Most businesses need some sort of license or permit to operate; whether it needs to be obtained at the city, state, or federal level depends on what type of business you are running. In addition, some business may need to obtain special permits from local health authorities, building inspectors, and police/fire departments.
Federal Licences and Permits
Most small businesses do not require federal licenses or permits to operate unless they deal with:
- Providing investment advice
- Preparing meat products
- Selling alcohol, tobacco, and firearms
It is best to consult an attorney regarding regulatory requirements. While your business may not fit in one of the above categories, it is best to make sure you are in compliance with federal regulation before starting your business.
State Licenses and Permits
For information regarding state licenses, contact:Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) NC Department of Commerce 4344 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-4344 (919) 807-4280 (in Raleigh) or (800) 228-8443 www.blnc.gov
The services provided by this office include:
- Individualized assistance from counselors in identifying the correct licenses and permits
- Customized information packages including applications and instructions on applying for licenses and permits
- Resource center for information on over 700 business licenses and permits
To determine liability for license fees/taxes, contact:NC Department of Revenue 501 North Wilmington Street PO Box 25000 Raleigh, NC 27640 (877) 252-3052 www.dor.state.nc.us
Special licenses and permits
In certain situations, you will need to obtain a specific industry license or permit. The Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) office should be able to help you in this area, or refer to the numbers listed below:
- BLNC (919) 807-4280 or (800) 228-8443
- Alcoholic Beverage Permit (919) 779-0700
- Rest Home License (919) 855-3765
- Architecture License (919) 733-9544
- Auctioneer License (919) 567-2844
- Barber Examiners License or Cosmetic Arts License (919) 733-4117
- Electrical Contractors License (919) 733-9042
- General Contractors License (919) 571-4183
- Board of Funeral Service (919) 733-9380
- Plumbing & Heating Contractors (919) 875-3612
- Real Estate (919) 875-3700
- Nursing Home or Home Health Facility (919) 733-7461
- Child Day Care License (800) 859-0829
This is only a partial list. To verify the requirements for your business, contact Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) at (800) 228-8443 or in Raleigh at (919) 807-4280.
City or Local Licenses and Permits
All for-profit businesses within city limits require a privilege license to operate.
All the information you need on what local licenses and permits you need for your business can be found here: