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How to Start Your Business in Athens

Incorporate Your Business

The first stop to starting a business is to register the new entity with the Georgia Secretary of State. Follow the application instructions on the state website and find your preferred corporate structuring.

Register New Entity

City Hall

Determine a Location

The common mantra in real estate is “location, location, location.” If you plan on finding a commercial space to operate your business, an experienced agent can be a serious advantage. View the commercial real estate portion of our member directory in order to find some of the most prominent agents in Athens.

Before making a decision on any building leases or purchases verify the properties zoning with the Athens-Clarke County Planning Department (706) 613-3515. This will also be necessary in the section below when filing for your Business Occupancy Tax Certificate.



Receive Your Business Occupancy Tax Certificate

After you find an operating space for your business you will need to file for your Occupancy Tax Certificate (also referred to as a Business License). This allows companies to operate their businesses in Athens. This applies to businesses that plan on operating out of a commercial or residential space. They are valid for the calendar year in which they are applied and first time applicants receive a prorated rate beginning July 1st.

Occupation Tax Walkthrough

Learn more.

Occupation Tax Application

Learn more.



Development Procedure Manual

The Athens-Clarke County Economic Development constructed a manual for companies that wish to develop a plot of land within Athens-Clarke County. If interested, please view the following manual here.

Find a Contractor 

Some spaces are move-in ready and don’t require additional input. Others may need some adjustments in order for specific layout needs to be met. Our member base holds some of the prominent contractors in the region to help provide the best renovating options.

HVAC Maintenance

Many landlords require that the tenant take maintenance responsibility for the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit. These firms provide the necessary HVAC Maintenance contracts that may be required by any landlord.

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance, also known as Business Liability Insurance, helps protect your business from claims resulting from normal business operations. This type of insurance may be required by a landlord.  Athens has agents capable of making your business more secure and mandating a plan.




There are three power firms that operate in Athens-Clarke County. If power needs to be transferred contact these firms and find the best rate.

Georgia Power
(888) 660-5890
1001 Prince Avenue, Athens GA 30606

Jackson EMC
(706) 548-5362
85 Spratlin Mill Rd, Hull, GA 30646

Walton EMC
(770) 267-2505
2061 Hog Mountain Rd, Watkinsville, GA 30677



If a buildings water/sewer services need to be transferred it is handled through the Athens-Clarke County Water Business Office. Contact the office about switching over services.

Athens-Clarke County Water Business Office
(706) 613-3500
124 E. Hancock Ave, Athens, GA 30601

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