Tullahoma Business Guide

/Tullahoma Business Guide
Tullahoma Business Guide2021-06-16T19:38:01+00:00

The business plan is the blueprint for your new venture. It acts as a guide, mapping out the course of your business. A solid business plan will help you reduce the risks commonly associated with starting a new business.

Evaluate your needs and location. Will you conduct your business out of your home? Will your new endeavor occupy an existing structure or will you build your own building? Are there available programs that can help your business get off on the right foot? These are key issues to research and questions to answer well in advance of starting a business venture.

Resources to get you started:Complete your profile at Tennessee Smart Start

Tennessee Smart Start will guide you through establishing your business and lead you to resources.

This will give you a lot of assistance and list the local Small Business Office and SCORE Office.

You will also want to reach out to our Chamber and the Tullahoma Area Economic Development Corporation (TAEDC)

How businesses are initially set up affects income taxes and levels of personal liability. If your business is to be established as a corporation, S corporation, limited liability company or partnership, you must first register with the Secretary of State’s Corporate Legal Unit. You may also want to consult an attorney or tax accountant for more guidance.

When you complete your profile at Tennessee Smart Start , you will learn about the different types of business structures.

Another resource is the Tennessee Secretary of State’s site.
(615) 741-2286

When considering where to set up your business, first determine the following:

Will you have vendors or customers who come to you?

Will your customers or vendors require parking or loading/unloading facilities?

Will you have employees?

Do you manufacture products for distribution or provide services?

Before finalizing any location plans or lease agreements, contact the City’s Planning Department to

determine if your location is zoned for your type of business and verify if any special regulations are required.

Obtain a home occupation permit if you plan to operate your business from home.

Tullahoma Planning


Tullahoma Property Database 

Other considerations:

Evaluate the age of the building you’re interested in with a view to change of use, fire inspection requirements and necessary environmental or health permits. Business owners may need to make tenant improvements to legally occupy older structures.

Carefully research the former use of the building and determine if the proposed business will require substantial tenant improvements to comply with the change of use.

Determine if an initial fire inspection plus semi-annual inspections are needed to be in legal compliance. Examples of businesses requiring semi-annual fire inspections are restaurants, auto painting businesses, hotels/motels and dry cleaners.

Restaurants and product-manufacturing businesses may need certain environmental permits.

Resources to get you started:

Planning and Codes Department


Development Advisory Committee 
Each Wednesday at 8:00 am, the City Host a Business Development Meeting so that businesses can speak to the experts to learn about what is needed to get your business open. In one location, you meet with the Planning Director, Building Inspector, Public Works Director, Utilities Representatives, Fire Chief and Economic Development. Call the Planning office at 931-455-2282 to RSVP. We prefer advanced notice, but walk-ins are also welcome, too.

Some of the common information you will learn in a relaxed atmosphere with all the experts is how many smoke detectors and fire extinguishers do I need; how many parking stalls are required; what type of landscaping; do I need a grease trap; how do I get a sign permit; and how will you dispose of your waste and recycling?

City Recorder


Business Tax License Zoning Ordinance and Fire Codes Acknowledgment

Financing a start-up business may require personal savings, a second income stream (such as from a full- or part-time job), help from family and friends, personal belt-tightening or a combination. External sources of financing are also options and a worthwhile first stop is the Small Business Administration (SBA) or local bank to apply for capital. Many local banks and credit unions in the area are also SBA lenders.

The SBA offers two primary loan programs: The 7(a) loan program assists start-up and existing small businesses with working capital for a variety of general business purposes. The SBA does not itself make loans, but rather guarantees loans made by participating financial institutions. The SBA 504 program is typically managed through a local certified development corporation (CDC). CDCs work with the SBA and lenders to provide financing to small businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing for land and buildings.

Other options for financing a business can include venture capital and angel investors for start-up and high-growth technology companies, industrial revenue bonds for manufacturers and research grants from the federal government.

Resources to get you started:

Once you complete your profile at Tennessee Smart Start, there is a list of resources that includes the location of the nearest SBA office to venture capital firms.

The City of Tullahoma Finance Department manages two Business Loan Programs

Please contact Sue Wilson at 931-455-2648 for more information.

Pathway Lending

Guidelines and applications can be picked up at the City of Tullahoma Municipal Building.

Resources to get you started:

City Recorder, Rosemary Golden, 931-455-2648

Here are the basics:

Get a Tax Identification Number. If you intend to employ anyone outside of your immediate family, you must obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The EIN is also known as the Employer Tax ID and may be obtained by completing form SS-4. Employers can apply for the EIN by calling 1-800-829-1040 (CALL) or online at www.irs.gov/Businesses. Hiring employees also requires paying additional taxes and registering with the IRS.

Contact Social Security. Those who are self-employed and employers with one or more employees must pay Social Security taxes. Social Security information is available at 1-800-772-1213 or at www.ssa.gov/employer.

Obtain Workers’ Compensation information. Workers’ compensation insurance will be needed in the event an employee is injured on the job. The State Industrial Relations Department provides information and assistance to businesses regarding workers’ compensation regulations and benefits.

Tennessee American Job Center in Tullahoma 315 N Atlantic Street, Tullahoma, TN 37388 (931) 454-1905

With limited exceptions, most businesses require an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Tax ID Number. An EIN is used to identify a business in its federal tax filings. Without an EIN, you can't hire employees or open a business bank account.


You should also be aware of important Tennessee taxes that may apply to your business:

Now your ready to open a bank account and set up your accounting system.

Several permits may be needed to comply with local and state building codes:

Occupancy Permit

Building Permits or call 931-455-2282.

Permits are required for all new construction and, in most cases, structural modifications, replacements and remodeling. Examples of improvements include structural, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, site work, parking lots, landscaping and signage. Additionally,  disturbance of a formerly stabilized site will require a stormwater (erosion control) permit prior to any excavation.

Fire Inspection contact the Fire Marshall’s Office at 931-455-0936 or 931-607-5164.

Depending on the nature of the business, fire inspection might be needed for legal compliance, followed by annual fire department instructions. Examples of businesses requiring annual fire inspections include restaurants, motels, apartment buildings, auto painting, tire storage, hotels/motels and dry cleaners.

The City regulates certain businesses through the issuance of special permits. Examples of businesses requiring special permits include fireworks vendors, mobile food vendors and towing companies.

Sign Permits or call 931-455-2282.

Health Permits 

Health permits issued by the Health Division, are required for most retail businesses that sell food or beverages to the public. Other businesses that require health permits include swimming pool operators, solid waste facilities, grocery vendors and well water operators.

Other helpful information:

Alcohol Sales call Chattanooga Office Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) at 423-634-6434 or visit https://www.tn.gov/abc.html for an ABC license.

To sell or produce alcoholic beverages at a place of business, and ABC license is needed. The type of license and fee required depends on the type of business operation.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Access visit www.ada.gov or call 800-514-0301

General publications on ADA regulations and technical assistance materials are available to help businesses evaluate their places of business for ADA access.

Electricity, Fiber and Water call  931-455-4515  or visit Tullahoma Utilities Authority

Gas utility, contact Elk River Public Utility at 931-455-9511

Garbage and Recycling Services contact the City Recorder at 931-455-2648

The City of Tullahoma Finance Department manages two Business Loan Programs

Commercial loans for new business start-ups

Expansion of current Tullahoma businesses (UDAG)

The City of Tullahoma offers a matching sign grant up to $500.

Please contact Sue Wilson at 455-2648 for more information.

Contact the Tullahoma Area Economic Development Corporation (TAEDC) at 455-2282

TAEDC can also advise you on state incentives.


The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development offers other business incentives, visit https://tnecd.com/advantages/incentives-grants/ to learn more about statewide programs and opportunities.

The Smart Start program will direct you to firms that specialize in angel investors and venture capitalists.

MTSU Small Business Development Center

Motlow Small Business Academy

The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is an association of working and retired executives and business owners who donate their time and expertise as volunteer business counselors. They provide confidential counseling and mentoring services free of charge.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was established to assist, counsel, supports and protect the interests of small business concerns. The SBA provides financial, technical and management assistance to entrepreneurs seeking to start, run and expand their businesses. The Sacramento SBA resource center offers numerous workshops and training opportunities that provide the tools and skills needed to enhance and expand businesses.


The mission of the Tullahoma Area Chamber of Commerce is to identify and represent the interests and advancements of its members to promote a vision of economic growth while showcasing the area as a desirable place to live, work and visit.


The following are telephone numbers for City Offices that might be useful to vendors wishing to do business with the City:

Planning and Codes


City Recorder’s  Office


Finance Department


Department of Public Works


Economic Development


Parks & Recreation


Police Department