Starting, expanding or buying a business

Thank you for choosing Horsham as a place to start or grow your business. Whether you have plans for a new business and want to get started, or are taking over or expanding an existing business, you may need permission from Council to operate. 

We understand that it can be difficult to know where to start. We have created this webpage as a roadmap to help you understand the permit application process, and the impact of regulations on your plans.

What types of permits might my business need?

There are a range of permits or registrations your business might need including:

  • Planning - includes permits for subdividing land, use or development of land, use of building for business, displaying signs, street trading, meeting requirements of cultural heritage and bushfire overlays and other statutory planning requirements
  • Building - includes building permits that relate to the method of construction of a building or development, and the use of the building to ensure it meets relevant building codes that apply when you are occupying or intending to change the current use of a building
  • Health - includes registration and certificates required for wastewater and septic systems, food premises, accommodation premises, hairdressers, beauty premises and tattoo premises
  • Community Safety - includes footpath trading permits, parking permits and domestic animal business permits.  

We have developed a Business Permit Checklist to help you understand which permits you may need to apply for. You can find the checklist in the Prepare section below.


The Horsham city centre is investment ready. With affordable and available commercial property for new businesses to lease, and a supportive planning policy framework(PDF, 167KB), the region has an opportunity to transform and grow. The overarching project guiding this growth is the City to River Masterplan. This project has four key objectives. It aims to activate the current riverfront precinct, improve the amenity of the city centre, better integrate connectivity between the riverfront and the city centre and facilitate the development of improved sporting infrastructure. From this masterplan, the following projects have evolved: 

Another project that can assist with commercial development in Horsham is the Horsham South Structure Plan. This plan ensures the Horsham South area is developed in a co-ordinated way and outlines key precinct areas for commercial development and growth. 

City to River Sub Precinct




Spend time now preparing to get your application right. Providing the right information and using the professional assistance of a quality draftsperson or planning consultant (if required) can save time on the assessment and may get your business trading sooner.

What is your business idea? 

Start by writing down what you know about your business project. You will need to be able to describe the type of business you want to set up and how it will operate in some detail. 

Background research

These links below provide you with a range of advice and tools to assist your business preparation:

What permits do I need?

Complete the Business Permit Checklist below to help you understand the types of permits you may need for your business. It takes around three minutes.

At the end, you will receive a summary of the permits you will most likely need. You will also be able to request contact with a team member to discuss your next steps.


Permit support meeting

If you need multiple permits, the Economic Development Team can arrange a meeting with you and the relevant Council departments to get advice on what information you will need to include in your application. Simply complete the Business Permit Checklist (above) and we will contact you to arrange a meeting. These meetings are free.

You are ready to apply!

Once you have your business proposal, you know which permits you need to apply for and what information you need to provide, you are ready to apply. 


Once you have completed the Business Permit Checklist (see the Prepare section above) and spoken with our team to confirm what permit(s) apply to your business, you are ready to apply.

To find out more about:


Once your permit application form has been submitted, we will begin assessing your application.

Receiving the application

A team member from the Economic Development Team will be assigned to your application, and they will contact you to advise the expected timelines to assess your application. You are welcome to contact them to check on the status of your application.

Permit payments

There are standard fees that apply to all permit types. The details of your application will determine the exact fees and charges. A team member from the relevant department will contact you after you submit your application, to confirm the final fee and payment details. 

Requests for further information

You might receive a request for further information during the assessment phase. Please be prompt in responding to any requests as a slow response may delay a decision on your application.


Once we have finished our assessment, we will be in touch to confirm our decision.

If your application is approved, we will email you a copy of your permit or registration and, where appropriate, hard copies will also be mailed to you.

When you are ready to commence trading, our Economic Development team will assist you further and introduce you to other services that may help your business to grow and succeed.

Thank you for choosing Horsham as a place to start, purchase or grow your business.