Starting a Business

The Harford County Office of Community & Economic Development provides information and support to entrepreneurs and small business owners of new, existing and start-up companies. The following guidelines provide a starting point to familiarize you with the basic requirements and considerations for starting a business in Harford County, Maryland. These guidelines give direction, but are not intended to replace specific legal information from certified professionals. 

State-provided information 

The state provides detailed information regarding business requirements on their website: 

  • Check county and city zoning requirements 
  • Create and register your business 
  • Obtain and complete Application for Business License 
  • Obtain federal, state, county and local tax information 
  • Obtain personal property tax information 
  • Register a trade name 
  • Select your business structure 

The U.S. Small Business Administration also provides a 10-step guide to starting a business that details the planning stage, important financial considerations, and the legal activities required. You may also follow these steps: 

  • Register your business and establish the legal entity with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation 
  • Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service 
  • Establish your tax accounts with the Maryland Comptroller of the Treasury 
  • Learn about state licenses through the Business License Information System 
  • Contact the Harford County Clerk of the Circuit Court regarding business licenses 

Further assistance 

For help preparing a business plan and guidance through the above processes, contact Ryan del Gallo at the Small Business Development Center at 443-373-3377. For assistance with site selection information, tax incentives, financial assistance and other business support services in Harford County, contact the Harford County Office of Community & Economic Development at 410-638-3059. For assistance with zoning in Harford County, contact the Harford County Office of Planning and Zoning at 410-638-3103. 

Other resources 

The following websites are excellent resources for researching and defining your business strategies, skills and risk-tolerance, along with your industry, market and product. These websites also offer links to additional information and support for your efforts: 

  • The Harford County Public Library Small Business Center: Resources to start, run and grow a small business. 
  • The Small Business Technology Development Center: Located at Harford Community College, this center will help establish and expand business by providing a variety of management and technical assistance programs and tools. 
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration: Home page leads to a wealth of programs and services to start, grow and succeed in business. 
  • Maryland Small Business Resource Guide (PDF): The 16-page Maryland Small Business Resource Guide is on the Maryland Department of Commerce webpage. 
  • State of Maryland Small Business Assistance: 
  • The Governor's Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs: Acts as a small and minority-owned business liaison in cooperation with the State of Maryland’s various departments.