Business Licenses

How do I get a Business License?

First-time business license applicants in South Bend must apply for a business license with the Department of Community Investment.

Application Process:

  1. The applicant can contact the Business License Administrator at (574) 235-5912 to help determine what type(s) of license(s) will be needed based on the business activity.   View types of Business Licenses.  The final license fee(s) will depend on the type of license(s) for which you are applying.
  2. The applicant can return the application in person or by mail with a $5 processing fee.  If the applicant prefers to e-mail or fax the application, they can do so by contacting the Business License Administrator at (574) 235-5912 to make arrangements by phone with either a Visa or MasterCard.
  3. The Business License Administrator and other necessary departments will review the application and make recommendations.  Certain types of businesses will require a physical inspection of the establishment.
  4. If the license is granted, the applicant will receive notification of approval and the balance due, which they have 7 days from the date of the notice to pay.  Failure to pay the license fee will result in the issuance of citations and the denial of your business license application.
  5. If the license is not granted, the applicant may remedy the problem and resubmit the application or file an appeal through the Legal Department.  If the applicant wins the appeal, they will receive notification of approval and the balance due, which they have 7 days from the date of the notice to pay.
  6. The license will be issued upon approval and payment of the license fee(s).
  7. Licenses must be renewed annually.  A courtesy renewal notice will be mailed approximately 30 days prior to the expiration of the business license and will include the online renewal procedures.  Businesses which fail to renew the license by the expiration date, shall be assessed an additional late fee of 10% of the total fee charged.  All fees must be paid in full prior to the issuance of the license.

View Types of Business Licenses

Renew Business Licenses Online