Starting a business is a major undertaking – part exciting and part overwhelming. The Amherst Economic Development staff are here to help.

Business Starter Kit

From the quality of its workforce to its prime transportation location, Amherst County offers a wide variety of strategic advantages for any business looking to relocate its operations.

#1 – Low cost to do business

We offer companies predictable savings in operating costs that are below the national average.

  • Business tax rates are well below the national average – both Amherst County tax rates & Virginia state taxes. Learn More »
  • Central location on east coast means excellent long haul freight rates.
  • The 6% Virginia corporate income tax rate has not increased in over forty years and is one of the lowest in the nation.
  • Low cost industrial land with infrastructure
  • Building costs in Amherst County are 15% below the national
  • Water Rates are highly competitive. In 2013 they were 11% less than the state average. Learn More »
  • Sewer rates are even more competitive. In 2013 Amherst County rates were 30% less than the state average. Learn More »
  • In 2014, electric rates in Amherst County for the industrial sector were approximately 25% lower than the national average.
  • Virginia has one of the lowest average worker’s compensation costs in the nation and has been consistently among the lowest cost states for over 15 years. Learn More »
  • The unemployment insurance tax rate is the 5th lowest in the nation and is 33% lower than the national average. Learn More »

#2 – Superior Location

Central location on the eastern seaboard means 1-day access to major East coast metro areas.

  • Halfway between Maine and Florida
  • 40% of the U.S. population falls within a one-day (10 hour) drive.
  • In a single day’s drive, vehicles leaving Amherst County can reach every major metropolitan area on the east coast between New York and Atlanta. Other major destinations, such as Chicago, New England, and the Canadian border, are just a few hours beyond.
  • Central location means excellent long haul freight rates
  • 4-Lane divided highway with quick access to major east-west and north-south interstates.
  • Rail access sites available.

Central location on the eastern seaboard means 1-day access to major East coast metro areas.

  • Halfway between Maine and Florida
  • 40% of the U.S. population falls within a one-day (10 hour) drive.
  • In a single day’s drive, vehicles leaving Amherst County can reach every major metropolitan area on the east coast between New York and Atlanta. Other major destinations, such as Chicago, New England, and the Canadian border, are just a few hours beyond.
  • Central location means excellent long haul freight rates
  • 4-Lane divided highway with quick access to major east-west and north-south interstates.
  • Rail access sites available.

#4 – Virginia is Pro-Business

Virginia has a strong, educated labor force and a pro-business regulatory climate according to Forbes.com.

Did you know?
  • Virginia is ranked #1 by Forbes in pro-business regulatory environment
  • Virginia is ranked #2 by Forbes in labor supply
  • Virginia is ranked #5 by Forbes in quality of life
    (source: Forbes.com – October 2015 rankings)

    • Virginia is ranked #5 by Forbes for best state for business  (source: Forbes. com – November 2017)

Virginia Economic Development Partnership - Business Location and Site Selection Services - Economic DevelopmentVirginia is One of the Best States for Business
(Source: VEDP, Virginia Economic Development Partnership)

Virginia provides a wealth of opportunities, a great atmosphere for development and expansion, and leadership that truly understands the importance of maintaining the best business environment for economic prosperity. Virginia’s profit-friendly environment is due to:

  • Competitive Operating Costs
  • Stable Taxes
  • Business Incentives

Pro-Business Advantages for Companies
  • Strategic east-coast location and excellent infrastructure provide easy access to national and global markets.
  • Stable, low tax costs for corporations and individuals and a 6% corporate income tax.
  • Minimized payroll costs with low worker’s compensation rates and a low unemployment tax.
  • Favorable business environment that protects “at will” and “right-to-work” employment practices.
  • One of the highest-ranked states in high-technology employment.
  • A vibrant and diverse multi-cultural community where employees can live and work.
  • An experienced, educated and productive workforce puts Virginia in the top 10 states for productivity.
  • Recruitment and training programs to help businesses become operational faster and maintain their competitive advantage.

Virginia’s Cost-Effective Operating Climate

Believe it or not, companies have improved their bottom lines just by locating in Virginia. From soft costs like healthier, more productive workers, to hard costs like cheaper, available and reliable electricity, these companies have benefited from the combination of resources that only a Virginia location can offer.

Stable Taxes

Virginia’s corporate income tax has not been raised in forty years, since 1972. At 6 percent, our rate is one of the lowest in the nation.

Business Incentives – Investing in Each Other

Virginia works enthusiastically with new and expanding employers that create a high standard of living for Virginians and enhance local and state economies through increased revenue growth. Incentives are Virginia’s investment in its economic future and a business decision for both the Commonwealth and the company. As a result, they must make good fiscal sense for all parties. Virginia continues to demonstrate a willingness to invest in those who invest in the Commonwealth.

Designed to target the needs of the company and the development plans of localities and the state, Virginia offers a variety of performance-based incentives. From tax credits to tax exemptions, Virginia continues to demonstrate its willingness to invest in those who invest and reinvest in the Commonwealth.

Amherst County welcomes new businesses. We know that starting a business is exciting, but can also be overwhelming too. We are here to help your business succeed and want to link you with the resources you need.

Business owners, resource providers, and local government came together to construct a business resource matrix to help navigate the ever-changing obstacles of business development.

Resource Matrix »

When starting a new business in Amherst County you will need to work with three departments: Planning & Zoning Department, Building Department, and the Commissioner of Revenue.

Planning and Zoning

New businesses should begin at the Department of Planning and Zoning. Planning and Zoning help you determine what types of permits you will need for your business and determine any zoning issues. Home businesses are required to have a permit in Amherst County. Planning and Zoning: (434) 946-9303, 153 Washington Street, Amherst, VA 24521.

Planning & Zoning »

Is your business going to be located in the Town of Amherst? If so, then begin at the Town of Amherst’s Town Hall, at 174 S. Main Street, (434) 946-7885   Learn more about the Amherst Town Hall here »

Building and Occupancy Permits

Building and Occupancy Permits are obtained through the Department of Building Safety and Inspections. Instructions and permit applications can be found on-line. Department of Building and Safety Inspections information: (434) 946-9302, 153 Washington Street, Amherst, VA 24521. Learn more about Building & Occupancy here.

Register your Business Name

Register your business name at the Amherst County Circuit Court, (434) 946-9321, 113 Taylor Street, P. O. Box 462, Amherst, VA 24521

The fee to register your business name is $10. Make sure that your name isn’t registered. You can obtain the form on-line. However, if you sign the form outside the presence of the Deputy Clerk of Court, the form must be notarized. The form and fee can be mailed to the Circuit Court Clerk Get a copy of the assumed fictitious name. Banks may require a copy of the form for business accounts.

Business License

Amherst County requires a business license, except for retail and wholesale businesses. Business licenses are issued through the Commissioner of the Revenue. Retail and wholesale businesses do not need to obtain a business license. Go to the Commissioner of the Revenue office to obtain and pay for your license. Fees can be found on the Amherst County website. Commissioner of the Revenue information: (434) 946-9310, 100 Goodwin Street, Amherst, VA 24521

Commissioner of the Revenue »

Is your business going to be located in the Town of Amherst? Home businesses are required to have a permit in the Town of Amherst. The Town requires a business license. The form for the business license can be found on line at www.amherstva.gov. Gross receipts will be estimated for the first year in business. The Town Treasurer is located at 174 S. Main Street, (434) 946-7885, townhall@amherstva.gov.

Other Licensure and Permits

Certain occupations and businesses are required to have specialty licenses and permits from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Such businesses and occupations would include construction, spas, hair salons, health and medical professions, and others. For comprehensive and up to date information see:

Alcohol Beverage Control

Restaurants and other businesses who wish to serve alcohol must secure a license from the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control: www.abc.virginia.gov. Click on Licensee Resources to learn more about the types of permits needed for your business. Or, contact the ABC Regional Office, (434) 582-5136, 20353 Timberlake Rd., Suite A Lynchburg, VA 24502.

Other Important Contacts in Amherst County

Need More Local/State/Federal Resource Information? Click here for more resources »

There are a wide variety of organizations – both local, state, and federal – to help you start and grow your business.

Local

Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Lynchburg Region can provide counseling for your business on topics ranging from getting a new business off the ground to marketing your established business.
(434) 845-5966, 300 Lucado Place, Lynchburg, VA 24504

Business Development Center can help with financing and business training.
(434) 582-6100, 147 Mill Ridge Road, Lynchburg VA 24502

State
Federal

Can’t find what you need? Contact Us »

Incentives for New Businesses in Amherst County, Virginia

Amherst County wants your business. We work hard to understand the needs of companies and work proactively to address them. We understand every project is unique and we are ready to find creative ways to meet the constantly changing demands of business.

The Amherst County EDA is your first point-of-contact to access local and state incentive programs. Please call or email our office to discuss what programs make the most sense to encourage the growth and success of your business.

To assist in starting or relocating your business in Amherst County, we offer the following incentive:

Qualifying Businesses
  • Incentives can be awarded to “basic”, for profit businesses deriving more than 50% of their revenue from sales outside the county; or for profit businesses can qualify if they derive over 50% of their revenue in direct support of “basic” businesses.
  • Incentives will not be awarded to non-profit organizations or institutions except in situations as determined by the Amherst County Board of Supervisors
  • Qualifying businesses include any commercial enterprise (manufacturing, service, distribution, agriculture, etc.) that meets requirements of all applicable legal codes the thresholds indicated below.
  • To qualify, new businesses must make a new taxable capital investment of at least $500,000.
Amount & Duration
  • The amount of an incentive will generally equal the same amount the business pays in new taxes over a 5 year period as a result of new capital investment. The incentive award will be in the form of reimbursement of paid taxes on an annual basis.
  • Incentives can be spread over a period of 10 years if the business chooses.
  • Some additional incentives may be awarded in the form of a partial write-down in value for businesses purchasing property in the Amelon Commerce Center.
Applying
  • A business must apply for incentives prior to formally contracting for the purchase of capital equipment or facilities.
  • Completed written applications must be submitted to the Economic Development Authority of Amherst County.

Contact Information »

State IncentivesVirginia Economic Development Partnership - Business Location and Site Selection Services - Economic Development

Investing In Each Other

Virginia works enthusiastically with new and expanding employers that create a high standard of living for Virginians and enhance local and state economies through increased revenue growth. Incentives are Virginia’s investment in its economic future and a business decision for both the Commonwealth and the company. As a result, they must make good fiscal sense for all parties. Virginia continues to demonstrate a willingness to invest in those who invest in the Commonwealth. (Source: yesvirginia.org)

Potential state grant programs:

  • Governor’s Opportunity Fund
  • Virginia Investment Partnership Act
  • The Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant (VEDIG)
  • Clear Energy Manufacturing Incentive Grant
  • Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP)
  • Corporate Income Tax Credits Sales and Use Tax Exemptions Property Tax Exemptions
  • Economic Development Access Program
  • Rail Industrial Access Program Transportation Partnership Opportunity Fund
  • Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSBFA)
  • Enterprise Zones
  • Technology Zones
  • Foreign Trade Zones
  • Defense Production Zones

Learn more »