Review the Business Climate

How it's done

The business climate is the general economic environment that local businesses operate in. Reviewing and understanding the local business climate provides valuable insights about the economy, costs, risks, and incentives that may impact the success of your business. This activity will guide you to better understand the business climate in Southfield and help you answer the following fundamental questions.

What is the business climate in Southfield?

We have compiled the most important aspects of Southfield’s business climate as an interactive dashboard below. This dashboard provides valuable economic, resident, household, dwelling and development indicators that may influence the success of your business.




Resident Indicator Population Growth Chart






What costs and assistance should I know about?

Whether you have a new or existing business it is critical to be aware of costs, incentives and grants that impact your business. This dashboard provides you with a snapshot of the major costs of conducting a business in Southfield and assistance available to Southfield businesses.

Assessment and Property Taxes

The City of Southfield provides assessment and tax data information as a service to residents and businesses located in the City free of charge. The data is updated on a weekly basis.

Type of Use Water and Sewer Utility Rates ($ per 100 cubic feet) Estimated Annual Tax Rate ($ per square foot)
Water Standard Rate $3.838 -
Sewer Standard Rate $5.556 -
Corportate Headquarters Estimate $9.37 $1.08
Large Manufacturing Facility Estimate $9.51 $0.60
Medium Manufacturing Facility Estimate $8.91 $0.70
Large Box Retail Estimate $9.44 $2.00
High Tech Center Estimate $8.95 $1.29
Call Center Operations Estimate $9.40 $1.71
Research and Development Center Estimate $9.59 $0.69

Source: City of Southfield Economic Profile (2016)

The most current data can also be accessed by visiting the computer terminals located on the front counter of the Assessment Department. Some special assessments, such as alarm billing or lawn mowing charges, may not be reflected in the tax statements. Please contact the Treasurer's Department to attain any special assessments that may apply to a parcel, at (248) 796-5200.

The City of Southfield is dedicated to assisting you navigate through the planning, licensing and permitting process with ease and expediency. The City of Southfield is a Redevelopment Ready Community (RRC) certified by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The RRC Program is a state-wide certification program that supports communities to become development ready and competitive in today’s economy. It encourages communities to adopt innovative redevelopment strategies and efficient processes which build confidence among businesses and developers.

Planning & Development

The Planning Department is responsible for processing and reviewing land use plans for development and redevelopment within the City. The Planning Department also conducts studies and develops ordinances to govern land use, distributes and archives existing land use data, and administers the City's Woodlands and Wetlands ordinances: Planning Department forms and applications

The Planning Department also administers Planning Department Projects Online, an online interactive tool that will allow residents to view proposed land use cases being considered by the Southfield Planning Commission and City Council: Southfield Planning Department Projects Online

Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about planning in the City of Southfield. For more information contact City of Southfield Planning Department at (248) 796-4150 or email:

Building & Construction

Before beginning a building project, whether new construction, alteration or repair, the homeowner and/or builder should be aware that permits may be required. The Building Department is responsible for issuing various types of building and construction permits: Building Department Forms

As a general rule, any construction involving a structural change to a building, complete or partial rehabilitation, new or re-roofing, or any new construction, will require a building permit. Work not requiring permits include most routine maintenance and repair, such as painting, caulking, vinyl sheet flooring, carpeting, new cabinets and tuckpointing.

Please call the City of Southfield Building and Safety Engineering Department at (248) 796-4100 for specific information about the permits required for a particular project.

It is important to note that the City of Southfield and State of Michigan Law requires separate permits for electrical, plumbing, and heating systems. Homeowners should take care to select qualified, licensed and insured contractors to perform this work.

Annual Wages per Employee


NAICS Code Oakland County Michigan U.S Total
11 Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting$25,831$31,161$33,287
21 Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction$59,959$74,143$102,988
22 Utilities$135,737$112,470$102,868
23 Construction$69,469$59,078$58,647
31-33 Manufacturing$76,471$65,188$64,870
42 Wholesale trade$93,551$72,334$73,710
44-45 Retail trade$33,662$29,205$30,299
48-49 Transportation and warehousing$48,203$53,196$50,459
51 Information$78,065$68,333$98,458
52 Finance and insurance$97,738$76,061$101,210
53 Real estate and rental and leasing$50,976$43,744$54,965
54 Professional and technical services$82,964$82,319$90,972
55 Management of companies and enterprises$130,818$123,389$115,325
56 Administrative and waste services$41,565$34,700$37,989
61 Educational services$44,837$36,807$48,757
62 Health care and social assistance$50,199$48,880$47,956
71 Arts, entertainment, and recreation$35,590$32,956$36,806
72 Accommodation and food services$18,324$17,106$20,032
81 Other services, except public administration$34,858$31,654$35,921
99 Unclassified$48,502$48,343$51,837

Private, NAICS Sectors, 2016 Annual Averages, All establishment sizes
Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages - Bureau of Labor Statistics
Oakland County, MI Michigan U.S Total

The table below provides the living wage requirements in Oakland County. The data is sourced from the Living Wage Calculator created by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier at MIT. It is a market-based approach that draws upon geographically specific expenditure data related to a family’s likely minimum food, childcare, health insurance, housing, transportation, and other necessities (e.g. clothing, personal care items, etc.) costs.

The living wage draws on these cost elements and the rough effects of income and payroll taxes to determine the minimum employment earnings necessary to meet a family’s basic needs while also maintaining self-sufficiency.

Annual Expenses 1 Adult 1 Adult 1 Child 2 Adults 1 Child
Food $3,050 $4,613 $7,069
Child Care $0 $7,024 $7,024
Medical $2,243 $5,403 $5,122
Housing $6,936 $10,932 $10,932
Transportation $4,173 $8,624 $9,053
Other $2,877 $4,652 $5,131
Required annual income after taxes $19,279 $41,124 $44,215
Annual taxes $3,502 $7,466 $8,029
Required annual income before taxes $22,781 $48,589 $52,244


2017 Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

Oakland County, MI

Various incentives and resources available to help your company grow in the City of Southfield and in the State of Michigan.
Local Incentives

Personal Property Tax Relief (PA 328) allows distressed communities, county seats and certain border communities to abate personal property taxes on new investments made by eligible businesses.

Industrial Property Tax Abatements (PA 198) provide incentives to encourage Michigan manufacturers and high technology companies to make new investments in the state.

The City of Southfield will explore the provision of tax abatement to your company. The Act is designed to maintain existing jobs and create new job opportunities through tax incentives. Maximum abatement length is 12 years chart. Southfield’s policy is based on a consistent matrix which equates the abatement length with new investment and employees added. Please review our tax abatement application.

The Commercial Rehabilitation Act (PA 210) encourages the rehabilitation of commercial property by abating the property taxes generated from new investment. Properties must be located in an established Obsolete Property Rehabilitation District, and the local assessor must provide a statement of obsolescence.

Oakland County Michigan Works Southfield - Oakland County Michigan Works Southfield helps to ensure that Southfield’s employers hire better educated and better trained employees.

For more information, contact Rochelle Freeman at 248-796-4161 or email

State and County Incentives

The State of Michigan offers a number of incentives, including the Michigan Business Development Program, community revitalization programs, and business-to-business procurement services to name a few, to help attract companies to relocate and grow within our state.

Michigan Business Development Program – This program includes a family of funding programs that provide a spectrum of financing options for establishing and growing your business in Michigan.

Pure Michigan Business Connect - This premier business-to-business (B2B) service provides a network for supply chain partners, service providers, and purchasers to connect and facilitate business relationships within Michigan.

Oakland County Economic Development - Oakland County Economic Development is a One Stop Shop Business Center for residents and businesses to access planning and economic development resources — including business consultation, data, maps, aerial photographs and property information.

Top Employers
  • St. John Providence Hospital 3,600 employees
  • Lear Corp. 1,450 employees
  • DENSO 1,500 employees
  • Credit Acceptance Corporation 1,100 employees
  • Blue Care Network 1,000 employees
  • Comau 950 employees
  • Federal Mogul Corp. 800 employees
  • Metropolitan Life Insurance 675 employees
  • Autoliv 600 employees
  • Durr 480 employees
  • Huntington Bank 450 employees

Source: City of Southfield Economic Profile (2016)

How do I use this information?

Having access to business climate statistics and information is one thing, but it's quite another to use data effectively and in a way that will benefit your business. This next section will help you do just that. Learn how to use this information to make better business decisions.

Monitor the local business climate

On-going assessment of the business climate is an essential part of operating a competitive business. In any business climate, there are numerous factors outside your control that will impact your business, both positively and negatively. The health of the economy impacts all businesses, but small businesses usually feel the effect of economic changes faster than big businesses. Improvements in the economy typically provide a rapid increase in new opportunities for small businesses, while an economic downturn can have a significant and prolonged negative impact.

Unfortunately, you can’t influence the economy, but you can monitor the business climate indicators provided above and then take the necessary actions to minimise risks to your business. Staying up to date with the business climate can also help you identify new opportunities that your business can take advantage of.

Know your costs

All industries are unique and incur different types of costs when starting or operating. Understanding these costs is essential when it comes to setting prices, budgeting and planning for growth or downturns. We’ve provided some of the local costs associated with taxes, development and labor that often get overlooked by businesses. There may be other municipal and state costs that apply to your business so we encourage you to contact us to find out more.

Where can I learn more about the business climate?

While we are providing you with a range of valuable information about the business climate, the fact is that there's much more available. In this section we provide you with links to other websites that will supplement our information and help to keep your finger on the pulse.

There may also be other municipal and provincial costs that apply to your business so we encourage you to contact us to find out more.

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Rochelle Freeman
Business & Economic Development Director
(248) 796-4161

26000 Evergreen Road, Southfield, MI, 48037-2055