Guidlines for Starting a Business

  1. Obtain a DBA - Contact the Wexford County Clerk's Office at (231) 779-9450 to get a Doing Business As Form, which registers your business name for exclusive use in Wexford County. The form is only one page in length, but requires all applicant's signatures to be notarized. The cost of the DBA is $10 and will register your business name for five years. It must be renewed thereafter as required by the County Clerk's Office.
  2. Obtain a City of Cadillac Business Permit or Business License - Contact the City Clerk's Office at (231) 775-0181 x 117 for a Business Permit or Business License application form. Whether or not your business requires a permit or license depends on the type and nature of that business.
  3. Obtain a City of Cadillac Sign or Building Permit - If you are planning to add exterior signage to your downtown storefront or make structural modifications (either interior or exterior), you must first obtain the required permit from the City Zoning Department. Contact John Wallace at (231) 775-0181 x 101 or Mike Coy at (231) 775-0181 ext. 102 for more information.
  4. Parking - Short-term, two-hour customer parking spaces, which include essentially all on-street parking spaces, are strictly enforced for customer use by the Cadillac Police Department. Employees and owners must park in the long-term areas to avoid the $15 time zone citation. Downtown property owners pay an annual special assessment as part of their regular tax bill to maintain the off-street parking areas. As a result, if overnight parking is necessary during the winter months, they should contact Downtown Development Authority Director, John Wallace, at (231) 775-0181 x 101 to receive a complimentary overnight parking permit. Residents of downtown apartments are required to purchase the permits, which are $6.50 per week, $22 per month, or $82 seasonal.
  5. Economic Incentive Programs - The DDA currently offers two financial incentive programs, which include the Low-Interest Façade Improvement Program and the Elevator Grant Program. Please contact John Wallace at (231) 775-0181 x 101 for more detailed information and/or application forms regarding these programs.


This list is only designed to address the local considerations one should make before starting a business in downtown Cadillac, Michigan. It does not address any state or federal requirements, nor does it address any other considerations that are common to starting a new business (i.e., obtaining insurances, etc.). Along with the required licenses and permits, the City of Cadillac may impose other conditions, which may be necessary to ensure compliance with applicable ordinances and regulations. Such considerations shall be consistent with applicable ordinances and regulations and shall be considered an integral part of the permit process.