Resources for new businesses

Starting a new business

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's 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.

What permits will I need?

There are a range of permits your business might need:

Types of business permits
  • 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.
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.


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 and 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.

Starting a home-based business

If you are starting business from home you may require certain permits. This page will help you understand what requirements need to be met to get your business up and running.

What permits do I need?

There are a range of permits your business might need including:

  • Planning permit (subject to requirements)
  • Building permit (to alter or change the use of an existing building or carry out structural works)
  • Food act registration (prepare, handle or store food at home)
  • Health and beauty registration (hairdressers, tattooists, beauty therapists)
Planning permits

If you want to run a business from home you may not need planning permission provided you meet certain requirements:

  • You must live in the dwelling
  • You can employ two staff who do not live in the dwelling
  • The net floor area (including storage area) cannot be more than 100 square metres, or more than one-third of the net floor area of the dwelling, whichever is less
  • You can’t impose a utility load greater than a normal domestic use i.e. power or water
  • The business must not affect the amenity of the neighbourhood with regard to the appearance of the building or materials used, car parking, transporting of goods, hours of operation, electrical interference, storing chemicals or other hazardous materials, noise, smells and dust
  • Cars cannot be serviced or repaired for profit
  • Only one commercial vehicle under two tonnes can be present at any time
  • Only goods manufactured or serviced on the premises can be sold or stored
  • No goods manufactured or serviced on the premises can be visible from outside the site
  • Any goods offered for sale online must not be collected from the dwelling

If your home business does not meet the above requirements you may still apply for a planning permit for home occupation where:

  • You can employ up to three people who do not live in the dwelling
  • The floor area is up to 200 square metres or one-third of the gross floor area of the dwelling, whichever is less
  • Up to two commercial vehicles under two tonnes can be present at any time
Advertising signs

You can have a sign at any location on your property advertising your business at home provided it is not larger than 0.2 square metres (20cm x 20cm). If you want a larger sign or an illuminated sign, you will need to apply for a planning permit.

Note: If you own a heritage listed home, you will need to speak to Town Planning.

Building permit

If you are planning to alter or change the use of an existing building or carry out structural works you will require a building permit. 

Food act registration

In Victoria the Food Act 1984 requires anyone who prepares food in a home kitchen for sale to the public to be registered with Council. This includes:

  • The storing and preparing of food at home for sale at temporary food stalls such as markets or events
  • Preparing food at home for sale directly to the public, meal sharing, or to be sold by other food premises

Residential kitchens are generally designed for domestic use and may not meet the structural requirements expected of a commercial kitchen. As such, domestic kitchens may not always be suitable for large scale or high-risk food activities. Food safety laws require that the layout of domestic home kitchens minimise the risk of food contamination. Some things you'll need to think about:

  • The layout of your private dwelling should minimise opportunities for food contamination
  • You must ensure fixtures, fittings, equipment and transport vehicles are able to be cleaned properly
  • Your private dwelling should have appropriate access to water, waste disposal, light, ventilation, cleaning and personal hygiene facilities, storage space and toilets
Health and beauty registration

Low risk procedures such as hairdressing, hairstyling, manicures/pedicures and make up procedures can be conducted in the client’s home if the operator is registered with the Council where they live.


Our business help desk is available to assist with any business related enquiries.

Open from 8.30am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

Contact our friendly business help desk staff on:

Online support enquiry

[email protected]

1300 002 642