Inspections, Permits and Licenses

Defiance - Economic Vitality - "Unlock the Possibilities"

Revitalizing a downtown or neighborhood commercial district requires focusing on the underlying Economic Vitality of the district. The work is rooted in harnessing local economic opportunity and creating a supportive business environment for small business owners and the scores of entrepreneurs, innovators.

The Ohio Secretary of State provides tools to guide you in starting a new business. For information to help build and grow your business visit To actually start and manage your business on line go to

At a local level the following information has been compiled to assist you:

Inspections, Permits and Licenses



Building Inspection
The City Building Inspection Division is the first stop for anyone purchasing or renting a building for use. You must determine if the building is zoned appropriately for the type of use that will be taking place in the building. Based on that determination you will either be approved or directed to apply for a zoning change. Upon zoning approval, The Defiance Fire Department should be called for a safety inspection.

Building Inspection Department

Defiance Fire Department

Permits are required to demolish, alter or make repairs to any existing structure. Electrical, plumbing, HVAC, roofing, siding, window replacement, concrete and paving all require permits. Contractors performing this work must be registered with the city in order to work in the city. It is the property owner’s responsibility to see that all permits are obtained. Permits for commercial buildings must be acquired through the State of Ohio.

Local Information - Building Department, City Hall Building

Ohio Board of Building Standards

Sign Permits
Defiance has a sign code for the community and one specific to the Downtown area. An approval and permit for all new signs placed on buildings is required.

Building Department, City Hall Building

Ordinances that cover inspections, permits, signs, sidewalks and parking as well as other topics relevant to downtown businesses can be found at

Vendor's License:
The County Auditor issues the vendor's license. The vendor's license is for a business with a permanent location. For each location, a separate license must be obtained. The fee is $25.00.

Defiance County Courthouse
Defiance County Auditor's Office

Transient Vendor's License
A Transient Vendor's License is issued directly by the Ohio Department of Taxation to a vendor with no fixed place of business. The fee for a Transient Vendor's License is $25.00. Service companies and delivery vendors also need a vendor's license.

Ohio Department of Taxation

Employer's Identification Number (EIN):
The Internal Revenue Service requires an EIN for any business with employees. Also known as Federal Tax Identification Number.

Ohio Liquor License:
There are three ways to obtain an application for Ohio Liquor License:

  1. Call: 1-614-644-2431
  2. Write: Licensing Office
    6066 Tussing Road
    P.O. Box 4005
    Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
    Include a self-addressed envelope
  3. Go online: