Doing Business

Business Operating Information

Operating a business requires licenses, permitting, adherence to codes, submitting taxes, etc. with local, state and federal governments. Here are links to the most visited agencies and organizations.

City of Mobile

City of Mobile Revenue Department/Mobile Business Center

The city of Mobile has created the “Mobile Business Center” within the City Revenue Department to assist new businesses in the licensing process. This one-stop resource center offers new business owners assistance in a variety of areas.

Business License and Certifications

Licenses: A license to operate each separate business activity within the city limits of Mobile requires payment of an annual license fee due January 1 of each year. This fee is set for the first year of operation based on a 60-day affidavit of gross receipts, even it if is a partial year, and then it is based on the type of business and gross revenues generated.

Sales TaxIn general, the total sales tax for businesses located in the city of Mobile is 10 percent. The breakdown is as follows:

City of Mobile – 5 percent / Mobile County – 1 percent / State of Alabama – 4 percent

Sales tax for the city of Mobile is 5 percent of gross sales each month and must be received by the 20th day of the following month. An additional 1 percent sales tax is imposed on the sale of prepared food and drink within the city limits.

Urban Development

To legally operate in Mobile, businesses must be properly zoned and receive zoning certification. Most businesses receive B-1, B-2 or B-3 certification depending on the company’s business category and location. Failure to receive proper zoning certification may result in the inability to obtain a business license. Other municipalities within the Mobile County regulate their own zoning activity and should be contacted directly for further information.

Sign Ordinance: Businesses must comply with the city’s sign ordinance, which regulates signs and banners. There are also city regulations assuring tree protection, historic preservation and minimum landscaping standards. Home-based businesses should not disturb the residential character of the neighborhood.

Mobile Police Department

Certain businesses are required to obtain clearance with the city of Mobile Police Department before they can be issued a license or tax account.

Mobile Fire Department

Enforces fire codes.

Mobile County

Mobile County License Commissioner’s Office If you plan to operate a business anywhere in Mobile County, you may need to acquire a state and county business license in addition to any applicable city licenses.

Sales Tax: Mobile County also charges a sales tax in the amount of 1 percent of gross sales. This tax is handled through the city of Mobile Revenue Department for businesses inside the city limits and has the same payment date of the 20th day of the following month. For businesses in the county and other municipalities, the tax is collected by the Mobile County License Commissioner. A state sales tax of 4 percent is also due the 20th day of the month following the accrual month. The new business owner must establish an account through the Alabama Revenue Department, after which a monthly remittance form will be provided.

Mobile County Health Department Certain businesses dealing with food and beverages are required to obtain a Health Department Inspection Certificate.

Mobile County Revenue Commissioner

Personal Property TaxBusiness owners are required to pay taxes on their inventory of personal property (i.e. office equipment, office supplies, furniture, etc.). Each owner must complete a listing of the company’s personal property before December 31.

Mobile County Sheriff’s Office If your business is located in one of the following municipalities, you should contact them to determine if there are any municipal licenses required.


Baldwin County

Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance Expand Baldwin County Economy Through Business Development

Baldwin County Business Incubator

Offers small business assistance efforts through a variety of business development and professional consulting services.

If your business is located in one of the following municipalities, you should contact them to determine if there are any municipal licenses required.

South Alabama Counties

University of South Alabama Center for Real Estate Studies Market Watch

University of South Alabama Center for Economic Studies

Mobile Area Chamber Economic Development

Economic Development Partnership of Alabama

Marketing Reports / Data The following links are maintained by the Mobile Area Chamber using a variety of sources. Some of these links are restricted to Members Only and require a log in.