Business Licenses – Needed or Not?
Operating a home-based business can make a lot of sense to entrepreneurs. A business at home can cut down on overhead and operating expenses, it can allow a parent to be home with young children or provide a flexible schedule. Whatever the motivation, it is important to know and follow all rules and regulations as set down by the federal, state, county and municipal governments, as well as industry licensing required for your type of business.
Each state has specific occupations that require a license. In Texas, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation oversees issuing state licenses. Texas requires licenses for nine professions that can all be home-based: air conditioning and refrigeration workers, auctioneers, barbers and cosmetologists, electricians, for-profit legal service providers, property tax professionals, tow truck operators and vehicle storage facility operators.
Besides specific licenses, the state requires a sales tax permit for any business selling, leasing, renting or providing taxable goods or services.
Some communities require a general business license or a home-based business license. The City of Houston does not require a general license but does regulate licenses for specific types of business. For instance, a home-based business dealing with animals, such as dog grooming, must have a license from the city’s Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care and a home-based day care would require a license from the city’s Department of Human Services (See Resources).
Counties can require licenses for businesses operating within their jurisdictions. Harris County in Texas does not require specific licenses for any type of business except those dealing with alcohol and selling of food. The county clerk issues licenses for beer and mixed beverage sellers, package stores and wholesale alcohol distribution in case you want to operate a microbrewery or vineyard.
In addition, the county clerk issues DBA— Doing Business As— forms that are required for businesses operating in the City of Houston.
Certain professions are regulated by professional boards that issue licenses. These licenses are often required to work in a given municipality. For instance plumbers in Houston must be licensed by the Plumbers Examiners Board, a Veterinary Medical Examiners Board licenses veterinarians, landscape irrigation installers are licensed by the Texas Extension Service. In Houston, attorneys, appraisers, construction contractors, accountants, engineers have professional licensing requirements to operate a business.
Home-based businesses dealing with importing or exporting items abroad require a federally issued import/export license. Other home-based businesses may also require a federal license. Businesses pertaining to alcohol, tobacco, firearms, transportation, fish and wildlife require a federal license.
Looking to Start a Business in Houston?
Businesses are always evolving, and keeping an eye on the trends is one of the best ways to make sure to take advantage of the trends that are relevant to your industry. If you haven’t already started a business, maybe one of these trends will inspire you to create an entire new business.
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