What is a Business License?

Broadly speaking, a business license typically refers to a state-level certification for a specific industry or occupation. Both doctor and lawyer are great examples of occupations that have a highly regulated license to ensure competency. The occupations and industries required to obtain such a highly specialized license vary by state, but, as it pertains to moving labor, Florida is the only state that requires such a license.

But you're not off the hook yet! Most cities, counties and/or states do require other types of licensing.

An Employer Identification Number, issued by the IRS, is not a business license and is not an acceptable credential.

Other Types of Business Licenses

In most states, a "business license" isn't a license at all (like the professional license discussed above), it's a tax you pay to your city, county or state to conduct business there. This type of license is usually referred to as a 'tax receipt', 'privilege license' or 'occupational license'. These licenses, however, are almost always required by local jurisdictions.

 The term "jurisdiction" refers to a municipality, such as a town/city, county or state. Depending on where you are located a license may be required for all three.

Is a Business License Required?

As discussed already, it is very likely that at least one jurisdiction will require your business to have a license. Because the rules and regulations vary widely from state to state you will need to contact your town/city, county, and state to determine if a license is required.

 Example: Our headquarters is located in Tampa, FL. Because our address falls within both the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County we are required to be licensed by both. Further, as we mentioned earlier, Florida has a professional license requirement for moving companies (including moving labor), so we are also required to be licensed by the State of Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Does my Business License Expire?

In most cases, a business license will be valid for one year. Be sure to verify how long each license is valid for directly with the issuing authority. You will want to set up reminders so that you renew each license before it expires.