This is the fifth and last post in a series about how to get all the proper licenses and permissions for your home business.  To read the previous posts click the links:

Get Legit ! #1 Get your EIN#
Get Legit ! #2 Your neighborhood
Get Legit ! #3 Do your research
Get Legit ! # 4 Your State

If you've been following along in the series and taking the baby steps to get your business legally established, almost all the work is behind you and you'll soon have your home occupancy business permit. To celebrate this I'm scattering a few CAST items for your home throughout this post.


At this point you will have contacted your county (or parish, burough, township, etc) and you'll know if you have to do anything at all for them. The most likely requirement at county level is to file a Fictitious Name Statement. See previous posts for more information about that.


You will also now have the required forms to fill out for your city license. The good news is that with a few exceptions, they are much the same as your State forms and will most likely also use your State Business License and/or Sale Tax ID#.  The main difference will be in the area of City Planning and Zoning. If your city is small, the Business License Office will likely share space with the Planning and Zoning Offices and probably one application will handle both requirements. If you live in a larger city, you may have to obtain permission from Planning and Zoning before being approved for a business license.

This is where it may be beneficial to do some extra research by talking to the people at the offices to find out what the planning and zoning requirements are for a home business in your city. Different cities have very different laws and different neighborhoods have different zoning. In general, low profile home businesses are encouraged. Just think of all the home day care, piano teachers, tutors, designers, caterers, telecommuters and other individuals that work out of their homes in your area. Many of these have official home occupancy business permits.

Be aware that your City Planning and Zoning Commission will be interested in how your business will effect the community and will want to make sure it is legal and safe. They will be particularly interested in things like:

Will you have employees?
Will you have customers coming to your home? If so, how many per day?
If you will, where will they park?
Where will they enter? Is there a separate entrance for customers?
Will there be any signs?
What product do you manufacture?
What percentage of the area of your home will be devoted to your home business?
Will there be any additional noise from things such as power tools?
Will you be storing your inventory on site?
Do you use toxic chemicals?

It is helpful to know how your neighborhood is zoned before you make the decision to ask for permission to have customers on site. If you do have customers on site, you may be required to have a separate entrance, adequate parking and get a fire inspection.

My business license has the restrictions of :  No Employees, License Limited to Residents of the Home Only, and No Objectionable Traffic/Parking

Note that if you deal with food you will very likely be required to have (or rent space in) a certified catering kitchen and be subject to random inspections.

And that's it.  We took baby steps along the way and I hope this has been helpful to those of you taking those steps to get your business license.


Comments (1)

On October 12, 2010 at 10:06 PM , Angels and Everlastings said...

Sue, Thanks for featuring my Wall Topiary. I need to get working on my city licenses but I seem to have misplace my state sales tax certificate so I have been putting it off. I probably should just look into getting another one.