Companies working in multiple cities can face unique circumstances as they conduct their business across the state. Different zoning ordinances, permit regulations and business licensing requirements can be confusing and make compliance with local laws difficult.

Contractors, caterers and landscapers were particularly hit by the volumes of paperwork they often had to deal with when working across multiple jurisdictions.

In response to these concerns, representatives of the Municipal Association of SC and its affiliate organization, the Business Licensing Officials Association of SC; the SC Chamber of Commerce; and a variety of local chambers of commerce and business organizations came together to create a single standard application that a business can use in any jurisdiction that chooses to offer it.

The one-page application contains all of the information most cities need to issue a license. Originally developed with contractors in mind, cities can use the standard application for any type of business working in multiple jurisdictions.

"Adopting the application is a local decision for each city to make," stressed Scott Slatton, legislative and public policy advocate for the Municipal Association. Slatton also serves as the staff liaison for BLOA. "We are working closely with all cities in the state to encourage them to consider adopting this standard form. Already, 25 cities and one county have adopted the new application form." (a complete list is here)

"While using the application is strictly voluntary, we encourage cities to adopt it as a way to reduce the paperwork burden on transient business, thereby making cities more business friendly," added Slatton.

Similar to the Association's model business license ordinance and Business License Handbook, the standard business license application provides cities with a best practice approach while maintaining local flexibility.

Lexington's business license official Sonya Lee says, "Hopefully this new standardized application will show that business license ordinances are not there to be a hindrance or an extremely time consuming process to the business community. We want the process to be as painless as it can be for all contractors/businesses that may do business in multiple jurisdictions considering the differences in our ordinances and rates."

Instead of gathering and filling out a business license application for each city in which he does work, a contractor (or other transient business owner who does work in multiple locations) can complete the standard application's business information section one time. He will submit copies of the application to participating cities along with job-specific information.

The standard application does not relieve the business from complying with each city's zoning or building requirements. 

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