Business Licenses 101

Starting a business involves a great deal of filling out and filing the appropriate paperwork to get up and running. A lot of it is fun to work on—picking a business name, logo, color scheme and location—but there’s also plenty of legal work that new small business owners need to think about, including deciding whether to file for an LLC or corporation, obtaining an EIN number, finding a registered agent, and obtaining business licenses.

Filing for a business license can be difficult and time consuming to do all on your own, especially if you aren’t sure of the ins and outs that come with them. Luckily, we have this down to a cheat sheet science; today we’ll go over the basics of business licenses, and why first time business owners should opt for using an outside filing service to help with the license paperwork instead of doing it on their own.

What exactly is a business license?

A business license is a governmental authorization allowing a business to conduct business within specified cities, counties and states. It’s not something you can delay working on or think you really won’t need to use either. Many states require a certain amount of business licenses before you can officially open your doors to the public.

Why do I need a business license?

Depending on your type of business and location, you may be required to obtain multiple business licenses in order to comply with governmental regulations. Failure to register appropriately can result in penalties and prevent you from operating your business at all. The longer you wait to file for a license for your business, the longer the delay may be before you can officially open your doors to the public.

How do I go about attaining business licenses to fill out?

We recommend using a service that specializes in online filing as opposed to taking it on alone. A filing service will lay out all the necessary steps for you, let you know what’s due on what date and for a price that’s less than your time as a new entrepreneur is worth too.

What type of licenses do I need?

At the minimum, you’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), a Doing Business As name (DBA for any business that is done as a name that differs from the owner’s), OSHA certification, and a Sales & Use Permit. Licensing requirements will vary depending on the type of business and its location. By using a service to help out, there will be a sort of order form for you to fill out with your business’s information that will provide you with the requirements specific to your business.

How much do business licenses and permits cost?

Government fees, if any, are additional and vary depending on the city, county, and state that your business is located in. Government fee information will be listed along with your applications in the licensing package sent to you when you use a filing service.

Where do I file my license and permit applications?

There are several licensing authorities available nationwide. Typically, you will receive instructions on where to file, along with your applications, as part of the licensing package when you use a filing service to assist you.

This article was originally published by SmallBizClub

Deborah Sweeney

About Deborah Sweeney

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.