Steps to Opening Your Business

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If you're ready to launch your first business in West Allis, our Economic Development team is here to help every step of the way. 

Not sure where to get started? In general, we suggest the following approach for new businesses to transition from entrepreneurial dream to revenue-generating reality. 

1. Prepare a written business summary

Start by formally documenting your business vision. A written business summary or documented business plan will be an important asset as you seek financial assistance, licenses, and permits. It should include:

  • Business name, address, type of business
  • Own or lease (if location is selected)
  • Square footage (if location is selected)
  • Types of services offered or items sold
  • Days and hours of operation 
  • Number of employees 
  • Description and timeline of any interior or exterior improvements (if location is selected)

The City of West Allis can help you prepare a business plan if you do not already have one. Contact us to learn how we can help.

2. Site selection

We can help you find the perfect location within West Allis to open your new business. We'll make sure your business is allowed in your location per local zoning codes and connect you with City resources to make sure the facility is compliant with our Municipal Code. Meet with us to discuss your site needs.

3. Schedule a planning meeting

After you've selected a location, it's a good idea to connect with an architect to discuss any changes you wish to make to the interior or exterior of the facility. Then, schedule a planning meeting with the Department of Planning & Zoning and Economic Development to review your business summary, architectural plans, zoning requirements, and learn if any additional permits or approvals are required.  

4. Submit a planning application

If needed, submit a completed Planning Application (PDF), written business summary and project description, one hard copy set of plans, one electronic copy of plans, and required fees for the Plan Commission’s consideration. You may need to do this if you are requesting a Special Use Permit or making alterations to your location.

5. Submit a business occupancy permit application

Submit a Business Occupancy Permit Application and required fee to the Building Inspection and Neighborhood Services Department (BINS Department). A Business Occupancy Permit is required for all existing businesses, all new businesses, and for any business changing ownership. As part of the application process, you will schedule an appointment for a physical inspection of the site by emailing binsinspections@westalliswi.gov.

6. submit additional permit applications

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to submit additional permit applications at this time, such as a Building Permit or Sign Permit. Needs may vary based on each individual business' circumstances.

7. Acquire necessary licenses

Seek any necessary Licenses from the City Clerk’s Office, such as an Operator's License or Alcohol License. 

8. get ready to launch!

Schedule a ribbon cutting with Mayor Dan Devine and City officials and get ready to open your business!