What Is a Business License Number?

by Daryn Edelman; Updated September 26, 2017

A business license number is a reference number from a city, state and/or federal document that grants the bearer the ability to engage in specific business activities within the designated area.

License Requirements

Requirements for a business license number vary by city and state. Whether your business requires a license also is determined by the type of business you operate. For example, home-based and consulting work may not require a license. Generally, most information can be found by visiting, calling or going online to your state government office.

State Regulations

Your operation may require a state business license number if you serve food, and professions such as accountants, social workers, doctors and lawyers typically must have state licenses. Some states require barbers and hair stylists to have licenses as well.

Federal Regulations

A federal business license number is generally required for companies that sell firearms, import/export wildlife or investment vehicles. Sites such as http://www.business.gov will allow you to type in the city, state or ZIP code and the type of business to see if you need a license.

Three Rules

There are three basic rules for obtaining and maintaining a business license number. 1) Confer with city hall or the appropriate government office to identify the type of license you need and obtain the relevant application paperwork. You also could hire a business consultant to fill out the paperwork for you and provide information about starting your own business. Such consultants can be found though the phone book or online. 2) Be sure all your paperwork is filled out and in order, and pay the appropriate fees. 3) You probably will be required to renew the license once a year to keep your number current. Be sure to pay any renewal fees on time to avoid fines or possible issues with your business.

More May Be Required

Keep in mind that a business license number may not be the only document you need to begin your business. Your business may require zoning licenses or a seller's permit, which allows you to collect sales tax from clients to be paid to the state.

About the Author

Daryn Edelman, a professional writer/lecturer in spirituality, mysticism, business ethics, culture and politics since 1999. He has written scripts for "The Chabad Telethon" and diverse articles featured in "Farbregen Magazine" and Chabad.com. He graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies and the University of Liverpool with a Master of Arts in English.

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