Starting a Business in Harlingen

The City of Harlingen offers many tax benefits and is located in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley, making it an ideal location for many businesses. Businesses in the transportation and healthcare sectors are thriving in Harlingen.

  • In 2012, an article from CNBC declared Texas as America's Top State For Business in 2012, an accolade that the state has received at least three times since the study began in 2007.

  • In 2013, Harlingen ranked as first for the lowest cost of living in the U.S. for the first quarter of 2013 according to the ACCRA Cost of Living Index, which estimated Harlingen's cost of living as 19.4% lower than the national average.

  • For the past 13 years, Texas has ranked as the number one state in the U.S. for exports according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • In 2015, on its list of The Best Places For Business And Careers, Forbes ranks Harlingen as #39 for job growth.

  • Harlingen is a premier destination for international commerce thanks to the Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios and the Port of Harlingen.

Harlingen ranks highly as a destination for small businesses as the number of new and established businesses continues to increase in the area. There is no personal or corporate income tax in Texas. However, there are some regulations for local businesses. 

Business Structure and Licensing 

If you are looking to start a new small business in Harlingen, the first step is to select a business structure. The state of Texas does not have a "general" business license and instead requires licensing and permits for only a few select types of businesses. For businesses that require building permits, the City requests that you contact the City Secretary's Office at (956) 216-5000 to determine the fees for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy. 

Business Support From the City 

The Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce provides support, promotion and protection for businesses by advocating for businesses at both the state and local government levels. 

Women business owners in Harlingen can obtain assistance from Rio Grande Valley Women’s Business Center (WBC). 

Visiting the Lower Rio Grande Valley District Office of the SBA can help business owners to obtain free counseling, advice and information on starting a businesses. Financial assistance is also available via banks and non-bank lenders. 


Use the links below to get started with your Harlingen small business: