Setting up your own business could be the best thing for your future but it can be hard to know where to start. Between permit requirements, leasing in the right zoning area and following building codes it gets complicated.
“We listened and we are responding,” said Orion Goff, Salt Lake City Building Official and Director of Building Services and Civil Enforcement. “That is why Salt Lake City has launched OpenCounter, a new tool designed to make the process easier and more efficient for our customers.”
The digital platform is like a customized road-map. It shows zoning areas, permit requirements and even estimated costs. With OpenCounter you can:
- Submit an inquiry before you sign a lease
- Immediately identify permitted locations
- Predict fees to help you plan
“Time is money for business owners so what we want to do is help them get through the process faster,” said Roberta Reichgelt, small business liaison for the city, “not having the right answers can lead to delays and missteps, and even penalties and fines. OpenCounter will significantly help remedy that problem and open your business in just a fraction of the time.”
The tool asks a series of targeted questions about your business model, how big it will be and what amenities are necessary. Questions are different for each person and are based on data from city permitting and zoning departments. It calculates permit requirements, fees, and timelines as you fill in your project details. This, in turn, gives you more confidence when starting your projects, and helps staff to improve efficiency at the counter. It also assists in facilitating communications with Salt Lake City’s economic development team, so even if problems arise, qualified help is aware and involved in the process. OpenCounter has been widely popular in major jurisdictions across the country for a reasonable cost and very quick configuration and implementation.
“Small businesses are the engines of our local economy,” said Lara Fritts, Director of Economic Development for Salt Lake City. “Until now, there have been very few tools to give entrepreneurs and small business owners a clear breakdown of the processes involved. OpenCounter eliminates confusion on both sides of the counter, giving staff a powerful suite of tools to analyze proposed projects, and giving citizens a level of service that reduces the discovery process from weeks down to a few minutes.”