Step 5: Business-Specific Guidance

This page contains guidance for specific business types that have different, or additional, requirements.

The industry-specific guidance on this page will assist you in determining all your needs. Please note that your business may have other federal, state or industry-required licenses and permits which may not be listed here.

These licenses, permits and taxes are supplemental to the regulations for all Fairfax County businesses, as outlined on the preceding pages.

Business-Specific Licenses, Permits and Taxes

In addition to the requirements to establish a business (Step 2: Registration), obtaining a business license and professional certifications (Step 3: Licenses and Taxes), and obtaining a permit for the location of your business (Step 4: Location), there may be unique requirements for certain business types.

New guides are continually added below. If you don’t see your business type, feel free to contact BizEX to discuss your business needs.

Business-Specific Guides

Artistic Event Hosting

ArtsFairfax logoArtsFairfax developed this Creative Spaces Toolkit to provide information and guidelines that will assist artists, arts organizations, and property owners in the activation of Fairfax County’s vacant spaces for creative community engagement.

Canvassers, Peddlers, Promotors and Solicitors

Any individual who sells goods or services door-to-door or from a temporary location in Fairfax County is required to have a Solicitors License. Solicitors may sell goods including, but not limited to, books, magazine subscriptions, flowers, firewood, coupon books, frozen meat, ice cream, or ready-to-eat hot foods. They may also offer services such as tree work, driveway sealing, high-speed internet and cable service, free estimates for home improvements, or home security alarm systems. 

Charitable Organizations

Title 57, Chapter 5 of the Code of Virginia, requires any organization that solicits donations in Virginia to register with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) unless otherwise excluded or exempted from registration requirements under § 57-48 or § 57-60.

Contractors Start Up Guide

construction plans on tableThis guide provides information for prospective contractors in Fairfax County.

Any project valued at $1,000 or more must be performed by a contractor licensed to work in Virginia.

Journeyman and Masters (electricians, plumbers or mechanical contractors) can do work under $1,000 per contract without a state contractor’s license.


Farmers Market Vendor Start Up Guide

strawberries for sale at farmers marketThis guide provides information for prospective vendors at Fairfax County farmers markets.



Food Trucks (Mobile Food Unit) Permits Guide

The purpose of this guide is to provide information about necessary permits and approvals to operate a mobile food unit in Fairfax County. 

Mobile food units offer ready to eat foods (no cooking or food preparation), as well as food items with preparation or cook-on service.

Home-Based Food Production

food safety thermometerHome-based food production is a specific type of home-based business that has its own application. Home-based businesses also require a Business, Professional and Occupational License (BPOL)

Home-based food production businesses require both:

Only certain types of foods may be produced in a home, and all food items prepared in a home must be registered annually with the Fairfax County Health Department using the Cottage Food Product Registration Form.

Restaurant Start Up Guide

two people eating a restaurant boothThis guide will help you open a restaurant in Fairfax County.

It contains information about key steps needed to:

  • build a new restaurant or
  • take over or move into an existing restaurant space.


Short-Term Daily Rentals / Lodgings (Airbnb, VRBO, Flipkey, etc.)

Short-term Daily Rental Tax is levied on all tangible personal property (except daily rental of passenger vehicles) held for rental and owned by a person engaged in the short-term rental business. Fairfax County levies a 1% tax on the total gross proceeds of these rentals. (Code of Virginia, §58.1-3510.6). This tax does not include rental dwellings also known as short-term property rental or short-term lodging (STL).

Short-term lodging (STL), also known as short-term rental (STR), is any occupancy of a dwelling for a period of less than 30 days. Prior to the adoption of the Short-Term Lodging Amendment, the Zoning Ordinance did not permit such uses in any dwelling unit. 

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