The process of obtaining a business license to operate a limousine service includes several steps, depending on your state, county and city. However, there are a few general requirements that make the process straightforward. The following article will help you gather important information about your business, contact the proper licensing authority, incorporate your business and complete the proper application to obtain the correct business license.
Incorporate your business. Some areas might require a delivery business such as a limo company to be incorporated and do business under an official name. Contact your Secretary of State's Office to obtain the proper documents to form a LLC, corporation or other official proprietorship. Or, contact a service to help you incorporate (see Resources). Incorporating will also allow you to do business as an official entity and protect your personal assets.
Construct a business plan. In order to obtain a business license for a limousine company in some areas, you must disclose your financial plan, including cash flow, list of limousines and other assets, budget and articles or incorporation to licensing authorities. This information should be detailed in your business plan. If you don't have a business plan, write one with the help of a marketing firm or accountant. Or, use a template to guide you through the process (see Resources). A strong business plan will also help you plan for important projects such as buying new limousines, hiring chauffeurs or obtaining financing.
Register your limousines. You will need to register each limousine as a service vehicle with your Secretary of State's Office. Contact your driver's license office or go to the Secretary of State's website to downland the correct registration forms. This requirement commonly must be met before a business license is granted. You will likely be required to pay a registration fee to register each limo in your fleet. You might also be required to have a commercial driver's license, and take a written and driving test, according to your state's rules. The Secretary of State's Office will guide you through the process.
Gather financial information. Make copies of your budget, annual sales reports, insurance information and projected income for the next year. Gather business bank statements and your incorporation paperwork. If this information is not in your business plan, contact a CPA to help you compile it. You might be required to furnish this information as part of your application.
Apply for a state license. Contact your Secretary of State's Office to obtain a list of businesses requiring a state license. If limousine services make the list, visit the Secretary of State's website and download the appropriate application documents. State application packages for limousine services are commonly called "Livery" license applications. Complete each document carefully, satisfying each requirement.
Submit your state application. Proofread your application package to ensure everything is in order. Include a check for your application, seal it in an envelope and mail it to the Secretary of State's Office or the Department of Revenue, depending on which government department processes applications. Allow a few weeks to a few months for your application to be processed.
Complete local application process. In addition to meeting state requirements, you may need to obtain a permit on the local level and register your limousine company with your municipal income tax office. Contact your city's Treasurer's or County Clerk's office for instructions on how to obtain the proper application documents. You may be required to furnish your company's financials and be cleared by your local police department to do business as a limousine company. A criminal background and driving record report may also be obtained on you and your partners. Some cities and states may require you to attend a hearing conducted by a judge or police officer to determine if there is a need for a limousine service in your area. Background checks and hearings are usually conducted while your paperwork is processed.
Submit your local application. Seal your livery application and send it to your Treasurer's Office or appropriate city department. Include your application fee. Allow a few days for your paperwork to be processed, backgrounds check completed and a hearing date scheduled. The process might take a few weeks. Once approved, you will be given proper documentation such as vehicle stickers, identification badges and copies of your business license.
Keep in contact with licensing departments while your application is processed.
Never operate a limousine business without the proper license. Doing so can result in criminal penalties and civil infractions.
Never miss a hearing date. Doing so could result in rejection of your application and difficulty rescheduling.