Business Certificates

Obtaining a Business Certificate

Please be aware that anyone wishing to apply for a business certificate must first have their business location approved by the Building Inspector, located at the City Hall Annex, 3 Pond Road, Gloucester, MA. The Zoning Compliance Form must be signed off by the Building Inspector and brought to the Clerk’s Office.

The Building Inspector’s office hours for approving business locations are as follows: Monday - Friday: 8:30 a.m to 9:30 a.m.
Monday - Thursday: 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

A letter of consent from your landlord is required if you are running your business out of a rental property.
******* Commonly known as a D/B/A, Business Certificates are required of anyone who operates a business within Gloucester, whether it is home-based or not.

Filing a Business Certificate

Mass General Laws, Chapter 110, Section 5  

Who must file?

Any person, whether individually or as a partnership, conducting business under any title other than the complete real name of the owner(s).

Any Corporation doing business in a name other than its corporate name. The certificate must be completed and filed by a corporate officer.

These criteria are delineated per MGL Chapter 110, Section 5 and Chapter 11, Section 6 and can be viewed in this document: Mass General Law Regarding Business Certificate Requirements (PDF)

Where does one file?

File with the City Clerk in every city or town where an office of said business may be situated. Filing a business certificate at the City level does not protect your name as a corporate filing or as a trademark does. It merely allows consumers and or creditors to identify the names of the actual owners of a business. This filing is required by law.

A business certificate does not give you permission to operate your business either; it only registers the name. It is your responsibility to obtain all appropriate permits and/or licenses for your business from the building department, licensing authority, and board of health.

What about a change?

Upon discontinuing, retiring, or withdrawing from such business, or in the case of a change of residence of such person or of the location where the business is conducted, a form must be filed with the office of the City Clerk. The cost is $10.00.

Does a business certificate expire?

 A business certificate is in full force and effect for four (4) years from the date of issue. A new filing must be made every four years as long as the business is being conducted.

Does the certificate have to be displayed?

No. However, you must provide a copy upon request.

How much does it cost?

A four year Business Certificate should be purchased at the City Clerk’s Office in City Hall for $100.00.

 ***Please note: The City requires a building inspection for any and all businesses located outside a commercial zone, as well as a Government issued photo ID for all parties involved with the completion of the Business Certificate Form.***