Welcome to the City of Boulder's Business Portal!
Whether you are starting, expanding, or need information about doing business in Boulder, this is the place to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions
I want to start a business in Boulder – how do I get started?
Here are some of the first steps to add to your “to-do list”
- Find a location and make sure the zoning for that location allows your type of business.
- Apply for a business license / sales tax license.
- If you will be selling alcohol, you will need a liquor license.
- Apply for building permit and/ or a sign permit if needed to remodel your location.
- If you are starting a small business and need assistance with writing a business plan, setting up your business entity, legal questions, and financing, contact the Boulder Small Business Development Center.
Do I need a business license or other special license?
You will need a business / sales tax license:
- if your business is located in the City of Boulder
- if you are a business delivering goods and services into the City of Boulder.
There are also several types of miscellaneous business licenses needed for businesses such as “door to door sales,” pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers.
Where can I locate my business?
Boulder’s zoning laws specify types of business uses allowed at specific locations. Each property is in a designated zoning district and each zoning district lists the allowed uses for that district. Some types of business uses or those with certain operating characteristics are only allowed with a public review process such as “use review.”
a Project Specialist in the Planning & Development Services Center or call 303-441-1880 to learn more about zoning districts and to confirm that your proposed business use is allowed before signing a lease or purchasing a property. You can also visit the Services Center at 1739 Broadway on the third floor.
Can I run my business out of my home?
Home occupations are allowed in Boulder as long as the business meets certain standards. The main requirements are that no employees may work for the business except for those who live in the home, traffic may not exceed the level expected for a residence, and no business signs may displayed. Please submit a completed home occupation form with your business license application.
How do I know what taxes my business must pay?
- If your business is located in the City of Boulder, you need to collect and remit sales tax and use tax. If you are an outside business and created "nexus," you need to license and collect and remit sales tax.
- If you deliver goods to another city, please check with that city for licensing requirements.
- Your business may be subject to other taxes such as food service, accommodations or admissions tax depending on your business type.
How do I get a liquor license?
First, you have to determine the type of liquor license you will need based on your business. Please note the process takes between three to four months.
Before you apply for a liquor license, make sure that your business location qualifies for the type of liquor license you need by following these four steps:
- Contact a Project Specialist in the Planning Department to find out if the current city’s zoning allows your type of business at your proposed location.
- Check the adjacency of nearby schools. Your business cannot be within 500 feet of any school or university, with the present exception of the University of Colorado’s principal campus and hotel-restaurant class liquor licenses.
- If you will apply for a new Tavern liquor license within 500 feet of intersection of Walnut and Broadway Streets, contact the
for additional information.
- Make sure you have a signed lease. (The lease may contain contingencies in the event that the liquor license is denied, but it must be effective and signed by the applicant and landlord).
Once these steps are completed, please visit the city’s liquor license application forms and instructions or pick up an application at the Municipal Building 1777 Broadway, SW corner of Canyon and Broadway), 1777 Broadway, 2nd Floor, City Manager's Office.
For more information about liquor licensing process and application deadlines, please contact the
Do I need a building permit?
In general, a building permit is an official document, issued by the city, which authorizes the construction, alteration, or demolition of any structure. Permits are required so that the city can promote safe building, sound development, effective use of land, and high quality site planning. In general, City of Boulder licensed contractors are required for most work requiring a permit. Ask your licensed contractor or a Project Specialist (303-441-1880) if your project requires a building permit application.
Can I sell my product from a cart or vehicle?
Pearl Street Mall is the only place in the City of Boulder that allows selling of product from a mobile vending cart. The Pearl Street Mall cart selection porcess is competitive and would begin in October for the following year only if there is an opening. No temporary vending is allowed. For more information, contact
Can I sell my product on the Pearl Street Mall?
Selling of products on the Pearl Street Mall is allowed only from a mobile vending cart. The Pearl Street Mall cart selection process is competitive and would begin in October for the following year only if there is an opening. No temporary vending is allowed. For more information, contact
Where can I get information on how to “green” my business?
There are a variety of programs and resources that are available for energy efficiency, renewable energy, composting and recycling with Local Environmental Action Division (LEAD). City staff in LEAD are available to help you find the right options for your business, from solar rebates to energy assessments.
Where can I get assistance with starting or running my small business?
The Boulder Small Business Development Center has years of experience helping small businesses succeed. The Boulder SBDC provides counseling from over 40 experts and business counseling services are always provided free of charge to businesses and entrepreneurs. SBDC Workshops include “Start-up Essentials.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:11