And you've probably also heard small business owner after small business owner complain that the city is constantly hitting them with costly fines for regulations that, in many cases, they had no idea they were violating, undermining the very “backbone” elected officials praise day in and day out.
A small business owner who is working 10-12 hours a day to keep their business afloat can't possibly be expected to stay on top of every single regulation, and many fear the dreaded visit from a city inspector, whether they be from the Department of Sanitation, Department of Consumer Affairs, or any other regulatory agency in the city.
Now the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) has a program to help entrepreneurs avoid costly fines before they receive them.
Small business owners can visit on.nyc.gov/bizcomplianceconsult or call 311 and schedule a free visit from SBS staff, who will tour their business and look for any potential problem areas, as well as coach them up on proper compliance.
The visit is at no cost to the business owner, and could actually save them money down the road by offering them the opportunity to fix potential issues before they turn into fines and violations.
It worked for Tony Li, who started his Flushing laundromat in 2016. Li approached SBS commissioner Gregg Bishop at a recent resource fair and expressed concern over new rules governing the operation of laundromats in the city that recently went into effect.
The commissioner sent a compliance team to his business, which explained the new regulations and how he could fix any problems so he wouldn't run afoul of the new regulations.
This is a great example of a city agency helping the “little guy” instead of trying to find ways to punish them. If you're a small business owner, we urge you to reach out to SBS and schedule your free visit. The only thing you have to lose is a future ticket from a city inspector.