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City of Bloomington Business Resources

Use the links in this section to find out what may be required of your business - from handicap-accessibility ramps, to living wages, to permits for events or projects. If you have questions about any of the requirements listed below, feel free to contact the Office of Economic Development. Our staff is available to assist businesses in navigating through City-approvals processes, from start to finish. Contact Jason Carnes to discuss your needs.

Requirements for:

Starting and Operating Your Business

Business Licenses - The City of Bloomington does not require a general operating license for businesses, nor are all businesses generally subject to registration requirements. However, some specific types of businesses require a license or permit from the City.

[Business Resources from Outside Agencies|

Living Wage Requirements - The City of Bloomington requires that the City, City service contractors and subcontractors, and beneficiaries of certain City subsidies pay a wage sufficient for a working family to meet basic needs in housing, child care, food, clothing, household items, transportation, health care, and taxes. The aim of the Living Wage Ordinance (enacted in 2005) is to lessen poverty; increase personal economic self-sufficiency; increase the local economic base and revenues; improve quality of life; decrease City expenditures due to poverty, and act in a responsible and ethical manner.

Rental Occupancy Permits - All rental property (with the exception of Indiana University) located within the City of Bloomington corporate limits must be registered with and inspected by the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND). Maintaining an unregistered rental carries a penalty fine of up to One Hundred Dollars ($100) per day.

Sidewalk Cafe and/or Merchandising Permits - Officially titled a "Seating and Merchandising Encroachment Permit," this allows restaurants and merchants to provide outdoor seating on public right-of-way (sidewalks), and to hold such events as sidewalk sales.

New Construction or Building Improvements for Your Business

Planning and Zoning Permits - The Planning Department issues permits related to zoning and planning, such as a sign permit to display an advertising banner, up to a zoning permit to construct a new development project.

New Sewer/Water Requirements - The City Utilities Department can assist you with guidelines for your new commercial development project. Get construction specifications for your sanitary sewer, stormwater management and/or water lines and apply for a new connection and/or permit.

Grading, Demolition and Excavation Permits - The City's Engineering Division of the Public Works department issues permits to alter grading, to demolish structures and to excavate in the public right-of-way.

Accessibility Requirements - The City of Bloomington can help you comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, through workshops and consultant services for capital improvements to your facilities, as well as by connecting you with resources to help you participate in a supported employment program.

Special Events for Your Business

Police Department Permits - The Bloomington Police Department issues parade permits and also co-authorizes temporary alcholic beverage permits for one-time events.

Noise Ordinance Waivers - Contact the Police Department via email at or by calling (812) 349-3306 for information.