November 1, 2003
License To Bill?
Q: I would like to start a business out of my home and would like to know how to go about getting a business license.
–Via the Internet
A: Keep in mind that you may not need a license initially. Most micro businesses — especially those that are home-based — don’t need one. For example, if you’re launching a consulting business, you probably won’t need one, but businesses such as barbers, attorneys, doctors, contractors, insurance brokers, or veterinarians would. So I’d recommend checking with your city and state first.
With that said, while the process of getting a business license varies a bit depending on your location, it is usually fairly painless. The county where your business will be located issues licenses. Generally, the application for the business license comes with clear instructions on how to apply and the fees involved. As a rule, these fees range from $50 to $125, and the license is valid anywhere between one and three years.
When applying, be sure to have the following information handy:
- The address of the business location
- The type of business
- How the property where the business is situated is zoned
- The number of employees you will have at the time of application
You may also be asked other things such as how much you expect the business to generate in the first year, so know all the facts about your business before you proceed.
For a state-by-state listing of where to apply for a business license, go to the Small Business Administration’s Website: www.sba.gov/hot list/license.html.