THE GREATER ALBION CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & VISITOR BUREAU

Welcome to Albion!


The Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Bureau
310 S. Superior St.
Albion, MI 49224
517-629-5533
FAX: 517-629-4284
president@greateralbionchamber.org

Local Regulation
The City of Albion is a friendly place to open a new business. Albion has few licensing requirements and does not require a "doing business" permit. There are, however, a few points a new business needs to keep in mind.


Local Ordinances:
The City of Albion imposes special requirements on the following businesses: solicitors, peddlers, taxicabs and transient merchants, mechanical amusement devices/arcades, bed and breakfasts. If you plan to operate such a business, you should contact the City Planning Department (517-629-5535), 112 W. Cass Street, for more information.


Zoning:
The City of Albion is divided into twelve zones: four residential zones, a neighborhood business district, central business district, highway service business district, central fringe business district, light industrial district, heavy industrial district, light industrial park district, and heavy industrial park district. A new business needs to confirm that its proposed business location is zoned properly for their needs. Contact the City Planning Department (517-629-5535), 112 W. Cass Street, for more information.


Building Codes:
Albion has a building code, fire code, and property maintenance code. You should contact the City Planning Department (517-629-5535), 112 W. Cass Street, and set up an appointment with a city official before you plan to construct a new building, substantially remodel an existing building, or change the use of a building. You should also note that the codes impose various sign restrictions.


Home Business:
The City of Albion requires home businesses to acquire a zoning permit. Contact the City Planning Department (517-629-5535), 112 W. Cass Street, for more information.

If you have further questions regarding local regulation, please call the City Planning Department (517-629-5535).

State and Federal Regulation
The State of Michigan and Federal governments have a variety of laws you need to keep in mind. We cannot set forth all of them here because they differ with each situation. The following, however, are are basic items which affect most businesses.


Taxes:
Most businesses need to register with the Sate of Michigan's Department of Treasury. (A new form allows businesses to register for every Michigan tax, including sales tax, single business tax, withholding taxes, and unemployment taxes.) Call the Department of Treasury at 517-373-0888 for more information.


Registering:
As a general rule, the State of Michigan does not require businesses to register. If you decide to incorporate your business, however, you must file articles of incorporation (see an attorney for more details). In addition you must file a certificate of assumed name if you will conduct business under a name different than your legal name. (Individuals and partnerships must record the proper certificate with the Calhoun County Clerk; corporations register in Lansing.)


Licensing:
Depending on your business, you may need a license. A liquor store, for instance, needs a liquor license. Hundreds of businesses are licensed by the State, such as carpenters and electricians. If you have licensing questions, we suggest you start with the Michigan Economics Development Corporation Customer Assistance Office (517-373-9808). This office can refer you to the appropriate agency.


IRS Registration:
If you form a separate business entity (such as a corporation) or hire employees, you must register with the IRS (Form SS-4) and obtain an employer identification number.


Employees:
If you hire employees, a host of laws will suddenly apply to you, e.g. civil rights, minimum wage, overtime and OSHA. As a preliminary matter, you will need to purchase and post labor posters. These posters inform employees of their rights. You can order them from G. Neil Company at 1-800-999-9111 (cost: approximately $50.00). We suggest you order the posters and read them so you will have a basic understanding of the labor laws.

Note: The posters may not discuss immigration law requirements. Every business must certify that every employee is lawfully employed and must file a new employee information form with the State of Michigan. See an attorney for more details or call the Immigration and Naturalization Service (313-568-6042).

Overlooked Costs
A new business should consult with a professional to assure it has a realistic budget to meet the variety of expenses it will incur. New business owners often overlook the following: Real Estate Taxes; Personal Property Taxes; Michigan Works Compensation Insurance Premiums; Sales Taxes; Payroll Taxes (general rule: $.0765/dollar paid in wages); Estimated Tax Payments; Utilities (be sure to include hookup charges and provide ample time for installation); Professional Fees; and Insurance (most businesses desire premises, personal, and liability insurance). A caution to home-based business owners: be sure your homeowner's policy covers damages arising from business use and damage to business assets. Many homeowner policies will require a rider.

Spreading The News About Your Business
Every business needs people to know it exists. You can always use conventional local methods, such as newspaper advertising (The Albion Recorder or The Morning Star), radio (Keener Oldies 104.9), or cable television. But here are some ways to "get the word out" without spending much money.

  • Join the Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce
  • Advertise your business in the Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce's monthly newsletter, the Greater Albion Business News.
  • Hold a ribbon-cutting/grand opening to show your business to new people. The Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce will assist you with planning, invitations, and publicity.
  • Basic socializing. Attend the Chamber's monthly Eggs & Issues program, Business After Hours, and other Chamber events. They're a chance to meet new people and drum up business in an informal setting.
  • Sponsor a Business After Hours. The Chamber will help you with planning, invitations, and publicity.
  • Join one of many Chamber committees. That's a great way to get to know fellow chamber members.
  • Advertise in non-profit publications. In addition to conventional media, some nonprofit organizations  accept advertising in their publications. Here are a few: Albion Public Schools (sports programs), Albion College (sports programs), Albion Community Theatre (play and musical handbills)

Join the Chamber!

The Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce presents this guide in order to help you work through the nuts and bolts of "setting up shop" in Albion, MI. It presents a checklist of items you should consider before you decide to open a new business. This guide does not cover every facet involved in starting a new business, but it can point you in the right direction. You may also want to consult the professionals listed at the end of this guide for additional assistance.


A Guide for Doing Business in Albion, MI
Albion welcomes new businesses!