For new businesses and those looking to expand, we offer a variety of resources to guide your efforts. The information below explains some of the processes of starting a business in Hartsville. Other organizations, such as Main Street Hartsville, Startsville, and the Chamber of Commerce, also offer a variety of programs and professional staff to counsel and support our business community. The City offers a host of incentive programs to entice business development. Find more information here.
Business Assistance Guide
Our new Business Assistance Guide is a source of information on many of the aspects of starting a business in Hartsville, ranging from maps and demographics to zoning, permitting, relevant governmental agencies and other resources aimed at helping local businesses succeed.
Opening a Business in the Hartsville City Limits
If you are starting a business, please contact the Business Navigator. Our staff can assist you with opening, relocating or expanding your business inside City limits. Our staff assists business owners with what they need during the entire process, start to finish including:
- Checking the location for zoning code, building code and fire code requirements,
- Coordinating inspections and plans reviews, and
- Issuing the business license and creating the utility account.
Our goal is to eliminate costly mistakes by letting you know up front what you need to do to get approval to open a business by performing a Change of Use inspection. We check your location for safety issues and determine if any major upgrades will be required. For example, adding another handicap accessible restroom. This allows you to determine all costs up front and decide if the location is “feasible” for you.
Preparing for the Initial Visit
In preparation for your appointment, we ask that you be prepared to answer as many questions as you can. The realtor or leasing agent for your potential location should be able to provide most of the information required about your proposed business location. Of course you are the expert on your business itself and the details of its operation. We will help you complete any information that you don’t have or that you are not sure about. Having as much information as possible about your type of business as well as the building and site you are considering helps us to make sure the information and guidance we give you is accurate and applicable to your particular business.
Information to bring:
- Floor plan of the space, if available.
- Square Footage of the space and the entire building.
- Number of bathrooms in the space. Are they handicap accessible?
- Number of parking spaces available for your space. How many are handicap accessible?
Initial Meeting with the Business Development Manager
Appointments are not required to meet with staff but they are highly recommended due to the volume of customers. Please call 843-383-3009 to schedule an appointment or visit the Business Navigator at City Hall. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. At the initial meeting we will discuss your business and the business location and should be able to determine if the zoning of the property allows your business use and if there are any major issues in meeting basic requirements that might prevent you from moving forward.
Inspections will be scheduled depending on the Building Official and Fire Marshal’s schedule.
A change of use inspection shall be conducted of your space at your request based on the building official and fire marshal’s schedule. They check your location for safety issues and determine if any major upgrades will be required. For example, adding another handicap accessible restroom. This allows you to determine all costs up front and decide if the location is “feasible” for you.
If any work is proposed that requires construction plans, you can prepare them and submit them for review. Some changes to certain buildings and business types are required to be drawn by a SC licensed architect. The Navigator Staff can help you determine if this is required. Once the plans are approved, permits can be obtained and the work can be completed. Inspections will be done as necessary throughout the construction process.
Certificate of Occupancy, Business License and Utility Account
When all work is complete and the space is ready to open, the building official and fire marshal will perform the final inspection. A Certificate of Occupancy (or C.O.) is issued. You can set up your utility account and obtain your business license in the finance office (first floor, City Hall). You will need to complete a Business License Application, sign a Utility Services Agreement and pay any required deposit.
Other Things to Take Care of While Your Location is Being Finalized
There are several other agencies that you may need to contact before you are ready to open, depending on the type of business you have, such as:
SC Department of Revenue
All new businesses will need to register with the DOR, which administers the majority of taxes and licenses businesses will need to operate in South Carolina. You can use the South Carolina Business One Stop (www.scbos.sc.gov) to help determine the other types of licenses or registrations your business might need, such as sales tax licenses, alcoholic beverage licenses and admission licenses.
SC Department of Health and Environmental Control
Restaurants and other food service businesses will need to contact the County Health Department to get the appropriate Food Service Permits.
SC Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation
LLR administers the licensing of over 130 regulated professions and occupations, including such diverse groups as contractors, cosmetologists, funeral directors and a wide range of medical providers. Most people are generally aware if their profession is regulated. The LLR website is also a good way to check on the license status of contractors and other professionals you might be considering for hire.
SC Secretary of State
Corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships must complete their business filings with the Secretary of State’s office. This can be done directly with the SCSOS office, or through the South Carolina Business One Stop at scbos.sc.gov.
SC Department of Social Services
DSS provides child care registration and licensing for all child care businesses, including those operating out of a home.
Main Street Hartsville
The Main Street Hartsville program is a partnership of the City of Hartsville and Main Street South Carolina, a program of the National Main Street Center. Main Street Hartsville works to build a vibrant downtown in Hartsville and helps their partners grow our business and retail base, supports promotional and entertainment events and improves the vitality of our historic downtown. Main Street partners have access to a wide variety of assistance, including marketing, promotion and networking support.
Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber has a Small Business Council called SCORE and often provides information and training that is aimed at small business.
Florence Darlington Technical College
Florence Darlington Tech ‘s Hartsville Site has both credit and continuing education courses that help develop and enhance small business skills. In addition, they host the Entrepreneur Network to assist, inform and encourage local small business owners, entrepreneurs, and potential entrepreneurs to network, share experiences with others, and engage in valuable educational opportunities.
Startsville Center for Innovation
The incubator will assist in the start-up and launching of selected technology-based businesses. The technology incubator program combines hands-on consulting support, resource identification, educational and technical assistance to improve an entrepreneur’s prospects for success and create new knowledge worker jobs.