Business Licensing

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Business Licensing

First-time business license applicants in South Bend must apply for a business license with the Department of Community Investment at 227 W. Jefferson Blvd, Suite 1400 S. Business licenses are required to identify your business and to ensure public safety, health and welfare is not adversely impacted.

Who is eligible for a business license?

Not all businesses are required to have a city business license. The type of service you provide determines whether or not a license is required.  To determine what type of license is needed visit the website or contact the Business License Administrator at 574-235-5912.

When is a business license granted?

This depends upon the type of business license required.  Some are granted within a week, while others may require approvals from various city departments such as; Fire Dept, County Health Dept, Building Dept, Code Enforcement, Board of Public Works and the Police Dept.  Typically the approval process is 30 days.

What is the cost of a business license?

To determine the cost of the license visit the City website or contact the Business License Administrator at 574-235-5912.

What is the Application Process for a Business License?

The applicant can contact the Business License Administrator at 574-235-5912 or to discuss which license is needed.  You can also visit the website

  1. The applicant can contact the Business License Administrator at (574) 235-5912 or visit the City website to help determine what type(s) of license(s) will be needed based on the business activity. The final license fee(s) will depend on the type of license(s) for which you are applying.
  2. The applicant can return the application in person or by mail with a $5 processing fee.  If the applicant prefers to e-mail or fax the application, they can do so by contacting the Business License Administrator at (574) 235-5912 to make arrangements by phone with either a Visa or MasterCard.
  3. The Business License Administrator and other necessary departments will review the application and make recommendations.  Certain types of businesses will require a physical inspection of the establishment.
  4. If the license is granted, the applicant will receive notification of approval and the balance due, which they have 7 days from the date of the notice to pay.  Failure to pay the license fee will result in the issuance of citations and the denial of your business license application.
  5. If the license is not granted, the applicant may remedy the problem and resubmit the application or file an appeal through the Legal Department.  If the applicant wins the appeal, they will receive notification of approval and the balance due, which they have 7 days from the date of the notice to pay.
  6. The license will be issued upon approval and payment of the license fee(s).
  7. Licenses must be renewed annually.  A courtesy renewal notice will be mailed approximately 30 days prior to the expiration of the business license and will include the online renewal procedures.  Businesses which fail to renew the license by the expiration date, shall be assessed an additional late fee of 10% of the total fee charged.  All fees must be paid in full prior to the issuance of the license.

How do I renew a Business License?

A renewal notice will be mailed thirty days prior to your current licenses expiration date and will include the online renewal procedures.  However, it is your responsibility to renew the business license on time even if the courtesy reminder is not received.

The following license types may be renewed online:

  • Alarm Agent

  • Automotive Repair and Service Center

  • Food Vending Machines

  • Outdoor Motion Picture

  • Pet Shops

  • Pool Halls

  • Precious Metal Dealers

  • Restaurants

  • Rubbish and Garbage Removal

  • Secondhand Dealers

Go to Renew Business Licenses Online

If renewing a Business License in person, the Business License office now accepts MasterCard and Visa.


Transferability of Licenses:  Section 4-10Section 4-12

Regulations applying to all licenses:  Section 4-4

All licensing is subject to a $5 application fee

Refusal of issuance or revocation of Licensing:  Section 4-16