How do you get an LLC License?

It takes awhile to learn the lingo when approaching a new endeavor, so don’t feel bad if your question “How do I get an LLC license?” isn’t technically accurate. An LLC is actually a type of business (like a corporation or partnership) rather than a license. However, licensing IS absolutely crucial to your company. In this article we’ll break down how you can start your LLC as well as determine what licensing it will need.

Give Birth to Your LLC

In this process, it can help to think of your LLC as a baby. The LLC is the entity itself, which you will create by filing paperwork with your state. Rather than a birth certificate, this paperwork is usually called your LLC’s “articles of organization” (though some states may instead use the term “certificate of formation” or “certificate of organization”). The state (like a hospital) will charge you a fee for this, which you can look up on our interactive map.

Instead of a social security number, your “baby” (the LLC) will likely need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a unique number you’ll get from the IRS, and you’ll need it to open a business bank account or hire employees.

Of course, your “baby” will also need a name. We have an article to help you with that process and another to guide you through the other steps of forming an LLC. The requirements and processes vary somewhat from state to state, but we have a how-to article for every state at the bottom of this page.

Give the Baby Its Shots

A baby needs the right vaccinations to protect it from disease. Similarly, your LLC needs the appropriate licensing for protection from legal trouble. Without the right licenses and/or permits, you could face fines, a loss of reputation, having your business temporarily or permanently shut down, and/or even losing the liability protection an LLC would otherwise provide.

So, how do you know what licensing you need? Here’s where it gets complicated. The kind of licensing you need varies by location; federal, state, county, and city may all have specific requirements. The other variable is your industry. Licensing for a restaurant will be very different than licensing for an at-home consultancy. 

Some of the licenses an LLC might need include:

  • General business license – Some locations require you to have a separate license just to do business at all. This often happens at the county or city level.
  • Professional license – Certain occupations, such as medicine, law, and engineering, require up-to-date professional licenses to legally operate.
  • Employment – Businesses with employees will likely have to register for things like unemployment and worker’s compensation.
  • Sellers permit – Most states will require this permit for your LLC in order to collect sales tax on goods you sell.
  • Health – If you serve food, you’ll likely need a health inspection certificate.

Those are just a few. Depending on the type of business, an LLC might also need an alarm permit, weights and measures registration, and other permits/licenses if it’s a beauty salon, daycare center, sells firearms or liquor, etc. There are also taxes you’ll have to register for, depending on your location.

So, how are you supposed to know if you have all the licensing your LLC needs? A business license report can help.

ZenBusiness has partnered with Business Licenses, LLC to help you conduct a federal, state, county, and city search, based on your business activity and location, seeking out any permits, licenses, and tax registrations you’ll need to legally operate. They then round up those applications and send them to you with instructions on how to fill them out and where to send them upon completion. You can request a report here.

Starting an LLC doesn’t have to be painful. The ZenBusiness team can assist you with filing the papers for your LLC, securing an EIN, and many other services to help you start, run, and grow your business. Chat with one of our business experts today to see how we can help.

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