540-658-8681

Starting A Business

Thank you for your interest in starting a business in Stafford! The information provided here will walk you through all the steps you need to take in order to open a business in Stafford, Virginia. We have streamlined the process and made the steps to opening a business in Stafford simple and easy to navigate. If you would like a printed New Business Guide, stop by the Department of Economic Development or call (540) 658-8681 to have a guide mailed to you.
All departments and the Circuit Court are located at the George L. Gordon Stafford County Government Center at 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA  22554.
In order to start a business in Stafford, there are 4 steps to complete:

Step 1: Visit the Department of Economic Development

What you need to do: Provide your business contact information to the department and begin the process to establish your business in Stafford County.

Can this be done over the phone or electronically? The initial introduction may be made via phone or email.

The Department of Economic Development is here to support you and your business through startup and expansion. The department can help with finding a location for your business and point you to other business resources. The department can also provide you with a marketing primer full of ideas on how to promote your business.

Please Note: In order to receive promotional assistance from Economic Development business owners must have completed each of the previous steps and hold a Business Registration Certificate obtained from the Commissioner of Revenue.

Questions? Contact: Marjorie Radle (Missie), Business Development Associate

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 540-658-8681

Office Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm

All departments and the Circuit Court are located at the George L. Gordon Stafford County Government Center at 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA  22554

Step 2: Speak with a Permit Clerk at the Community Development Service Center

What you need to do: Speak with a Permit Clerk and find out what requirements are needed to open your specific type of business. All businesses, including home-based businesses, must speak with a permit clerk.

Can this be done over the phone or electronically? All forms must be hand delivered or mailed to the Community Development Service Center.

The Community Development Service Center (CDSC) handles all planning, zoning, permits, and public works matters. This streamlines the processes that businesses need for buildings and development projects; and makes the permit application process easier.

Questions? Contact: Brenda Schulte, CDSC Manager

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 540-658-8677

Office Fax: 540-658-6824

Office Phone: 540-658-8650

Office Email: [email protected]

Office Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm

Step 3: Obtain Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name from the Circuit Court

What you need to do: Obtain a Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name.

Can this be done over the phone or electronically? No, all matters must be handled at the Circuit Court.

A fictitious name is a name that a person (individual or business entity) uses instead of the person’s true name, usually in the course of transacting or offering to transact business. It is sometimes referred to as an “assumed name” or “trade name,” and it is often identified after a person’s true name with the abbreviation “t/a” (“trading as”), “dba” (“doing business as”), or “aka” (“also known as”).

Declaring your business’ fictitious name will also enable you to open your business bank accounts under the business name.

If the person is a Virginia or foreign corporation, limited liability company, or limited partnership authorized to transact business in Virginia, the business entity also must obtain a certified copy of the certificate from the circuit court and file it with the State Corporation Commission in Richmond. More information on this can be found by visiting the State Corporation Commission’s website at www.scc.virginia.gov or by calling their toll-free number at 1-866-722-2551.

Questions? Call 540-658-4255.

Office Fax: 540-658-4653

Office Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00am to 4:00pm

Step 4: Register your business with the Commissioner of Revenue

What you need to do: Register your business with the office of the Commissioner of Revenue.

Can this be done over the phone or electronically? Registration cannot be done over the phone, however, you may complete the Business Registration form, sign and scan it, then email to: [email protected]

In order to complete the registration process, business owners will need to have already completed the following:

  • Chosen a business structure (example sole proprietor, LLC, etc.)
  • Chosen a business name

Businesses are required to report any business property, inventory, or machinery and tools used by the business for all owned, rented or leased business property as of January 1st of each calendar year, and file a Personal Property return by February 15th.  The Code of Virginia does not provide for the proration of businesses when they are closed or sold.  The owner of the business on January 1st is responsible for the tax for the entire year.

The business property filing should reflect original cost and date of purchase for all assets used by the business, including those that were expensed or fully depreciated under IRS regulations, as well as personal assets used by the business.  All tangible property used by the business is taxable at the local level.

If you are selling prepared food, you will also need to file for meals tax with this office.

Questions? Contact: Allison Webb, Senior Administrative Associate

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 540-658-4132 ext. 1131

Office Fax: 540-658-4120

Office Phone: 540-658-4132

Office Email: [email protected]

Office Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm

Local Resources for First Time Business Owners

The Department of Economic Development highly recommends entrepreneurs and first time business owners contact the local Small Business Development Center.