Starting a business
It's easier than you think! This short guide puts you in contact with the planning, permitting, and business tax functions of the City, and gets you on your way to opening your doors.
Pre-Development Inquiry Sessions (PDIs)
Whether you are building, renovating or opening a new business in the City of Longwood, a Pre-Development Inquiry session is an important first step. PDIs are an informal opportunity for you to meet with City Staff to discuss your project on an informal, preliminary basis. There is no fee charged for a PDI and these meetings help save business owners and developers time and money by allowing the review team to identify requirements and propose solutions early in the process. View the Community Development Department - Community Development Division.
Pre-Development meetings are held every Thursday afternoon at 2:30 P.M. and 3:15 P.M. Applications must be submitted by 3:00 P.M. Friday of the week prior to the desired meeting date. You can find applications for Pre-Development Inquiry Sessions (PDF).
Locating Your Business & Site Planning
The City of Longwood Economic Development Manager maintains a list of Available Properties that will help you find a suitable location for your business. View the available property list.
The Community Development Division will help you identify whether the use is allowable at a particular location and whether site plan or other approvals are required before you can open your business. Community Development Staff will help guide you through the approval process and get you the information and contacts you need to open the doors at your Longwood business. Access the Community Development webpage and the Division's phone number is (407) 260-3462.
Determine Your Impact Fees
Depending on the scope of your project or the change of use for a property, there may be impact fees required. The City of Longwood Utilities Division charges fees for water and sewer. Seminole County charges other impact fees that may apply to your project. For City of Longwood impact fees, contact Richard Kornbluh with our Utilities Division, and for Seminole County impact fees, contact Jami Forte.
Building permits are required for changes of use, new construction, additions, and alterations of commercial space, multi-family or single-family residences, or changes to an interior or exterior that will require construction, demolition, or rehabilitation of the space. This includes any electrical, plumbing, air-conditioning, heating, or other work. Obtaining permits assures that the work meets the Florida Building Code and all applicable regulations. The permit process offers the opportunity to have the plans reviewed by professional staff and includes inspections by certified experts who will make sure that the work is safely and professionally completed. The Building Division is here to answer your questions and can be contacted at 407-260-3464 or at their webpage which is located here.
View the Community Development Department - Building Division.
Register Your Business (State Licensing)
Register your business in the state of Florida. Once you have determined the type of business you wish to open, contact the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations to determine if you need a state license or certification of competency. There are more than 50 regulated professions requiring state licensing.
Contact the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations at 850-486-1395.
Business Tax Receipt
To operate a business in the City of Longwood, you are required to apply for and obtain a local business tax receipt license (PDF). Whether your business operates in a commercial location or is home-based, a business tax receipt license is required pursuant to both State and local laws. Staff is available to assist you with your local business tax receipt inquiries including, but not limited to, business classification, estimated license fees, how to apply for a local business tax receipt license, and other State or County licensing/certification requirements you may need prior to obtaining your license. To learn more about Business Tax Receipts, contact Financial Services at 407-260-3442 or visit Longwood City Codes, Chapter 82, Article II.
Any complaints concerning business practices, however, should be addressed, if they are licensed by the state, to the board that regulates them. For all other businesses please contact the Better Business Bureau at 407-621-3300.
Home Occupation Regulations & Handyman Notice
If your business is located within your home, please read and submit a signed copy of the Home Occupation Regulations (PDF). If you are a handyman, please read and submit the Handyman Notice (PDF) with your application. Download the application for the local business tax receipt (PDF) (both home and commercial).
Building permits are required for all exterior signs. Signs must meet color, size and location requirements as outlined in the City’s Land Development Code. Fill out the sign form (PDF).Temporary signs including grand opening banners, development signs, and real estate signs require a permit as well. A downloadable permit application may be found at the Building Division's website, and the Building Division may be contacted at 407-260-3464 for questions on permitting or construction. For questions regarding design and location standards for signage, please contact the Planning Division at 407-260-3462.
View the Community Development Services Department - Community Development Division. A permit is required to paint the exterior of your business. Colors are reviewed by the Community Development Division, and a paint permit can be downloaded here. Copies of the color chart are available at the Planning Department, 407-260-3462.