As documented in films and news reports, the city of Flint in central Michigan has seen good times and bad. At one time, Flint was a bustling automotive center, but after the closing of a major factory, it began suffering from high rates of unemployment and poverty. Nevertheless, new businesses start throughout the year within the city limits. From these hopeful entrepreneurs, Flint requires business licenses and, in most cases, regular renewals.
The city charter that governs Flint allows the city to require licenses of new and ongoing businesses. This includes individuals, partnerships, limited liability companies or corporations that sell goods or operate their facilities within the city limits. Business must hold a license from Flint as well as any Michigan licenses required such as a state sales tax license.
Procedures and Renewals
To apply for a business license in Flint, you must visit the Flint City Clerk's office on the second floor at City Hall, 1101 S. Saginaw Street. The initial application is available at the License Division; the city requires an Initial Merchant License from anyone who displays and offers merchandise for sale. City ordinances require a renewal of all business licenses on a yearly basis, with the exception of an Initial Merchant License, which does not require renewal.
For building and sidewalk contractors, Flint sets an annual period of operation that runs from May 1 to April 30 of the following year. The city issues these businesses licenses once a year and requires renewal for any operations that continue past April 30. Other building trades operate on a license that must be renewed annually in January.
Flint sets license fees according to the nature of the business, ranging from $1,000 for alcohol sales and amusement rides to $7 for a condom machine. Even garage sales must be licensed, with the fee as of 2012 reaching $12 for a first sale and $5 for subsequent sales. With a few exceptions, the renewal fees match the initial license fee. Some businesses, including fireworks and Christmas tree sales, also require that the owner post a bond.
Founder/president of the innovative reference publisher The Archive LLC, Tom Streissguth has been a self-employed business owner, independent bookseller and freelance author in the school/library market. Holding a bachelor's degree from Yale, Streissguth has published more than 100 works of history, biography, current affairs and geography for young readers.