Register a Business
If you’re looking to operate a business in Boston, you’ll need to register it with the City. Any person, partnership, or corporation doing business in Boston under a name other than their own must file a "doing business as" (d/b/a) certificate. The certificate is renewable every four years through the Office of the City Clerk.
The filing fee is $65 and is payable by cash, check, money order, or debit card. There is an additional $35 fee for anyone who doesn’t live in Massachusetts but conducts business here.
Step 1: Fill out the New Business Certificate Application
- List the name and address of your business. Post office boxes are not acceptable as a business address.
- List the name and address of each individual who has an interest in the business.
Step 2: Get the application notarized
- Option 1: Get the application notarized at City Hall when you drop off your application and fees.
- Option 2: Contact a notary public before mailing in your application and fees to the City Clerk.
Step 3: Submit the application in person or by mail
- Option 1: Go to City Hall between 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.
Boston City Hall
City Clerk, Room 601
1 City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201
- Option 2: Go to the City Hall to Go Truck when it’s in your neighborhood. Check the schedule
- Option 3: Mail the application, fee, and a self addressed stamped envelope to the City Clerk. Make sure to include “ATTN: Business Certificates” on the envelope.
Financing and Assistance
The Department of Neighborhood Development and the Boston Redevelopment Authority have a variety of tools to help fund your new business. A few of our favorites are listed below.
Controls electricity and natural gas costs by participating in a citywide energy buying group.
Provides funding and technical assistance to 20 neighborhood-based Main Streets districts throughout Boston.
Provides loans of up to $150,000 for businesses in, or relocating to, the City of Boston.
Licenses and Forms
The Licensing Board issues and regulates licenses related to alcohol, food, and lodging in Boston.
The Consumer Affairs and Licensing Division licenses entertainment for restaurants and nightclubs.
You’ll submit applications and any fees to the Licensing Board, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing, or, if needed, the State’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.
Depending on the application, you might need to meet with neighborhood associations and have a hearing in front of the Licensing Board.
Liquor License: For any food service establishment wanting to serve alcohol.
1-Day Liquor License: For any business or nonprofit wanting to serve alcohol at a one-day event.
Annual Live Entertainment License: For any consumer business wanting to have live music or other entertainment.
Common Victualler License: For any food service establishment wanting to cook, prepare and/or serve food.
An online portal that connects you with one of the City’s small business experts.
Helps businesses with a range of industrial planning services and strategic advice.
Provides skills, technical assistance, and networking for Boston's women entrepreneurs.
Free counseling, advice, and information on starting a small business from accredited counselors.
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