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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    5
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    New business owner question. Getting conflicting answers.

    Im a very small residential hvac repair company. I operate out of my house and its just me and my installer/service tech.

    Do I need a CITY business license for every job I do thats inside of a city limits? My house is NOT located inside a city limit. I called the city my mailing address is in and they confirmed I do not need a city business license with them BUT they said if I run any service calls inside the city limits I need a license. Is this true? I have called other city halls and have gotten different stories.

    The problem is I have a huge service area and at the busiest of times might be able to run 10 calls per day between the two of us. Now I never know where these calls will come from. There is at a minimum of 25 cities in my coverage areas. Am I expected as a small business to go out and get a city business license in each and every city just in case I get a call there?

    I hold a state hvac license and a state business licence and in three years have never heard of this up until a week ago a customer of mine complained when they looked up I didnt have a city business license where they lived. I might have run 5 calls in those city limits all year.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Tx
    Posts
    1,421
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    Every state is different. Where are you ? Does your state have statewide license and DO YOU have it ?
    I'm in Texas and legally my state license allows me to work anywhere in Tx without any " city license " BUT there are a few towns still try to shakedown out of town companies with a fee of some kind. When I was still working Lindale, Tx was trying that crap and I had a big commercial job to do there. I had heard horror stories of this town and because I had done several jobs for this GC , I was able to get in my contract my bid price PLUS all fees imposed by that city. For 4 five T RTU's the permit was $575( included a so called city business tax ) plus $125 per RTU for EACH inspection, rough in , final, & smoke alarm test.Thats $1500 for inspections.I couldn't believe I actually passed each inspection. At the time the inspector was also the police and fire chief .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Northern Wisconsin
    Posts
    3,091
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    Welcome to the world of running your own business and how the government can dictate how you run it.

    If the cities say you need some kind of permit or license from them to be able to do business within their borders, then yes you need to get one. Sometimes a state license is acceptable, but only if they accept it. Most times the regulations are put in place so that they know who is doing work in their area, sometimes it's just another way to collect money. Either way you're at their mercy to comply.

    Your insurance company may just hang you out to dry if you work in an area where you should have had a license, but failed to get one. You might want to check with them.
    Use the biggest hammer you like, pounding a square peg into a round hole does not equal a proper fit.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Southold, NY
    Posts
    27,233
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    Contact the City's building dept and ask them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Broomall, PA
    Posts
    3,019
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    You probably need the license. Then, if that city has an earned income tax, you'll need to file that and pay that tax with quarterly/annual statements, and depending on volume, maybe monthly.
    It's the main reason why I stay out of Philadelphia, and just work in the suburbs. That and the logistics, crime, drugs, theft.
    If I do a job in 30 minutes it's because I spent 30 years learning how to do that in 30 minutes. You owe me for the years, not the minutes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    1,696
    Post Likes
    Every City and County can have additional requirements over and above the state requirement. And those cities and counties may require you to pull local permits as well. You need to sit down and call each city you will work in and ask if you need registration and or a certificate of insurance on file in there jurisdiction and you need to call their building department (Public Works) and ask how they do building permits. It all part of running the business

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    5
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter
    Thanks for the quick answers. I'm in South Carolina.

    I called the state and while yes both my licenses cover me state wide, each city can be more strict and require a separate license. I'll get a license for the two biggest cities I cover. The rest are pretty small and i'll tackle those if I need to.

    I called the biggest city here and they want me to tell them how much money I will make this year in the city limits so they can charge me accordingly...
    That sounds like extortion. I have to PAY the city just to drive onto their "turf" for an hour to fix a unit and then leave. Its the ****ing mafia. I'll pay the fee's but damn.

    Its not about the two big cities that really bother me. Its worth the fees but now I guess I have to worry about each and every little city and town where I get a call. If its in a city limits thats a lot of administration and legwork for a small business.

    Looking online I saw where they do this to notaries....where they just drive out somewhere and stamp a piece of paper and go home......NOPE gotta pay the city their share.


    "Welcome to the world of running your own business and how the government can dictate how you run it." Sounds about right.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Tx
    Posts
    1,421
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    It may be called a state license but it's just a tax for getting screwed with sand in the ky

  9. Likes BALloyd liked this post.
  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    US of A
    Posts
    5,696
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    So here we have a person running an HVAC business complaining about the cost of doing business.
    Signature removed Violated rule #15

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Northern NV
    Posts
    2,082
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    Two suggestions, one is "redline" the jurisdictions you have issues with and let callers know why you do not service their area.

    The tell the prospective customer to call the city and complain about the impingement on free trade.. Start a statewide voter initiative if you can to change the state law to prohibit these practices..

    We fought a revolutionary war for freedom over much less tax and regulations!
    “A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.”
    ― Robert A. Heinlein

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Broomall, PA
    Posts
    3,019
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    I run a business, I complain about the costs too. Many are ridiculous, mainly permits.

    I pay a gov't body (person) to 'permit' me to do the work. The AHJ collects a fee, and has no skin in the game. They usually don't know what they are looking at, don't know what they are talking about, and if something went wrong (something they missed) that they inspected (permitted), they will simply say it wasn't like that when they inspected it.

    Of course there are a few who are not like this, but when it comes to local municipalities, and nepotism this is pretty standard.
    And yes I know permits are important...etc.

    Consider this. I have a HazMat driver's license, TWIC card, Passport & TSA PreChec.
    They all (not the passport) renewed at the same time.
    I went to the place that processes all of this.
    I handed the woman a check for my HazMat background check, answered a few question on the computer, stick my hand on the fingerprint machine.
    Then I have to hand the woman another check for my TWIC background check, answered a few question on the computer, stick my hand on the fingerprint machine AGAIN.
    Then I hand the same woman a third check for my TSA PreCheck, background check, answered a few question on the computer, stick my hand on the fingerprint machine for the third time in a row. All checks made out to the same institution.
    Are they actually checking my background 3x in a row? How come my renewal isn't almost instant? Had a became a terrorist since my last background check, wouldn't they immediately know that if they found my fingerprints on something or I was arrested since my last background checks.
    Now they want me to do it again to change my driver's license to a RealID. I'll just use my passport when I fly domestically.
    If I do a job in 30 minutes it's because I spent 30 years learning how to do that in 30 minutes. You owe me for the years, not the minutes.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    6,858
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    Quote Originally Posted by pageyjim View Post
    So here we have a person running an HVAC business complaining about the cost of doing business.
    The impression I got was he's tired of the Government sticking their greedy hands in his pocket over and over and over and over

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Bay Area California
    Posts
    26,563
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    As far as I know, in California, yes. Every employer I have worked for has a dozen or two dozen city permits tacked to the wall.


    Quote Originally Posted by AC-Bandit78 View Post
    Im a very small residential hvac repair company. I operate out of my house and its just me and my installer/service tech.

    Do I need a CITY business license for every job I do thats inside of a city limits? My house is NOT located inside a city limit. I called the city my mailing address is in and they confirmed I do not need a city business license with them BUT they said if I run any service calls inside the city limits I need a license. Is this true? I have called other city halls and have gotten different stories.

    The problem is I have a huge service area and at the busiest of times might be able to run 10 calls per day between the two of us. Now I never know where these calls will come from. There is at a minimum of 25 cities in my coverage areas. Am I expected as a small business to go out and get a city business license in each and every city just in case I get a call there?

    I hold a state hvac license and a state business licence and in three years have never heard of this up until a week ago a customer of mine complained when they looked up I didnt have a city business license where they lived. I might have run 5 calls in those city limits all year.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.
    I do a triple evac with nitro to remove non condensables.

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