Guidelines on Opening Your Business

Frequently Asked Questions

Verify zoning before you lease or buy.

For zoning questions, permitted uses, those uses allowed by special exception, parking, and sign permits call (318) 473-1371 or (318) 473-1373.

For landscaping, floodzone and siteplan reviews call (318) 473-1170.

Restaurants, day cares, hospitals, nursing homes, and convenience stores and the like.

You are required to obtain a sales tax number and remit the appropriate sales taxes if your business has:

  1. the sale of tangible personal property at retail in this state
  2. the use, consumption, distribution or storage for use or consumption, in this state of any tangible personal property
  3. the sale of services as defined in the statutes

You are required to obtain a Federal EIN if you meet one or more of the following conditions:

  1. you are a sole proprietor with at least one employee
  2. your business is a partnership your business is a corporation
  3. you are a sole proprietor who enters into a partnership or later incorporates the business
  4. certain nonprofit organizations(churches, clubs,)

A fire inspection is performed to ensure the safety of the occupants, its customers and surrounding properties. The inspector checks the general conditions of the building (electrical and gas components), proper exits, fire safety equipment, building capacity and ensures that the building is designed to house the appropriate occupancy classification.

The Certificate of Zoning Compliance is used to establish principal uses permitted in the various zoning districts such as Multi-family, Office, Business, Commercial and Industrial Districts. Zoning districts are established for the purpose of promoting the public health, safety, morals and general welfare of the community.

Yes, a home occupation can be allowed as an accessory use to a dwelling unit, subject to the following limitations:

  1. No person other than members of the family residing on the premises shall be engaged in such occupation.
  2. The use of the dwelling unit for the home occupation shall be clearly incidental and subordinate to its use for residential purposes by its occupants, and not more than twenty-five (25) percent of the floor area of the dwelling unit shall be used in the conduct of the home occupation.
  3. There shall be no change in the outside appearance of the building or premises, or other visible evidence of the conduct of such home occupation other than one sign, not exceeding one square foot in area, non-illuminated, and mounted flat against the wall of the principal building.
  4. No home occupation shall be conducted in any accessory building.
  5. There shall be no sales (from the licenses premise) in connection with such home occupation.
  6. No traffic shall be generated by such home occupation in greater volumes than would normally be expected in a residential neighborhood, and any need for parking generated by the conduct of such home occupation shall be met off the street and other than in a required front yard.
  7. No equipment or process hall be used in such home occupation that creates noise, vibration, glare, fumes, odors or electrical interference detectable to the normal senses off the lot, if the occupation is conducted in a single-family residence, or outside the dwelling unit if conducted in other than a single-family residence. In the case of electrical interference, no equipment or process shall be used that creates visual or audible interference in any radio or television receivers off the premises, or cause fluctuations in line voltage

State law requires Alcohol Beverage licenses and their specific requirements addressed elsewhere.

Alcohol may be sold only in “C-2′; General Commercial, “CBD”- Central Business District,”1-1″ Light Industrial and “1-2”- (Class A) on-premise consumption and (Class B) off-premise consumption license are permitted in these zoning districts, provided a premise is not within 300′ of any church, synagogue, public library, school, playground, full-time daycare center or correctional facility within city limits.(Class A) license shall not be allowed for a premise within 300′ of any residence zoned SF1, SF2, or SF3 unless a special exception is granted by the Alcohol Beverage and Drug Abuse Commission.

A Garage Sale Shall be a permitted accessory use to any dwelling unit, provided that an individual sale last no longer than three (3) days and occurs no more often than once every six (6) months.

A Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) is issued to any new structure built within the corporate limits of the city. The Certificate of Occupancy may be issued for new commercial and new residential buildings. A Certificate of Occupancy must be obtained prior to occupying a building, whether it is commercial or residential.

A new building may not be occupied or a change made in occupancy or the nature of the use of a building or part of a building until after the building official has issued a Certificate of Occupancy. Said Certificate may not be issued until all required fire protection systems have been tested and approved.

Upon completion of a building erected in accordance with approved plans and after the final inspection, the Building Official may issue a Certificate of Occupancy stating the nature of the occupancy permitted, the number of persons for each floor, when limited by law, and the allowable load per square foot for each floor in accordance with the provision of the International Building Code.

To apply for a Commercial Certificate of Occupancy, the applicant must present the following information to the Building Official:

Approved inspections from Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, Gas, Water, Wastewater, Building, Construction, Environmental, Planning, Zoning, Engineering, Landscaping and Fire to insure the safety of such private building.

An original Certificate of Occupancy will be given to the owner and shall be posted in a conspicuous area. A copy will also be issued to the owner to submit to the Utility Department to allow for utility deposits to be accepted. The Certificate of Occupancy allows the owner to take occupancy of the said building to operate his or her business.

This may be required if you are a General Partnership, Corporation or Limited Partnership. To be sure, call the Louisiana Secretary of State at (225) 925-4704.

Schedule of fees

  • Fire Inspection Report – Free
  • Certificate of Zoning – $20 Compliance
  • Occupational License – $50 (Jan 1st – June 30th)
  • Alcohol Notice of Intent – $25 (July 1st – Dec 31st)

High & Low Alcoholic Content Permit Fees may be obtained by contacting the Rapides Parish Sales & Use Tax Department at:

Phone: (318) 445-0296
Fax:(318) 449-4532

Class A – On or Off Premise Consumption
Class B • Off Premise Consumption Only
Class R • Restaurant


In order for the City of Alexandria to issue an Occupational License (Business License), you will need to acquire the following:

  1. Fire Inspection Report from the City of Alexandria Fire Prevention Bureau or the LA Office of State Fire Marshal, Code Enforcement & Building Safety
    1000 Bolton Avenue (Alexandria only)
    Alexandria, LA 71301
    (318)441-6607 (Alexandria)
    (800) 554-0006 (Louisiana)
  2.  Zoning Compliance from the City of Alexandria Planning Division
    625 Murray Street, 2nd Floor
    Alexandria, LA 71301·8022
    (318)473-1371 or (318)473-1373
  3. Health Inspection from Rapides Parish
    5604-A Coliseum Boulevard
    Alexandria, LA 71303
  4. SalesTax Number from Rapides Parish
    5606 Coliseum Boulevard
    Alexandria, LA 71303
  5. Sales Tax Number AND Application from the Alcohol andTobacco Control Office from the State of Louisiana
    1638 Creswell Lane, Suite 3
    Opelousas, LA 70570 (855)307-3893
    Baton Rouge Headquarters (337)-948-0346
  6. Federal Tax I.D.Number from the Internal Revenue Service
    5604-A Coliseum Boulevard
    Alexandria, LA 71303
  7. Occupational License and Alcoholic Content Permits from the City of Alexandria (Rapides Parish Sales & Use Tax Dept.)
    5606 Coliseum Boulevard
    Alexandria, LA 71303
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