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Starting a business

Business start-up questions

What information will you need to know regarding the proposed business location? Downloading a property report will provide you with helpful information regarding any property overlays and planning zones on your proposed business location.
What hours will your business operate? Think about now and in the future. Although you may like to operate only a few days a week to begin with, you may be best to list what hours you would like your business to run in the future as well. This may avoid you having to seek an alteration to your permit later on.
Will you be serving or selling food or drink? If you are planning to operate a food business (including a hobby business) then you will need to register with Council. Sale of food also includes food given away for free as part of another service (e.g. bed and breakfast). Depending on the type of business you may also need to be registered with another industry body (e.g. Prime Safe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria). Find out more about food safety and registration here.
Will you be serving liquor? If you are planning to sell or serve alcohol you will need to apply for a Victorian Liquor Licence and may require planning permission. There are a number of different types of licences that are differentiated by the size of the establishment and the amount of alcohol sold or served. You can find out more about liquor licencing here.
Will you be operating an accommodation business? If your accommodation business can sleep six or more guests, you must register with Council under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic). Find out more about establishing an accommodation business here.
How many staff will be in your business? Think of your current and future staffing requirements, including part time and casual staff.
Are you changing the use of the business? If your business premise was operating as a different type of business you may need to register for 'change of use'. For example from offices to a cafe.
Are you changing the building structure? Significant building works will require a building permit which - in South Gippsland - is approved by a private building surveyor. You can view a list of building surveyors here.
Does your business require a septic tank or wastewater treatment system? If your answer is yes, you will need to provide details on the system that will be used (including dimensions) and information about the amount of people that are expected to use the system on a daily basis. Your plumbers details will be required as well as a Land Capability Assessment (LCA) and a Certificate of Conformance.
Will you require signage? Some signage will not require a permit (for example small on-building signage is often exempt). However large signage, illuminated signage or signage located in a sensitive area, will generally require a permit.
If you require directional signage to your business, this will need to be discussed with Council and may depend on whether the road is operated by Council or VicRoads. Permits are also required for A Frames for footpaths. Find out more about signage here.
Are you wanting to place tables, chairs or goods on the footpath? If so, you will need to provide details on how many tables and chairs you would like to place on the footpath and the details of your displays and/or moveable signage. You will need to provide evidence of a current public liability insurance certificate (min value $20M) and a plan of the proposed footpath use.
How many car parks will you need? Some premises may have existing car parks that will meet requirements, however if you are starting a new business or changing the existing use of the land, you will need to seek advice from Council. 
Are you offering beauty, piercing etc.?

All hair, beauty, tattooing and skin penetration businesses must be registered with Council. The Department of Health and Human Service webpage Hair, beauty, tattooing and skin penetration industries provides guidance on the operation of this type of business.

Will you be operating a pet shop, breeding business, boarding kennel/cattery or other domestic animal business?

Domestic animal businesses need to be registered with Council. The Department of Agriculture webpage Domestic Animal Business provides guidance on the operation of this type of business.

Will you be operating a home based business?

If you are going to operate a home based business, you will need to comply with guidelines set by the State Government. In some situations, you may need a council planning permit. Find out more about home based business here.