DeKalb County Business License Guide


Are you wondering how to start a business in DeKalb County?

That’s great! This DeKalb County business license guide will take you through some of the steps you need to take to make sure you have the right approvals to operate in the county. But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. You could be referring to one of several counties in the United States named for Baron Johann DeKalb. These include Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Tennessee.

This article focuses on DeKalb County located just east of Atlanta, Georgia. With its vibrant neighborhoods, vast transportation network, and robust workforce, this bustling county could provide a solid foundation for relocating, starting, or growing your business.

If you decide to start a business in DeKalb County, you’re in good company. More than half of the Fortune 500 companies in Atlanta also have operations in DeKalb, including Delta Air Lines, UPS, and AT&T Mobility.

Finding the right location for your business can be a big relief. However, you’ll need to get your business in order before you can set up shop. We wrote this guide to help you obtain a business license, so let’s get to it!

What to Know About a Business License in DeKalb County, Georgia

Starting a new business is exciting, and you’re bound to have some questions.

The first one may be, “Do I need a DeKalb business license to operate in the county?”

The answer is yes. Georgia doesn’t issue business licenses at the state level, but to operate a business in DeKalb County, you must have a current operational tax certificate, commonly referred to as a business license.

In addition, your profession may require a license or certification to work in Georgia. For example, lawyers and architects have professional licensing requirements. You also may need permits that allow you to collect sales tax or occupy your place of business. To ensure you have what you need to operate in Georgia, check with The Licensing Division of the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

Before applying for a business license in DeKalb County, ensure you have all the information you need to get started. DeKalb County Business and Alcohol Licensing is responsible for the administration of business and alcohol licensing in DeKalb County, and they have outlined these specific steps for obtaining a business license:

1. Choose a business name.

2. Choose a location and check with the DeKalb County Zoning department to see if that type of business is allowed. Their number is 404-371-2155.

3. Confirm a physical address, including suite or unit number.

4. Provide a copy of your lease or letter from the owner or property manager on letterhead.

5. Create floor plans. This will help DeKalb County officials understand what the space will look like so that they can confirm that you meet safety codes and zoning ordinances.

6. Fill out an application. (More on applications later).

7. Check the ePermitting page on the DeKalb County website for guidance on additional documents that you may need to submit.

8. Submit your application and any additional documents to DeKalb County Business Licensing (more on that below) and pay the fees. They take Visa and MasterCard credit cards, Checks, or Money Orders.

9. DeKalb County will review your application and contact you with approval or comments. Pick up your permit, proceed with construction, and call for inspections (404-371-4915).

10. Once your inspections are approved, go to the DeKalb County office with your signed permit card, and pick up the certificate of occupancy. You can now complete the business license process!

The DeKalb County Business License Application

DeKalb County has different applications for home-based businesses and commercial businesses. You can find links to both applications on the DeKalb County website.

Here are the required documents you’ll typically need to apply for a home-based business license:

Here are the required documents you’ll need to apply for a commercial business license:

  • New Occupational Tax Certificate Application
  • U.S. Citizen/Qualified Alien (SAVE) Form
  • E-Verify Affidavit Form A
  • Home Occupation Supplemental Form (HOP)
  • Copy of applicant’s identification: This may be a valid/current Passport, State-issued ID, Driver’s License, or Military ID
  • Copy of the Certificate of Incorporation: This is only needed if your business is a Corporation or LLC
  • Certificate of Occupancy: To obtain, contact Zoning at 404-371-4915.
  • Sanitation Location Number: To obtain, contact the DeKalb County Sanitation Department at 404-294-2900.
  • State License: Again, this is only required if your profession/occupation is regulated by a State Licensing Board

Once you’ve completed all the necessary paperwork, you can submit your application and documents by mail, in person, or online.

Completing a DeKalb County business license application online.

If you prefer to complete your application online, you must first create an online account on the DeKalb County website, then you can upload your required documents. Reviewing your tax and fee payment information usually takes about five business days, and your business license will be emailed to you once approved.

DeKalb County business license renewal online.

When renewing a business license in DeKalb County, be aware that there are two different applications on the DeKalb County website. One is for businesses with alcohol, and the other is for businesses without alcohol. As previously mentioned, you will need to create an account to renew either license online.

The process for submitting your renewal application differs slightly for businesses with and without alcohol.

To submit a renewal application for a business with alcohol, you must send your required documentation to [email protected]. Once received, you should typically expect one week for review and processing. Your fees will be generated and posted to your account for online payment. Once your payment is confirmed, your renewal will be emailed or mailed to you upon request.

To submit a renewal application for a business without alcohol, you must send your required documentation to [email protected]. Upon completion, your fees will be generated and posted to your account for online payment. The Business License Department will mail your renewal license once your payment is confirmed.

How to Conduct a DeKalb County Business License Search

If you’re looking for information about a business in DeKalb County, you can conduct a business license search. A business license search will include details such as the type of business, ownership, and contact information. Business license records are kept by federal, Georgia State, DeKalb County, and local government offices.

To look up your newly registered business or a different business in the county, try using the City of Atlanta’s registered businesses database.

Let’s Get Down to Business

When starting a new business, you’ll have many tasks on your to-do list. Make sure insurance coverage is one of them. You never know when something unpredictable will happen, so no matter what kind of business you run, it’s critical that you keep it protected with business insurance.

We know starting a small business is a big step. At Simply Business®, we’re here to help. We’ll work with you to find coverage that fits your needs. And we can help you get started with an online insurance quote right now. With just a few clicks, you can get insured with the exact coverage you need in under 10 minutes.

DeKalb County is Calling

This thriving community attracts outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, foodies, families, shoppers, and more. Given its popularity and welcoming nature, DeKalb County, Georgia, may be a prime location for your small business.

Now that you know the ins and outs of getting a business license, you can start implementing a plan for success.

Susan Hamilton

I’ve always loved to write and have been lucky enough to make a career out of it. After many years in the corporate advertising world, I’m now a freelance writer—running my own show and contributing to Simply Business. Fun fact: I have three desks in my house, but I still do my best thinking walking in the woods.

Susan writes on a number of topics such as workplace safety, customer sales, and workers’ compensation insurance.