Starting a Business
If you're contemplating starting a business in Erie, there are some basic steps to review to get you started on that path. Browse through the list below, review or download the Starting a Business packet, and contact the Economic Development Department with any additional questions you may have.
New Commercial Tenants
If you are new, expanding, or relocating your business to Erie, please skip to the bottom of the page to review your requirements or download this PDF of the checklist. This is a resource to familiarize yourself with the Town’s licensing, permits, zoning authorization, and other rules and regulations that a business must adhere to before occupying the space.
More to Consider When Starting a New Business
- Research Competition
- Business Education
- Business Registration
- Location Siting
- Find Employees
- Signs & Marketing
- Stay Connected
Before anything else, conducting market research and understanding any competitors in the area is a good place to begin. Ensure there is sufficient demand in the area for your business and whether the demographic in the community will contribute to long term success.
The Erie Community Library offers two databases available to cardholders that can be used to conduct market research, locate sales leads, locate companies, and more.
- Mergent Online
The State of Colorado offers a variety of databases at Colorado Information Marketplace. Look up businesses registered in the State, demographics, and much more.
The SizeUp online program allows entrepreneurs to learn:
- How your business measures up to the competition or if starting a business if your projections are reasonable for your market.
- Find where your customers, competition, and suppliers are located.
- Where you might want to target your advertising dollars to promote your business.
Understanding the current state of business and the best practices for new business owners is key to starting off on the right foot. There are multiple local resources to acquire more education and advice.
- The Erie Economic Development Council exists to attract primary employers and supporting businesses with information, resources, and professional networks. They host networking events and webinars regularly.
- The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers workshops, webinars, and booklets to help businesses develop a business plan.
- The Town of Erie hosts an SBDC Advisor in Erie one day per week. Businesses may schedule one-on-one advising by calling 970-351-4274.
- The Small Business Administration (SBA) also offers webinars and booklets to help businesses develop business plans.
- The Colorado Tourism Office and its Heritage & Agritourism Program offer free guidance, mentoring, resources, and more to agrotourism and heritage-related businesses.
After completing research and determining that your business is a viable idea, next you'll need to register the business with all local, state, and federal offices.
Licensing & Registering Your Business
- All businesses (except sole proprietors with no employees) need to get a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) from the IRS.
Visit the Secretary of State of Colorado website to register your business with the State:
- Consider visiting MyBizColorado as a first stop to organize all information for your license process.
- You will need to identify an address (even if it is your home address) and select an available business name for your company. Note that this information can be changed at a later date if needed.
- This site will guide you through the process of filing for a sales tax license for the State of Colorado, the applicable County and the Town of Erie, as well as a wage withholding account and/or unemployment insurance account.
The Division of Workers' Compensation administers the workers' compensation program.
- All public and private employers in Colorado, with limited exceptions, must provide workers' compensation coverage for their employees.
Submit a Business License application to the Town of Erie.
- Review the process for applying for a new or renewal license. Licenses must be renewed with the Town annually.
All businesses (other than home-based businesses) need to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) from the Town of Erie Building Division.
- If you are modifying the building's interior or exterior, other than cosmetic, you will need a building permit and possibly a plan review by the Fire Department. Businesses should contact the Building Division and the Mountain View Fire Protection District to determine what, if any, permits are necessary.
If selling or serving prepared food to the public a license from the applicable health agency is required.
- Weld County Department of Public Health & Environment, Food Safety Division.
- Boulder County Public Health, Food Safety Program.
If your business is selling liquor visit the Town of Erie Town Clerk for liquor license procedures.
The Town of Erie Economic
- Search the Town of Erie's Sites Available page, or work with a commercial broker to identify potential locations.
- If you are in need of a licensed broker to assist you with lease or sale there are numerous brokers serving the Erie area. Please visit Erie Chamber of Commerce – Member Listing and Metro North Chamber of Commerce for a listing of real estate brokers affiliated with these organizations.
- Additional site search programs are available from Upstate Colorado Economic Development and Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation
- Remember: Before signing a contract verify the sites have the correct zoning for your business. When in doubt, call the Town of Erie Planning Division at 303-926-2770.
- Do not assume that the existence of a similar business or past business at the site means your new business will be acceptable.
- Please contact the Town of Erie Building Division to review the existing and necessary permits your business will need. Do you plan on changing signage or making more than cosmetic improvements? You may need a permit.
- Don't forget to contact the applicable utility company serving the property to establish service and billing.
Finding the right workforce for your business is a key component to long term viability. Below are a few resources for identifying and recruiting the right people.
- Workforce Boulder County maintains a database for Colorado Workforce Centers connecting businesses to thousands of employee candidates statewide, provides targeted labor market information including wage data and workforce trends, as well assists with hiring events and interviews.
- Employment Services - Weld County is in the market of helping businesses connect with job seekers. The office can recruit, screen, and refer qualified applicants. Tax credits, training/education assistance, on-the-job training, and subsidized wage opportunities may be available.
- Front Range Community College – Corporate Solutions offers specialized, proven corporate training programs for employers.
- University of Colorado Boulder - Industry Collaboration offers access to employees, interns, and other opportunities. Technical seminars for the public, mentorship programs and classes area available as well.
- Manufacturer's Edge offers a variety of training programs including Training Within Industry and ISO for manufacturing companies.
- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a division of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, offers a NIOSH Small Business Resource Guide that provides plans, tools, tips and information on how to keep workers safe and healthy while managing time and cost investments.
Any new sign fixture or change in sign face requires a sign permit from the Town of Erie to ensure that the signs are properly and safely installed and to prevent sign blight.
The Building Division can help you with size, location, cost, inspection, and additional details to consider when designing, constructing and installing a sign.
Each banner or temporary sign requires a Temporary Sign Permit application from the Town of Erie, which allows a business to have a temporary sign for no more than 30 days in a calendar year.
To peddle flyers or products door-to-door, a solicitors license application and background check must be completed.
The Town of Erie Parks & Recreation Department offers opportunities for your business to partner with the Town as part of sponsorship agreements that could look like:
- Outdoor sign at the Ball Park or scoreboard signs.
- Banner in the Erie Community Center's gym.
- Electronic signs in the lobby of the Erie Community Center.
- Ads on pet waste bag stations.
- Sponsor a sport team's uniform.
Businesses may participate in a variety of events in Erie as a form of advertising. The Town, the Erie Chamber of Commerce, and other community organizations host events throughout the year where vendor booths allow you to connect with event guests face-to-face.
Business that are related to tourism or heritage should visit Colorado.com to take advantage of free advertising available through the State of Colorado Tourism Office.
Many schools offer advertisement opportunities: CU Boulder, St. Vrain Valley School District, Boulder Valley School District, and more either through flyers, banners, ads in publications, or sponsorship.
Networking with other businesses and agencies can lead to potential business leads, opportunities to collaborate, supply chain partners, etc. Networking opportunities exist in the region with the following organizations:
- Erie Chamber of Commerce
- Erie Economic Development Council (EEDC)
- Metro North Chamber of Commerce
- Manufacturer's Edge
- Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance
Connect with Town Information
- Sign up for email and text alerts to know the latest news and announcements from the Town.
- Follow and share information from the Town's Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts.
- Don't miss out on what the Erie Chamber is sharing on their Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
- The Erie Economic Development Council is active on their Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts.
- Zoning Map
- Comprehensive Plan Land Use Map
- Residential Development Map
- Annual Community Profile
- Development Activity Report (Current Land Use Applications in process)
- Construction Zone Link
- Erie Chamber of Commerce
- The Colorado Business Resource Book
- Colorado SBA Small Business Resource Booklet
- Colorado Sales Tax - Instructions & Forms
- Workforce Safety & Health - Resource Guide
- Economic Development Learning Map
Checklist for New Commercial Tenants
1. Planning Division: Select a location and verify zoning for permitted land use.
A Site Plan or Special Review Land Use Application maybe required for any improvements or additions prior to receiving a building permit for a renovation (including interior finishes) and is applicable under the following conditions:
- New business in an existing/renovated building.
- New business in a partially renovated building or suite.
- New business in a newly constructed core and shell.
- Sublease within an existing office space.
In some cases, this Special Review Land Use process may include a multi-step review and public hearing process that may take approximately 2-4 months in addition to the building permit process.
To ensure the proposed business use is allowed, please contact the Planning Division to verify the zoning of a specific property at 303-926-2770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Building Division: Obtain appropriate building approvals and permits.
Once you find a location and have verified approved use from the Planning Division, now secure any additional permits or inspections from the Building Division. This applies to:
- All new buildings, most remodels and interior tenant finishes,
- Most additions to existing structures,
- Any change in the use or occupancy of the building or structure.
A building inspection may be required by the Building Division and Fire Protection District prior to opening your business in a new or existing location. Please call or email the Building Division to confirm if an inspection is required at 303-926-2780 or email@example.com.
3. Economic Development Department: Secure a Town of Erie Business License.
The Town requires all new commercial businesses with a physical location in Erie to apply for a business license and renew it annually. This is required for all businesses in the following industries (without limitation):
The Town also requires you to update your Erie Business License if you are expanding or relocating your existing commercial business to a new physical location.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or are looking for additional information.