Starting a new business

Do you have a great idea for a business and want to get started? We understand that it can be difficult to know where to start. That's why we have created this webpage to guide you on what to expect, what to do, and how to access specialist advice when needed.


Spend time now getting your application right. Providing the right information, the first time can save time on the assessment and may get the doors to your business open sooner.

What is your business idea?

Start by writing down what you know about your business proposal. You will need to be able to describe the type of business you want to set up and how it will operate.

The links below provide you with a range of advice and tools to assist your business preparation.

The Business Victoria starting a business checklist takes you through all the steps you need to confidently set up a new business.

MyVictoria is an open data project from the Victorian Government, giving you access to demographic and industry data that can help learn about your industry, customers, competitors and anticipate growth and opportunities. Search by postcode, suburb, Local Government Area of Region and use data to make more informed business decisions.

Small Business Mentoring can connect you to someone with experience in your industry. Mentors can advise on how to run a business and offer specific industry insights.

What permits will I need?

There are a range of permits your business might need:

  • Planning permits relate to the use of land in accordance with the planning scheme. You may need a planning permit if you want to change the use of your premise from a restaurant to a fitness centre or add signage.
  • Building permits ensure buildings are structurally safe, stable, and comply with Building Regulations. You may need a building permit if you want to make internal alterations or carry out any structural alterations to the exterior.
  • Food business permits ensure that all businesses that sell food to the public in Victoria comply with the Food Act before commencing trade. You may need a food business permit if you intend to sell food or drink at your business.
  • Hair, beauty or skin penetration permits are required by all beauty, hair and skin penetration businesses operating in Victoria. You may need a hair, beauty or skin penetration permit if you provide services such as hairdressing, beauty treatments, colonic irrigation, skin penetration (including piercing), or tattooing.
  • Footpath trading permits regulate outdoor dining, A-frames, and footpath trading to ensure public safety, amenity and protection of natural and community assets. You may need a footpath trading permit if you want to put table and chairs outside of your business.
  • Accommodation businesses must be registered with Council to ensure compliance with the regulations in the Public Health and Wellbeing Act. You may need to register your accommodation business if you plan to open a bed and breakfast, guest house, hotel, motel, or hostel.

You can use the Business Application Navigator to help understand the types of permits you may need for your business. It only takes a few minutes. At the end, you will receive a summary of the permits you will most likely need and how to apply.

Access the Business Application Navigator here.


How do I apply for the permits I need?

If you require more than one permit or you haven’t applied for permits before we would encourage you to speak to the Business Help Desk before applying.

Business Help Desk

The Business Help Desk supports local businesses better connect with the City of Greater Bendigo. The Business Help Desk can assist you with:

  • How each council department relates to your business
  • Who you need to speak with about any potential application or approval and what information you may need to provide to assist with these discussions
  • What supports are available to bring your business idea to life

A Business Help Desk Support form has been prepared to help us respond to your enquiry. The more information you are able to provide the quicker we will be able to help you.

Or you can contact one of our friendly Business Help Desk staff on 1300 002 642 or email [email protected].

If you are applying for a single permit or are an experienced business owner you can apply for permits directly.


Once submitted we will start to process your application.

A Council Officer from the relevant department will be assigned to your application. There are standard fees that apply to all permit types. The Officer will determine the exact fees & charges for your application and contact you to confirm the final fee and payment details.

You may receive a request for further information during the assessment phase. Please be prompt in responding to any requests as a slow response may delay a decision on your application.

The Officer will tell you the expected timeline but you are welcome to contact them to check on the status of your application.


Once we have finished our assessment, we'll be in touch to confirm our decision.

If your application is approved, we will then send you a copy of your permit and, where appropriate, hard copy permits will also be mailed to you.

Congratulations! You're ready to open the doors. Thank you for choosing Bendigo as the place to run your business.

To find out more about the support available once you’re open for business visit our Business Support section

Contact us

You can contact one of our friendly Business Help Desk staff on 1300 002 642 or email [email protected].

Back to Business

We welcome your feedback.

Did you know you can log requests online?

This includes several bin requests such as missed bins, footpath maintenance, tree inspections and general requests. Visit our make a request page.

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