Business Startup Guide

Let's get your new business up and running!

Conquer the task of starting a business and get connected with the people who can help you do it.

Phase one: Business Development

You have your idea, now it’s time to write it down in a business plan! Write a comprehensive outline of how you plan to run your business. This is a key step in your business’ development. We understand this can be a daunting task, so we’ve provided some resources to help you get started!

Key Contacts

SCORE Lancaster Chapter Information and guidance on starting a business in Lancaster County. (717) 397-3092
ASSETS Lancaster ASSETS is a non-profit organization focused on transforming the community through business. (717) 393-6089

Phase two: Learn

Obtain information on demographics, commercial real estate availability, and other valuable resources.

Key Contacts

Lancaster County Planning Commission Research & Information Specialist (717) 299-8333

Determine zoning regulations, change of use requirements, accessibility requirements, building and sign permit requirements, and subdivision and land development regulations and processes.

Key Contacts

Ephrata Zoning and Code Enforcement Office (Ephrata Borough Office) Provides zoning and code enforcement information. (717) 738-9202
Borough of Ephrata Provides additional information on the borough of Ephrata. (717) 738-9222

Phase three: Structure

Decide upon your business structure – sole proprietorship, general partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, limited liability company, corporation, or PA S corporation. Once you have determined a structure, you may want to contact a local attorney for assistance.

Determine if you must register your fictitious name with the Pennsylvania Department of State. A fictitious name is any assumed name, style, or designation other than the proper name of the person and/or entity using the name. Contact the Pennsylvania Department of State at (717) 787-1057 for additional information. Registration of a fictitious name can be completed online

Every employer subject to employment taxes is required to obtain an employer identification number to identify his or her business with the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration. Application for a federal EIN can be filed by telephone, fax, or mail. The appropriate form can be downloaded from the IRS website,

Determine whether you are liable for the state unemployment compensation tax. If you employ one or more persons, you may be liable for the state unemployment compensation tax and must register with the Bureau of Employer Tax Operations by completing a Pennsylvania Enterprise Registration Form and Instruction (PA-100). You will also need to determine any required registration for local taxes and all applicable state tax liabilities.

Key Contacts

PA Form Ordering Service Provides PA-100 form. (800) 362-2050
Lancaster Bureau of Employer Operations Field Accounting Service Office Answers general questions on taxation. (717) 299-7606

You will need to obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage for your employees. In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation insurance coverage is required if a person, company, or corporation has any full or part-time employees. This includes family members, one-person corporations, and corporate officers.

Key Contacts

Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Provides additional information on workers' compensation. (717) 772-3702

Phase four: Get to work

Work hard, prosper, and enjoy all the benefits of doing business in the Ephrata community!

Additional Contact Points

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (717) 787-4737
Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (717) 783-8250

We're a community!

As a non-profit organization helping businesses just like you, our goal is to be a resource to connect and grow the community! Please get in touch so we can grow together!