When you’re starting a business, it is crucial to secure any and all business licenses to operate your business legally. Business licenses and permits are intended to hold businesses accountable and keep consumers informed at all times. Requirements and fees associated with licenses depend on the type of business you run, where you run it, and which government regulations apply. It is helpful to know everything that a business license entails before diving into the process of obtaining one.
What is a Business License?
A business license is the legal registration of your company which allows you to operate within a specific industry and jurisdiction. The term “business license” is wide ranging and can refer to many different types of permits and licenses, each serving a specific purpose.
Types of Business Licenses
If you’re wondering whether you need to obtain a business license, the answer is most likely yes. The type of license or permit you need will ultimately depend on the industry and business location. You may be required to obtain separate licenses at the federal, state, and local levels. In addition, if your industry is regulated by some governing body, you will need to present certification before a license can be issued. At the highest level, you’ll need to get a federal license if your industry is regulated by a federal agency. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the following industries require business licenses or permits:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Firearms, ammunition, and explosives
- Fish and wildlife
- Commercial fisheries
- Maritime transportation
- Mining and drilling
- Nuclear energy
- Radio and television broadcasting
- Transportation and logistics
Some licenses expire after a set period of time, so keep close attention to when you need to renew them – it is often easier to renew your license than it is to apply for a new one. You’ll have to research your own state, city, and county regulations to find out exactly what you need to pay and when.
How Much is a Business License?
Just as the type of business license depends on industry and location, your business license fees are based on these same factors. In general, you can expect to pay a filing or processing fee, as well as the cost of the license itself. Business licenses can range from around $50 to hundreds of dollars. For example, the filing fee alone for forming an LLC in New Jersey is $125 – all other costs are not included. Because of the variable nature of business licenses, the SBA advises business owners to check with their respective issuing agencies to understand what needs to be done.
Steps to Getting a Business License in the U.S.
After determining what business license you need, there are four main steps to securing your license and getting your business up and running:
- Compile the appropriate documents, including the filing fee to submit your application
- Apply for your business license
- Once you have been approved, you are legally allowed to operate your business
- Keep up with license renewal and reporting requirements, according to regulations in your state, city, or county
Secure a Business License in New Jersey
The New Jersey Business Action Center (BAC) is a perfect resource for those starting a business in New Jersey. The BAC offers a wide range of products and services including project management, NJSTEP grant awards, government navigation, site searches, and much more. The BAC also has a business call center, which provides guidance on incorporating, small business and minority certifications, and licensing and financing programs.
For many businesses, New Jersey is an appealing option, especially for industries that thrive on innovation. When you choose to do business in New Jersey, you gain access to one of the country’s most concentrated and affluent consumer markets, a talented and diverse workforce, and exceptional quality of life. New Jersey is also home to the largest seaport on the East Coast, making it easy to move products throughout the country and across international borders. The potential for growth is unmatched, and the opportunity is yours to take advantage of. New Jersey provides several different resources for businesses to help get started, including assistance options for both small businesses and larger corporations.
Position Yourself for Success with
Choose New Jersey
Securing a business license can be a daunting task, but you’re not alone. At Choose New Jersey, we are here to help ensure your business has a smooth landing. We have the knowledge and skills to lead you on the path to success. Our team works in conjunction with a network of state agencies and private partners to deliver free, confidential assistance to those looking to grow their business in New Jersey. If you’d like to speak with one of our specialists about the resources we have available, please contact us today. We look forward to working with you!
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