Consider this column a new pair of scissors to help you cut red tape
Business owners often cite complying with government oversight as a difficult and “fraught with peril” process. Multiple mistakes, overlooked obligations, scheduling snafus, and red tape wrangling can all contribute to the time and expense of obtaining the required licenses, permits, certifications, and inspections.
New York City government knows that delivering high-quality customer service and maintaining critical oversight compliance do not have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, we have been working at improving both. Here are two great examples of ways we’re making it faster and easier to start, operate, and expand a business in New York City:
- NYC Business Express
NYC Business Express is an online planning and transactional tool that makes it easy to find out which licenses, permits, certifications, and inspections your business might require, and then provides the necessary instructions and application materials in order to apply for them.
2. New Business Acceleration Team
The New Business Acceleration Team, or NBAT, was created to streamline the opening of new restaurants, bars, bakeries and butcher shops by helping businesses get the answers and services they need from City government.
Here’s some more detail about what these resources can do to help your business comply with government oversight faster and easier:
NYC Business Express
- Using NYC Business Express you can apply and pay for, online, 57 licenses, permits, and certifications.
- You can also check on the status of certain online applications, violations, payments, and authorizations.
- You can create customized business scenarios that best describe your business idea or existing business by answering a series of plain-English questions. NYC Business Express will return a customized list of Federal, State and City requirements for your specific business with hyperlinks to individual pages that describe each license, permit, certification, or other requirements, providing process steps, prerequisites, and payment information, and of course application materials and instructions.
- There are also “pre-formed” business scenarios that aggregate requirements for common and standard business types. These EasySTART scenarios can help you get a quick idea of which licenses, permits, certifications, and inspections are likely to be required a business type that closely matches your business.
- There is a Requirements Index that makes it easy to search for requirements by government level (Federal, City, etc.) and by government agency. And, there is even a search tool that enables you to find government requirements using keywords like “sidewalk café”, “liquor”, “occupancy”, etc.
- The NYC Business Express Incentives Estimator can help you determine if your business qualifies for money-saving incentive programs. After answering a series of detailed questions, you will receive a customized list of City, State and Federal incentives for which your business may be eligible. For some incentive programs, the Incentives Estimator can even provide dollar-value estimates of the benefit that you might receive.
- NYC Business Express also provides additional useful information about government resources available to help start and grow your business, including programs for recruiting workers, training workers, and business incentives.
New Business Acceleration Team
- The New Business Acceleration Team, or NBAT, works with qualifying new restaurants, bars, bakeries and butcher shops to schedule and coordinate most plan review appointments and required inspections and, when appropriate, to schedule multi-agency inspections on the same day. Such inspections include, but are not limited to, those conducted by the Department of Buildings, the New York City Fire Department, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Department of Environmental Protection.
- NBAT and the Department of Buildings work together to ensure safe and lawful use of buildings and properties while facilitating the issuance of Certificates of Occupancy and Place of Assembly permits.
- NBAT will work with qualifying businesses to provide expedited plan exams for new projects and for plans that have been disapproved; NBAT will work with the owner to resolve the issues in accordance with the Building Codes.
- Through coordinated efforts, NBAT works with the New York City Fire Department’s Bureau of Fire Prevention to ensure the timely submission of plans and equipment documentation as well as provide inspections regarding rangehood devices and other hazardous installations.
- Additionally, the Department of Health’s Bureau of Food Safety and Community Sanitation works in concert with NBAT to enforce the New York City Health and Administrative Codes, ensuring that all food service establishments are properly permitted and operating safely.
- Lastly, NBAT inspectors are trained to conduct Department of Environmental Protection grease interceptor inspections ensuring that grease traps are correctly sized to handle grease discharged by cooking and kitchen equipment
- Visit the Prerequisites section of NBAT’s website to see if your business meets the program criteria, and if so, visit the Process section of NBAT’s website to find out what to do next.
For more on how NYC Business Solutions can help you navigate the government, visit our website.
Kevin Kelly is the Deputy Commissioner at the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) responsible for services to help businesses start, operate, and expand in New York City. Kevin writes a column for New York City businesses on the 1st Tuesday of every month.
If you’ve had an experience with NYC Business Express or NBAT you’d like to share or if you have a question about navigating the government, drop Kevin a note in the comments section. And, please don’t forget to share this information with friends on Facebook and Twitter.