How to Check for a Business License

by Melvin Richardson ; Updated September 26, 2017

If you want to see if someone has a business license, there are a number of places to search. The type of business you search for will determine where you search. A business license enables a business to operate legitimately without incurring lawsuits, penalties and fines. If you don’t have the right license, your business could even be shut down. You must comply with the rules and regulations as set forth by your state, county and federal regulators.

Determine the type of business you are searching for. If you are looking for a retail outlet or a construction company, search the county courthouse.

Go to the website for the county and key in the retail business or construction company name or other criteria listed. Criteria can vary from county to county.

Go to the website for the secretary of state. Most other businesses can be located here. Check for your own state and search for a variety of businesses including accountants, appraisers, auctioneers, brokers, debt collectors, cosmetologists, building contractors and real estate agents.

Search by profession, license type, owner first name and last name, status, location, county or state. Choose an appropriate category.

Verify the business name and registration or charter number.


  • Each county and state website may have different search criteria

About the Author

Melvin J. Richardson has been a freelance writer for two years with Associated Content, and writes about topics such as banking, credit and collections, goal setting, financial services, management, health and fitness. Richardson has worked for several banks and financial institutions and gained invaluable experience and knowledge. Richardson holds a Master of Business Administration in Executive Management from Ashland University in Ashland Ohio.

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