How to Start a Small Business in Houston

By Michelle Loredo

The city of Houston is currently the fourth largest city in the United States and according to the Greater Houston Partnership, the regional GDP is currently $490 billion. There has also been more than 760 expansions and relocation projects in the past two years, so if you’re looking into starting a small business, Houston has countless of business possibilities within the city limits and surrounding areas.

A resource that can help you along every step of the way is the UH Texas Small Business Development Center Network. With 14 center locations, were here to help you throughout the life cycle of your business journey.

Here's some general information that you’ll need to start planning your business and what you'll need  to operate in the city of Houston.

Research
Before you start, do research on the type of business you want to pursue, run feasibility studies and create an effective business plan that will outline your business idea. If you don’t plan out your idea, your business may not last in the competitive environment. And you don’t have to do this all on your own. Receive free business advising at any SBDC location.

Business Insurance
Learn about business insurance. It’s important that your future business is protected from natural disaster and accidents. And depending on the type of business that you decide to open, you may be legally required to have a certain type of insurance. 

Legal Forms
The local government offers both startup guides and starter kits to help guide you with general requirements. The forms listed above need to be completed so that your business is in compliance with the local, state and federal regulations. 

Business Entity Registration: How will your business be owned? You have to decide if your business is going to be under your name or under any other. Depending on your decision, you may have to file a Doing Business As certificate with the Harris County Clerk’s Office.

If your business is going to be a claimed as a Limited Liability Company, Corporation, Limited Partnership or a Non-Profit, you must file with the Texas Secretary of State.

Texas Sales Permit: In the state of Texas, to be able to sell any tangible items, property, or renting owned property you must have a Texas Sales and Use Tax permit. You can file to obtain them at the local Texas State Comptroller Office.

Federal Tax Identification Number: If you’re an owner of a business, you must have a Federal Tax Identification Number that is better known as an Employer Identification Number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service.

Property Tax Rendition: What is a tax rendition? It’s a form that outlines all personal property assets for taxation purposes. This can be filed at the Harris County Appraisal District

For more information and direction on How to Start a Business, see our library of free, on-demand webinars.