Couldn’t help but notice over at business.phila.gov, the one-stop-shop the Nutter Administration has set up for new business start-ups, this unfortunate list:
So, billboards and pawn shops are priority start-up businesses? I guess nobody wants to open a physician’s practice, or a science lab, or a marina, or a hotel. But before you balk at Vending being listed twice (one for newsstands and another for concessions), this list is meant to ferret out businesses that need special permits to conduct their operations.
For example, pawn shops are heavily restricted by zoning overlays and cannot operate in certain areas of the city, because residents have had enough of there being 3 of them per block, filled with goods stolen out of Philadelphians’ homes. Newsstands are only permitted within certain overlays on designated streets and are restricted by density, etc.
While it’s not a very inviting list, the City’s business start-up wizard gets better after there. L&I information about what hurdles you must clear are given to you, plus there’s a “liaison manager” assigned to you to help get your business off the ground. Now if the City could set up a “should I or shouldn’t I” wizard that calculates what you plan to earn off your business and adjusts it for Philadelphia business taxes, we’d be set.
Of course the City is not going to do the math to figure out if your profit margin is going to get wiped out by the lethal combo of Penna Income Tax, BPT, School Tax and U&O tax. That’s between you and your accountant to figure out. But if it’s any consolation; in Philly high margin businesses survive and thrive here (i.e. grossly over-markup clothing, gastropubs) and also low-margin with high volume businesses (dollar stores).
Got a low-margin, low-volume businesses, like renting a property out? Well, that’s why you insist on being paid cash.