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If you want to open a clothing retail business in Sydney or the rest of NSW, you can use this page as a guide to get you started. 

You may need to complete only some of these transactions. For example, you can register a business name even if you don't want to operate as a company. 

As part of owning a business and being an employer, there are a number of other things you'll need to consider. These include:

  • setting up your lease, and obtaining the right permits for your building
  • operating in line with the Competition and Consumer Act
  • ensuring you follow the guidelines for importing and buying goods from overseas
  • understanding and complying with Fair Work laws, employment standards, and work health and safety laws
  • trademarking your intellectual property, and
  • setting up a domain name.

Before you invest time and money into setting up your business by registering and applying for the right business licences, make sure you put together a business plan and carefully consider how viable your business is. Many businesses fail when these things aren't considered. Get in touch with the Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner or an industry association to get advice specific to your area. 

Consider this list as a starting point to finding out what's relevant to your situation. 

Before starting a small business, it's important you choose the best structure for your business type. The most commonly used business structures are sole trader, company, partnership, and trust.

Set up as a sole trader
Operating as a sole trader is the simplest and cheapest business structure you can set up. You control and manage the business, and although you 'trade' on your own, you can still employ people to work for you.

  • Cost: free, but $34 for 1 year, $80 for 3 years to register your business name
  • Time: varied

Register a company
If you've decided a company structure is best for your business, you'll need to register your company with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

  • Cost: between $387 and $469, depending on the company type
  • Time: about a week to organise all the necessary documents

Register a limited partnership
If you’ve decided a limited partnership structure is best for your business, you’ll need to register the limited partnership with the NSW Fair Trading’s Registry Services.

  • Cost: $381
  • Time: about a week to organise all the necessary documents

Set up a trust business structure
A trust is an obligation imposed on one person or entity – the trustee, to hold property for the benefit of another – the beneficiary. The trustee can be an individual or a company, the latter providing some asset protection.

  • Cost: varied, but expensive
  • Time: varied

Register a co-operative
If you've decided a co-operative is best for your business, you'll need to register the co-operative with NSW Fair Trading's Registry Services. 

  • Cost: $363
  • Time: about a week to organise all the necessary documents

Register an Australian Business Number (ABN)
You don't have to register for an ABN, but an ABN will let you claim Goods and Services Tax credits, energy grants credits, register an Australian domain name, plus more.

  • Cost: free
  • Time: about 15 minutes

Apply for an Administrator AUSkey
An AUSkey is a unique secure login linked to an Australian business number (ABN), which allows you to access and send business information to government online

  • Cost: free
  • Time: about 30 minutes

Register a business name
You'll need to register a business name, unless you're a sole trader or partnership and your business name is exactly the same as your or you and your partner's first and last names. You'll need an ABN or ABN application number to register your business name. 

  • Cost: $34 for 1 year, $80 for 3 years
  • Time: about 10 minutes

Register your business for Goods and Services Tax (GST)
You must register your business for GST if your GST turnover is $75,000 or more.

  • Cost: free
  • Time: about 20 minutes

Apply for a business Tax File Number
If you've decided a company, trust, or partnership structure is best for your business, you'll need to apply for a business Tax File Number.

  • Cost: free
  • Time: about 1 hour

Help with leasing business premises
You can find out about retail and commercial leasing on the Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner's website.

  • Cost: free
  • Time: about 1 hour to read through the documents

Apply for development consent
You may need to get consent from your local council before you can carry out development work on your business premises. As part of this process, you may need to notify certain stakeholders about your application. Make sure you read the notification requirements for your local council carefully.

  • Cost: varied, depending on your local council and the work
  • Time: varied, depending on your local council and the work

Prepare and lodge a complying development application
You may be able to use the Electronic Housing Code (EHC) system to investigate, prepare, lodge and track a complying development. The EHC can also be used to find out if your proposed building works are considered an exempt development.

  • Cost: free to use the EHC system, plus varied fees for assessment depending on your local council or accredited certifier
  • Time: about 30 minutes to prepare your application

Apply to install a street awning or a business sign
Before you install any street awnings or business signs at your premises, you may need to apply for permission from your local council.

  • Cost: varied, depending on your local council
  • Time: varied, depending on your local council

Apply for a zoning certificate
To find out about any controls, requirements and restrictions on a property, apply to your local council for a zoning certificate (Section 149 planning certificate).

  • Cost: varied, depending on your local council
  • Time: varied, depending on your local council

Apply to make changes to a heritage listed place
If you want to make changes to a heritage listed place, you may need to seek approval from your local council or the Heritage Council of NSW. 

  • Cost: varied, depending on your local council or the Heritage Council of NSW
  • Time: varied, depending on your local council or the Heritage Council of NSW

Apply for a Construction Certificate
Before you start any building work, you need to apply for a Construction Certificate from your local council. This certificate confirms the construction plans are consistent with the development consent and other requirements. 

  • Cost: varied, depending on your local council
  • Time: varied, depending on your local council

Appoint a Principal Certifying Authority
After being issued with development consent or a Construction Certificate, and before you start any approved construction, you need to appoint a Principal Certifying Authority to oversee the building work. 

  • Cost: varied, depending on contact appointed
  • Time: varied, depending on contact appointed

Apply for a Fire Safety Certificate
You’ll need to have a final Fire Safety Certificate from your local council before a final Occupation Certificate can be issued for a new building or an existing building that’s changed use. 

  • Cost: varied, depending on contact appointed
  • Time: varied, depending on contact appointed

Apply for a Compliance Certificate
After your building work is complete, you may need to apply to your local council for a Compliance Certificate to confirm the development meets council and regulatory requirements. 

  • Cost: varied, depending on your local council
  • Time: varied, depending on your local council

Apply for an Occupation Certificate
Before moving in to your premises, you’ll need an Occupation Certificate from your local council to occupy or use a new building, or change the use of an existing building. 

  • Cost: varied, depending on your local council
  • Time: varied, depending on your local council

Keep in mind: If you're opening a clothing retail business, you'll need to work closely with your local council. You can find your local council online to get the information relevant to your situation.

Register a regulated water system
You need to register a regulated water system, like a water cooling or warm water system, with your local council. 

  • Cost: varied, depending on your local council
  • Time: varied, depending on your local council

Apply to place commercial waste in a public place
You’ll need approval from your local council if you want to place commercial waste from your business in a public place for collection. 

  • Cost: varied, depending on your local council
  • Time: varied, depending on your local council 

Apply for a licence to play music at your business
If you want to play music at your business, you'll need 2 kinds of licences to cover copyright issues.

  • Cost: varied, depending on your music needs
  • Time: about 40 minutes

Comply with Australian Consumer Law
It's important you're familiar with consumers' rights for purchases of goods and services under Australian Consumer Law, and understand your responsibilities for complying with consumer guarantees. 

  • Cost: free
  • Time: about 1 hour to read through the documents

Comply with competition and consumer laws
It's important you understand and comply with competition and consumer laws that govern how all businesses in Australia, including online retailers and those with a shopfront, must deal with their competitors, suppliers and customers. 

  • Cost: free
  • Time: about 1 hour to read through the documents

Meet requirements for displaying or advertising prices
You must comply with pricing regulations, and display prices accurately and clearly.

  • Cost: free
  • Time: about 1 hour to read through the documents

Apply for an exemption from restricted trading days
If you wish to open your shop on a restricted trading day, such as Good Friday, Easter Sunday, ANZAC Day (prior to 1pm), or Christmas Day, you may need to apply for an exemption. 

  • Cost: free
  • Time: you need to apply 28 days prior to the restricted trading day

Check guidelines for importing and buying goods from overseas
You don't need a licence to buy or import goods from overseas, but you may need to get permits to clear some goods from customs control. Check you understand and comply with any customs legislation and procedures before you order goods from overseas. 

  • Cost: free
  • Time: ongoing

Comply with the Ethical Clothing Trades Extended Responsibility Scheme
All clothing retailers, suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors, have a responsibility to ensure clothing goods made in Australia and sold within NSW don't exploit clothing outworkers. 

  • Cost: free
  • Time: ongoing

Comply with Fair Work requirements
If you’re employing staff you must comply with Fair Work requirements like minimum pay and conditions.

  • Cost: varied, depending on your business needs
  • Time: about 1 hour to read through the documents

Comply with long service leave requirements
If you're employing staff you must comply with NSW Industrial Relations requirement to pay long service leave.

  • Cost: varied, depending on your employees' periods of service
  • Time: varies

Paying employees at, or above, award rates
You need to make sure that you're providing minimum wages and conditions for your employees. These conditions are covered in the modern awards.

  • Cost: free
  • Time: ongoing

Register for PAYG withholding
You'll need to register for PAYG withholding if you need to withold tax (on behalf of the Australian Tax Office) from payments you make to employees, contractors, or other businesses that haven't supplied you an ABN.

  • Cost: free
  • Time: varies, depending on your individual circumstances

Register for the superannuation clearing house
If you have 19 or fewer employees or have an aggregated turnover below $2 million, you can register for the small business superannuation clearing house to pay super contributions to your employees in a single online location. 

  • Cost: free
  • Time: ongoing

Use the Superannuation Guarantee Contributions Calculator
Use the calculator to check the super contributions you need to pay your employees.

  • Cost: free
  • Time: about 15 minutes

Comply with work health and safety laws
You must comply with work health and safety (WHS) laws so that people who come into contact with your business (customers, contractors or visitors) are kept healthy and safe.

  • Cost: varied, depending on your business needs
  • Time: about 2 hours to work through the training modules, then ongoing maintenance as required

Apply for a workers compensation insurance policy
If you're going to pay more than $7500 a year in wages, you'll need to have a workers compensation insurance policy.

  • Cost: varied, depending on your business needs
  • Time: about 30 minutes

    Register for the small business grant
    If you're within the payroll tax threshold, and intend to increase the number of full time, part-time and/or casual workers in your business, you may be able to register for the Small Business Grant.

    • Cost: free
    • Time: varied

    Register a trade mark
    A trade mark (sometimes called a brand) is the way you show your customers and the public who you are.

    • Cost: varied, depending on the method you choose to apply. There is no fee to actually 'register' the trademark.
    • Time: about a week to organise all the necessary documents

    Register a domain name for your business
    With an ABN, you can register a website name that ends with '.au'.

    • Cost: varied, depending on your provider
    • Time: about 10 minutes

    Get liability insurance for your business
    You can choose to take out public liability, professional indemnity, or product liability insurance.

    • Cost: varied, depending on your business needs
    • Time: about 1 hour

    Apply for a Trade Promotion Lottery Permit (Single Promotion)
    If you want to run a single free-entry competition, such as a sweep, giveaway or contest to promote your business, you'll need to apply for a permit online. 

    • Cost: from $80, depending on the prize value and your lodgement method
    • Time: about 20 minutes

    Apply for a Trade Promotion Lottery Permit (Multiple Promotions)
    If you want to run multiple free-entry competitions over 12 months, such as sweeps, giveaways or contests to promote your business, you'll need to apply for a permit online.

    • Cost: from $320, depending on the prize value and your lodgement method
    • Time: about 20 minutes

    Small businesses are important to the NSW economy. Service NSW is trialling services to support one of these key areas – the clothing retail industry.

    We welcome your feedback on the information provided, and on how we could improve our services. Please Contact us to share your thoughts.

    Source url: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/open-clothing-retail-business-nsw