Setting up a business can seem like a little bit of an overwhelming endeavor at first. There is a tremendous amount of planning that goes into getting business operations running and, on top of that, new business owners almost always come across unpredictable obstacles. From business tax, to collecting gross receipts, to finding a business location, the tasks can seem overwhelming.
With that said, starting a business can be incredibly rewarding. You can achieve a sense of accomplishment that is almost impossible to reach as an employee. Then, of course, there is the limitless earning potential and pride of ownership that comes with becoming an entrepreneur.
Coming up with a business plan and brainstorming the marketing material you will use can be incredibly exciting, but few people get excited about the nitty gritty of starting a business. For many new entrepreneurs, securing funding, researching relevant tax laws, and applying for business licensing areall boring stages of starting a business. However, they are also completely necessary.
In order to help you get your business off the ground, we have provided a straightforward guide that will help you apply for a business license. Becoming a business owner is all about paying attention to details and staying organized. If you know how to apply for a business license, you will be on your way to owning a prosperous new business.
The Four Steps to Getting a Business License
Obtaining a business license will vary in some ways depending on where you live and the type of business you plan on starting. While there are variables, the process involves the following four steps:
- Research – The first step in applying for a business license is researching the specific rules and regulations in your specific area. Your particular state, city, and county could have different rules from those posed in another region. The type of business you plan on running will also impact the type of license application you’ll need and what sort of information you will have to submit. For example, if you wanted to open a restaurant, you might have to apply a business license, as well as a Food Service Vendor License, a Liquor License, a Patio Permit, and much more. Again, the documentation you need to submit and license you need to apply for will depend on where you are located and the type of business you plan on opening. Most of this information is easy to find, so just be sure to do your research ahead of time and save yourself a headache down the line.
- Submit – Once you have done your research and assembled the necessary documentation, you can submit your completed application to the relevant agency. The more careful you are during this process, the more likely you will be to receive your business license without any hassle. A business license application can be rejected if itlacks any of the necessary documents, or ifit’s filled out incorrectly. Remember, when it comes to running business operations, time is money, so make sure you are careful when you are putting your applications together.
- Receive – As long as everything was submitted correctly, your application will be approved. Once you have a valid business license, you can start legally operating your business. This is an exciting moment for any new entrepreneur and really is the moment when it all starts to feel real.
- Renew – It is just as important to renew an expired business license as it is to obtain one in the first place. Make sure you are keeping on top of the expiry date and be sure to renew your license with plenty of time to spare. Expiry dates and renewal processes will vary from state to state and county to county.
What is a Business License?
Just understanding what a business license is and why they are necessary can be somewhat confusing. This is because the term ‘business license’ can be so wide ranging. There are so many different types of business licenses and permits and they all vary according to industry and region.
Again, this is why it is so important that you research the particular licenses and permits you will need for your business in the particular area where it will operate.
Essentially, a business license is meant to function as a government issued document that proves you have permission to operate your business in the particular area where it is located. Making sure every business has a valid business license is one-way government agencies keep an eye on businesses under their jurisdiction and make sure that they are operating safely and according to local rules and regulations.
Failing to have a valid business license can put your entire business into jeopardy. In fact, if you fail to have the right licenses and permits, your business could be forcefully shut down and you could have hefty fines imposed on you and your business. Basically, do yourself a favor and make sure you have everything in order.
Are Business Licenses Expensive?
Just as the particular license your businessneeds will vary depending on the particular industry and geographic location, the cost of the license can also vary.
Usually, you will have to pay some sort of a processing fee, as well as pay for the license itself. Usually business licenses are relatively affordable and usually end up costing somewhere in the range of a couple hundred dollars.
When you research the particular business license you need, you should also make a note of the cost. Budgeting for licenses, permits, and renewals will save you a great deal of frustration in the future.
How Long Does it Take to Receive a Business License?
More often than not, a business license takes between several days and a few weeks to receive. After your business license application has been received, the relevant agencies will have to review and approve it. From there, they also need to deliver the physical copy to you. This is why it is important to get a head start on the process right after you have committed to starting a business.
If your particular region offers online applications, these almost always have quicker turnarounds. Take care when filling out your application and there will be less of a chance it will be rejected!