Do You Need a Business License? 

By  Kimberly

Did you know that there are many types of businesses that are strictly regulated and controlled by the government?

My mom once had a great idea to start a cooking business out of her home. Needless to say, that didn’t last long when the city inspector heard about it. ?It would have been too costly for her to go through the process of obtaining all the crazy permits she need to operate that business.

If you think you’ve got an idea that?s going to make you big money, there might be a reason why everyone else isn’t doing it and that reason could be related to the local or federal laws that regulate that particular industry.

As I mentioned above if you are going to sell food, you will need to obtain a license and register for hygiene and safety inspections. For many reasons most local government agencies are especially strict if you plan to handle food, especially raw meat.? Food licenses aren’t too hard to get provided you are willing to have your kitchen and products inspected at regular intervals.

An in-home daycare will need a license. There are all sorts of courses to take and regular inspections to go through. If you ever wonder why there?s a shortage of in-home childcare providers, it?s because it?s so hard to keep up with the rules and make a profit. ?I remember when my two oldest daughters were under the age of five, I was on several waiting lists for the daycares in my city. ?There was definitely a shortage and it was hard to get a spot in the good ones.

Gambling is always strictly regulated.? It might be fine to gamble privately with your friends depending on where you live, but as soon as you start running it as a business you are on shaky ground. Most cities have ordinances that determine gambling as an illegal activity. Applying for a license to operate a gambling establishment is pretty difficult to obtain.

You will need a license if you plan to serve alcohol. Getting an alcohol license for your business, unless it’s for some kind of special event and the drinking is just incidental, is not easy to get. It also depends on where you are located. Some city ordinances do not allow the sale of alcohol at all.? Alcohol licenses are subject to appeals from people who live near your business.

Any professional service will probably need a license. When I say professional, I mean doctors, dentists, accountants, lawyer, and veterinarians to name a few.

If you are running your small business out of your home, you need to check on any restrictions that might be in place for your neighborhood. Some cities also require you to register with them due to a potential of increased foot traffic in your neighborhood if you are running your business in your home.

This list just covers some of the most common businesses that need licensing. The best idea is to check your local laws and make sure your small business is properly licensed.

WARNING: A word of caution here. If you are searching online to determine if your business needs a license to operate, there are many companies that offer the service of registering your business for you for a fee. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is not that hard for you to do it yourself. All you need to really do is contact your local County Clerk?s office and ask them. They will lead you in the right direction. I?m just trying to save you some money here.

Kimberly Bagley, CPA

I absolutely love helping business owners gain valuable insights into their business through monthly accounting services and tax planning. My goal is to give every client the gift of having the peace of mind knowing that all of their bookkeeping and tax needs are taken care of so that they can do more of what they love ... run their business!

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