Getting a business license is similar to the business registration process.
Mundane and unexciting, but unfortunately required.
If you’ve been following along in our journey of how to start a business, you have been there for the exciting things like learning how to come up with a business name, and the now less thrilling experience of getting a business license.
How to get a business license:
The process of getting a business license differs depending on the industry you work in and the state in which your business is located. The first step is to research what your state requires so you can go through that particular process.
Yes, obtaining the right licenses is yet another hurdle you must jump over as an aspiring business owner. Don’t fret, we’ve made it easy for you. Simply click on your state below for the resources you should be using to get a business license.
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Business license requirements in each state
Unfortunately, I do not have the authority to license your business. However, I have compiled the resources you need to get a business license in each state. In these state by state breakdowns, the links included will take you everywhere you need to go.
The Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development first advises you on how to prepare for the process of getting a business license, and then walks you through the process with all of the appropriate forms.
Almost all of the information you need about getting a business license in this state is on the Arizona Department of Revenue’s website. It provides information on licensing and taxes, but also the rights you have, and should be aware of, as a business owner.
The page about owning a business on Arkansas’ website makes starting a new business and staying updated as an existing business owner simple.
California has the CalGold page for anyone looking to get a business license. All you need to know is your city or county and business type, and they will take you through the steps from there.
The Colorado Department of Revenue and Division of Taxation has the information you need to get started in the business registration process, as well as a forms page with downloadable versions. You could also use MyBizColorado, a source that guides you in the process of registering your business.
The Connecticut Economic Resource Center offers great search tools to help you find out what licenses you need and the resources that will help you through the process. They even offer a new business checklist that helps you set up your business while staying compliant.
When looking for information on business licenses in Delaware, head over to the One Stop Business Registration page on the state’s website. It provides information on license registration, renewals, fees, and prerequisites.
Every single business in Washington, D.C. requires a business license. Head on over to the Washington D.C. Business Center for more information on what to do when starting a business and the resources you will need. It’s all there.
Florida has a convenient page on its Department of Business and Professional Regulation website. From there, you simply select the type of business you need a license for, such as barbers or real estate, and follow the instructions they provide.
Georgia’s business license page lays out all the details you need to know about your own business to properly register and get a license. Once you have that all figured out, you can revert your attention to the website for the Secretary of State to submit an application for a new license or to renew an existing one.
As long as you have your eHawaii.gov account information, you can use Hawaii’s Business Express portal to register a new business and stay up to date on forms for an existing business.
If you need a business license in Idaho, check out their license and permits page. Along with some other states, no state business license is required in Idaho. It is all done locally with your own municipal government.
Information on getting a business license in the state of Illinois can be found on the registration, licenses, and permits section of their website. They have a lot of options for certification, including emergency medical services licensing and applications to get a plumbing license. Illinois’s site even includes a step by step guide to starting your business, with information on writing business plans and choosing among the types of business ownership.
Indiana’s system for getting a business license goes in a lot of different directions. There is no single state license that each business owner needs and some even qualify on multiple levels. Don’t worry. The Business Owner’s Guide lays it out well for you, separating the requirements by industry and taking you through the process for the one you select.
Whether or not you need a business license in Iowa depends on the nature of your work. Yes, this means that not every single company even needs a state license to do business. Check out the Iowa Business License Information Center to find out if you need a license, and if so, which one(s).
The Kansas Business Center provides you with everything you need to start, maintain, move, or close your business. They have everything laid out in the simplest of ways, so all you need to do is head to the right section and follow along.
Kentucky has a one-stop shop website with all of the resources you should need to legally plan, start, operate, expand, and move your business. You can even go through the process of which licenses and permits you need to move forward.
The website for Louisiana’s Secretary of State will guide you through the processes for starting and updating a business. The site also provides information on other commercial services, like accessing a practicing notary and determining whether a certain document is valid in the state of Louisiana.
All business licenses in Maine are managed at the town or city level. To get the appropriate licenses for your location and industry, contact your town office. You can find these at the local government portal. If you are a corporation, you must register with the Maine Bureau of Corporations.
To renew a license for an existing business, Maryland business owners must visit the Clerks of the Circuit Court website. If you have just started a business, head over to the website for the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.
All of the requirements for getting a business license in Massachusetts can be found on their business license and permit website. If you want to save a couple of steps while planning, look at their resource on starting a new business so you are already aligned with what the state requires.
Michigan is an interesting one. While not every business requires a license to function, certain occupations within a business might. The best way to find out what needs to be licensed, and what can be done without one, is with their state license search.
Check out the Minnesota e-licensing tool to check out if your business needs to be officially licensed. There is a chance it isn’t even necessary!
Mississippi has a one-stop shop for all of your business license needs. The state pushes the importance of staying up to date on all municipal licenses (hint hint).
The Missouri Business Portal is a great resource for anyone starting a business. Not only can you register with the Secretary of State and the Department of Revenue at the same time, but it also provides helpful resources for management and growth.
There are only a few industries that require a license with the state of Montana. Most of the time, licenses are handled at the local level. Head over to the Montana Department of Revenue’s website to see if your business needs a state license, or if you can get by without one.
On Nebraska’s website for the Secretary of State, you can explore your options for structuring your business and the licenses you need to form it.
Nevada’s business license portal has a fun name: SilverFlume. On this site, you can get a new license or renew an old one. It also provides links to sites for other necessary business actions, like filing a tax return and making certain payments.
The state government in New Hampshire has a business information page that gives you everything you need to know when starting a business. From licenses and permits to economic development resources, it’s all laid out there for any New Hampshire business owner.
New Jersey’s Business Action Portal provides all the resources you need when getting a permit, license, or certification to do business. Note that there is a separate space to use when starting a new business. Pay attention to that page when starting your business to stay compliant and save yourself some steps when getting licensed later on.
The New York State Business Express page equips readers with a starter guide that takes you through the process of legally starting a business, which includes getting a license. Other resources include a name reservation page, filing for taxes, and insurance obligations.
North Carolina has a great resource for both new and existing businesses. For those just starting out, the Secretary of State’s website has everything: the basics of starting a business in North Carolina, forms and fees to fill out, online services, rules and legislation, and instructions on registering a foreign business.
The state of North Dakota has a simple and easy to navigate new business registration website where you can learn how to build a business and how to get the appropriate licenses. The North Dakota Business License site breaks it down by county, so all you have to do is select where you live and follow along.
The Ohio Secretary of State website provides an ordered list of exactly what you need to do to start a business, which includes getting the proper licenses. It also includes a list of resources that can be helpful to any aspiring business owner, with guides on starting certain types of businesses.
There is no general business license required by the state of Oklahoma, but there are certain types of businesses that need to get licensed. The business licensing site for the state breaks it down by industry, so select the one you work in and get started.
Oregon provides a searchable license directory where you can explore the page and see what licenses you need to do business legally in the state. The Secretary of State also has a Business Wizard, where you can determine the licenses you need depending on your location and what your business does.
Pennsylvania’s professional licensing services website presents links to applications to apply for a business license, as well as a handy source for checking the status of that application. You can also renew your license on this site and sign up for a newsletter to stay up to date on new businesses in your industry and location.
To get a business license in the smallest state in Rhode Island, visit the Licensed Occupations resource. It is essentially a giant list of the types of businesses that need to be licensed by the state with the appropriate forms linked.
Only a few counties in South Carolina require a business license. Nine, to be exact. You can find which ones do here. If you will be doing business in one of those listed, select the appropriate county, read the information provided, and fill out the forms attached.
The state licensing page for South Dakota offers a business start-up packet, along with information on getting licensed in certain industries.
In Tennessee, some licenses are taken care of by the state, and others are handled by agencies. The Department of Commerce and Insurance in Tennessee has a resources and services section that will help you obtain, verify, and renew a license.
The website for Texas Economic Development acts as an online license and permit office for the state. The page comes equipped with a business licenses and permits guide, which breaks down the requirements in each industry.
Utah has a government requirements page, where you can read up on business registration and licensing regulations. But if you want to get right down to it, check out the OneStop Online Business Registration page.
Vermont has a lot of different categorizations of business. However, no matter if you are starting, working in, or conducting business in Vermont, their Work website has everything you need to keep it legal.
Virginia, like other states, threw the process of starting a business into one neat website: The Business OneStop. The last step includes what you need to do to get the appropriate business licenses.
Washington has links to online and paper applications for business licenses on their Business Licensing Service page. These applications can be used in a lot of situations, like when starting a business, obtaining a new license for an existing one, or opening a new location.
Business for West Virginia has resources for people starting a new business in the state, one of which includes occupational, professional, and special licenses and permits. There are a lot of different categories on the page, all of which require a particular type of licensing.
The Wyoming Business Council has a business permitting and licensing guide that should be helpful to anyone looking to start a business in that state.
While the process of getting a business license isn’t necessarily exciting, skipping this step when starting a business could cost you. Do your research, get that license, and start working.
Is this all a little overwhelming? Don’t freak out. Check out the best filing and licensing providers on G2’s website to stay compliant with state law.