You have decisions to make. Choosing a physical location is critical — but don’t overlook the steps you need to take before you open your doors.

We have compiled the checklist below as a general guideline. Each business is different, so be sure to research and ask questions. Consider joining the Retail Council for all your business needs.

  • Choose your new business name and register it. Visit the New York State name reservation page to see if the name is available for use.
  • Choose a business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or limited liability company). The type you choose influences the licenses and permits you need, insurance liability and tax responsibilities.
  • See if local permits and licenses are required by checking with your county, city, town and/or village.
  • Register for taxes with the New York State Tax Department and apply for a Certificate of Authority to collect sales and use taxes.
  • Obtain a federal employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS (required if you have employees).
  • Acquire all necessary insurance policies. Most businesses must have unemployment and workers’ compensation insurance, and some need disability and health insurance.
  • Choose your point of sale (POS) system and mobile payment solution. Need help deciding? We provide a free analysis of what works best for your business. And be sure you can accept payments online.
  • Enroll in a payroll processing service for seamless, dependable payment of your employees. Retail Council members get a three-year price lock with Heartland Payroll. We can get you in touch with a local rep.
  • Sign up for discounted shipping rates with FedEx and freight.


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