‘Toolbox’ Helps Businesses Avoid Fines


Operating a small business in New York City can be rewarding but can also be difficult, expensive, and frustrating. To level the playing field, the city Department of Consumer Affairs has created a new “Good for Customers, Great for Business” initiative, intended to make it as easy as possible for local businesses to know and understand the rules and regulations they must follow to preserve public safety and protect themselves from fines.

The office of Councilman David G. Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) is publicizing the campaign among his constituents and the wider city area. Boro Park, Midwood, and Bensonhurst are home to hundreds, if not thousands, of small and locally-owned businesses.

“I have heard from so many frustrated small business owners about just how difficult it is,” said the Councilman. The “crippling fines,” he said, in many cases are “unfairly and arbitrarily issued by inspectors.”

The “Good for Customers, Great for Business” initiative includes an online feature that allows businesses to ask questions and get immediate answers from Department of Consumer Affairs representatives during business hours, rather than take time away from their business to visit DCA’s Licensing Center or conduct a lengthy phone conversation.

In addition — for the first time — the exact checklists that DCA inspectors use to inspect businesses are now available for nearly 30 different industries. Knowing specifically what city inspectors are looking for when they visit a business is a powerful tool. Also available are all the signs, forms and other information businesses need to comply with the regulations governing their industry.

“The biggest complaint I have heard from small business owners is the arbitrary and ever-changing nature of the inspection process. If everyone knows exactly what the rules and requirements are, the system will work better for everyone involved, including the customer,” concluded Greenfield.

District businesses may contact Councilman Greenfield’s office at (718) 853-2704 about their concerns.