Operating A Business

All signs must go through the City's design review process, managed through the Planning Department. For a sign application, contact the Planning Department at 305.673.7550. Building permits are required for all exterior signs and permanent window signs. Signs are an important part of your business identity and the collective image of the City. For this reason, every effort is made to promote effective and harmonious signs. Signs must meet color, size and location requirements as outlined in the City's Zoning Ordinance. Businesses are allowed the following: one primary sign, limited generally to 20 square feet; window signs in six-inch letter for the business name and address; hours of operation, and telephone number of the business in two-inch letters. Signs that require repair must also go through the design approval and permit process. Banners, flags, sandwich boards, balloons, signs on parked vehicles, and other items designed to attract attention to a location are generally prohibited, except as provided for in the Zoning Ordinance. Real estate signs, advertising the rent or sale of a property, must also meet color, size and location requirements. A permit must be obtained from the Finance Department's Occupational License Office located on the first floor in City Hall, or call 305.673.7420.

A permit is required to paint the exterior of your business. Colors must be approved by the City. Copies of the color chart are available at the Planning Department, 305.673.7550.

Design Review Approval
Most building permits require design review approval. Depending on the scope or complexity of the work proposed, your permit will be approved by either the Planning Department staff or one of the City's Review Boards. If Board approval is required, projects that are located within one of the City's historic districts will be presented before the City's Historic Preservation Board. Projects not located in a historic district will be presented to the Design Review Board. For more information, call the Planning Department at 305.673.7550.

Building Permits
Building permits are required for new construction, additions, and alterations of commercial space, multi-family or single-family residences, or changes to an interior or exterior that will require construction, demolition, or rehabilitation of the space.  This includes any electrical, plumbing, air-conditioning, heating, or other work.  Obtaining permits assures that the work meets the Florida Building Code and all applicable regulations. The permit process offers the opportunity to have the plans reviewed by professional zoning and design review staff, as well as code administrators, and includes inspections by certified experts who will make sure that the work is safely and professionally completed.

Hiring a Contractor
The permit process requires that the contractor you select is certified, authorized, has a business tax receipt and insured to perform the work and that the contractor has obtained all of the permits required prior to starting the work.  Examples of work requiring permits (not all-inclusive):

  • Windows or doors installation
  • Floors, carpet or tile installation
  • Electrical work
  • Plumbing work
  • Air-conditioning or heating work
  • Fences
  • Signs (including window signs)
  • Exterior or interior painting
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Pumps
  • Pools/spas
  • Roofing

To apply for a permit or obtain more information, contact the Building Department at 305.673.7610, or visit the office at City Hall, 1700 Convention Center Drive, second floor.

Every commercial business is required to contract with a private solid waste company to remove garbage and debris. The frequency of service should be sufficient to ensure the business area is clean at all times. The City is served by two solid waste franchisees. For more information, call the City of Miami Beach Sanitation Department at 305.673.7616.

Promoting Your Business
The distribution of commercial newsletters, flyers, posters, cards, stickers, etc... on vehicles, light poles, bus benches and public property are prohibited and carry expensive fines and penalties. In addition, commercial handbills that result in litter can also result in code compliance violations. For more information, call the Division of Code Compliance at 305.673.7555. 

Noise Ordinance
The City of Miami Beach has implemented a noise ordinance that regulates "unreasonable, unnecessary, excessive and unusual noises." A warning and fine schedule is applied to violations of the ordinance. Special restrictions also apply during construction. Please refer to Section 46-152 of the City's code, or contact the Division of Code Compliance at 305.673.7555 for more information.

Film, Print and Special Event Permits
The City of Miami Beach is a major venue for the film, fashion, print and music industries, as well as a host of many important special events. If planning to open an office in the City, all of the applicable procedures to opening a business must be followed. Film, print, and special event permits are issued for public property only.  Activities taking place on private property do not require a permit as long as those activities (including vehicles) are completely self-contained on the property. Activities taking place on private property that request City services are required to obtain a permit. For more information, call the Tourism and Cultural Development Department at 305.673.7577 or 305.673.7070 for permits and assistance.

Property Maintenance
The City's "Sidewalk Sweeping Ordinance" requires all owners and occupants to maintain their property, the areas adjacent to their properties and areas between their property and the street and alley (including sidewalk, swale, curb and gutter) in a clean and sanitary condition and free from any and all garbage, trash and other debris or discarded matter.

Commercial Vehicles
Commercial vehicles are not permitted to be stored in residential zones.

New Hires
File a New Hire Reporting Form (included in this package) for every new employee, full-time or part-time. For more information contact the Florida New Hire Reporting Office 888.854.4791 or Report New Hires - FloridaJobs.org