A question on an author's blog got my attention recently. Does every home business need a business license? The answer, as usual, is "it depends." In this case, it depends on your city and its requirements.
The process of obtaining a business license:
I've heard this before, so the author's description seems to be fairly standard for cities to require a process before granting a business license to a home business.
- First, you must apply.
- Then you must go around to your neighbors and make sure they don't object. Unless you are running a hair salon or some other business with lots of traffic, they probably won't.
- Finally, you may have to show up at a city council meeting to give the public notice that you are applying for this license and to make sure - one last time - that no one objects.
- And, of course, you have to pay for the license, probably annually.
Where to start:
Find information about your city or municipality. The Small Business Administration has a business license search page that might help you get started.
Before you leave the SBA site, check to see if there are any federal licenses/permits or state licenses/permits your business might need. Federal licenses and permits would be for activities like firearms or alcohol manufacture, while state licenses range through a wide variety of activities, from accountants to wineries.
In any case, it's always best to be sure and ask if you need a business license.