How to Form a Retail Business in Singapore
In many cases setting up a retail business in Singapore is relatively straight forward. The nature of your retail business and the space often determine whether you will need license and permit to operate. In any case, you will need to secure a premise for your retail operation first. The premise has to be zoned for commercial use. You are not allowed to use residential premises for any retail activities. You will then need to register your business with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore (ACRA). Your business, though retail, must register as a sole proprietorship, partnership or a private limited company. Rikvin is corporate service agency that specializes in business setup. We can advise you on the suitable business structure based on your needs.
Choosing a Premise
Once you have secured a retail space do make sure that it is current on building codes and fire safety measures. If you plan to renovate the shop, you will need to apply for a building work permit through Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA). While waiting for the building works approval, you will also need to obtain from BCA: a Certificate of Statutory Completion and a Temporary Occupation Permit before you can occupy the space. All renovation works are to be performed by certified or licensed contractors including architects. Almost all retail shops have a signage for their businesses. You will need to apply for an Advertisement License from BCA to place a signage on a building.
You need not be concerned if the space is already set up for retail; otherwise, you will need to liaise with the landlord to convert the existing space into a retail one. Oftentimes it just requires an application for Change of Use permit from Urban Redevelopment Authority. You will also need the necessary licenses or permits if your retail business involves food, animal products, drugs and etc. The three main Singapore government agencies that preside many of these licenses are National Environment Agency, Agri-food and Veterinary Authority and Health Sciences Authority.
You may wish to obtain your retail goods from wholesalers in Singapore or you can import your own goods. For more information on importing goods, please see our article How to Set Up an Import Business. You will, of course, need hired help to assist you in selling your goods. Ministry of Manpower determines, on a case-by-case basis, if you qualify to hire foreign workers. All foreign workers working in your retail business must have valid employment passes or visas. Consequences for failure to comply with employment regulation include fines and imprisonment.
For foreigners who are interested in setting up a retail business in Singapore, it would be helpful to seek an agency that specializes in company incorporation in Singapore. It is, in fact, necessary to engage a law or corporate services agency to assist you in incorporating a business in Singapore with ACRA.
Rikvin is the leading authority in company formation in Singapore. We can help you register your company with ACRA in less than 24 hours. Our comprehensive corporate services can provide you with a customized service that includes application for pertinent licenses and permits that you require to establish a retail business. To learn more about our Incorporation Services please go to Singapore Company Incorporation Services.