This page was last updated on 9/2/2021.

Starting A Business in Salem and Dent County

download button
Planning Before You Start

Permits, Licenses & Registration

          City of Salem

          Dent County
          Food and Medical Marijuana

          Vacation Rentals (Airbnb, VBRO, etc.)

          State of Missouri & Federal Tax Identification Number

Economic Development Resources

Property Information & Financial Institutions and Resources

Community Information

Planning Before You Start

Starting Your Business
Examine your business ideas and determine your potential for success before you spend time and money developing a business plan and before you open the doors. Honest answers to these questions will identify areas of strength and concerns and provide insight into your market, competitors, start-up costs, sales and financing. This will help you make an educated decision about moving forward. 

Assistance for starting a business is available from the Small Business Administration and there is also helpful information from the State of Missouri Here. A business plan is always recommended and required if you will be applying for loans or other financial or economic development assistance. Various business plan templates and information can be viewed and downloaded from Here, OR you can work with the Lean Canvas planning method where your entire business plan is on one page.

For in-person help with writing a business plan with no cost, contact the Missouri Small Business and Technology Center located in Rolla. Business Counselor Travin Shelton can walk you through the process and help answer questions about your business idea and plan.

Missouri Small Business and Technology Center
Business Counselor, Travin Shelton

Accountant services are not mandatory but it is highly recommended that one be consulted.  Seeking recommendations from your attorney, banker, or other business associate is also recommended. Planning is essential to your success.

Registration – Registration is necessary with local governments, the Secretary of State, and the Federal Government. The process and type of registration is different for each type of  business. Types of Business include Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability (LLC), and Corporations. 

Contacts for local, state, and federal registration are provided in this document with telephone numbers and websites to make starting your business easier. For any additional questions you may contact the City of Salem Economic Development Director:

City of Salem and Dent County Economic Development
Director, Sally Burbridge
400 N. Iron Street, Salem MO 65560

(back to top)

Permits, Licenses & Registration

City of Salem city logo
The City of Salem requires the following permits and licenses. Call the City Clerk at 573-729-5211 for additional information or applications. The Administration Building is located at 400 N Iron St., Salem, MO.

  • Zoning – contact the City Clerk or Economic Development Director to determine the appropriate zoning district for your business. 
  • Building/Demolition Permits – contact our Building Inspector if you or your landlord plan to make any changes to the building you own or lease, or if new construction is proposed. For new construction, the Building Inspector can answer questions about setbacks, parking, landscaping and signs permits. A Building permit must be obtained prior to ANY demolition work and/or any construction, plumbing, or electrical work beginning. This includes demolition necessary for a remodel. The inspector will conduct periodic inspections during the construction to assure compliance with City codes. 
  •  Signs – The City regulates the number, type, and placement of business signs. Contact the Building Inspector for permit applications and details. MO Department of Transportation also regulates signs along State Highways in and out of the City of Salem. 
  • Business License - Most businesses must obtain a City of Salem business license, including food trucks, temporary rentals (Airbnb, VBRO, etc) and craft/event vendors. Contact the City Clerk to obtain a license application. Depending on the type of business, you may need a sales tax number, an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and an inspection by the Dent County Health Center for food related businesses. $25 annually.
  • Liquor License – The sale of intoxicating beverages of any kind  in the City of Salem requires state, county, and city liquor licenses.  Once you have received your state license you may apply for your city license by contacting the City Clerk . 
  • Home Occupations – The City of Salem does not allow businesses in residential areas without a variance. All home occupations, contractors, and service providers are required to register with the City of Salem. Contractors must provide proof of workman’s compensation insurance. Contact the City Clerk with questions about Home Occupations.
  • Local information on site selection, traffic counts, community profiles, etc. are available from the Economic Development Director.

City Contacts:
Building, 573-729-4811
City, 573-729-5211
Economic Development, 573-729-2428

(back to top)

Dent Countycounty logo
Dent County requires the following permits and licenses. Call the County Clerk's office at 573-729-4144 for additional information or applications. The County Courthouse is located at 400 N Main St., Salem, MO. 

  • Dent County Merchants License – Any business located in Dent County and Salem, Missouri that sells products, and collects taxes must obtain a County Merchants License from the County Collector’s Office 573-729-3911 for an annual fee of $25. The Collector is located in the Dent County Courthouse. You will need your Missouri Tax ID number before completing the application.
  • Dent County Liquor License -  A County liquor license is required in addition to the state and city liquor license for any establishment that plans to sell alcohol in the City of Salem or Dent County. The state liquor license should be obtained prior to applying for the county license from the County Clerk, 573-729-4144 in the Dent County Courthouse. 
  • Zoning – At this time, there are no planning and zoning regulations, building codes or occupancy certificates in Dent County.  State and federal regulations apply to building in flood plains or for construction of waste disposal systems.
Food and Medical Marijuana
These types of businesses are subject to additional regulations and require additional permitting or licensing. There are other types of businesses requiring additional permitting or licensing, however, the two types of businesses included here generate the largest amount of questions.

  • Food Related Businesses - Any business that will be processing, preparing, serving or selling food items (examples: restaurants, food trucks, grocery stores, processing facilities, etc.) must be inspected by the Dent County Health Center and will not be issued a city or county license until such inspection is passed. For information and inspection, contact Roma Jones with the Dent County Health Center at 573-729-3106.
  • Medical Marijuana (MM)—Businesses involved in ANY form of MM cultivation, processing, testing, transportation or dispensing (sales) must first be licensed by the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (see the following page for State of Missouri).
    • Inside City of Salem—MM Dispensaries cannot locate within 500 ft of a school, daycare, church or public park. Other MM related businesses may only be located within an Industrial Zone.
    • In Dent County (outside the City of Salem) - MM related businesses and facilities fall under the state restrictions of 1000 ft from a school, daycare or churches.

County Clerk573-729-4144
County Collector573-729-3911
County Health Center573-729-3106
Economic Development Director -, 573-729-2428

(back to top)

State of Missourimissouri state seal 

Vacation Rentals (Airbnb, VBRO, ect.)

  • Vacation Rentals are required to file for a Missouri Tax ID# (see above), a Dent County Merchants License and if inside the City of Salem, a Business License for Temporary Rentals. Vacation Rental operators are also required to collect and remit to the Dent County Collector a Tourism Tax of 2%. This applies to ALL temporary rentals in the City and County.
  • If listing through Airbnb, one of their initial emails will state that they collect Tourism Tax among others. In Dent County, Airbnb ONLY collects Sales Taxes; State, County and City, if applicable (6.475% in the County and 8.350% in the City). This means you as the operator/owner of the vacation rental must collect and remit to Dent County the Tourism Tax of 2%.

Federal Tax IdentificationIRS Logo 

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)  An Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is a nine-digit number that the IRS assigns to business entities. The IRS uses this number to identify taxpayers that are required to file various business tax returns. EINs are used by employers, sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships, non-profit organizations, trusts and estates, government agencies, certain individuals and other business entities. File for your EIN HERE
(back to top)

Local Economic Development Resources

City of Salem & Dent County Economic Development
Sally Burbridge, Director  
Office: 573-729-2428   Cell: 573-453-6871  

(back to top)

Property Information

Available Buildings and Sites

Director of Economic Development – Sally Burbridge

Local Real Estate Agents and Brokers 
(In the Business Directory, click on the Real Estate category and then scroll down to see the list)

Financial Institutions and Resources

Local Lending Institutions
(In the Business Directory, click on Lending Institutions and then scroll down to see the list)

Meramec Regional Development Corporation (Loan Fund) logo

Maria Bancroft, Business Loan Specialist
573-265-2993, ext. 114

USDA—Rural Development (Loan and Grant Programs)logo
Ray Mowery, Program Specialist
417-967-2028, ext 4

Justine Peterson (Micro-loans & Business Counseling) logo

(back to top)

Community Profile

Catch the current in Salem! As the gateway to the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, the Salem Community is filled with outdoor adventure and welcoming people. Naturally attractive to all ages, we strive to sustain an economically diverse and vibrant community that attracts tourist, families, and industry. We celebrate our hardworking, safe, and active community with amenities, resources, and community gatherings that unite us.

Centrally Located
Salem is located in South Central Missouri – 28 miles southeast of Interstate 44 where highways 19, 68, 32, and 72 intersect. It is a two-hour drive from, St Louis, Columbia, and Springfield Missouri. We are five hours from Kansas City, Missouri and Memphis, Tennessee.   

Check out the following additional information to assist with starting up your business;logo

(back to top)

#Keep Current.
Sign Up for Notifications