Starting a business is an exciting and thrilling job. Sometimes in the excitement, you might overlook certain important things that you need to do. Every business needs one or more federal, state or local licenses or permits to legally operate. Applying for these licenses and permits is one of the basic requirements of the business.

Regulations vary by industry, state and locality, so it’s very important to understand the licensing rules that are in place where your business is located. Non-compliance with license and permit regulations can lead to expensive fines, costly contract litigation and/or work stoppages.  Below is a quick checklist which covers the different licenses and permits which you may need to acquire prior to opening your new business:

  •  Business License & Permit Every business needs one or more general business licenses and/or industry specific operating permits in order to operate legally. These licenses and permits can be obtained through the designated city, state or county agencies in the jurisdiction where the business is located. The license usually registers the business for the collection of payroll tax, payable quarterly, where applicable.
  •  Occupational Permit   Most every business has a main office. In such cases, you may need to notify the city of your new business and acquire a permit from your city or county building and planning development department. This permit may even be required for home-based business in some jurisdictions.
  • DBA/Fictitious Business Name Permit  DBA simply stands for “Doing Business As…” This certificate must be filed whenever a person or a company is conducting business using a different name than the actual legal name that is registered with the state.
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) This is essentially your corporate Social Security Number, issued by the IRS. It is also called a Taxpayer Identification Number. The quickest way to receive your EIN is to call the IRS, toll-free at 1-800-829-933. Note: Your business may also have to acquire a Taxpayer ID from your state’s Department of Revenue or Taxation. Phone the IRS for a free “Small Business Tax Kit” at 1-800-829-3676 or find it online at the IRS’ website:
  • Sales Tax License (Vendor’s License)  A sales tax number is required for all business that will be making sales of products and services which are subject to sales tax. You may also be required to collect the sales tax from your customers and remit it to the appropriate agency. You may apply for a sales tax number with the state Department of Revenue or Taxation.
  • State-issued Business Permits and Licenses With numerous city and state rules and regulations, it can be difficult to understand which permits you need to start your new business.   You may need permits from one or more agencies, or from both city and state, based on the proposed business activities. See chart below.

Business Activities                                                   Licensing Agency

Food service, tattoos                                                 Department of Consumer Affairs

Construction                                                                  Department of Buildings

Street repairs, furnishings                                        Department of Transportation

Water use, sewer, or waste                                       Department of Environmental Protection

  •  Insurance Requirements  Insurance is a form or risk management essential to all businesses.  Aside from auto insurance, the State requires that you carry workers’ compensation and disability insurance, if you have any employees.  Depending on the types of services and products that your business provides, you may very well be required to maintain additional policies to protect your business against potential claims and to cover the interests of your vendors and the public at large.
  • Special Federal Business Licenses or Permits Special business permits are required for businesses which render services that are federally regulated. Agencies that issue such permits include:

                                          Agency                                                                                                               Services

Securities & Exchange Commission                                                          Investment Advice

U.S. Food and Drug Administration                                                         Drug Manufacturing

U.S. Food and Drug Administration                                                         Preparation of Meat

Federal Communications Administration                                             Broadcasting

U.S. Department of Transportation                                                          Ground Transportation

U.S. Department of Health                                                                            Healthcare Facilities

  • Special State-issued Business Licenses & Permits Special business permits are require for businesses  that involve the sale of the following types of products:

       Agency                                                                                                                 Products

U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms                             Liquor, Tobacco or Guns

State Department of Revenue                                                                Lottery Tickets

State Department of Health                                                                     Pets

State Department of Agriculture                                                          Plants and Pesticides

Tips on Applying for Permits

  • Start Early  Prepare your application well in advance of the date you wish to start any activity that may require a license; it can take time to get a license approved, especially if you need a permit that requires inspection or approval form multiple city departments (e.g., Consumer Affairs, Buildings, Fire, or Transportation) or qualified exams.
  • Take Steps in the Right Order Knowing what is required to obtain the permit will save you time and aggravation.  For example, know what documents you will need to submit with the application and prepare them in advance. If the permit you need requires multiple agency approvals or both city and state approval, you should get them in the order indicated.
  • Know the Rules  It is not enough to simply get a permit. You need to be informed about what you can and cannot do under the rules governing that permit, inspectors do. If you have questions, call the relevant agency and request a list of guidelines.  Seek help.

Business license registration research can be time intensive. That’s why business owners choose ICS to identify the license, permit, and tax registration applications appropriate for their business, location and industry. Save time and let our Business Advisors take the worry out of identifying licenses and permits for your company.  ICS Business License and Registration Service provides everything you need to register your business in one complete package, including name availability checks, preparation and filing of certificates of authority and good standing, and state and local license fees. What might have become a tedious process is streamlined so you can focus on furthering your business and pleasing your clients, and not paperwork. We can complete most work in as little as two days.

Our Business License and Registration Service includes:

  • An overview of the licenses, permits, and tax registrations identified for your business
  • Contact information, including name, address, and telephone number, for licensing authorities
  • License and permit applications and associated documents, such as ordinances and schedule statutes
  • Detailed instructions for completing and returning the application materials to the licensing and tax authorities

Get a custom business package that contains all of the license & permit applications required for your type and place of business. We perform the research and obtain for you all the licenses & permit documentation required for your business.

About ICS

ICS has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs just like you form their companies and evaluate the viability of their business ideas quickly and affordably. Our commitment to simplifying the business start-up and formation process doesn’t end after you form your company. We provide a host of services that make it easy for you to manage your business while we take care of the details. Give us a call or visit us on the web at: and take the first step towards developing your idea, protecting your personal assets and building your business credibility today.