Texas Business License & Permits Guide
When you run a business, you decide what to sell, you set your hours, you choose your staff, and you make all kinds of other key decisions. However, you also have to be compliant with a range of government regulations including obtaining business licenses and permits. The exact permits and licenses you need vary based on your business, your location, and other factors. Wondering which business permits and licenses you need in Texas? Then, keep reading to learn the details.
Business License Definition
A business license is a permit issued by a government agency, allowing a business to operate in a certain area or to sell special products or services. Your business may need a license from your town, county, or the state of Texas, and businesses in some industries even need federal permits or licenses. To figure out which business licenses you need, you may need to do some research with the government agencies in your area or consult with a specialist.
Types of Business Licenses
Business licenses fall into a range of different categories. Often, you need a business license from your municipality just to be able to run a business in your city. You may also need permits to ensure that you meet health and safety guidelines or occupancy limits set by the fire department.
In the state of Texas, you need to be licensed to run certain types of businesses, and to obtain the right licenses, you generally have to meet educational guidelines and potentially pass a test. For instance, to work as a lawyer, a building contractor, a massage therapist, or in countless other professions, you need a special state license.
If your business deals with certain products or falls into any of the following industries, you need a federal license as well as licenses from your city and the state of Texas:
- Firearms, ammunition, explosives
- Fish and wildlife
- Maritime transportation
- Mining and drilling
- Nuclear energy
- Radio and television broadcasting
- Transportation and logistics
How Much Is a Business License?
Because there are so many different types of business licenses, the cost can vary dramatically. The cost can even vary when you look at different types of licenses issued by the same entity. For instance, Lubbock Texas requires businesses to get permits but the cost varies depending on whether you need a special event permit, a vendor license, a peddler’s license, a temporary food license, or a range of other types of licenses and permits.
Sometimes, the fees are nominal such as the peddler’s license fee which is $30 initially and $25 for each year that you renew it, but the cost of the other licenses depends on the funds your business may receive. In other words, businesses in lucrative industries tend to pay more for permits and licenses than businesses in other industries. On the other end of the spectrum, a liquor license can cost anywhere from a few hundred to over $10,000 depending on your location and volume of sales.
How to Get a Business License
To obtain licenses for your business, you need to start by figuring out which licenses you need. To do this, check with all the government agencies that have jurisdiction over your area. That includes local, state, and federal government agencies. Once you determine which licenses you need, you can start to apply through each of those government agencies.
With so many different business licenses and permits in Texas, figuring out what you need can be difficult, and if you don’t have the right licenses in place, you potentially jeopardize your business. Remember, licenses are legally required, and if you don’t have the right licenses or permits in place, the authorities may come in and shut down your business.
To be on the safe side, you may want to work with a specialist who can help you determine which licenses and permits you need and also help you apply for the licenses. Then, you can rest assured that you are completely legally compliant and that you don’t overlook anything. Additionally, as you don’t have to waste time looking for a license, you can focus on making the other aspects of your business a success.
How to Get a Texas Business License
Texas requires businesses to have a variety of different licenses. Again, to figure out which licenses and permits you need in Texas, you should contact the government agencies responsible for your area. In particular, reach out to your city’s government. Also, check with the state government. You can find a lot of information on business licenses on Texas government websites or by contacting the right government officials over the phone.
Alternatively, you may want to work with a mentor or a business consultant who can help you research how to get a Texas business license.
Other Resources to Getting a Business License in Texas
The Texas government is not the only resource that can help you obtain Texas business licenses. You may also want to check out federal resources. There are online tools where you can enter your zip code and get a list of the permits or licenses you need to run a business in that area. To ensure you don’t miss anything, you should also reach out to the town clerk in your community. They can give you a list of what the town requires for local business licenses, and they can make sure that the information you received online is comprehensive and correct.
Final Thoughts on How to Obtain a Business License
To run a business, you need to meet legal obligations to your customers, your employees, and your community. Business licenses and permits help to ensure that business owners are meeting these requirements. Depending on the type of business license, they may give you permission to sell potentially dangerous products such as alcohol, work with risky items such as explosives, host people in your building, perform certain services, or do a range of other business functions.
Before starting a business in Texas, take some time to research the business licenses and permits you need in Texas. Then, get the licenses you need and get ready for success.