Start a Business in Upper Darby

Start a Business in Upper Darby

The Guide on Starting a Small Business is also Available in the Following Languages:

This project was financed by a grant for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development obtained through the Foundation of the Delaware County Chamber.

Welcome and thank you for choosing Upper Darby for your business! In order to conduct business here, you must obtain an Upper Darby Use & Occupancy Business Permit and then a Business Privilege License (service businesses) or a Mercantile License (retail businesses.)

It is your responsibility to be aware of all federal, state, and local laws that regulate your business operations, including taxes, employees, and sale of controlled substances, such as alcohol or firearms.

Owners of a New Business or a Takeover of an Existing Business are required to apply for an Upper Darby Use & Occupancy Business Permit. Businesses must comply with all pertinent requirements of the Township's zoning, building, fire and property maintenance code requirements. Residents may apply to operate a Home Based Business if their home complies with the Upper Darby Zoning Code.

Identify the Location and understand the Zoning Requirements

The Upper Darby Zoning Code seeks to promote the development of properly regulated commercial and industrial uses, avoid a mixture of incompatible uses within zones, and promote residential neighborhoods that are safe, attractive, and conducive to the protection of property values. The Upper Darby Zoning Map specifies zoning districts, each with their own regulations and requirements. If your business is not correctly zoned, you may need to spend additional time and money seeking a zoning variance. The Zoning Division of Licenses & Inspections can assist you with this process.

Complete the Upper Darby Use & Occupancy Business Permit Application 

Upper Darby requires business owners to complete the Use & Occupancy process and pay a non-refundable fee before applying for a Business License. The team in Licenses & Inspections will review your application to ensure that the business complies with zoning regulations, understand what goods or services you will be selling, and to help you identify the certificates, permits, and licenses you may need to open your business. Please download the Use & Occupancy Business Permit Application to get started

Businesses that will Sell, Serve, or Prepare Food

If your business will sell or handle food, please contact the Delaware County Public Health Department at 484-276-2100. They will help you understand food establishment regulations and what you will need to do to obtain your license. If your business will sell or handle food, the appropriate license or licenses must be obtained before an Upper Darby Use & Occupancy Business Permit will be issued.

Building and Signage Permits

If you will be making changes to the building, including renovations or changing the use of the space and/or replacing or installing signage (including face changes) you must have the proper permits. Please go to Upper Darby Permits for more information and to apply for permits.

Register Your Business with Upper Darby

After the Use & Occupancy Business Permit has been issued, you must register your new business with the Upper Darby Tax Office and get a Business License (service) or a Mercantile License (retail).  This license must be renewed each year. 

Register Your Business with Pennsylvania

You must also register your new business entity and business name with the State of Pennsylvania and get a sales tax license. As an employer you may have tax obligations such as tax withholding and unemployment compensation. To learn more and get the forms you need, go to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue/Pennsylvania Open for Business website

Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

If you plan to hire employees, you will need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN ) from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS ). For an application, call the IRS at 800-829-4933 or apply online.