clients / Month (GSPs delivered)

    51. Strategic Partners US SBA / SCORE UH Small Business Development Center Houston Public Library TSU Economic Development Center Houston Business Development, Inc. ACCION International FRANNET Harris County Clerk / Texas State Comptroller Greater Houston Business Procurement Forum Mayors Volunteer Initiatives Office UH Veterans' Services Office PWE Small Business Development Group

    52. For More Information Call ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER: 832.393.0954 (311) To download a copy of this presentation: (Updated 7-2011)

    53. COH Permitting Center