Citizen-Focused Permitting

OpenCounter guides applicants through complex permitting workflows and calculates the timelines, permits, and fees associated with the project. This helps applicants to start their projects with more confidence, and helps staff to improve efficiency at the counter.

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We put the public back in public sector

When citizens start a business or home improvement project, they're confronted with complex requirements from the City: multiple permits from different departments, each with its own terminology and procedures. Tradespeople and permit expeditors know how to navigate these processes, but non-professionals are often left behind. Their lack of experience can lead to delays and missteps, and even penalties and fines. OpenCounter uses a sophisticated rules engine to calculate permit requirements as applicants fill in their project details. This helps applicants to understand the process before they get started, which cuts down on questions and unexpected requirements later in the project.

"The team at OpenCounter have taken a typically bureaucratic and complex process—business registration—and made it simple to complete and beautiful to use. They are tackling and succeeding at the essential redesign work that needs to take place across all government interactions."

Jonathan Reichental. CIO, City of Palo Alto

"Working with OpenCounter has been such a positive experience! Their team took our codes, applications, and fee schedules and created an easy, intuitive site for our citizens. We are excited to work on future projects with OpenCounter."

Alexandra DeYoung. Business Process Specialist, City of Boise

Our Products

Zoning Portal

A site selection tool that shows how the zoning ordinance will impact a project.

Business Portal

A tool for entrepreneurs that shows which permits are required to get the business up and running.

Residential Portal

A tool for home owners that helps them stay in compliance on home construction projects.

Special Events Portal

A tool for event planners organizing large-scale events in public spaces.

Features & Benefits

Simple language

Simple language

We translate the language of the municipal code into intuitive instructions for applicants.

Modern Design

Modern Design

We build beautiful interfaces to core government services.

Tuned to Your City

Tuned to Your City

We configure OpenCounter for each city’s rules and regulations—in weeks, not years.

Public Sector Professionals

Public Sector Professionals

Our team comes from the public sector so we know how things work.



OpenCounter can be translated into over 40 languages to make the permitting process accessible for all.

Handmade in California

Handmade in California

Our team is based in San Francisco, CA and brings the best practices of Silicon Valley to city hall.

View our frequently asked questions

Modern cities use OpenCounter


Case Study

Check out how Penny Ice Creamery navigated 21 permits with OpenCounter in Santa Cruz, CA.

Penny card

In The Press