what are business licenses?
Business licenses are permits issued by government agencies that allow individuals or companies to conduct business within the government's geographical jurisdiction. It is the authorization to start a business issued by the local government. A single jurisdiction often requires multiple licenses that are issued by multiple government departments and agencies. Business licenses vary between countries, states, and local municipalities. There are often many licenses, registrations and certifications required to conduct a business in a single location.
Typically, a company's business activity and physical location (address) determines which licenses are required to operate lawfully. Other determining factors may include the number of employees and the form of business ownership, such as sole proprietor or corporation. Government agencies can fine or close a business operating without the required business licenses.
should my business get a license?
Whether your business requires a license or permit largely depends on: 1) Your business' location and 2) Your business' industry. There are numerous types of businesses that will never need a license, and there are types of businesses that will require multiple licenses and permits -- both at the federal level and the state/local level. Click the links to the right for information on what types of licenses are required in your state and how to obtain them, and in this section, we'll talk specifically on the federal side of things. Keep in mind, there will likely be fees attached to each type of license, so understand costs and risks associated with each.
The following types of businesses require licenses/permits. Click on them to get more information and get on the path toward securing the applicable licenses:
- If you import or transport animals, animal products, biologics, biotechnology or plants across state line.
- If you manufacture, wholesale, import, or sell alcoholic beverages at a retail location.
- If your business involves operating aircraft, transporting goods or people via air, or aircraft maintenance.
- If your business manufactures, deals, or imports firearms, ammunitions, and explosives.
- If your business engages in any wildlife related activity, including the import or export of wildlife and derivative products.
- If your business engages in commercial fishing of any kind.
- If you provide ocean transportation or facilitate the shipment of cargo by sea.
- If your business is involved in drilling for natural gas, oil, or other mineral resources on federal lands.
- If your business produces commercial nuclear energy, is a fuel cycle facility, or is involved in distribution and disposal of nuclear materials.
- If your business broadcasts information by radio, television, wire, satellite, or cable.
- If your business operates an oversize or overweight vehicle. Permits for oversize and overweight vehicles are issued by your state government, but the U.S. Department of Transportation can direct you to the correct state office.
If you are having trouble or need further assistance, feel free to reach out to us for additional support. Some assistance -- such a personalized attention or consulting referrals -- may require your company to becoming a member of the Chamber. Feel free to click on the below button to go to our contact page and reach out to us.