Starting A Business
Starting a Business in Stafford County
Stafford County is a business-friendly community with simple processes for opening or operating a business. Whether large or small business, franchise or entrepreneur, companies located in Stafford have access to knowledgeable County staff and a wide variety of helpful resources.
Depending upon the type of company you are planning to start, the registration and licensing requirements vary at the state and local levels. For this reason, the Economic Development Office highly recommends using the Virginia Business One Stop and/or the UMW Small Business Development Center for guidance throughout the initial registration process. They can also guide you through important components of establishing your business, including development of a business plan.
If you’ve already developed your business plan and are ready to establish a Stafford location, the process is quite simple and involves just five steps:
Step 1: Meet with Planning and Zoning Department staff to ensure compliance with Stafford County Code. (540) 658-8668*
Stafford Zoning Code governs all land use activities within the County. Ensuring that your intended use for a property is in compliance with the existing code designation should be the first step taken when identifying suitable space for your business.
Step 2: Meet with the Public Works (Building) Department to discuss any physical development to your site. (540) 658-8657*
Whether you are constructing a new space or renovating an existing building, approval for your plans and any work performed on site will come from the Public Works Department. Engaging Department staff to hold pre-construction meetings with your contractors to review plans can expedite the process and save money. Please contact the Economic Development Office for assistance in coordinating a meeting. (540) 658-8681
Step 3: Check with the Economic Development Department to receive the latest business assistance resources. (540) 658-8681*
Having access to entities and individuals that can provide step-by-step guidance on an objective thought process, legal structure of the company, strategic business planning tips, and all of the applicable regulatory requirements can mean the difference between success and failure -- particularly at the beginning of the business start-up process. The Economic Development Office provides a wide variety of business resource information. Tools for the start-up business, second-stage growth company, or mature enterprise can all be accessed through a simple phone call or in-person visit.
Step 4: Register your company name through the State Corporation Commission or at the Stafford Clerk of the Circuit Court. (540) 658-8750*
Filing of your company or trade name with Virginia’s State Corporation Commission is required to legally establish your business. This can be accomplished with a visit to the Stafford Clerk of the Circuit Court or by filing the appropriate forms on the State Corporation Commission’s website: http://www.scc.virginia.gov/clk/formfee.aspx
Step 5: Register the business with the Stafford County Commissioner of Revenue’s Office. (540) 658-4132* (Please note that this registration is required in place of obtaining a business license to operate.)
Once you have made the decision to open and operate a company in Stafford, make a trip to the Commissioner’s Office located in the Stafford Government Center to register your business. You must complete this step with the County in order to be operating legally. The information you provide in registering your company is what the County will use to ensure your business is in compliance with the local taxation requirements. For businesses needing proof of registration for banking or financing purposes, the Commissioner’s Office can also provide documentation in lieu of the traditional business license.
* All of the above departments are located at the Stafford Government Center at 1300 Courthouse Rd., Stafford, VA 22554.
Please remember that at any time during the business start-up or expansion process, entrepreneurs or company representatives may consult the Virginia Business One-Stop, a website which provides valuable guidance and important information related to business processes in Virginia, or contact the local Small Business Development Center.
Relocating a Business to Stafford County
Companies considering relocation to Stafford County are afforded the same attention and effort towards meeting your unique needs as part of the existing business community. Below you will find helpful links to descriptive community information and to a comprehensive database of available sites and buildings. Please contact the Stafford Economic Development Office for more detailed information or for assistance in identifying properties suitable for your operations -- (540) 658-8681.
Real Estate & Development Areas
Customized reports on Stafford County can be developed through the Data Center feature of this website. With detailed data on demographics, labor statistics, and other pertinent community information readily available, you can easily find useful facts and figures on Stafford County and the Greater Fredericksburg Region. The Commonwealth of Virginia also offers information through two state agencies - the Virginia Employment Commission and Virginia Economic Development Partnership – that is updated on a regular basis. These profiles provide details ranging from the geographic layout of the County to recent employment trends.
“I chose to relocate to Stafford County in 1987 because of its proximity to Washington and Richmond and the opportunities it held to start and grow a business. I opened Stafford Printing, bought a home in Falmouth and, 25 years later, I’ve never regretted either decision. Stafford County is a wonderful place to live and the business climate is second to none in the region. But it’s the people who make Stafford County the place to live and work in the area. Stafford County is more of a community than just a place on the map.“
Howard Owen, President