Accessibility Information

Economic Development

Licenses & Permits

Obtain Florida Business Licenses and Permits
Every business needs one or more federal, state or local business licenses or permits to operate. Business licenses can range from a basic operating Florida business license to very specific Cape Coral permits, such as environmental permits. Regulations vary by industry, state and locality, so it's very important to understand the licensing rules. Not complying with licensing and permitting regulations can lead to expensive fines and put your business at serious risk.

Cape Coral Business Permits and License Requirements

sc TN BUILDINGAs do most communities, Cape Coral has established a system of licenses and certificates to ensure that businesses comply with building codes and land use, zoning and life-safety regulations. Two city departments are primarily responsible for business licenses and permits: the City Clerk and the Department of Community Development (DCD). We urge all business owners to investigate these business permits and license requirements before signing a lease.

The Business Tax Receipt (BTR), formerly called an Occupational License, is an annual tax for exercising the privilege of engaging in business. The BTR is issued by the City Clerk. 

The Certificate of Use (CU) indicates that the business location is consistent with zoning regulations and that inspections have been completed. The CU is issued by the City Clerk after approval by the zoning section of the DCD Planning Division. All businesses located in a commercial location (not home-based) must apply for a CU and BTR.

The Certificate of Occupancy (CO) indicates that the structure in which the business is housed is habitable. The CO is issued by the Permitting/Building Services Division. Typically, eligible home-based businesses may be granted a Business Tax Receipt by the City Clerk without the necessity of a CO or CU.

However, when a business will become located in a leased or purchased facility, the Business Tax Receipt will not be granted until the CO (if the building is under construction), Fire Department and CU inspections are completed. Therefore, businesses may wish to apply for all at the same time.

To facilitate cost-effective decisions about selecting locations, businesses are advised to consult with the zoning section of the Department of Community Development (DCD) Planning Division to determine whether there are any issues before entering into a lease or purchase agreement.

In addition, one of the significant factors in considering applications for Certificates of Use is the business classification used by the city. An incorrect or incomplete classification may result in confusion or delay. Therefore, businesses may wish to pay particular attention in working with city staff to ensure that their business classification accurately represents the nature and extent of their services or products.

The city administration wants to facilitate accurate and rapid processing of business applications.

Department of Community Development

Zoning, Permitting, Inspections and Planning

Opening a new business location may involve a variety of permits and inspections. To guide the business owner through the process, the city provides direct assistance. 

For many businesses, the first contact is with the zoning section of the Department of Community Development (DCD) Planning Division to determine whether a business location is consistent with zoning and land use regulations. The Cape Coral Economic Development Office recommends that business owners check with zoning officials before signing leases or purchase agreements. As a business expands, changing circumstances may trigger new DCD requirements.
Zoning and Land Use Issues
 The Cape Coral Planning Division is responsible for most zoning and land use issues. The application process for rezoning, special exceptions, variances and vacations includes a notice to affected property owners and a public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission and/or the City Council, which decides whether to approve the vacation. 

General information and submittal requirements may be obtained from the Planning Division at (239) 574-0553.
Business can check the status of their Building Permit application online on the City of Cape Coral’s website Or visit Permit Search.
 The Cape Coral EDO has prepared a Permitting Guide for business locating in existing space. This guide provides detailed information about Cape Coral’s permitting processes for new and for existing construction.

The Department of Community Development is located at Cape Coral City Hall. Call (239) 573-3172 to request information or schedule an appointment.

Florida ADA Accessibility Implementation Act

florida collage mapThe Florida Americans with Disabilities Accessibility Act, which parallels the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) under Title III regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, applies to places of public accommodation and commercial facilities with respect to accessibility requirements and compliance. Business owners are responsible for compliance with these accessibility requirements when renovating or building a new building by excluding structural barriers and other obstacles faced by persons with disabilities. Consult with an architect or engineer to find out how your business may be affected. Visit these helpful links:
U.S. Dept. of Justice
The Access Board
Florida Building Code
Cape Coral Business Tax Receipt 
All businesses — including home-based businesses — as well as some individual professional employees, require a City of Cape Coral Business Tax Receipt. The City Clerk’s office can advise you about licensing requirements for specific occupations or professions. Many application forms and other information are available online.
Here are some common situations:
- If your business is operating under a fictitious name or as a corporation, you will need to register with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations.
- If you hold a state license, such as attorney, accountant or physician, proof is required at the time of  application. Business Tax Receipts are renewed yearly.
- State-certified contractors doing business in Cape Coral must register in person with the City Clerk’s office to obtain a competency license and Business Tax Receipt (if applicable).
- Home-based businesses are not permitted to have employees except family members that reside at the home-based business location.
License fees vary depending upon the type of business, but the majority range from $22 to $110.
Cape Coral City Clerk
City Hall
1015 Cultural Park Blvd.
Cape Coral, FL 33990
Business Tax Receipt / Licensing: 
(239) 574-0430
Lee County Business Tax Receipt
Lee County also requires that businesses obtain a county Business Tax Receipt after obtaining the city tax receipt.  Fees for the county tax receipt normally range from $30 to $100, but vary depending upon the type of business and number of employees.
Businesses that do not produce hazardous waste have the option to apply for a hazardous waste fee exemption. Businesses must apply for this hazardous waste fee exemption prior to applying for a Lee County Business Tax Receipt. To learn more about this exemption, contact the Lee County Natural Resources Department.
Lee County Natural Resources
1500 Monroe Street
Fort Myers, Florida 33901
(239) 533-8109
As with the Cape Coral Business Tax Receipt, if your business is operating under a fictitious name or as a corporation, a copy of your papers as filed with the Florida Secretary of State are needed upon application. Contractors must provide proof of state licensing or a competency license.
Lee County Tax Collector
Government Center
1039 SE 9th Place
Cape Coral, FL 33990

(239) 339-6000

Florida Licensing

Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR)
The State of Florida, through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), requires a license for a number of industries and occupations. The list of businesses licensed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is exhaustive. Even though your business might not be listed here, it is still possible that a state license may be required. The Cape Coral Economic Development Office recommends that businesses check the DBPR website to verify specific requirements or to determine the appropriate licensing department for your business.

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Website

Highlights of licensing divisions for selected industries:

Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco
The Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco issues licenses for businesses that sell or distribute alcoholic beverages or tobacco. Fees are paid yearly and are determined by the type of business. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age. A temporary license can be issued in about two weeks; the permanent license may be issued within six weeks. The Fort Myers area office serves a five-county area.
Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco
4100 Center Pointe Drive, Suite 101
Fort Myers, FL 33916
(239) 278-7195

Certified Public Accountants
 This Division regulates Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) by processing applications for the CPA certification exam and issuing licenses.
Florida Board of Accountancy
240 NW 76th Drive, Suite A
Gainesville, FL 32607
(850) 487-1395
Division of Real Estate
This Division is responsible for examination, licensing and enforcement of more than 300,000 individuals, corporations, real estate schools and instructors. It provides administrative support to two other agencies: the Florida Real Estate Commission and the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board.
Division of Real Estate
400 West Robinson Street, N801
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783
(850) 487-1395

Hotels and Restaurants
The Division of Hotels and Restaurants provides sanitation and safety inspections for hotels, restaurants, lodging facilities and transient rentals. State law requires an initial inspection for new businesses, and a minimum of two unannounced inspections per year. The division attempts to conduct at least three annual inspections, depending on the type of business.
It should be noted that hotel and restaurant inspections are administered by this division, and not the state Health Department. However, the Health Department does provide sanitation and safety inspections for fraternal organizations, schools, hospitals and churches.
Division of Hotels and Restaurants
4100 Center Pointe Drive, Suite 104
Fort Myers, FL 33916
(850) 487-1395
Florida Land Sales, Condominiums & Mobile Homes
The Division is responsible for licensing and regulation of laws dealing with subdivided lands, condominiums, mobile home parks and timeshare plans. Timeshare businesses can contact the Bureau of Customer Service. Others can contact the specific bureau for their industry.
Bureau of Land Sales Registration
The Bureau of Land Sales Registration administers the Florida Uniform Land Sales Practices Act, affecting businesses that sell subdivided lands to the public.
Bureau of Condominiums
The Bureau of Condominiums enforces the Condominium Act (Florida Statutes Chapter 718) and the Cooperative Act (Florida Statutes Chapter 719) which affects businesses involved in condominium management, sales or leasing.
Bureau of Mobile Homes
The Bureau of Mobile Homes regulates mobile home park owners and enforces the Florida Mobile Home Act (Florida Statutes Chapter 723).
Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, Timeshares & Mobile Homes
Bureau of Customer Service
1940 N. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1032
(850) 488-1122

Division of Professions
The Division’s mission is to protect the health, safety and welfare of Florida residents and visitors, by regulating professional licenses, education and compliance. The Division licenses more than 315,000 professionals.
Architecture and Interior Design
Asbestos Consultants
Athlete Agents
Building Code Administrators & Inspectors
Bureau of Education & Testing
Community Association Managers
Construction Industry Licensing Board
Electrical Contractors' Licensing Board
Employee Leasing
Farm and Child Labor Program
Funeral Directors and Embalmers
Landscape Architecture
Pilot Commissioners
Professional Geologists
Pilotage Rate Review Board
Surveyors and Mappers
Talent Agencies
Veterinary Medicine
Division of Professions
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0760
(850) 487-1395
The DBPR licenses a wide variety of industries, but no longer regulates the medical professions or Professional Engineers. Medical professions are regulated by the Department of Health; Professional Engineers are regulated by the Florida Board of Professional Engineers.
Department of Business and Professional Regulation
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1027
Florida Board of Professional Engineers
(850) 521-0500
Florida Department of Health
(850) 245-4444