Q:

How do you obtain a small business license?

A:

Quick Answer

To obtain a small business license, contact the local city clerk or business-license department and find out how to apply for a business permit. A business has to be registered to operate within a city and state and the county clerk's office can offer directions on where to obtain the business-registration paperwork and to whom it should be submitted, says Entrepreneur magazine.

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Full Answer

Once the business-registration paperwork has been filed, certain licenses may also need to be obtained. For brick-and-mortar businesses, the city checks to see if the business is zoned properly and if so, fire and air- and water-pollution permits may need to be obtained. Also, if the business is going to have a sign out front, a sign permit to regulate the size, type and location of the sign may be needed.

Certain occupations such a mechanics, electricians, plumbers or building contractors, may need a special type of licensing that is state-specific. Rules vary from state to state for this type of licensing, so it's important to check with state government offices to verify the rules regarding licensing for a specific type of business. Additionally, businesses that serve food need to have a permit or license from the county health department.

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