Media Release: Small Business Permit Fees Waived for Small Business Month

Costs for permits to improve storefronts waived throughout May


SAN FRANCISCO, CA – In recognition of Small Business Month, San Francisco merchants may once again obtain a fee waiver for awnings, signs on awning replacements and pedestrian level lighting issued during the month of May – an immediate savings of roughly $1,500.

The fee waiver program, sponsored by Supervisor Katy Tang, was developed in partnership with the Department of Building Inspection, San Francisco Planning, the Office of Economic & Workforce Development, and the Office of Small Business. Originally introduced as a pilot program in 2012, the ordinance was amended in 2014 to take place every May. 
“This fee waiver is one way we can reduce the burden on our small business owners across San Francisco,” said Supervisor Katy Tang. “Investing in a new awning can be expensive, and this fee waiver makes it that much more affordable to our businesses.”

Permit fees can be a financial barrier for many small businesses that want to make minor physical improvements to their storefronts. This program is designed to reduce that financial burden while providing an economic incentive to contribute to the vitality of merchant corridors throughout the City. “Physical appearance plays a large role in how a business is perceived,” said John Rahaim, Director of San Francisco Planning. “Upgrades made to a storefront façade can go a long way toward improving their bottom line. We’re encouraging small businesses to take advantage of this opportunity.”

“The Department of Building Inspection is an enthusiastic supporter of this ongoing effort to encourage small business owners to invest constructively into the well-being of their businesses,” added Tom Hui, S.E., Certified Building Official, and Director of DBI. “We urge small business owners to save on these permit review fees during May by acting immediately.”

The fee waiver applies to Planning Department and Department of Building Inspection permit review fees for applications submitted over the counter at 1660 Mission Street. Submitted permit applications are required to go through the standard review process with DBI, and only permits issued in May are eligible to participate in the fee waiver program. A small business is defined as a business with 100 or fewer employees.

For more information about the fee waiver program, please contact:

Department of Building Inspection
1660 Mission Street

San Francisco Planning Department
1650 Mission Street, Suite 400


Media Contacts:
Gina Simi, San Francisco Planning

Ashley Summers, Office of Supervisor Tang

William Strawn, Department of Building Inspection